Thursday, April 19, 2012

Things not to say to marathoners

It has been great to be home and this morning I am feeling pretty caught up on laundry, mail, work, and life in general.

I have been taking my recovery seriously as I can feel that my body is tired. Running in those conditions definitely took a lot out of me. My legs feel pretty good though. I am trying to find time during the day to rest more than usual, am eating good foods (besides one post-marathon meal, I don't really like to eat any differently after a marathon than I usually do), and am doing lots of stretching, using my "stick", etc. Josh gave my legs a great rub down last night too which was amazing.

I have been running every day but am keeping the mileage short and very slow paced. This morning I got to run with my friend/neighbor Jenny which was super fun, and I am hoping we'll be doing that more often. I have played around with different recovery strategies and for me, running slow and easy leaves me feeling better (and I recover faster) than taking time completely off.  This morning I could even feel a little zip coming back to my legs, although I won't be testing that out for a while yet.

Two links for you -

- For those that wanted to see the Runner's World article online, they just let me know that it is available online and sent me the link. It doesn't have all the pictures, but you can see the story here.

- For those that want to see me looking incredibly hot and tired, you can see my Boston race pictures here. I won't be spending the $85 to order them and Brightroom threatened to take "legal action against me" when I posted proofs on my blog after Disney so I won't be posting proofs on my blog anymore (even though Brightroom was NOT the photographer for Boston). So if you want to see my race pics, you can follow that link. Most of the pics are from late in the race (at least after mile 16) because I don't have my hand-held bottle anymore. The two where my  hands are up and I am smiling must be when I saw a friend or my Dad. :)

Now for a little fun. (And please note that I do write this with a smile on my face and all in good fun. As I said, the spectators in Boston were OVER THE TOP amazing and truly were lifesavers on Monday. I am forever grateful to the wonderful people who lined the course and supported us runners).

I was chatting with my Dad after the Boston Marathon and we decided that there are definitely some things that race spectators need to NOT say to marathoners. We also both agreed that many race spectators cheering on runners will  LIE TO YOU.

If you go to spectate a marathon, here are some things to never say to or yell at (even in the spirit of "cheering") to a marathoner.

- You are almost there! Unless the finish line is in sight and you are in the final mile, DO NOT tell a marathoner that they are "almost there". I had a guy yell that at me with over EIGHT miles to go.  When you have run 18 miles and have over 8 miles to go, you are not almost there. I had someone yell that at mile 23, and in that heat and with the way my body felt, three miles was still a looooooong way.  If you know me, you know I am probably the least violent person that God has ever put on this earth, but I really wanted to punch that guy. (The heat makes me cranky). :)

When I ran the Salt Lake City Marathon last year there was a guy with a sign at mile 2 that said, "You are so NOT almost there". At least he was being honest. And it was early enough on in the race that we all still had a sense of humor. :)

- It is all downhill from here! At the top of Heartbreak, everyone was yelling that it was "all downhill" now. They lied! Not even a mile later there was another (small) uphill and there were several more along the way. There were no more big uphills and it was mostly downhill, but it definitely wasn't ALL downhill. One lady running near me even yelled out in despair when we were approaching a small climb, "They said it was all downhill to the finish!" Josh worked an aid station once at a 25k trail race and was at the top of a four mile downhill stretch to the finish. Even though it was downhill it was one of the toughest stretches because everyone's legs were tired and the downhill was difficult. When he ran it the next year he hated himself for telling people it was "all downhill" the year before.

- Run faster! It's a race. It's a long race. You have to figure that most runners are out there giving it their all, and running as fast as they can/should. It's not like we are going to say, "Oh!! I should run faster? Ok! I hadn't thought of that." :)  I especially loved the guy who was yelling this while sitting in a chair, drinking a cold beer.

My favorite cheers were the ones that said things like, "You look great!" "Good form!" "Keep it up!" "You got this!" "Go Brooks!" "Go #11697!" Those helped a lot. And of course the cheers from people you know are THE BEST.

How about you? What are things you think should be added to the list to never yell at a marathoner? What kind of cheers do you like to hear when you are racing?


Paul said...

Oh ya, people just don't know what it's like so they say these things that are wonky to us.

This was the best cheering section I ever saw:

Make me laugh even late in a race.

Kathy said...

LOL, so true!!! Run faster - wow, my whole running career has been revolutionized!

LOVE to hear my name called out when it's on my bib - really is touching when you are stretched thin and in the middle of serious mind games

Favorite sign? One of my Brownies made it for volunteering at a water station at a local half - 'Run hard for me and I'll work hard for you!.'

Debbie said...

Hi Erin, well done for Boston ! :) I've been following your blog for a month or so, and it is testament to how inspiring you are to see how many people are rooting for you.  Re your post, I am living in Korea at the moment so travelled to the World Championships last year to cheer on the Uk's marathon runners. I was so psyched to be there. At the first sign of a British vest, i got overly excited and VERY loudly and clearly cheered the WRONG name - i was mortified! The poor chap! That's definitely on the list of things not to yell!

