Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Art of Spectating

In case you missed it while you were having fun this weekend, check out my posts from Saturday and Sunday

My Fear of Running
Facing My Fears


As many of you, I am a runner.  So I run races. But truth be told, I have not spectated at many.  In fact, the sad truth is, I have only spectated at TWO, today included! So maybe I am not the one to write this post, but after all the fun I had today, I can't help but in part of my tips of the trade for newbies (or at least what I can manage to type out - I am soo exhausted I can hardly stay awake - so if I start talking nonsense please excuse me).

Today, I took the drive with the hubby to Providence for the Providence Rock n' Roll Half Marathon.  Yesterday, it dawned on me how many awesome people were running this half and since we have been meaning to take a trip to Providence anyway, this seemed like a perfect idea.  So after little sleep, I bounded out of bed to a wonderful rainy day and got ready for the fun. Here is what I learned...

The Art of Spectating - Lessons Learned from a Newbie Spectator

5) Find your inner artist and make beautiful signs to let the runners know you are there.  Get out your crayons and magic markers (or buy some if you don't keep a stock in the house like me) and go to town.  Not to worry if that inner artist is a little rusty or in some cases (like me) non-existent.
Lessons Learned: Washable Magic Marker not a good thing in the rain,  it is impossible to hold the umbrella and the sign at the same time,  red on a pink poster board will not be seen by anyone standing farther than 5 ft from you!

The Before...

The After

4) Know your runners.  Make sure you know your runners - what they look like and who they are.  Also make sure they know you will be out there.
Lessons Learned:  Figure out what your runner is going to be wearing and what their general pace is.  I will admit it, I am cheap I did not want to pay a dollar a runner to track people so I had to do my best and not knowing peoples' paces or what they were wearing caused me to miss many of the awesome runners.

Promise there are names written on this thing...

3) Do not let rain or wind or any kind of weather get in your way.  In case you are not on the East Coast and don't know, it POURED today.  We found a nice dry spot under an awning but I was soaked because I refused to stand under it and went right to the edge of the curb to yell for the runners.  No matter, the runners are out there, so you better be too!
Lessons Learned:  Just because it is the summer does not mean boots are not in style.  My shoes and socks were soaked.  Luckily I did remember to bring my pjs to put on after.

2)  Be a Cheerleader.  Spectating is not a passive thing.  You are out there for the runners.  They need your quick encouragement, a smile anything you've got to get them through.  I took to screaming everything from "Go, Go, Go," "Never Give Up,"  "Dig Deep,"  "2 miles left,"  "water at the finish," "dry clothes at the finish."  I also identified people by characteristics e.g., "yay tutu girl," "go pink shoes," "you've got this running skirt."  
Lessons Learned:  Consider whether you will need your voice for the next few days post race.

1)  Get enough sleep.  Spectating can be a sport in its own.  You are out there for three plus hours screaming, jumping, and motivating people - be prepared to be exhausted!
Lessons Learned:  Do not wake up at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, run 10 miles, go to bed after 11 that night and have to wake up before 5 on Sunday to spectate.  You need your rest.

Speaking of which, it is 730 - my apparent bedtime tonight.  Hope you all had a great weekend and congrats to all that ran today - Providence (HealthontheRun, BeckontheRun, Frayed Laces, FoodtoRunFor, HangryPants, RobinBn, RunningwithSass, Katecountsdown and more!) or otherwise!

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