|The neighborhood of University Heights |
went all out, with some great signs
posted along the half-marathon route.
Having run marathons through many other U.S. cities, neighborhood streets lined with families bundled up at the ends of their driveways in the early morning clutching coffee cups and cheering for strangers, I don't think that San Diegans turn out on race morning to support the event the way they should. Running and road racing are so much a part of the culture here that maybe Rock 'n' Roll Sunday just no longer feels like a big deal to anyone anymore. Most people simply hole up to avoid the traffic delays, and wait for it to be over. But I enjoy being out there, seeing the runners taking in the scenery and experiencing our neighborhoods. I hope that me and my signs and my trusty cowbell have made at least a few people smile and pick up their pace a little through the years. And what I enjoy even more is being around town in the hours and days that follow, seeing all of the too-red faces and too-slow gaits, the telltale signs of tired but (hopefully) triumphant marathon warriors. It's fun to watch people strain to get up from their chairs at dinner, to see their knees wobble as they struggle to make it down stairs and step off of the curbs. I know this delicious agony, and it gets me excited to feel it again for myself.
|I really loved the race t-shirt design|
this year. Sort of wish I had one.
One of the unsung joys of running is spotting someone in a t-shirt from a race that you ran, too. (The further away and longer ago it was, the better. There's nothing more cool than having another runner sidle up with a "Hey, I ran Chicago in '05, too!") I know there are plenty of distance runners who don't care to race, but I think there's power and beauty in seeing oneself in others, and that the experience of racing together is just another way that runners connect. With the other participants, with the cities where they run, and with the experience of being a runner. There are hundreds or thousands (or tens of thousands) of people out there who huddled in trash bags during that cold and rainy start with you, who conquered that same monster hill, who celebrated in that same beer garden. You might not have known them, but they were with you. Ups and downs, highs and lows: we're all in this together.