Cheering at the Kiss Me I’m Irish 1/2 Marathon

I have a few races to recap as I’m a little behind. I didn’t run this one, the Kiss Me I’m Irish half marathon, my husband, Ben, did–but I went along to cheer. 😀

The race was the day after St. Patrick’s day. My husband and I don’t usually celebrate as we’re old with kids now, lol! But I had won free tickets to our local Shamrock Festival in downtown. We went early Friday evening, I had my mandatory green beer (my husband didn’t), and we went home. I knew Ben needed rest for the early wake-up the next morning (the race was 45 minutes away).

This was the inaugural half marathon for this race. In previous years, they offered shorter distances, a 4k and 8k (and a kids’ race). Late last year, one of our run club buddies suggested this half in an attempt to PR. There’s a friendly competition going between him and Ben, with Ben currently having the upper hand.

So the original plan was for them two to race to PR (Ben’s is 1:30 and our friend wanted that or under) and for another friend to help pace them both. It was decided though, in the days leading up to the race, that conditions weren’t in favor of a PR–it was 70 degrees at the start (with a high of 88)!!

The race also started 25 minutes late which really didn’t help.

I had my sign ready to go–there were 3 of them “racing”–could you tell who I was going for?

Three amigos

On the back side, I had a little message for my husband. He had reeeeally wanted a Guinness or two the night before but stayed disciplined because of the race the next day, lol!

Needless to say, there were quite a few people who were anxiously awaiting their post-race beers as many asked to take a picture of my sign, lol!!

Even the leprechaun thought my sign was funny, lol

Start line selfie!

Once my husband was off and running, I stayed to cheer on the rest of the runners in all the distances.

And with there being multiple distances, by the time I finished cheering at the start, there were people coming in to the finish. So I just moved there and continued the cheer-fest. 😀

After a while, I finally saw my husband and I started yelling my little heart out. He was with the pacer friend, Tomio, and I could tell this hadn’t been an easy race for Ben– but, he was happy with the finish and very much so looking forward to his Guinness.

He, and others I spoke to, later told me that the race had some work to do. The water stations were not as advertised as there was a long stretch of no water when he knew there should have been some. There was also a section of tight back-to-back switchbacks (not shown on the course map) that threw off a lot of the runners. Oh and no electrolytes/Gatorade. We also recalled how when we arrived (suuuuper early) the race area was empty. Usually, we see people moving about getting things ready, but when we drove up to the event, having driven along part of the course, we noticed that there were no signs or cones designating the course route. When they announced the race would be starting late, they said it was because there were still barricades needed to be placed. With knowledge that it would be a hot day, we thought they could’ve been a little more prepared and had that taken care of earlier.

But the swag was pretty sweet. Runners received a medal, a hat, and a long-sleeved pullover. And the much wanted free beer 🙂

It was fun to try a new race, too, and I had a blast not racing for once, lol!!

–How was your St. Patrick’s Day? Did you drink a Guinness or a green beer?

–Does the heat affect your racing?

 

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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:

IMG_20150529_071142

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?