Today was (finally) race day. It was so different to work for months with the team and to not be running on race day. But just like a runner, I got going late, didn't have enough coffee, needed a potty break as soon as I hit the course, and needed a nap after the race. All together though, it was a new experience.
We all met before the race. It was cool with the breeze - perfect running weather. Some of the runners were nervous and making multiple trips to the Safeway bathroom - no Starbucks until 6 so some were cranky! After a few, the runners headed off to the starting line and the "tinkerbells" headed off to the Garden. We ran into a water station competing for best station dressed entirely as the North Pole. Complete with Xmas carols, lights, decorations, elves, Santa hats - they had everything (too much that we moved away from them in fear of singing carols in our sleep).
The rain stayed away for the entire race and some sun shined through towards the end. I had brought some chalk to decorate the road and small bells for ringing (I think I still hear them!!). AnnaMarie, Cindy and I were probably the best cheer group - heck we were the only group - on that stretch of road. We got a lot of thanks from the runners as they struggled up past mile four on the longest hill in the park. Some smiling, some not, but all pushing along up the hill and we got to see them going back down. Everyone loved the bells - someone said they were "happy bells" versus cowbells. I called us the "tinkerbells" and it just seemed appropriate with the noise they made.
The team looked great! Pretty in "orange" shirts! Everyone looked happy and healthy and some were FAST! I was totally amazed when the first went past us at 30+ minutes (I wasn't wearing a watch so I'm trying to remember what Cindy said). Even the walkers we trained with were fast and they seemed so happy to be out there. Some kept their humor going up the hill and down. Loved the ones who ran when they saw I had a camera. Way to keep chuggin' even when you're hurting! I knew exactly how they were feeling.
As for us, I have to say cheering is pretty tiring too! All runners should do it at least once to see how much energy and imagination it takes to motivate people to push through the pain. We had trouble coming up with catchy phrases to put on the ground in chalk. "Don't Stop", "U Look Fabulous" and "Lookin' Good" were the choices we went with. And then we had to think of motivating things to say over and over and over and ....AnnaMarie did a GREAT job at this, but deliriousness set in after about an hour and half and she started to ramble on and on and on...! Loved every minute of it!
So next time you're out running and someone cheers you on - THANK THEM! They got up early too, walked miles to be there too, are cold/hot/cranky too, but they're not there to run the race - they're there for YOU!