Thursday, May 8, 2008

Steph Likes to Spectate

As most of you know, neither Erin nor I did the half Pig this year. Erin is injured and I am slow. In training for the duathlon season this spring and summer, I decided to opt for trying to increase my speed over increasing distance (my body can't do both right now).

I did go to the Pig to root on my friend Paula. She did the half in 2:00!! A 9:16 pace... after having only ran 8 miles as her longest run!

A co-worker of my husband's, Jeff W., did the entire marathon in 3:32...qualifying for Boston! Oh and did I mention he's 54!?!!

A current client, Jeff P., finished his first marathon with Team in Training in 6:13!! And he raised TONS of money for the cause.

I had a really great time spectating. Paula and I got up at 4:45 to leave by 5:00 a.m. We didn't leave until 5:15, but still made it down to the hubby's parking lot, using his pass. We zipped past all the cars waiting in line trying to park in designated lots and had plenty of time to walk to the start. We went in Paul Brown stadium for a potty break and stretching. Paula was nervous and I have to admit I was a little nervous for her. I don't think I'd be able to run 8 miles and then go run a hilly 13.1!

I left Paula in the crowds, setting up her illegal iPod, staged somewhere in the 4:30 - 5:45 pace block. I took some pictures and began to plan my spectating route. The route first goes into Kentucky and then back to downtown Cincy, so I had plenty of time to head up to mile 5's water stop on 7th street. I even made it up in time to see the leaders come through, men and women. Amazing to watch.

Paula is in the middle...above guy in black hat looking down

Umm...spectating dog in pink collar and ribbons.

I had a ridiculously loud clapper thingy that I got at the Expo on Saturday, so I slap-clapped my arm off. After the leaders went by, the amount of runners in the road slowly increased until it was a full-on stampede, and water/Gatorade cups covered the ground. I wasn't sure if I'd see Paula, but suddenly she was right in front of my face, chomping on her Clif Blocks. We said hi and she looked like she was having an OK time. I spectated a little longer at this spot, then headed back down to the finish line.

I climbed the stairs to the baseball stadium a couple times, trying to figure out where the runners ended so I could find Paula after she was done. Since the streets were corralled, I couldn't easily switch sides and had to go up and around. So I got a stair workout in :) I never did figure it out and decided to try to follow the crowds later when people were finishing. After plastic slap-clapping on one side of the street, I decided to switch sides so I had a better view of the runners. I picked a spot all by myself, around the last mile marker, almost to the crest of a small hill, and started slap-clapping and cheering. It was so fun. I know how important it is for people to cheer you on when you're running...especially in this last stretch of the race! I love to hear the words "almost there" in a race, especially when I know that is in fact true. I saw a lot of heads facing the ground suddenly perk up when I yelled at them, some of them smiling. Usually the people were spread out enough that it was like I was cheering just for them.

Suddenly I saw Paula's yellow shirt! She was early!! I cheered and took a blind picture into the sun, which turned out OK :)

I ran along the route for a bit more so I wouldn't miss her after the food line. Up the dang stadium steps again, and back down to Sawyer Point. Amazingly, I spotted her coming out of the caged off area. If we hadn't found each other there, I'm not sure how much longer we would have spent wandering Sawyer Point!

Though I was so disappointed that I wasn't running too, I thoroughly enjoyed my first spectator-ing at a race. I saw some very interesting gaits (even among the fast people), the guys that run in hospital gowns with prosthetic butts, people dressed up because it was their birthday, a war protester, pig noses, and plenty of pink skirts and tutus.

All done!

And now on to the Tri for Joe, May 18th. Paula is going to come down again for that race and Greg and I are also signed up. None of us are completely prepared on varying levels, but I'm sure we'll have fun!

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