What a difference a year makes. This time last year, I was killing it in the Brooklyn Half Marathon, running a PR I’d been training for months to nail. This year? Not so much with the speed, or the distance – more of a walk up to Prospect Park, wheeling a stroller with one hand, umbrella in the other and baby strapped to my chest. The rain didn’t stop the runners or the spectators for one of the best NYRR races of the year.
Roman, Tanner and I chose the 6 mile mark to cheer on all the half marathoners – almost halfway through the course, after the only significant hill. Every time I’ve run this race, that section is a huge boost with a big crowd cheering and a downhill fast approaching.
I’ve run one race in the pouring rain and it was miserable. It’s not so much running in the wet, as your shoes getting so heavy from being saturated. Nobody wants to deal with an extra impediment when you’re really feeling it in the last section of a race. It poured for a while during the first part of the race, then thankfully cleared up (although I’m sure that didn’t really help with the whole wet shoe thing).
Spectating a race is such a gratifying experience. If you’ve ever run a race and experienced the energy of running with a huge crowd, on a course full of people cheering, that same energy is felt by the spectators as well. Watching the racers come by – old, young, men, women, disabled, fast, slow – but all united in being intent on an impressive goal…It’s incredibly inspiring. I also love seeing a race fill the running paths of my favorite park; all the neon colors and the moving line of racers against the green.
Roman was excited to be there cheering alongside Mama, as well. He loves yelling, “Go runners!” at races (and actually, from our stoop when people run by on their way to the park). Once the rain stopped, he stood up on his stroller for a better vantage point.
I was tracking Nellie and almost missed her – luckily I heard her yell my name. Turns out she recognized Roman first! #bloggerlife
This is the photo I caught of Nellie. I know, brilliantly timed. It’s like a Where’s Waldo. 😉
Luckily, my friend (and client!) Maggie who followed my training plan for the half as an alternative way of training while I’m on maternity leave, also spotted me in the crowd. I can’t explain how excited I was to see her, since she was way speedier at that point than I expected from tracking her. I think I screamed a little, hopefully not in her ear as she hugged me! It was her first half marathon – the longest she’d run before she started training was 5 miles – and she KILLED it. Check out her impressive time and the most beautiful splits you’ve ever seen:
I am so proud of her! She ran a great race and loved every minute. She even told me the rain was not such a big deal – it was only for the first few miles of her race and she said when it really got heavy was when they started running past the loudest cheering sections of the course.
After the runners thinned out and Roman was getting restless, I met up with Christine and Gabrielle to grab coffee nearby. I’m not sure what possessed me to get Roman a muffin with chocolate chips, but luckily Christine and Gabby were more than happy to do a little snuggling with Tanner while I power washed Roman (okay, I used wipes on him, but a power washing was probably more in order).
Never spectated a race before?
Here are a few tips for being a great spectator (and enjoying every minute):
- If you’re hoping to see friends running the race, tell them exactly, specifically where you’re going to be, because it’s more likely they’ll spot you among the spectators than you seeing them in a moving crowd of runners. Don’t just say, “I’ll be near mile 4,” tell them which side of the street, near which landmark, at exactly what point on the course. If you’ll have signs or balloons, tell them what to look out for.
- Get your friends’ bib numbers ahead of time and download any app you may need to track them during the race. This is a great way of knowing when you need to be scanning the crowd to see them. For smaller races that don’t offer tracking, find out what they’re wearing and ask what pace they’re hoping for.
- Scream, yell, get loud! It’s okay to yell the same thing over and over again, since you always have a new audience. I usually yell, “Looking good,” “Looking strong” or “You’ve got this!” Think about what you’d want to hear if you were running.
- Unless you are within eyesight of the finish line, please never yell out, “You’re almost there!” (It’s on my list of 10 Things You DON’T Want to Say to a Runner).
- Look for people’s names on their shirts or bibs so you can cheer people on my name – it’s such an awesome feeling as a runner to have spectators cheering your name.
- Don’t crowd the course. I know it’s annoying when the spectators next to you are blocking your view, but when you edge out a little way to be able to see, you’re taking up space the runners need. This is especially a big deal in larger races, where the crowded sections of the race are when people are doing a lot of weaving around other runners, so you’re more likely to get in the way.
And totally not running or racing or spectating related, but I can’t believe my little squoodge is already one month old! I know it goes fast, but this is fast forward.
How adorable is Tanner? He has been really alert and awake more the last week or so and it’s so much fun to watch him interacting and getting a handle on this whole being a human in the big bad world gig. He also is still small enough to not be able to protest when I decide I want to give him a hundred kisses. (I need to catch Roman really sleepy or half awake to get away with that).
Do you enjoy spectating at races, or would you prefer to be running? (I love spectating, but I admit I felt a little sad I couldn’t be part of the action).
What did you do this weekend? We spent Sunday at a couple of kid’s birthday parties, then hanging with my parents.
Who watched the Mad Men finale? I predicted from the beginning that the very last episode would be Don jumping and recreating the opening credits scene. Color me shocked. And a little disappointed with the final episode.