5 Reasons Spectating is an Awesome Sport

Linking up today with the DC Trifecta ladies Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for this week’s Friday Five. Thanks for hosting!!

I’ve been doing a lot of this lately, spectating, and I have been having a blast!

Before I begin, last Saturday I was the official spectator for my blogging buddy, Hailey@StridingStrong  at a local 5k. She’s pure awesomeness.

I hadn’t met Hailey “in real life” but we’ve chatted quite a few times in the past year trying our best to get together. We live in the same freaking city! But, we kept missing each other. Until last weekend.

She told me she’d signed for this 5k. This was big news as Hailey doesn’t race often–not like someone else I know (Oh Helly…).  I shockingly hadn’t signed up and figured this would be the perfect chance for me to meet her and see her run!!

I’ll be using her race to explain:

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1.) A different point of view

This girl. Amazing.

She’s tiny, soft-spoken, (gorgeous), and just the sweetest person ever. BUT, holy wowzers can this girl run!!! Hailey is probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met yet there is a fierce strength about her. The Hailey I spoke with pre-race and the Hailey that toed the start line were two different girls. I was able to snap pictures of her before and after that caught this transformation.

Don't let the beautiful smile fool you--that girl is fierce!

Don’t let the beautiful smile fool you–that girl is fierce!

A beast.

Beastmode.

Seriously one of the reasons I love spectating…

Like I mentioned, not participating in the race let me see it and the runners in a different light. These weren’t people I was running against, these were people I was admiring, studying, revering.

I spoke with Hailey pre-race and she said she was nervous. I definitely get the pre-race jitters too but seeing her, someone who does what she does very, very well, nervous reminded me that fast people are human too. Just because they’re good at what they do doesn’t mean they don’t experience anxiety.

Since I wasn’t getting ready to start a race, I was really able to see the different emotions on the runners as they began the race. From the ones who were at the very front, fierce and determined, to the ones starting from the back, at ease and jovial–it was really cool to watch.

2.) Part of the crowd

I got to meet Hailey’s family–her brother drove an hour to see her run and her mom had been at the same race the year before. I liked that because I wasn’t participating, I was able to see the support group, the people who motivate Hailey.

Same thing with the rest of the crowd. I knew I didn’t have much time to mingle. Hailey would be back under 20 for sure. But I chatted with some of the race volunteers, other spectators who were watching their sisters, moms, co-workers. I would likely never see these people again, but for that morning, we had something in common.

3.) No pressure

There was no goal time for me except making sure I was at the finish to see Hailey cross. The thing about spectating that is probably the most enjoyable (for me anyway) is that there is no pressure looming. I’m simply there to support. Of course, if the race doesn’t go well for whomever it is your supporting, there’s slight pressure in making sure they’re okay, that you do the best you can to comfort. But there is no feeling of frustration in not having met a goal.

Hailey crossed the finish line in 17:55, meeting her goal of sub 18 and 5 seconds away from her 5k PR she’d set in college. First female overall.

Like a boss.

Like a boss.

She said it was progress. (Love that girl.)

4.) The Signs!!

had to make Hailey a sign. I mean, I just had to. And the English teacher in me had to take advantage of Hailey’s name. Students, what is my sign an example of?

Alliteration! :D

Alliteration! 😀 (It even says: Love, Helly for good measure!)

Every time I run a race, one of my favorite things to do is read the signs of the spectators. They’re so many good ones!! I don’t know about you, but I’m always thankful of those who take the time to make them. They help out more than I think spectators know.

5.) Free

Free fun. Free inspiration. Free motivation. Free learning. Free experience.

So much you take away–all for free.

The first runner over all crossing at 15:35

The first runner over all crossing at 15:35

I hope you all have a good weekend! ❤ , helly

–Do you enjoy spectating races? What’s your favorite thing?

–What do you notice/enjoy about spectators while you’re running?

Flying Pig Half Marathon: The Race

He almost beat me.

No joke.

My brother had trained for this race like a man on a mission so it was expected he’d finish and finish having met his goal, 2:30. But boy, he blew it, and us, away.

I recounted his weight loss journey here, and having lost 60 pounds leading up to race day really gave my brother newfound confidence. He could really see what he and his body were capable of doing.

I was excited to see him in person. He’d sent me numerous pictures but I wanted to see for myself what this new man looked like.

He was there at the airport with my sister waiting for me with a huge smile and as soon as I was close enough, gave me a giant bear hug that was much less bear than before 🙂

They were both hanging out with Flying Pig Volunteers who were welcoming travelers and we of course had to take picture:

The Welcoming Crew (these volunteers were great!)

The Welcoming Crew (these volunteers were great!)

