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My First Race as a Spectator

As cliché as it sounds, I honestly believe everything happens for a reason. Although it isn’t always easy to see or understand, there is a reason for our ups and downs. A little over one year ago, I ran my last 20 miler before Boston and had big hopes for my upcoming marathon. There was no way to know it then, but I’ve since had my first DNF, my best marathon, a half marathon PR that resulted in pretty bad injury, and my first experience as a race spectator.

Sunday morning was suppose to be the marathon where I proved to myself who I am as a runner. Obviously that didn’t happen, but I had the opportunity to be a part of everyone else’s excitement. It was a bittersweet moment that I believe was meant for me to experience. I learned a lot of things sitting along the sidelines and I found a new appreciation for what exactly a race represents.

As Mario and the many other runners headed off for their race, I decided to walk around and observe all of the other things going on. After seeing the beer garden being set up, one really big truck being unloaded with water, a band setting up their equipment, and cutest toddler ever walking around with her mom, I decided to sit and meditate.  It was a beautiful morning and I needed to find it within myself to be happy with where I was – a spectator cheering on my husband, my friends, and a lot of strangers.

Having my quiet time

Having my quiet time

After my much needed quiet time, I headed back to the finish line to watch the runners as they started to cross the finish line. I wanted to be right there from the time the first runner crossed the finish line to the time all of our friends crossed the finish line. I’m not exactly sure why, but it was actually an emotional experience for me. Words can’t even express how excited I was when that first runner crossed the finish line in 1:08:49. Can you imagine all of the hard work, miles, obstacles, workouts, ice baths, and foam rolling that man did? And then to win a race? What an amazing feeling!

Check out the winner!

Then as more and more runners crossed the finish line, I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster with every single person, mainly because I could relate to what they were going through. Some people puked, one guy fell to the ground, and one lady, who looked like she may have been 60 years old, crossed the finish line in less than 1:30:00 and looked like she had hardly broken a sweat. Some were first time racers and others were achieving new goals.

Runners congratulating one another

Runners congratulating one another

But perhaps the thing that stood out to me the most was the fact that the race director was there congratulating every single runner as he or she crossed the finish line. And in addition, all of the other runners were congratulating each other. It didn’t matter the time on the clock and it didn’t matter who beat who. What mattered was that everyone had shared an experience, whether good or bad, and they had all survived.

Tobacco Road Half Marathon

Tobacco Road Half Marathon

This, I know, was something I was meant to witness.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Recovery Update: I am feeling so much stronger than I have in the past few weeks. The yoga, strength training, and interval workouts are amazing and are helping me to keep my sanity. My hip is in less pain than it was yesterday and I know tomorrow will be even better.

And for your amusement, here is a pic of us riding home in a car seat. It was too much effort to take them out. Thanks Jessica and Charlie for the lift!!

Riding with Bill in the car seats

Riding with Bill in the car seats

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. I would love to do this too someday. Volunteer for a race to give out water or become a spectator. 🙂 for a change. 🙂

    March 19, 2013
    • You definitely should try it. I actually enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. Perhaps I’ll volunteer at an aid station next time. 🙂

      March 21, 2013
  2. I also find watching runners cross the finish line intensely emotional. I don’t know what it is but each one of them has successfully completed a race they started. You don’t know their story or their injury or their goals, but you can feel the excitement in the air as yet another person “wins.”

    March 20, 2013

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