Run, Forrest! Run!

img_0832(I wanted to try a real artsy shot of running feet, but to do that required an actual photographer who knew more about her camera than how to set it on the automatic setting.)

From what I’ve been told, the Boston Marathon is a big deal for runners. Was that an understatement? I have several runner friends who have expressed a desire to run this race at least once in their lifetimes.  If I may be frank, when my friends express their Marathon dreams, I say things like, “Oh, yeah! That would be amazing, wouldn’t it?” What I’m actually thinking is that the only way I’d run 26 miles, 385 yards (I googled it and Wikipedia is NEVER wrong, right?) is if my life depended on it. Even then, my eternity’s secure and I know I’ll be with Jesus when I die, so I’m thinking, death might be a legitimate option if I had to make a choice. I used to say the only time I run is if I’m being chased. I’ve since amended that to say whether I run or not depends on how bad the thing is that’s chasing me. I think I may have mentioned before that I’m not really known for my athletic ability.

However,  I am an excellent fan. Believe me, you want me to cheer for your team. The teams I support don’t always win, but I promise you this: They feel the love! So, I was excited when my friend C asked me if I wanted to go with her to cheer on a friend of ours from church who was running in the Boston Marathon. Monday afternoon, C and I piled six kids into her minivan and navigated through the streets of town to find a good vantage point from which to cheer. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I certainly did not anticipate that I was going to get so caught up in the excitement of the day. The streets are lined with people all along the route, all 26 miles, 385 yards of it. Some of the spectators have friends or family in the race, but many were just there to lend encouragement to random strangers running past them.

Some of the runners have their names written on their chests or arms and as they passed, we would all yell specific encouragement to them. “Go, Bob! Great job!” If we didn’t know the runners’ names, we’d yell out names associated with words on their t-shirts or tank tops. “Go, Idaho!” “Way to go, Navy!” “Woo hoo, Nike!” Every now and then a runner would have an identifying physical characteristic that could be used. “Go, Blue!’:

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I realized that I don’t know a lot of good running cheers. I tried, “Run! Run!” I tried, “Yay, YOU!” I did a few, “Way to GO!” but I stopped that because that seemed a little cruel in a marathon since it’s a LONG way to go and I didn’t want to remind them of that. Mostly I did the standard, “Woo HOO!”

I can’t tell you how fast my heart was beating while we waited for our friend to run around the corner. We were receiving text messages to alert us of his progress, but we could only wait for him to run through our section.

img_08191Recognize the hat?

When our friend rounded the corner, we were SO excited that we all started screaming and waving and jumping up and down like a bunch of crazy people. I completely forgot I was holding a camera and was supposed to get a picture of him and he was going so fast, that this is the best picture I was able to get:

img_08438He’s the one with the white cap and the South African jersey. You might not be able to tell, but he was going pretty fast! His final time was 3:02:00. For any other non-runners, that’s 3 hours and 2 minutes!! In a row!! When he ran by he was smiling and waving. I think I would have been cussing and crying. Just kidding about the cussing part…probably. He was a little disappointed because he was four seconds over his goal time. I wanted to be sympathetic, but what I was really thinking that if I finished in the same calendar year that I started, I would throw a party. Four seconds? Really? Yeah, whatever. I hate that for you.

A strange thing happened to me as I watched these runners. I have no idea how long most of them trained, but I’m pretty sure no one woke up Monday morning and said, “Hey, I think I’ll run 20-something miles with a few thousand of my closest runner friends.” Plus, I was told you can’t just get a notion to run the Boston Marathon. You have to qualify. But my point is, these people have worked really hard for this day. You could see the grit and determination on their faces.

img_08351And suddenly I was so very proud of all these random strangers. They didn’t seem so crazy to me anymore. They set a goal for themselves, and Monday, April 20, 2009, they were going for it. They were going to make all of their hard work pay. The more I thought about it, the harder I clapped and the louder I yelled. This is going to sound crazy, I know, because it sounded crazy in my head when I thought it, but I was almost a little jealous of them. They were all living a little part of their dreams. They chose an adventure that would be difficult to accomplish and they did what they had to do to make it happen. Runner or not, I think that’s very cool.

