5 Reasons Spectating is an Awesome Sport

Linking up today with the DC Trifecta ladies Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for this week’s Friday Five. Thanks for hosting!!

I’ve been doing a lot of this lately, spectating, and I have been having a blast!

Before I begin, last Saturday I was the official spectator for my blogging buddy, Hailey@StridingStrong  at a local 5k. She’s pure awesomeness.

I hadn’t met Hailey “in real life” but we’ve chatted quite a few times in the past year trying our best to get together. We live in the same freaking city! But, we kept missing each other. Until last weekend.

She told me she’d signed for this 5k. This was big news as Hailey doesn’t race often–not like someone else I know (Oh Helly…).  I shockingly hadn’t signed up and figured this would be the perfect chance for me to meet her and see her run!!

I’ll be using her race to explain:

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1.) A different point of view

This girl. Amazing.

She’s tiny, soft-spoken, (gorgeous), and just the sweetest person ever. BUT, holy wowzers can this girl run!!! Hailey is probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met yet there is a fierce strength about her. The Hailey I spoke with pre-race and the Hailey that toed the start line were two different girls. I was able to snap pictures of her before and after that caught this transformation.

Don't let the beautiful smile fool you--that girl is fierce!

Don’t let the beautiful smile fool you–that girl is fierce!

A beast.

Beastmode.

Seriously one of the reasons I love spectating…

Like I mentioned, not participating in the race let me see it and the runners in a different light. These weren’t people I was running against, these were people I was admiring, studying, revering.

I spoke with Hailey pre-race and she said she was nervous. I definitely get the pre-race jitters too but seeing her, someone who does what she does very, very well, nervous reminded me that fast people are human too. Just because they’re good at what they do doesn’t mean they don’t experience anxiety.

Since I wasn’t getting ready to start a race, I was really able to see the different emotions on the runners as they began the race. From the ones who were at the very front, fierce and determined, to the ones starting from the back, at ease and jovial–it was really cool to watch.

2.) Part of the crowd

I got to meet Hailey’s family–her brother drove an hour to see her run and her mom had been at the same race the year before. I liked that because I wasn’t participating, I was able to see the support group, the people who motivate Hailey.

Same thing with the rest of the crowd. I knew I didn’t have much time to mingle. Hailey would be back under 20 for sure. But I chatted with some of the race volunteers, other spectators who were watching their sisters, moms, co-workers. I would likely never see these people again, but for that morning, we had something in common.

3.) No pressure

There was no goal time for me except making sure I was at the finish to see Hailey cross. The thing about spectating that is probably the most enjoyable (for me anyway) is that there is no pressure looming. I’m simply there to support. Of course, if the race doesn’t go well for whomever it is your supporting, there’s slight pressure in making sure they’re okay, that you do the best you can to comfort. But there is no feeling of frustration in not having met a goal.

Hailey crossed the finish line in 17:55, meeting her goal of sub 18 and 5 seconds away from her 5k PR she’d set in college. First female overall.

Like a boss.

Like a boss.

She said it was progress. (Love that girl.)

4.) The Signs!!

had to make Hailey a sign. I mean, I just had to. And the English teacher in me had to take advantage of Hailey’s name. Students, what is my sign an example of?

Alliteration! :D

Alliteration! 😀 (It even says: Love, Helly for good measure!)

Every time I run a race, one of my favorite things to do is read the signs of the spectators. They’re so many good ones!! I don’t know about you, but I’m always thankful of those who take the time to make them. They help out more than I think spectators know.

5.) Free

Free fun. Free inspiration. Free motivation. Free learning. Free experience.

So much you take away–all for free.

The first runner over all crossing at 15:35

The first runner over all crossing at 15:35

I hope you all have a good weekend! ❤ , helly

–Do you enjoy spectating races? What’s your favorite thing?

–What do you notice/enjoy about spectators while you’re running?

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Meeting the BRF and other Marine Corps Marathon awesomeness

Besides crossing that finish line and getting medaled by a Marine, the other major highlight of the weekend was FINALLY MEETING SALT!!! A lot of people were surprised that we had never actually met up to that day considering how much we obsess talk about each other. We “met” over 3 years ago (whoa!) on an online mommy’s group (our daughters are the same age ❤ ) and we’ve been friends ever since. I convinced her to start running and she convinced me to start blogging and the rest is BRF history!

I knew she’d be running a 5k that morning but I also knew she’d be done quickly (I mean, it’s Salt) so I expected her at the finish line. When I crossed, I checked my phone messages and there it was, one of her telling me she was there! I let her know where’d I’d be collapsing and she appeared magically through the throng of family supporters carrying with her a beautiful sign.

We squealed like schoolgirls and hugged and then she plopped down beside me and we started chatting like if we’d known each other forever. It. Was. Awesome.

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20141026_135625I had zero doubts that I’d like her in person. We had “talked” to each other nearly every day through some sort of social media and texted each other occasionally. We were real life friends no matter the fact I hadn’t actually heard her voice (why we’ve never called each other, I don’t know. Oh, technology).

I was a hot mess after the race and wanted to get back to my room to shower so Salt gave me and my husband a ride. Around the block. Traffic was so dense that we spent 30 minutes getting a quarter of a mile. We decided to let Salt go 😦 so that she wouldn’t spend her whole day stuck in that awful mess. We shared a tearful goodbye with plans to meet again soon (we’ve got something up our sleeves) and I saw her go off in her little red Fiat into the sea of cars….

Other More Random Cool Stuff

One of the things that impressed me so much about the Marine Corps Marathon was the crowd support. I mean, I rarely, if ever, felt alone. Not only were there so many people cheering us on, many of them carried super funny, clever signs. Here are some good lines I somehow remember:

Fine, Emily. We can get a cat.”

“Taylor, we just got engaged and you’re already running away!”

“Run like you’ve just been called a jogger!”

“Run like the Ebola vaccine is at the finish line!”

“Keep going–you’re not almost there! You’ve got a shitload of miles left!”

“Run like someone is chafing you!”

“Mike, I’m pregnant!”

“F*@k the friend that signed you up for this!”

There’s more but I can’t remember them. But seriously though, crowd support was AMAZING. There were several spots along the way with people handing out cups of beer, pretzels, candy, tissue (I took one), Vaseline–I mean, talk about support.

Another awesome moment was actually waiting for the race to start. A tent of Marines were selling coffee and hot chocolate pre-race and we stood in the long line waiting to purchase. I didn’t know how the hot chocolate would sit with me but I was so cold, I didn’t care. Anyway, the man in front of me handed the Marine a $20 bill and the Marine asked if he had anything smaller, to which the man replied, “Get as many people as you can with the change.”

Even the participants were super friendly. Not just in this instance, but throughout the race I saw runners concerned for runners, runners encouraging each other, runners just being their awesome selves. It truly was such a memorable experience. One that is worthy of putting on your “To Race” list.

Have you ran a race that was memorable? What made it so awesome?

Do you have an awesome Best Running Friend?