Last weekend was crazy! I spectated (is that a word?) my first marathon and ran in the .US National 12K (in the open division – in case anyone thought I actually held elite status J). To say I was exhausted by Sunday night is an understatement. Actually I was exhausted on Saturday, I was supposed to met up with a friend after I got back from the marathon but ended up falling asleep on my couch – whoops!First off, I learned that spectating is hard work! Not as hard as racing, but it was much more tiring then I was anticipating. According to my phone, I covered about 6.50 miles while moving about the course/city. I and two other members of the MD/VA/DC Oiselle Voleé team left Alexandria, VA around 6:30. We were bound for Richmond to set up a cheering corner for the many members of the Voleé that were running the Richmond Marathon.
Upon arriving, we went for a thirty minute run (you know, because runners). All three of us had run the Marine Corps Marathon about three weeks prior, so we were still in recovery mode. But it was a nice refreshing run before the real work began! We changed our clothes in the public parking lot – so, yes, if you were in Richmond last Saturday and thought you saw three women straight up stripping in a parking lot, you were right. Then it was off to cheer!
We had pre selected a location between mile 24 and 25, but instead of taking the most direct route there – we walked along the course hoping to catch some Birds finishing the half marathon. And we did! After making our way to the prime location, which was fortunately right by a Starbucks – we had earlier wandered in the opposite direction trying to find a Starbucks, or any coffee shop, and had failed miserably – we broke out our signs and started to cheer.Having been in the exact same positions as these runners, I tried to remember what I wanted to hear when I was that close to the finish line. Fortunately, many runners had their names on their bibs, which made the cheering more personal. Although, yelling out “Lets go, Nutz!” received a few curious looks.
After cheering for about and hour and a half, my two companions “ran in” one of our fellow Voleé members – complete in their jeans. I met them at the finish line and then we met up with all the finishers for some pizza and beer/wine/soda. After all the congratulations were passed around and the obligatory photo was taken, we headed back to Alexandria. Where, as mentioned earlier, I promptly passed out.
When my alarm went off early the next morning, I had serious thoughts about skipping the race. My legs just felt tired, but I pulled myself out of bed and got ready. Two of my neighbors were also running the race, so we walked down to the start line together. The race started less than half a mile from my apartment so I really had no excuse not to run.The race actually went really well. Being able to knock out a 12k in just over an hour was pretty great. It wasn’t a perfect race – I could definitely feel Saturday in my legs and my right quad was really tight during the last two miles. I had to stop and stretch it a couple times. But its fun running on the George Washington Parkway and through Old Town Alexandria. Plus it was a small race – which is definitely is becoming more and more rare in the Washington, DC area. And watching the elites race was absolutely fantastic. Because it was an out and back course, I was able to see the elites after they passed the turn around point. Molly Huddle killed the competition!
It was a very busy and tiring weekend, but I’m glad I did it! Although I probably won’t spectate and race in the same weekend, or, if I do, I will definitely switch the order and race first!
Any tips on future marathon spectating? I plan on cheering at many more races and want to make sure that I do it right!