For half a minute, I thought that maybe I could do this. Maybe I could run a marathon. I thought, “I’m going to get some crazy, ugly shoes (didn’t see any of those at the race, by the way, High-Heeled Mama) and I’m going to start eating pasta and training.” (I’ve heard there’s pasta in running.)  Then I remembered how winded I was after walking up the hills just to get to the place where we were watching the runners. Hmm, maybe I could start with walking a couple of miles and work my way up from there. But who knows? Maybe one day YOU will be coming to Boston to watch ME run the Marathon. (I’d hold off on buying plane tickets until you hear from me first.)

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Run, Forrest! Run!

  1. I cannot imagine running. 26.whatever miles in.a.row. Without really stopping.

    However, setting and achieving a goal is nice. It’s also something I have feared, and never thought I would do. When I was asked to do the Breast Cancer 3 day last year, I was soooo not going to do that. Because even if I could walk all 60 miles, there was no way I could raise the $2200 minimum to participate. So. I prayed on it. One of the first real decisions I’ve given over to God. I figured He was opening a door when I was asked to do it by 2 other people within a week. Especially given that I had never even had the desire to do it in years before. Cheering, yes, but walking? Fogettaboutit.

    Walking to that finish line ranks up there as one of my proudest moments. I don’t usually do the “proud of myself” thang. Felt goood. All that to say: Go for it!

  2. carpoolqueen

    Blue hair? Priceless.

    Maybe we’ll run/drag each other along together one of these days.

    In the nursing home.

    In our orthopedic shoes.

  3. Yay, you…was my personal favorite. I can see you saying that.

  4. My Boston marathon goal is to be the cheerleader for you and CPQ, when you run together.

    Other than that, I’ll help with the pasta eating (I’ll bring the cabernet)

  5. You did get an artsy shot – the man in tights next to the man with no socks. It is great contrast! Yay, YOU!

    I have such a strong desire to be a runner – much for the reasons you expressed. Unfortunately, I can’t even walk a mile without being winded. I watch the IronMan on TV every year, and just cry as the people cross the finish line – they are just so thrilled to finish.

  6. Would you believe that Corey and I have been out several times recently…with the goal of running a 5K?!?!?

    If you are not already laughing, it is because you don’t realize how far away I am from ever having even run ONE mile in my whole life!

    Corey did run a 5K years ago, but I would say that at this point, he is pretty much starting from scratch also.

    Caylie just ran her first 5K on Saturday, and as of this week, has started “training” Christian…with a special work out plan that she made for him…she runs her regular run PLUS runs another 30 minutes with him daily! They are planning to run a 5K together at the end of May.

    Anyway, I decided that surely, if the contestants on The Biggest Loser can learn to run, then I can too! I told my family that my goal was to run my first 5K while I am 40…that gives me until Jan.

    We are starting small…like walk 5 min., run 1 min., walk 2 min.. We repeat the run 1 and walk 2 until we reach 30 minutes…warm up included. Then we tweak it up when we feel like we can…increasing the run time and/or decreasing the walk time. So, yes, we are VERY much starting from scratch.

    Christian is WAY ahead of us!

    I told Corey when we started this, that I didn’t want to tell anyone about it, because it is too humiliating for anyone to even know that I have this goal…but look what your blog made me do! 🙂

    You should jump into training with us! Run a 5K this year…you can do it! 🙂

  7. Lindsey

    Amy, love it! And I love that you brought the kids along to see the craziness!
    For anyone interested, http://www.couchto5K.com is a great website for those beginning a jogging/running regime. I used it Nov. 2007 and have been running since! Hope to see you next time you’re in B-town. ~ ld

  8. yeah. When I actually work my way up to running a marathon maybe you can join me…which I’m pretty confident in saying will be NEVER.
    🙂
    …don’t think the ugly shoes could even help me.

  9. I cannot WAIT for Michele to get over here and read this…she’ll be signing up for some kinda run after, no doubt.

    Now, I’ve never actually witnessed a marathon…BUT, when Michele ran hers (back before texting updates) I woke up at the crack of dawn when she was starting and got on my knees and prayed and prayed for her…and all throughout those few hours…and then, as soon as she crossed the finish line she called me!!! I have never been more proud in my life!! I was crying and screaming and so was she…it was a moment I’ll never forget so I can’t imagine seeing it in real life. I knew how hard she’d trained (with three kids/homeschooling) and I knew how badly she wanted to do well…what an accomplishment!

    She ran it in Disney and got a “Mickey” gold medal..I call it my nephew. She wore it church the following Wednesday and I keep telling people “do you wanna met my new nephew??” “He’s soo beautiful!”

