This past Sunday the beau and I made the trip up to Burlington, Vermont to spectate one of my favorite races: the Keybank Vermont City Marathon! This marathon is near and dear to me because as you may remember, this was the marathon that I attempted two years ago. This was also the marathon that my partner in crime PR’d at last year. Being my fourth year in town for this race and not knowing a single person running it, I knew I wanted to give back. So, I decided to give out free hugs. At mile 25.
Let me tell you something about mile 25 of a marathon: it is sweaty! Thankfully I had a long-sleeved shirt with me (I hadn’t thought of this factor before leaving that morning) and a go-get-em attitude. Within seconds of me flashing that sign, I had a young man come running up to me with the biggest smile on his face! Okay, I thought, this is going to be a fun day.
Some people gave me a hug without stopping- which most of the time resulted in an awkward exchange and sometimes a little sweat on my face. Grooooooss. But I just wiped it off and moved on with my cheering. Some people didn’t want to stop so they gave me air-hugs. “RIGHT BACK ATCHUUUU!” I would say in return. Some people gave me high-fives, some told me they’d be back to hug me once they’d finish, and others said they were afraid to stop because they wouldn’t be able to start running again. Completely understandable.
But some people, my favorites of the day, gave me a real hug. And I gave them a real hug in return. I would quietly say encouraging thoughts to them as they paused for positive energy before they took off and I’d never see them again. Those hugs were sweaty exchanges but let me tell you, they were so worth it. I remember after hugging one woman, I looked down at her bib and saw her name. I don’t recall it now but I can still see her face, ready to burst into tears. As she took off, I called her name and told her that she was going to finish and that I couldn’t wait to hear her cross the finish line. I listened all afternoon to the cheering that was happening just 1.2 miles down the bike path.
If you’ve never participated or spectated a race, even better a marathon, I highly suggest it. You can feel the energy in the air; it really is contagious. Not going to lie, the last two weeks have been tough for me running-wise. I’ve lost a lot of interest in running for multiple reasons- my schedule, the heat and because I’ve begun spinning now at least twice a week before work. I love love love spinning but I don’t love the idea (yet) of working out six days a week. It seems a little daunting. This race put my goals into perspective and I’m ready to jump back aboard; slowly but surely.