Yesterday I watched my friend Todd complete his first triathlon. He raced in an Olympic distance tri called the San Diego Triathlon Classic. This race was held in Liberty Station right near my church where my running group meets. I planned on doing my long run with my running group while Todd was out biking and running. The timing worked out perfectly! I wanted to get to the race at the start so I could watch the swim portion. I've been thinking about doing a tri for a few weeks now and the open water swim is the biggest deterrent for me. I was hoping that watching a race and seeing everyone calmly enter the water would help me get over my own fears of the open water.
Unfortunately, I turned off my alarm at some point in the morning and overslept. By the time I had my breakfast and got down to the race, Todd had already taken off on his bike. If I wasn't doing a long run of my own I would have headed straight down there, but I needed to make sure I had a decent breakfast to fuel me for my own my run that morning. When I got down to the race I hung out with Todd's wife Christine and their friends for a bit (set-up as serious tailgaters for the event) before heading off to crank out eight miles.
Todd Heads on a Stick Display
Chasing Down Todd
I had timed my run to finish about 15 minutes before Todd was supposed to start his run. He was ahead of his anticipated time though and was finishing his first 3.1 mile lap as I came up to the course. I saw him running through the chute going into his second lap and chased him down the sidewalk to cheer him on and give him encouragement. Of course, I'm sure I just looked like a crazy person in running gear running after a racer shouting out his name. :oP Todd saw me and waved back, and after watching him disappear around the bend I ran back to the finish area to find his cheering crew.
Domo says "GO TODD GO!"
Christine had my double-sided sign with her and her friends had made an awesome assortment of Todd heads on a stick. You might recognize the "head on a stick" idea from when I cheered on my friend Christina during her first full marathon.
Christine and the Many Face of Todd
A Surprising Tear Jerker
The night before, I saw on facebook that one of my Rock Running friends Carol would be keeping her friend company during the running leg of the triathlon. I had my eye out for her at the race but didn't really think I'd see her in the huge crowd. But guess what - I did! I saw her and her friend running towards the finish line and right as they passed me Carol gave her friend some last words of encouragement. I can't remember exactly what she said to her, but as soon as I saw this my eyes were instantly filled with tears. Why am I so emotional when it comes to racing?! Seeing the two friends running side by side and knowing how much it must have meant to each of them to be able to do this run together really touched my heart. Luckily, I managed to quickly regain my composure and went back to focusing on the search for Todd in the stream of approaching runners. I'm such a sap!!
Strong to the Finish
After waiting near the finish line for about 15 minutes, we finally saw Todd approaching in his "orange blur" outfit. I held my big sign up over my head and rang my cowbell madly. Christine and friends were armed with Todd heads on a stick which they also pumped into the air madly while cheering him on. He sped up at the very end, entered the finish chutes in a blur, and then he was done! He ended up finishing in 3:05, 10 minutes better than he had predicted!
The Proud, Happy, and Accomplished Couple!
A Professional Spectator
I really enjoyed watching this triathlon and coming armed with signs made it a lot more fun. (Or, it made me look a lot dorkier. Oh well.) You might recognize my work from some of my earlier posts about events. My race sign artwork debut was seen in Washington DC at the Marine Corps Marathon. (For more on that race, check out my blog,) Since I was running this race with David I had to give my signs to his family to use on the course. The signs were a great hit and I'd like to think they helped David finish the race stronger and with a smile.
My Signs for David
David's parents surprised me with their own signs as well at that race, and they were able to give me a huge smile and lift at several points on the course.
David's Parents' Signs for Me
My second exhibition of race signage was seen at the Give Your Heart to Monarch 5K which was the season end race for Girls on the Run. I was a bit rushed that morning and the sign didn't turn out as well as I wanted, but it was still fun to have something extra on hand to cheer the girls on during their race.
Carmel Valley GOTR ROCKS
My next race sign exhibition really raised the bar. For my friend Christina's first full marathon I assembled a team of friends to cheer her on, and armed everyone in the group with a sign or a "head on a stick".
Is reading all of this making you want to sign up for a race and invite me to watch? If you do a race and I'm able to come, I'll make you a sign for sure! As everyone knows I love running and racing and the community and spirit that it brings to people. Race signs for others have made me smile along many other courses, and I hope that my signs have done the same.
My Artwork - Great, I know! ;o)