Watching races

Those of you in and around the Big Easy probably know that the Rock n Roll New Orleans Marathon is this weekend.  If you’ve talked to me recently you know that I am SUPER EXCITED about it.  Not because I’m trying to PR, not because I want to check off another race from that resolution list I made; I’m not running it. 

What I’m excited about is spectating!  (Well, volunteering first THEN spectating)

Racing is simultaneously one of the most incredible and one of the most miserable things in the whole world.  You know you won’t be happy unless you push as hard as possible, yet the constant checking on pace, and reminding your legs to move faster or slower followed by the all-out ending and tapping into that primal energy to finish out the last part with everything you’ve got left is tough.  You must be focused on the task at hand through the entire race, for even one mile of zoning out can cost you your goal time.  Yet at the end it is incredible.  All the work you put in, the months of wearing yourself out, skipping social gatherings to rest up and rise at 4AM for a long run while the rest of the city is still sleeping or still out from the night before; it’s all worth it.  You worked your ass off.  You did something incredible.  You’re a total badass. (NOTE: it is entirely possible to run a race for fun rather than to race, but I simply don’t have the $$ to spend on these things unless I approach it seriously, trying to do my best)

The sacrifice involved in training for a marathon or half is what makes watching them one of my favorite things.  As the competitors run by, I think of how hard they must have worked to get here, how proud they must be that they’re doing it, and how incredible they will feel when it’s over – and I cry.  It happens every time, I am helpless to stop it.  I stand there, sometimes alone, and feel the sting of tears coming to my eyes.  Then I can’t help but laugh at myself, making me the crazy loner laughing and crying simultaneously.  But hey, it’s the highs and lows that make life interesting, right??

I expect tomorrow to be an even more extreme version of spectator Lauren than normal, since two of the guys that I personally sweat it out with on a weekly basis with are shooting for some very big goals.  One of the guys is running his very first marathon, and the other is on a mission to qualify for Boston.  I know how important this race is to these guys, and I’ve seen them work so hard for it.  I have been with them through the pain, fought headwinds and early mornings and rainy nights.  You can bet I’ll be screaming at the top of my lungs, ready to jump in for a couple miles if the moral support is needed, and fighting back tears at the finish.

To everyone else running tomorrow (SPECIAL shoutout to Alysse!!) GOOD LUCK!  Whether you’re running for a PR or just for fun, put your heart into what you do and have an awesome day.  Then come find me for a hug =)

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