Sunday, November 15, 2009

On watching a race

I never just go and watch a race (except on TV). I generally do my race, cheer for a few people after me, but I never get to see a whole race play out. I decided to rectify that. I had 2 friends of mine racing in the DC Veteran's Day 10k this morning, Brian (who I met through Runner's World and we ran in the Parks Half Marathon together) and Sarah (a friend from grad school and the one who paced me through the last 10 miles of MCM).
I got up at 5 this morning to get my run in before the 8AM start (another sign you're a runner: you get up at 5 on the weekend willingly). I ran 9 miles this morning en route to the race. It was great to watch the sun come up and the city wake up - the Captiol just looks stunning with the sun shining on it. I've come to realize that there are 2 parts of marathon training: a part when your 9 mile run is the long run and a part when your 9 mile run is a midweek run. Currently in the part where it's still a long run, and I'm looking to go double-digit next week.
The racers had great weather: 50 and sunny, no wind and a great course. I saw Sarah before the run (she was easy to find - she's fast, so she was at the front of the pack), and she was surprised to see me (I didn't tell them I was going to show up). I wished her luck and then took my place on the sidelines, which was a new feeling. It was great to not feel the pressure of a race; my run was already done and I could just relax. The gun went off, and so did the runners. They were out of sight quite quickly. This was a new experience - I didn't know what spectators did while the runners were out of sight. I followed my cue and grabbed coffee and a bagel from a tent, which was great after my own run. I talked to some of the other spectators, and before I knew it, they announced that the first finisher was in sight. The guy was all smiles as he broke the course record and picked up $500 for the win. What a great finish. The first women came quickly after (more quickly than the race director expected - they almost didn't have the finish tape ready), and with them came my friend Sarah (who finished 5th). It was great watching her come down the chute and to cheer her on. She didn't know what place she came in, so when I saw her, it was great to tell her the good news (and she picked up a cash prize too). I met some of her teammates and it was great to hang out and hear her race story. Before I knew it, Brian came down the finish chute and so I yelled out for him (he was a bit stunned to see me there - surprising people is fun!) as he finished. More hugs and celebration. Both were happy with their times, which is always good to hear.
I really enjoyed my spectating experience. I enjoyed being able to watch without any pressure of racing, and it was just fabulous to watch my friends do well. Not sure how often I'll be able to do that, but will definitely try to make a habit of it.

1 comment:

  1. I love watching races. Every once in a while I pick up tip from watching too. I will have to take you to watch a triathlon next summer before you do your first. Hope you are still swimming!