My sister and I did not plan the twinsie half marathon shirts :)

My sister and I did not plan the twinsie half marathon shirts 🙂

I had flown into Cincinnati on Friday and that was planned as we figured we’d go to the Expo from there.

We walked around and really took our time–this was my brother’s first Expo after all 🙂 and took a few pictures after picking up our swag (which by the way, was pretty impressive!).

Three little piggies

Three little piggies

We drove back to Dayton, where my brother and sister live, and enjoyed the rest of our Friday and Saturday making sure we called it an early night.

Race morning, Sunday, we awoke bright and early as we had to drive back to Cincy. My brother-in-law was also running this race (and my sister was supposed to too, but she suffered an injury a few weeks prior 😦 )

The plan was for us to all start in the same corral and then do our thing. I loved this idea as I got to hang out with my brother pre-race and see him start. We chatted and talked a little about the race. My brother in law and sister gave us course details as they’d run the race several times before. My brother then announced that he felt he could beat his goal and really had a secret goal, a Goal A–2:20. He’s officially a runner now lol!

Corral Selfie!!

Corral Selfie!!

We heard the national anthem be played signifying the start of the race and we began moving closer and closer to the start. My brother was getting into race mode, getting his music set up and plugging in his ear phones.

This was really happening.

I was just kinda laying low, watching him, super emotional to see him do this. Really do this.

And as we approached the start line, I called his name to wish him luck….

All the emotions. All.

All the emotions. All.

…and I lost it. I started crying and I hugged him. We parted ways as soon as we crossed because I knew there was no way I’d keep it together.

I knew this was going to be a tough race (for me) because of the hills.

Whoa!

Whoa!

It was a crowded race too and the first few miles were spent navigating through people. I knew the hills would start soon after mile 5 and yup, they were as hard as I imagined them. I did my best to fight my way through them but my pace slowed considerably. I registered an 11:20something on one mile.

But I was having a blast. There was so much to see. So much crowd support. And even though the splits weren’t showing it, this was the fastest race in that it all seemed to happened so quickly. Before I knew it, I was at mile 10 going dooooown hill. It was a great final 3.1 and my splits showed it at 8:52, 8:50, and 8:40.

I crossed the finish line at 2:08:19 (9:48/mile) with my goal having been 2:05. I was pleased nonetheless because I had given it all I had on those hills and had really enjoyed myself the entire race.

I was collecting myself as I grabbed my medal when I heard my phone ring. I don’t ever run with my phone but did for this race as we would be using it as a way to meet up post race.

It was my brother telling me he was done!

But, but, but, I had just finished!

I quickly looked around as I was still in the finisher’s corral and sure enough, there he was! I ran to him and said, “Are you freaking kidding me?!!? You were right behind me!!!”

He had the. hugest. smile. Out of breath, he said, “Those hills had nothing on me!”

Official time: 2:10:36

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He was two minutes behind me! TWO! And look at that average pace!!!!!

I was in complete disbelief. I seriously cannot explain what I felt when I saw him and when I saw the time he had finished. I just couldn’t believe it. He knocked it out of the ballpark!

We took a post race pic as we moved out of the finisher’s corral:

Post Race Pic

But I wish I could have bought ALL the pics of him running during the race. He has a huge smile on all of them and there’s one where he’s next to this girl who is walking up a hill, and he’s charging up it with a look of fierce intensity. It’s freaking awesome.

There’s one of him giving the camera man thumbs up like the race ain’t no thing 🙂

And there’s another of him crossing the finish line with arms triumphantly in the air–you can hear his roar as he crosses.

He has so many good ones but there’s one of him and I juust when he finished–he’s still out of breath, I have a shocked look on my face, and we are both smiling like goofballs. I love it so much.

I think need it.

Before we headed back to the car, I made sure to take a solo pic of him:

My brother, the runner <3

My brother, the runner.

And the car ride home was him telling us his race story–how good he felt the entire way. How he started off with a steady pace the first 5 miles and then picked it up when the hills started, making sure he had enough energy to finish strong. He totally knew what he was doing.

All I could really say to him was, “You’re a natural.”

 

 

Run3rd 5k Recap

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a good weekend!

Okay, so it’d been a while since I’d ran a race (early February? I don’t count Phoenix since I didn’t finish) and I was looking forward to running this 5k until I got sick because that meant I couldn’t properly train. That changed my goals considerably and I went into this race with a “just finish” and “have fun” mindset. Luckily, both happened 😀

There were also quite a few things I was looking forward to with this race.

1.) It benefits local public school promoting health and fitness for kids and encourages people to run for others. This was a huge appeal for me as I’m a public school teacher and am all about the kids ❤ and I’m all about running for those who can’t.

