This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a half marathon race.
My wonderful hubby was running his first half marathon. So for this occasion, we traded places! My goal was for him to see for himself the beauty of accomplishing such a feat. I wanted him to feel the crowds and that inner voice that wills you across the finish line.
However, I think I walked away a better person and a better runner from being a spectator.
This race was not just for runners! I cannot imagine roller blading for 13.1 miles at high speeds. Amazing Daughter and I were watching them get ready. They were all warming up. As with all races, there were racers that were very focused and some that you know were there to have a lot of fun!
The start of a race is just so beautiful to me. For the first time, I was able to really watch other runners as they began. The first group (the fast ones!) all had their watch ready to start timing as soon as they crossed the line. They were all working for a position as soon as they began. What I loved about this race was that each group had its own start. One group would go and then about 5 minutes later, the next group would hear the gun.
Amazing Daughter and I waited patiently for the one face we were cheering on to go across the start line. We set our watch! He had a smile across his face as he started! It was wonderful.
We then walked towards the stadium where the finish line was. I never knew what people do while they are waiting for their racer. Now I do! There was a lot of music and activities set up for the kids to entertain themselves. They even had rock climbing! Lots of good healthy food booths also! Nice.
The idea of finishing your race in a stadium is really cool. I cannot imagine the emotions as you enter and go around the track to the finish line.
The first person to cross the finish line did so in 1 hour and 7 minutes. When they interviewed him, he was not even out of breath.
His treat for finishing first…
We are in Germany after all and one of the sponsors was a brewery. And yes, he drank the entire glass.
Amazing Daughter and I brought books to read as we waited. We ended up reading about 3 pages. We became wrapped up into race watching.
The first runners that came in were all about their time. Understand. They did not look around the stands after crossing the finish line. It was like it was their morning warm up or something.
There was one runner that had a balloon attached to his shirt that said 1 hour 30 minutes. We all looked at the official clock when he crossed- 1 hour 29 minutes!!! I was so happy for him!
As more and more runners came across I saw what racing really means to the runner and to those who have and will continue to watch the races. When several of the runners entered the stadium they were waving, taking pictures. Smiles were everywhere. The people in the stands stood the entire time (us included). We were clapping and shouting.
As the runners got closer to the finish line, they started looking in the stands for that face or faces that they wanted to share that moment with. I actually was beginning to get choked up. Silly me!
A race is more than about you, the runner. Yes, you are doing the work, but in order to accomplish that work, you have to have someone who understands the long workouts, the soreness, the getting up early, the time away, and the sometime selfish focus to get ready for a race. In those moments before the finish line, as the runners were searching the crowd for that face, that moment was a silent thank you. It was touching.
However, Amazing Daughter and I were looking for one face. One runner in a maroon shirt (in honor of Texas A&M, of course). We were tracking him with our phone. We realized pretty quickly that he was going to beat his projected time. As we watched his green dot move on the phone, we were getting excited.
I spotted him first as he entered the stadium. He did not wave or take pictures, that is just not him. I have to admit I started jumping up and down until he finished. I was so excited. I had to give Amazing Daughter the camera.
As he crossed the finish line, we had our moment. I also had tears streaming down my face. I could not have been any prouder.
Just after the finish line!
I did ask him last night in his soreness, if he would want to do it again. He smiled and said yes.
He said it was a very humbling experience. I really thought about that. It is. I have never thought about it like that.