Saturday, May 04, 2013
My city had a half marathon today. And no, I didn't run in it. But a good friend did, so my daughter and I went to see her and cheer her on. The marathon course took her about 1.5 miles from my house, so when we got up we packed a breakfast, got dressed, and quickly started our walk!
I had been to cheer on folk at a marathon before. My dad runs, and I cheered him on for a full marathon a few years ago. This was a completely different experience. It might have been because it was so early in the morning, and we were walking to the 3 mile marker, but there was so much excitement in the air. We got there before any of the runners made it there, and we joined a random looking group of spectators. There were lots of other little kids in strollers, and some people had dogs with them. It was generally a festive atmosphere.
And then the runners came. This was the biggest difference between today and the last marathon I saw. At the 3 mile point, runners are still pretty tightly packed. I waited at the 18 mile point for my dad, and by then, it was more of a trickle of runners than a constant stream of people. There were a few runners that were packed at the beginning, then somewhat of a break. And then it was like a faucet turned on. Person after person running down the road. I was struck by how different they all were. Some wore tutus (much to my daughter's excitement). Some wore more standard running gear. Some were young (I think I saw an 8-10 year old), and some were senior citizens. And they all ran very very differently. But they all ran. It was just amazing to see.
My daughter loved it too. She was excited by all the people. She tried to cheer and clap along with me. Many of the runners smiled at her, and there is nothing more exciting for a toddler than 14 thousand people paying attention to her. I talked to her about how impressive it is to watch the runners, and I can only hope some day she is able to run if she wants to too.
Overall, I think it was good for both of us. I could always use a little inspiration to be more diligent about working out. It also gave me a chance to show my daughter that she's not the only one that has to struggle to achieve things. I often think I see sadness in her face when she can't do what other kids do. She's old enough now that she can watch her friends climb up the slide, and realize she just can't do it. But it's not about comparing what you do to what everyone else can do. It's about pushing your own limits, trying to better yourself. We saw people of all fitness levels pushing themselves, struggling, working hard. And the next time my daughter has to struggle to pull her body up on a chair, or has to stand back up after falling down, I hope she can remember watching the runners. And remember everyone has to struggle to improve.