Eve said...

"I'll cheer for anyone with gray hair!" I called back, "And I have 12 grandkids!"

Natalie R. said...

I had a lady once tell me, "nice pass" when I passed her on a small hill on the bike. I have said that to runners/bikers in a tri after that. As for funny shirts..."Does this shirt make my butt look faster?" and "In my dreams, I am a Kenyan." I usually cheer for all the runners who come in behind me in the races I do. Funny post! Thanks!

Lisa said...

#1 is the WORST!!!! My family knows better not to say those dreaded words....they always start up around mile 22-23. I have been known to say, "no I'M NOT! Don't say that!!" In my defense, I'm usually really hot and cranky by then. ;0

Michelle said...

Amen sista! :) When you tell someone "almost there"....clearly, you haven't been out running it for the last 20 miles!
No more hills....always a lie!
You look not true, but I'll take it.
But one of my favorites was "Honey Badger don't give a damn about the heat." So true!

Anonymous said...

So true! I just wanted to say that I enjoyed that you ran with Jenny! I seriously had this thought last night- as I was running 8- you hadn't mentioned her and hoped that you were still friends:)I love running with my girls!!! Too weird that you posted about her:) Carol-wv

Margie said...

"You need to have on sunscreen!"
I have two problems with this: #1, I am wearing sunscreen. I always do. My skin just turns beet red when I work hard. Seriously, I turn this color swimming laps in an indoor pool. #2, where the heck is a person going to get sunscreen DURING the race? It wouldn't stick to the sweat at that point anyway.
You are an inspiration to me! Once baby #2 arrives (any day now), I look forward to using my treadmill for those early morning runs to get back in shape and improve my marathon time. I love reading about your big, loving, organized family as well as your impressive gains in running. You have showed me how organization and drive will let me find the time to run and be an awesome mom.

Mark Matthews said...

Never ask a woman is she's pregnant unless you actually see the baby coming out, and never say 'you're almost there' to a marathoner unless they can see the finish.

Maybe my most memorable cheer leader, I will always remember, was this guy outside of a church, preaching at the top of his lungs, with arms raised in the air as if he was moses and parting the red sea, screaming "Pray, pray for His help now! He is there for you! Pray, pray with all your might!" I paraphrase, of course, but there are no atheist at mile 20, but there are plenty of non-runners who say things that make you shrug inside.

During a dreaded, spirit-breaking walking break over the last miles, I've had runners themselves say some disheartening things. I know they mean well, but a pat on the back as they cruise by didn't do much for me.

Anonymous said...

I was running a half marathon last year and someone had a sign that said "You guys are really good at exercising". It cracked me up!

Renee said...

I love funny signs/shirts when I run.

My favorite at the end of a big 15K with 20,000 runners was lady standing there with a sign that said, "Worst Parade ever." SO funny.

Julia said...

oh man. the "you are almost there" is so true. that drives me nuts. i love to hear that im looking strong. even if i dont feel like that...the thought that i may look it gives me a boost :)

Andrea Hill said...

I LOVE your race pics. I thought you would look much worse in all that heat but you look dang amazing after 26mi.. My fav is right before the finish line ending in #579. You are so muscular.
RE: things people shouldn't true, all of them you mentioned but I really hated the quote "its all downhill from here". When someone said that to me (and I only ran a half marathon), I was so enouraged but 5 miles still to run before the finish line it was nothing but uphill and I was so so discouraged because I took to heart what the dude said.

Jody Hinton said...

When I ran Boston, my name ended up being covered up by my tshirt tied around my waist, but my friend Julie's name was quite clear. I had decided my name was Julie by the half-way point.

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Congrats on your finish! I like "you trained for this". It reminds me of all of my hard work and makes me feel like I can finish the race.

L.A. Runner said...

One of my least favorites is when someone says "you look awesome" when CLEARLY, I do not look awesome. People said this to me at the finish of The Woodlands Marathon. I was drenched from rain, accidently gotten Power Gel on my shorts, and my braid had turned into a rat's nest. Not to mention that Last 0.2 Marathon Shuffle. Haha.

I love it when kids hold signs that they made. I just think it reinforces how much we can give back to younger generations of future runners. It's really motivating! Kind of like, "get moving so you don't let the kids down."

coach dion said...

Like you pictures.

So when you are recovered, when will be the next race on your calender?

Christina said...

I saw a funny sign before. I don't remember the exact words, but the sign said something like this "you better run faster. I just farted."
That brought a little smile on my face.
I like volunteers to call me name - "go Christina." "Good job Christina."

Runfarlady said...

My favorite I heard was on a video of one of my early triathlon. My husband was filming me come out of T1 and I was with a group of people. On the video you hear a spectator yell "suck it up, buddy, it's a race" this has become our montra

Cory Reese said...

I hate when I'm doing the marathon death shuffle and someone says "You're doing awesome!" I know they are just trying to be supportive which is cool, but it's hard to hear that when you're feeling so un-awesome.