By Princess Laural
As a runner, I’ve done a fair number of races, and I love when people come out to cheer me on. In fact, if you name a race, I can name the spectator, whether it was a friend or a complete stranger, that kept me going.
There are so many times when my cheer squad kept me going, whether it was a random person cheering for me not to give up in a local race, the Red Hat Society at the Tinkerbell Half-Marathon (pictured below) or my amazing friends and family who got me through my first marathon. I love the signs, I love the cowbells, I love the cheering. And as a middle of the pack runner, I love the people who spectate and spectate well.
This weekend was my weekend of spectating. And it was SO GOOD for my soul.
On Saturday, I went to my daughter’s cheer competition. This whole cheer thing is new to my family, and we are so incredibly lucky to be on a team with 9 other amazing families. This group of girls (ages 6-9) get along like they’ve known each other for ages. For my daughter, it’s been a tough year. She’s new to anything gymnastic, and new to competitions.
As a mom, it’s such a proud moment to see your child work really hard for something, and do a great job. Her whole team is new to this, and they all supported each other. They didn’t win, but they were all so proud of what they did. Once she was done, we decided to stick it out for several more hours to cheer on every single team from her cheer gym. We cheered for our girls, we cheered for the university teams. I cried when the special needs girls came out and did awesome. It was so much fun.
While I was there, I got an email from my running team reminding me of a local half marathon that same weekend. I hadn’t signed up for it, mostly because I HATE winter running (okay, 100% because I hate winter running). But, I decided to go spectate. A half-marathon in sub-zero temperatures sucks, but I had no problems waiting in a heated car, and cheering with a hot coffee in hand!
You know what? Going out there reminded me of why I wanted to run in the first place. I cheered for the super fast people. I lost my mind when my coach ran past, and I actually saw him crack a smile – he’s a pretty serious runner. And then the slower people came by, the ones grimacing because it’s tough. The ones who are working their butts off and see the 11K marker and think, “holy crap, I still have another 10K left”. Those are my people. And I was so proud of them. So there I was, dressed in a purple sparkle skirt and my parka, screaming my head off and ringing my cowbell like nobody’s business. I got several high fives. I had a couple of “this is really hard” comments. I got a lot of smiles, and a couple of people who were close to tears.
And it was wonderful.
Sometimes I forget why I’m running. I hate this snow, and cold. I’m hoping March warms up. But this weekend was about cheering, and being proud of everyone who’s out there working their butts off like I am. And when I do my next race, I know I’ll be looking for that random stranger to cheer me on too!