I have run a marathon the last three years, but I have not been a spectator at one since the 2005 Boston Marathon. That year, my friend Katie served a delicious brunch before we headed into Boylston, we hung out at Lir all day not really watching the marathon, and then the day ended with a trip to Ben and Jerry’s. Those were good times.
Needless to say, I have fond memories of watching a runner tackle the distance. We BC students never missed Marathon Monday, and true to form, headed out each one to cheer on the runners. It was exiting to see the elites roar by us, inspiring to see the Hoyts and amazing to watch the ordinary person be so close to their goal.
Running Boston the last few years has certainly put a kink into my love of spectating. When Courtney shared that she was going to head to Providence to watch Liz run her first marathon, I invited myself. I have been following Liz’s training on her blog and knew how awesome it would be to watch her complete her first marathon. I also am so pushy that I volunteered to run with her if she needed me to. Can you tell that I am the oldest child?
Courtney and I escaped “Don’t Drink the Water” Boston early Sunday morning and headed to Providence. We did not make the start, but the race course is open to traffic so we were able to find Liz rather easily. We saw her first at about Mile 5/6ish and headed up to mile 8 where we set up cheering section number one. Immediately, I noticed how hot it was…. and humid. Yikes, a rough day to run a marathon!
Here is Court- isn’t she so cute?
We saw a few of my L St friends pass us and then Liz came along! We were loud and crazy and very excited. I am sure that other people thought we were annoying, but who cares! It was our friend’s first marathon. Court and I then hopped in the car, and I managed to take a few pictures along the route. I was psyched to see Liz smiling at this point.
I also saw my L St Friend Rahsaan. He always look like a gazelle running.
I wish I could emulate his stride.
And yes, he is smiling as well!
Court and I then went to the park that is right past mile 10 and rejoins the main road at about mile 19. I drank coffee, and we chatted about who knows what, waiting for the runners
And they came! Here is the first overall….
And the first female
Court and I then proceeded to tell every female what place she was in for the next ten runners. We are all about Girl Power! Yes, please let us emulate the Spice Girls.
Some more of my L St friends came through….
Joe, on his way to both a PR and BQ
Jess and Kerry
We then saw Liz come along and cheered her through. Court dropped me off at a little after mile 19, and Liz kindly let me join her on the route. I had the privilege of running with her for the rest of the race.
For Liz, the last few miles of the marathon were hard. She already had a solid 20 miles under her belt. I was there just two weeks earlier, and the memory of how it felt was very fresh. It was such a different experience to be joining the marathon at the end when I had fresh legs. Liz’s brother Mike also ran with us and her husband Dave rode a bike while we ran. All Star team! Fun for us as it was very social, but poor Liz having to deal with all our chatter.
The Providence Marathon runs along a bike path for a chunk of the race, and I was fortunate that the leg that I ran with Liz was on it. I NEVER knew that Providence had such a beautiful bike path. I really enjoyed running along it. Secretly, I was also thinking that I did not have to run when I got home. Liz was great; she was a real trooper. She knew her goal was in sight, and she was not going to give it up. I felt such a sense of community while running her. Each one of us really wanted her to break her goal of 4:30. Based on where she was at, even with some walk breaks, she could do this. Our job was to get her to the finish line.
Guess what! And this is gun time, not chip time!
Yes, she did!
Lots of lessons learned from the day about friendship, running and persistence….. It deserves an entire other blogpost. Thank you, Liz, for allowing me to be a part of your first marathon!