After finishing the Indianapolis 500 1/2 marathon earlier in the day we arrived in Cincinnati around 4 after stopping to eat. We headed over to the Expo to look at all the gear being offered.
With the time crunch getting to Indianapolis we didn’t have time to browse that expo, but we spent plenty of time at the Cincy one. I bought a bag, a running top, and shorts. I also bought a cowbell, even though T brought 3 of them with her. There is nothing more satisfying than shaking your own cowbell. (Note: just don’t do it for 4 hours straight!)Once we got back to the hotel we hooked up with quite a few of the MiTers and had dinner in the hotel restaurant. Around 8pm I headed to bed. I was beat!
The plan was to meet at 5:45am in the lobby to head to the starting line together. You could feel the charged atmosphere in the hotel lobby when we walked out of the elevator. So many people ready to run the race they had been training for. After some busy chatting, we gathered together for group pictures and it was time to head out.
We got to the starting line shortly after 6. K had planned to run the first 5 miles with one of the MiTers who was running the half. A, who had never run further than 4 miles decided to join them and both headed to the corral. Over the loudspeakers they announced that the race was being postponed by 15 minutes because of a fire that happened over night on the route, and the road needed to be cleaned. Eventually they made the decision to reroute the course regardless if cleanup was done.
At 6:45am the runners were on their way. We headed to mile 5 to pick up A and K and cheer on everyone that passed by. About 1 hour later A and K made it to mile 5. The look on A’s face, priceless! We stayed in that spot for another half hour or so, cheering on runners and walkers alike shaking our cowbells and holding up signs that read “Run like a Kenyan” and “YOU are my hero”. The looks on the slower people’s faces, the appreciation they showed seeing us there cheering them on, the ‘thank yous’ WE got for being there, it almost beats being a runner and makes you want to be a spectator all the time.
We then headed to 1/2 marathon mile mark 12.5 to catch three of our MiT friends. Turns out we missed one, but cheered on the other two and again everyone else that went by. We stayed there for about an hour as well and then headed to mile 25.5 of the marathon.
The faces I saw, the determination, the heartbreaks, the “I am going to finish this no matter what” attitudes, the faint smiles on the runner’s faces acknowledging our cheering, were well worth the horse voice I got, not to mention the “cowbellnitis” I got in my wrist. (2 days later I am still not able to write, and typing is accompanied by many breaks, but the swelling is going down). We stood there for almost 2 hours cheering people on.
This was one of the best running weekends I have had in a long time. I am internally so charged and ready to train for the Columbus marathon in the fall. Watching the runners…I want to be that!
Combining the very serious conversation I had with myself during the 1/2 marathon on Saturday and watching the runners on Sunday, it was very inspiring. I am now equipped with the new found determination to make the fall marathon a full success and not just a half a$ed one!