I was so looking forward to a trip to the OBX to see an old friend run the Flying Pirate Half Marathon yesterday. I was still looking forward to it when it was still raining from the night before, and as I drove to the OBX at 5am in a downpour, AND as I stood in said downpour waiting for her to cross the finish line. She totally rocked the race, by the way, because she not only PR’d but she did it sopping wet! Woo-hoo Heidi! You rock chickie!
This was an experience that lends itself to writing just because I was literally on the other side of the fence. I wasn’t running, but I was anxious all the same. I was jumpy as each minute ticked on the time clock, and I saw people moving around. I was nervous for the runners as the rain steadily came down, and periods of downpours made water stand on the nearby roads. I was worried for those who hadn’t trained on terrain since this half marathon was on the first half of the OBX marathon course, and went through a park, several hills, and sand and mulched terrain.
I stood on the other side of that fence wanting to be on the inside, running my non-existent tush off, racing to the finish line to “beat the clock.” I stood there, holding my umbrella high, soaking myself in the process, but trying to allow others to see as the runners crested the hill and were on their way to us at the coveted finish line. The first runner came in around 1:25. It was several minutes before other runners started to follow him in.
At first, I couldn’t yell or cheer or shout encouraging words. I wondered if my attempts would be heard or be worthless since I was around 100 feet from the finish line. I couldn’t do any of those things because as I watched the clock tick from 1:40 on, my eyes welled up. I was SO PROUD of these runners. They pushed themselves to not only run, but to run hard, and to do it SOAKING WET, and they finished! I have so much respect for the people that ran yesterday. I think if you are as passionate as I am about running, you’ll get why I got so emotional. The tears came, and the cheering started. I couldn’t stop. I yelled for them all. I woo-hooed. I cheered them on by name and told them to finish strong because they were soooo close to being done. I told them to be fierce and push it til the end. I told them the thing I hate hearing most on the race course until the absolute end. I told them they were almost there. It was exhilarating! It was fun to see the smiles on the runner’s faces when you called out their names and cheered them on! It was awesome to see those runners who were tired pick it up at the end and push to the finish line!
As I saw my friend gaining on the finish line, I was the loudest I’d ever been and told her to RUN HARD and woo-hooed her all the way to the finish. It was at this moment, I had the epiphany. If you have to ask me why I run, you’ll never get it. If you run, you’ll always get it. But if you don’t see things from both sides of the fence, you’ll never understand the why. Goals are met at each race. New goals are made. Congratulations are due. Every runner deserves to have someone to cheer them on to that finish linebecausethey chose to start something and complete it in its entirety no matter the circumstance and WITHOUT excuse.Running deserves respect. And today, just like every day, I am proud to be a runner. I am proud to have fellow runners who support and encourage me day in and day out. And I will do the same for others. Being on the other side of the fence is not a bad thing, it’s a necessary experience.
Live. Love. Run. Passionately.