But what about ME?
After all, I had to wake four kids up long before they were ready, put breakfast in baggies, remember our own water bottles, debate about whether or not I needed a stroller for The Boy (I decided it was time to test his ability to keep up), break out the bag of hats and mittens (it was much more chilly than I expected), remember the camera, remember the maps and logistical cheat sheets, and the sign to cheer our runners.
Yes, plural, because after my husband finished the 10 mile we would carry on and cheer for my brother-in-law who was running the marathon. I had coordinated with my sister-in-law about where to be and when and she aptly referred to her participation in the marathon as "The Amazing Race."
We took off for St. Paul and I only forgot two non-essential items: my breakfast and my sunglasses. As we had left in the dark, I didn't miss my sunglasses, but I did once I was driving straight east into the rising sun.
I was only half crazed by then, feeling relief that we were on our way and so long as parking was not a nightmare we would get to the finish in time.
"Mom," one of my daughters said from the back seat. "Once we get there you should get a coffee."
Yup. She noticed.
We parked without issue, then--and I had not factored this into the schedule--two kids required stops at the port-a-johns. Now we were cutting it close. We arrived at the finish line at my husband's "best case scenario" finish time. At this point, I'd call my search for him "distracted" at best. But I figured, he was more likely to come in at the average of his range, right? That's when we began looking in earnest. The camera was out. I was standing on the bleachers. The boy was on his tallest sister's back and they were lined against the fencing looking for their daddy.
And we waited.
And we waited.
I heard another mother tell her young son, "I think we missed daddy."
I looked at her commiserating. "I think we did, too. That or he's having a really bad race."
I did not want to have missed him, but I did not want him to have had a bad race either.
Now we had to find him.
I realized two very important details we did not communicate pre-race, which every spectator need know about their runner. Learn from my mistake. Find out:
- What your runner will be wearing.
- Where to meet at the end of the race.
We found him with the help of our cell phones. Turns out, he did better than he expected. That was a good reason to miss him. I'm second guessing that potty stop...
The day was just beginning. We rushed to the 15 mile mark (after getting mommy coffee). We parked and made our way across the Ford Parkway bridge with plenty of time to cheer on Uncle Ron, who finished with a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. Go Uncle Ron!
Back across the bridge to get to mile 23. By now I had already given The Boy a piggy back ride, and was making deals with him to walk. I was questioning my decision to skip the stroller. To be fair, we covered 3.5 miles that morning (data by Fitbit).
I tried to distract him from his tired legs with the beautiful scenery, much like the marathoners do. Twin Cities Marathon is a sight to behold. See what I mean?
Turns out The Boy was more interested in turning the clapping sticks into swords and dueling with his sister. Or climbing light posts. Or slapping the hands of runners. He yelled his loudest: "Go Hotdog! Go Cotton candy!" Those were his favorite cheers. He also was overheard screaming, "Go Kevin!" As far as I know, he doesn't know anyone named Kevin (just a train). But runners like some noise, and he delivered.
It was a beautiful day and we were spared from the forecasted rain (which would have put a whole new slant on this post). We all had a lot of fun, but my kids know by now to wear their own running shoes because race spectating is not for the faint of physique. It only sounds like you'll be standing still, clapping and cheering. Wrong. If you do it right, you will be moving. Think hard about whether or not to bring that stroller.