    I’ve only done a 5K (3.2 miles to be exact) and that was enough for me to say “no thanks” to one millimeter over that…

    I’m so excited you got to experience this!

  10. I had to grab a Diet Dr. P and rest after just reading that. Just looking at all those tennis shoes is more exercise then I’ve done in a year.

    How cool for you that you got to watch though.

  11. I’m telling you…

    You can do it.

    If you want to, you can do it.

    Of course, you start small, but isn’t that how it is with everything?

    I was telling my friend Melissa as we went running together tonight that I’ve been so amazed at what the Lord has taught me through running. I HIGHLY recommend it.

    And I think I’m going to run the 5K next weekend at your parent’s church. And I’ll think of you and run with prayers for strengthening you for running the race that the Lord has marked out for you… whatever that might be and wherever it may lead.

    🙂

  12. I can’t stop laughing at “yay, YOU”….I can visualize you cheering that. Oh, that makes me smile.

  13. Runrgirl

    And, you, my dear, are running your own marathon in this life. People are noticing. He is working . And it matters.

  14. I.am.so.jealous.!!!!! You.are.so.funny!!! For every serious runner this is definitely their dream . . . heck, to even just qualify for the thing would be good. Wow, wow, and more wow! Pretty exciting atmosphere, huh?

    When I ran my first and only marathon in Disney we had names on our bibs (which I didn’t realize). As I ran, I would hear people say, “Go Michele.” I literally would be thinking, “Wow, there are a lot of Michele’s in this race. I knew Michele was a popular name, but not this popular. I’m so glad for them they have people cheering for them.” Seriously. . . it wasn’t until like around mile 14 that I realized they had been cheering for me. I realized my name was on my bib . . . talk about a blonde moment.

    I have to correct something on your post. . . you forgot the 0.2. It is 26.2 miles. . . why such a big deal over the 0.2. . . . ’cause, girl, that is the hardest part of the race! he!he!

    Shoot!!! No five fingers? That is why they need me up there to run the Boston Marathon . . . to push their product. . . . get the word around, ya know?

    You and CPQ should DEFINITELY do a marathon race. Go to http://www.JeffGalloway.com. He has excellent, injury-free training programs!

    I loved, loved, loved, and more loved this post. Thank you so much for sharing. If you decide to go out for a run . . . even if it is just 100 yards. .. and nothing is chasing you . . . you MUST let me know!!!

  15. I knew she’d get over here and go on and on and on and on and on….

    I still love her and her skinny, five-fingered, runnin’ lovin’ self…

  16. Dawn

    When I grow up, I want to be just like you!!! You are a nut!
    But seriously, I could stand on the sideline at any race and cheer for the racers and get choked up! I know- it’s cRaZy, but true!
    Sometimes when I’m running, or jogging, b/c I’m not very fast, I have to remind myself that their should be “joy in the journey”! Some days are harder than others! But running is some much like life- some great days, some rough days, some days that are ok, but I must find “joy in the journey”! But I know you are all to familiar with that!!!
    No marathoning for me! I had to let that go, and it has left me! Too many parts aren’t where they once were, and that becomes a problem after 26.2 miles of pounding on the street! I’ll just stick to the 1/2 marathon! It’s very rewarding, and I won’t hurt too much when it’s over! (Nothing a warm bath and chips and salsa can’t remedy.)
    I plan to be at the “Love Loud” race next Saturday! Some of my kiddos from school are signed up, too! It should be fun, and I know they will beat me!!!

  17. I do not know you and vice versa…found your blog from facebook, but I ran Boston last Monday and am very touched by your post. What a great point of view from a spectator. It is because of people like you that I will come back to Boston again! Thanks!
    Suzanne from LA

  18. I used to be a big runner, Amy, and if I can do it, anyone can.

    I ran the inaugural Little Rock marathon back in 2003 as part of a relay team, and I gotta tell you that when I was running through The Heights and people lining the street were saying, “Go Meredith” or “You can do it, Meredith”, I nearly lost it.

    I haven’t run in several years because my knees hurt so bad when I do, but I loved it. And I loved my running friends so much.

    This was a fun post! Thanks for sharing your experience and your pics!

  19. Pingback: There’s No F-A-I-R in Fair! « Snoodlings

  20. i once drove from dallas to austin to cheer on a marathoning friend.

    i was so very impressed by the runners…and also by my friend (terry) who calculated her running speed and the length of the race, so we got to see her four different times.

    if you ran a marathon, i would totally get pictures… fancy, feet-moving ones : )

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