Yesterday was the first day in about five years that I went to a race and did not participate. My good friend, Anthony, was running his 106th 1/2 marathon (click here to read more about Anthony!) at Ocean Isle Beach and wanted someone to run with, so a few months ago, I volunteered my husband to run with him. Husband ran some here and there when he could, because, unfortunately for him, MY running always comes before his. Sorry dear but really, it is the truth. The difference between my husband and I is that if I don’t get my training in, I could break out into hives and repeatedly thump myself on the forehead while saying, “AHHHH, I SHOULD HAVE RUN TODAY!” and then live in regret-hood for another few days before finally getting over it. He takes the healthier and more laid back approach and just does what he wants when he wants to without really worrying about his finish time. I used to be like that, and there’s many times I wish I could go back to not counting and comparing and worrying about times and all that competitive stuff. Sometimes.
So yesterday, I tried my hand at being a Sherpa, although there was really nothing that I needed to do or carry or give them along the race route except a smile and orders to look at the camera so I could take a picture. My husband Andy has supported me through so many races, it was time to at least be there for his race.
It was extremely foggy when we got there and when the race started. It went up and over a really high bridge, twice, and the only thing the runners could see was the fog. It was weird. Then the course took them along the ocean for the remainder of the race. It’s strange to be able to hear the ocean, but not be able to actually see it. I felt like it could have been a scene from the book, “The Mist” by Stephen King, the one that was read to me when I was far too young to be able to handle Stephen King’s freakiness, so I imagined creatures coming out of the mist while I stood there, just waiting to be devoured. Note: Don’t read Stephen King books to your kids. Ever. I am still wary of semi trucks because I was also an audience to the short story, “Trucks”. I’ve never trusted a semi since.
Wendy, a friend of ours and a fellow member of our running group, was with us and ran the 5k. I was able to see her at mile 2, and to her surprise, she placed in her age group. Way to go, Wendy!!!!
I then saw the guys emerge from the mist at mile two and got my picture….
Coach Kristen was along to support Anthony, and she had 9-10 miles to run for training, so she took off to get her run in. I found Wendy after her 5k was done and handed over the keys that Anthony had made us promise to 1) not put in our
butts running shorts and 2) not lose because how would we get back to Wilmington? We took our job seriously. No dangling keys over those storm drains!!! It was tempting, but we successfully fought off the temptation to do so.
I needed to run 5 miles so I started the Map My Run app because my stupid Garmin lied when it said it was fully charged and promptly died as soon as it found the satellites, turned on my music, and took off. Suddenly it dawned on me that I told the guys I would see them at Mile 8. Oh crap. Great job, Sherpa! Not. The course was an “up and back” then a “down and back”. I ran up the race course and had so many people ask me if I wanted water or Gatorade, even after I told them I was just running to find my actual runners, so that was pretty cool. I found them at mile 5-ish, took a picture, and then ran back down the course so I could meet them again. Kristen and I saw them close to mile 8, which is where the up route met the down route, and it immediately started to pour very cold rain, so we hid under a small building a few minutes until it slowed down. We then caught back up to the boys when it started raining again, so we figured that running next to them was just causing cold and bronchitis-inducing rain, so we headed to the finish line area.
It was really strange that the weather was all over the place. Foggy, rainy, cloudy, hot, sunny…. we had it all yesterday. At least the storms held off and it wasn’t a torrential downpour like originally predicted. Kristen and Wendy and I had a good time talking with each other and other runners after the race while we waited for Andy and Anthony to finish. For the first time in a long time, I watched the end of a 1/2 marathon and got to see such a variety of people finishing. I saw an 11 year old finish his first 1/2 with his mom (WOW, that was COOL!), older people finishing, middle-age people finishing, well, people of all ages, sizes, and everything. It was fun. And for once, I wasn’t upset at the fact that I wasn’t racing. I didn’t even look at the winning times to see if I would have placed in my age group either, which is pretty big for Ms. Competitive.
Pretty soon, I saw husband Andy coming along to finish the race. It totally, royally, and completely sucked that there were no medals at the finish line. Yes, this was a race for charity; it’s not a big race, but really, for a 1/2 marathon, you should ALWAYS get medals. Even if they’re the penny ones from the dollar store “buy in bulk” section, you deserve SOMETHING when you cross the finish line. Even though he doesn’t care, I’m bummed that he doesn’t have a medal to show for his efforts. But I was so very proud that he 1) let me bulldoze him into doing the 1/2 when I don’t think he really wanted to AT FIRST 2) ran the race, and 3) now wants to do a 1/2 marathon every few months (music to my ears!). Some people train for months to complete a 1/2 and he did some running here and some running there and was able to do one without any major issues. Husband rocks!
A little bit later, Anthony finished his 106th 1/2 marathon. It just HAS to be old hat for him running these things. Just another “Anthony” weekend I guess!
We were all hungry so headed to a place right by the parking lot, and
twelve hours thirty minutes and two spilled chicken wraps later, we got to eat our lunch, had some laughs, and then headed back to Wilmington.
It was a really nice, fun day spent with people I enjoy, so it’s always good to be around people you like doing things you like to do. I’ve become quite a social tard now that I’m alone a lot, so I don’t tend to say too much when around people for fear of being a big dork. But even today, I stepped out of the norm and ran my long run with a group of ladies I don’t know too well. I didn’t say much this time, again, because I just don’t know them that well, but I enjoy the company and am drawn to continue the trend. Friends rock. Running groups rock. And I can say that being a part of a race without actually participating rocks too.