Sunday, November 11, 2012

On the road again: A spectator report

Most people hit the wall at Mile 23 of a marathon. Miles and I? Well, we hit people's hands at Mile 23.

Well, I guess "hit" is a strong term. Love tap might be more appropriate.

Saturday was the Veterans Marathon in nearby Columbia City, and a little birdie had told me that Bobbi was gunning for a last-minute fall marathon and would be in town. Anxious to stalk meet her, Miles and I packed up the car and headed west.

I wasn't quite sure where I would set up to spectate - I was a total fool and barely looked at the course map - but found myself driving past markers, and I pulled over where parking looked safe enough. As it would happen, we were at mile 23.

The course was seemingly deserted when we got there but that's how it goes with a small race in a small city. Thankfully, it was a nice enough day - mid-50s - though it was a bit windy. And, oh, how windy it feels in the middle of farmland!

Miles and I had time to get situated and secure our sign. Well, the wind basically blew the sign up against the stroller and we just had to hang out. Miles in the stroller eating animal crackers, me at the corner {insert joke here} cheering on runners.

By the way, the sign says: It's OK, I poop my pants, too. On the other side, there was a message equally as classy: Run faster, I want to see your butt.

I haven't really spectated a race before, and I found it really fun and rewarding to be out there. It was interesting to see the runners at different paces follow the same course, many having the same struggles. The Columbus Marathon seems like such a distant memory (especially when you talk to my legs) but watching everyone reminded me of that experience and how I felt at mile 23. It made me cheer harder, be more supportive and get more excited as each one made her way past.

People were very gracious, thanking us for being out there, but - as usual - most were more excited to see Miles. As the race went on and more people were taking walk breaks, runners started asking Miles for high fives. It got to the point where he was expecting them as people passed, sticking his hand out in anticipation. So cute! It was just a shame I couldn't coordinate with his "woots" with the claps.

Soon enough, we saw Bobbi and her friend Kim. They stopped to chat a bit and catch their breath before moving on. They weren't having the best day out there but they were staying in it and fighting the good fight. Even when  I (jokingly) offered her a ride back to the finish.

Miles and I packed up - green beans and all - so we could head into town. Funny thing, Miles was the only one who wanted to eat green beans along the course. Same for the animal crackers. Who would have thunk it?

A chicken sandwich-Diet Coke stop later, we were in downtown Columbia City and  back on the sidelines. Perk No. 23 of small races: Park benches outside buildings from which to comfortably spectate. Or I assume comfortably spectate. Miles got so excited to see the folks he had high-fived cross the line that he tried to do the same. I swear he almost "completed" the marathon 15 times Saturday.

Soon enough we saw Bobbi and Kim on the horizon, running to bring it in. I was so proud seeing them stride across the mat. No matter what the day gave them, they still got the same medal as everyone else.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your day (and hugging me even though I didn't shower after BP).  Congratulations, girls!


  1. Thank you SO MUCH for coming out! I was really excited when Bobbi told me we would have a spectator to look for. I am sure you were out there a loooong time waiting for us. It means a lot!

    I love your signs! So clever! And Miles is TOO cute :)

    - Kim (

  2. oh my goodness, I want Miles to slap my hand during a race. That would be awesome motivation. Love the sign too. So awesome you got to cheer on your friend! I really want to spectate a race soon.

  3. First of all, you are too were out there a LONG time longer than you hoped to be. Thank you so much for staying the was SO great to see you!

    I love the sign! I loved hanging with you and Miles at the finish. You made a really tough day so much better.

    ~a very grateful Bobbi :)

  4. I really need to take the family out just to spectate a race. They enjoy spectating mine, but I think it's important to model that for others. Show them that it's important to take time out of your life to do something for others.

  5. Miles had an AWESOME sign! I have only spectated the NYC Marathon back in 2009 but it was fun. I am sure that a smaller marathon would be even better to spectate since you can actually see the runners.