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1st I run for me.
2nd I run for my family.
3rd I run for YOU.
–from the Run3rd website

2.) Sean Astin! I’m a huge Rudy fan (if you haven’t seen this movie, DO IT!! He’s also in Goonies and Lord of the Rings). He was instrumental in getting this race set up–it was an inaugural race–and he was seriously the most humble, sweetest guy. He helped promote the race months leading up to it showing that he was serious about what and who the race was benefitting. Race day, he was everywhere. You saw him giving the kids a pep talk, talking to the people working booths, and posing for pictures with runners. I never saw or heard him say anything negative and he was in high spirits the entire time.

Pep talk!

Pep talk!

Pre-race pic! :)

Pre-race pic! 🙂

3.) Run Eat Tweet AZ –I’ve mentioned this local running group I’m a part of (they hooked me up with this race entry 🙂 ) and I absolutely love hanging out with them. In fact, I wish I could meet up with them on more events they host but between work and kids, it’s tough. When I am able to though, it’s always a guarantee blast.

Jeremy aka: King of Selfies aka: Confessions of an Amateur Athlete

Jeremy @Confessions of an Amateur Athlete (aka: King of Selfies)

#RunEatTweetAZ

@RunEatTweetAZ (Follow on twitter!)

Okay, on to the race.

My biggest struggle with shorter distance races is starting out too fast and yep, I did it again. The first mile chimed 8:09 and at the time, that felt good. I didn’t even think it was too fast. At the time.

At the start--all smiles :)

At the start–all smiles 🙂

Then my legs started to feel heavy and things were not looking good. I felt myself slow down and I saw 8:37 when I crossed the mile 2 marker. Not too bad but I knew I was struggling. My legs felt heavier and heavier with each step and I kept telling myself I had less than a mile left, finish strong. But really, I was done. Mile 3, 9:20.

The course was flat, mostly on pavement with the start and finish on a high school’s track. When I got to the track at the finish, I picked up pace to attempt whatever kick I might have, and crossed the finish line.

The face. The struggle.

I encourage you to click on this pic for a close up of my face.

The goal was sub 27 and when I looked at my watch, my first thought was “Noooo!!!!” but then I prayed the chip time gods would gift me a few seconds

and they did!

and they did!

When I saw my time on the screen, I was even more shocked to see that I had placed 3rd in my age group!! A huge shocker since I had not felt like I’d done well at all. Several of my friends had also placed so we all waited together for the award ceremony to start.

It took a while for the awards to start–a little over an hour. We were getting a little antsy but then they began. They started with the male awards and gave out all of them before beginning the female awards. I thought this was strange because usually races do male/female age groups.

Anyway, when they announced the 30-34 age group, I started walking up towards the stage until I HEARD ANOTHER NAME CALLED. Yep, someone else had place 3rd!!! I was so confused (and mortified to be honest) as I had seen my name clear as day on the time screen. My husband had seen it, my friends had seen it. We had even taken a glance at it as the male awards were called.

But when we walked back to check after I wasn’t called, there was indeed another runner’s name where mine had been earlier.

It was then that my husband remembered.

About 20 minutes after the race started, a girl had ran towards the start line–clearly late–and began the race. No one had said anything to her –but people did see her–and my husband didn’t think much of it except that it was kinda sorta a lot not fair to start so late and not have to deal with crowds.

This SAME girl was the one who bumped me!!!

I was naturally upset, not so much because I didn’t get an award (like, not at all because of that really) but because I didn’t think it was fair for runners to start waaaay after everyone else. They get an entirely different playing field. Yes, it’s the same course, but there’s no weaving around people–the course is entirely clear. I would’ve been upset for anyone who lost a place because of this happening.

Oh well. In the end, it just means I need to get faster so that it doesn’t matter if someone starts later 😀

EDIT: The race director read my recap and took time out of her busy schedule to let me know what happened!! 🙂 Check it out here.

The race overall was suuuuper fun! It was very relaxed but I appreciated the organizers taking the race seriously (despite that little aforementioned mishap). There was a virtual race option. FREE race photos. Finishers got a t-shirt AND a medal–a rarity for a 5k–AND there were age group awards. AND there were raffles galore. Your entry earned you one ticket and you could put it towards a whole bunch of things being raffled. I put mine in the autographed Rudy poster and purchased extra to increase my odds. Sadly, I did not win anything 😦 But, one of my buddies did!! He won an autographed Rudy helmet!!! Call me jealous!! 🙂

This is definitely going on my calendar as a yearly race. The entire race–pre, during, and post–was so relaxed and just an overall good experience. A total WIN!!

#Run3rd5k

#Run3rd5k

–Have you ran a race someone famous was running?

–Who have you been able to snag a pic with?