My God, I love races!!
Yup, it’s true. Absolutely everything about running races I love-love-love! LOVE! Despite hating the actual act of running, I am hooked on races, and will most likely always run because of them.
Without a doubt my absolute favourite part about races, whether I’m a spectator or participate, is watching runners see their loved ones. Tears people! I always get tears. It’s a special moment for everyone involved, such a happy occasion, filled with frantic waves, huge bear hugs, screaming cheers and huge bursts of energy fueled by even the most tired runner’s heart.
I also love waiting for the race to actually start. Besides the whole why-is-it-so-early? thing, it’s prime (prime!) people watching time. Everyone is so nervous, so anxious, waiting for their big moments to shine. I always wonder if the race meant as much to them, as it does to me. If it was also an internal and physical battle getting themselves to that start line. Was their journey filled with self doubt, fear and a tiny bit of hope too? Were they too doing something they once believed not possible? I wonder what their training schedules looked like, and if they also had crazy (awesome) colour coded excel spreadsheets. I try to guess whether they are natural born runners, or earned every step they will take that morning, just like I had to.
Then the gun goes off! And the crowd goes silent. You guys, it’s finally race time! Breath in. Breath out. This is what we’ve all been waiting for! This is what everyone has been training for! Runners are friendly people - they instantly have something in common - good luck! you too! - you hear throughout the crowd. So many well wishes, so much energy, excitement everywhere you look.
Running is an independent sport, I absolutely love that. Actually, that’s the reason I keep doing it. I love how it’s up to you and your body to get your training in, eat right, and set your own personal goals for yourself, no matter how big or small. The race is the cherry on top of the training period, it’s the party, the victory lap for all your hard work. Hard proof you set a goal and actually accomplished it. Whether it’s your 1st race, and the goal is to finish, or 30th race, and you just want to have a good run – it’s all about proving you can it to yourself, and nobody else, just you.
I also love (lurrve!) the spectators during races. Obviously, what runner doesn’t? I love how complete strangers come together to cheer people on. How spectators spot someone with self doubt and fatigue written all over their body and offer instant words of support. It helps, that is does, and that’s why I love it so much.
At mile 21 during the Chicago Marathon a women told me she had seen me 4 times, and that I looked great. Great?! Me? Great?! I didn’t feel great, but maybe, just maybe… and so I kept running. The power of a stranger’s words is at it’s greatest form during a race.
And then there is the home stretch. After the pain, the blisters, the mental breakdowns, the end is finally near. The finish line! The cheers! The announcer! And your brain switches. Can I do this? Yes! I’m going to actually do this!! And without warning, adrenalin kicks in and you’re off! So close, yet so far… everything stops in those final meters, it’s just you and that finish line. Closer. Closer. DONE!!
And it’s over. You can stop now. And you get your medal from a complete stranger who you want to bear hug and cry into their shoulder to. Suddenly everyone with a medal has formed a secret society with each other. We did this! I did it, and so did you! A slight head nod; congrats! A smile; you too!
And then you get to watch people walking around with their medals after! That, I love too. Standing tall, head held high, perhaps with a hobble (ß a sign of strong fight). I love feeling special, hell, I am special. I did something most people will never do. And then you get to go home (after a party, or two, in your honour), and add your new shiny medal to your wall, thinking of that special day every time you pass it by.
There is nothing quite like running a race, setting a goal and accomplishing it. Nothing quite like it at all….
races, my God, I love them.
~ Berlin Marathon 41 days and counting… ~