Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Weekend Report: Race-Crewing

Sunday morning I was up at the crack of dawn, lacing up my running shoes and sporting my sweet new Capital Area Runners t-shirt. 
No, I was not racing, I was race "crewing.". (I just can't show up at a running event not wearing running clothes!)

Five of my friends ran in the
Capitol Hill Classic 10k, and I was along for the ride. 
Everyone needs a race crew (mine is usually LLC). Someone to hold your cell phone and change of clothes, someone to cheer you on, someone to celebrate with you at the end (or pick up the pieces if things fall apart). And I really love being that person. It's the whole race experience minus the uncomfortable racing part (because let's be real, when done properly, racing is not fun in any normal sense).

And I have extensive experience race-crewing/spectating/
cheering. Over 20 years of it in fact. As you may know, my parents have always been quite the runners. Growing up, I thought nothing of spending every weekend in the fall at cross country races in Golden Gate Park, every weekend in the spring at track meets, and weekends in the summer and winter at random road races. On the off-weekends, my parents took turns doing their long runs while my sisters and I played and fished in the lakes on Mt. Tam.

And of course all these activities were followed by brunch with running friends.

Here's how I remember it (Flashback, begin):
Early Sunday mornings we drove to Golden Gate Park, arriving long before most of the competitors, just us and the set-up volunteers. Sister1 and I played in the cold wet grass (thank you SF fog) and ate free Powerbars while one of my dad's high school students watched over us. 

After what seemed like ages, the races would start. Depending on who was racing, my mom might point out my dad on the starting line, or vice versa (and yes, my parents were fast enough to line up at the front of the pack, on the starting line).

The gun goes off, and to a toddler/pre-schooler, it's just a sea of brightly colored shorts, singlets, and toned running legs. We cheered for whomever we were told to cheer for ("yay runners!"), our voices lost in chaos of a large race start. 

After that was the fun part: our designated babysitter might take us to the stables to see the horses, or to the pond to see the model boats, or to the buffalo field to see the buffalos (true . I don't remember ever watching the finish of a must have happened, but apparently it didn't make much of an impression.
Then back to the race, where we got to help pull up the flags that marked the course after all the day's events had finished. We waited as my dad's trainees about their races for what seemed like forever

And then off to brunch, where I could eat breakfast potatoes and ketchup. Just a normal Sunday. 

Flashback finished, back to the present.

So, like I said, I know what spectating is all about. I've learned from the pros (aka my dad) how to cheer to the max. I am unapologetically
loud. Go! Go! Drop your arms and relax! Run strong! You look awesome! When written, these gems of encouragement sound silly...but they're not, trust me.

It was 6x6's first 10k. She did awesome! The girl threw up mid-race, and still finished just one minute slower than her goal-time. I don't know if I could do that. I'm pretty sure the day I throw up mid-race is the day I hang up my racing flats forever. (Ha, obviously that's a lie. But I would probably be upset for a bit...)

AND one of my teammates won the race! So that's sufficiently fantastic. (Her after the race:
You cheered so loud! Me: I know, I know. You're welcome.)

After the race, the 6 of us celebrated with brunch at
Matchbox on 8th street (awful service, good food. The waitress felt the need to explain half-and-half to me...weird...just give me some coffee). Then we meandered around Eastern Market for a bit before I split off and walked home.