SR: Pittsburgh Marathon 2010

SR? What is an SR? Any loyal blog readers know I usually write RRs (race reports) but this time, I was a spectathlete, so you get a spectathlete report!

Wait a minute Time out.

I’m a runner. I live in Pittsburgh. What the heck is a spectathlete and why didn’t I run the marathon?

Well, I haven’ t been entirely honest on this blog. Turns out in December while at Crossfit I did a power clean and busted a disc in my lower back. At first it was misdiagnosed and I thought it would be a quick recovery; I am so good at being so wrong. Then I was worried about losing sponsorships over an injury. The last few months have been pretty miserable: no running, only biking and swimming, and I’ve spent close to 150 hours rehabbing my back with many more in sight. There have been ER visits, words like “spinal fusion” thrown around, super strong meds, stretches of days where I was unable to sit, stand or walk, a lot of pain and a lot of doubt about whether I’d be able to go on the expedition this Fall. Thankfully, Ray never doubted me and sent me to his brother John, an Olympic strength and conditioning coach who, with the help of my PT and my doc, got me slowly back to running. When I say slowly I mean SLOWLY: I’ve only been running 2 weeks and I’m up to 35 minutes. I’ve got a long way to go, but this girl knows how to make a comeback. Watch out.

Because I couldn’t run, I at least wanted to support the other runners so I made some signs and dragged The Cyclist out of bed much too early for a Sunday. I was armed with a DSRL, he was armed with  coffee and we were ready to rock. I warned him that he might see a new side of me; a side that many people find very annoying. I’m loud and perky and I love marathons. He got a taste of it when I saw a tennis ball container filled with quarters and started running around his apartment, shaking it, proclaiming it would serve as a perfect noisemaker. He got another hint when I bounced out of bed and started dancing my marathon morning happy wiggle dance (the accompanying song goes “I love marathons! I love marathons!”). Still pretty sure he had no idea what he’d gotten himself into.

We taped the signs to a tree and started to clap. And cheer. And yell. And when I saw people I knew jump up and down. Spectating is hard work! 30 minutes into it The Cyclist proclaimed his hands hurt from clapping and I snapped around telling him to man up. Seriously. I’m horrified that I really said that. There’s a reason I’ve been single for a year. He took it in stride. Then it started to rain. I had an umbrella and I offered it to him and his friend but they allowed me to use it to shield my DSLR. Then it started to pour. I continued to cheer and clap and spaz out when 20 minutes later I turned around to two very wet, very unhappy looking men who were staring sadly at their hands that were red from clapping. I’m not a stony militant marathon specathlete, and this was around the time the last runner was coming through, so we decided to go to breakfast. 

I had fun cheering. I loved the runners who thanked us, largely because they reminded me of myself- I LOVE cheering for spectators when I race. I loved seeing all sorts of different people, shapes, sizes, ages, abilities, coming together to do something incredible. It cracked me up when people laughed at my signs and pointed them out to their friends. I’m thrilled to no end that The Cyclist stood in the rain with me for an hour. But I shouldn’t be surprised: last weekend we went for an early morning run with the dog in the cold and the rain (looks like he passed the run test, too). And I’m also glad he was out there this morning because it looks like in three weeks he’s coming to support me at the Columbia triathlon. It’s like today was a spectathlete training day only I hope he never becomes as spastic as I am; I’m pretty sure our relationship can only handle one of us.

Tyke is one of my new running partners. Total cutie, right?

Stay tuned for my next report, which will be about racing! A race report! Really! I can’t wait to get back out there, even if it means walking some of the 10K, which I might need to do since my core may not be strong enough to handle a full 10K. But then again, I’ve learned never to underestimate myself. Two weeks ago I couldn’t run and today I ran 35 minutes. Who knows where I’ll be in another 3 weeks: check back soon to find out!