The Art of Spectating

by Heidi on October 22, 2012

For the past five years, Adam has spectated almost every race (minus the seven he missed while away at training last year) that I’ve ran. Trekking around DC for 7 hours while I completed my first marathon, standing in Central Park in the rain for 2+ hours when I ran my first half marathon, standing in sub 30 degree weather for nearly an hour while I ran a 4 mile race in Central Park, waiting in heat, humidity and everything in between.

This weekend, I got to pay it all forward. He’s run a couple races with me – a 10k here and a 5k there (1 of each to be exact) so while I sold my Army 10 miler bib a couple months ago, I got to play spectator.

Lesson: Specatating is not as easy as one thinks.

@ the start line. I headed over to Route 110 after to see him run by.

The perfect spot to watch him go by. “I’m near the portajohns after the bridge.” I told him. (He snuck his phone in. No one checked. It helped. Bunches.)

After watching him go by, I had had these grandiose plans to head over across the memorial bridge til I realized how wrong I was that that would be easy. Sure it was a metro stop away to get off at Arlington but what would be blocked off? How long of a wait would I have? Who knew!

Instead, I headed over to mile 6 on Independence. I camped out right before the 6.2 mile mark cheering on the runners with my cowbell and enthusiasm. They are AMAZING to watch. Not to mention, it was the perfect day, the weather was perfect and autumn like.

So many flags and amazing runners! I was definitely a little heart broken that baby Schmidt has me sidelined, but I felt really great cheering on the hubs.

Just before the 10k mark where I was camped out.

I figured at that point I should start heading to the finishing knowing that he had about 3+ miles left and who knew how long it would take me to get over there. Unfortunately, I was starved and really had to pee. Baby Schmidt isn’t such a fan of huge walks without eating for long periods of time. Wamp wamp.

I grabbed a quick bite, and made it to the bridge over 110 between mile 9 and 10. Unfortunately, I missed his big finish but I caught up with him in the finishers area.

YAY!! He’s totally all army strong and a year ago? He likely would not have been able to finish. Well, maybe he would have finished but not nearly as awesomely as he did.

So, so proud of him. AND his first ten miler (that, let’s be honest, he didn’t train for as well as he could have. Or should have) was better than MY first ten miler time back in 2009 (GW Parkway Ten Miler) so there’s that. That race for me was a month before I ran my best marathon ever (5:31:something).

I can’t wait to get back out on the roads with him – picking races that we can bring baby Schmidt on in our soon to be obtained jogging stroller, next year we definitely want to do the Army 10 miler together so we’ll have to get our parents here to be awesome spectators.

How to be an awesome spectator

1. Be prepared. Make signs. Cowbells. Be ready to scream your butt off. Not just for your loved one but for EVERY runner.

2. Have a plan. Where you’ll be. Figure out the most strategic spots. If I had been a block or so down, I could have seen the husband TWICE but I didn’t think about that. Wamp wamp. Races aren’t necessarily easy to navigate so be sure to give yourself plenty o’ time to get to point to point.

3. Have fun! Races are meant to be fun – enjoy it! You’re not the one putting blood, sweat and tears into the race so be sensitive to that. Also, check out the runners on the course – I heard a piper, saw Uncle Sam, Captain America, etc… the people who put some creativity into their race garb are AWESOME and sure to make spectating even more fun for you!

4.  Have food and drink on hand. Your runner pal might need a sip of your water/beer/juice but seriously – I got super dehydrated being out there for almost 2 hours. Note to self, water bottles aren’t just for runners. Not to mention, runners like snacks. Gummi bears, fruit, anything quick, small and nutritious (even sometimes not) – they’ll appreciate anything of the sort. At least I did :) 

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