I saw ZZ Top at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions this year. They inducted Freddie King and (in my GnR-apprehensive opinion) played entirely way too long. I’m not a huge fan, but their song “Legs” (weirdest video ever, btw) is entirely too perfect to ignore for today’s post.
In case you didn’t get the memo, I totally rocked the hooves off of the Flying Pig on May 6. However, everyone and their running BFF was registered for Cleveland this month. I didn’t want to run it just to run it (my current PR streak makes me happy), so instead I decided to work on my spectating skills.
Sweaty Brian was on bike patrol for one of the wheelchair guys, so we drove down together (just like last year!) and once again scored VIP parking right next to Browns Stadium. I planted my pink self right at the entrance, so before too long we rounded up most of the CIG.
Once all my running peeps scurried off to find their pace groups and BMO headed to the start, I wandered a couple blocks up, jingle bells and train whistle at the ready, to cheer on the massive, chaotic start. Not surprisingly, I got lots of strange looks, was stopped for photo ops, and was film stalked by the Plain Dealer for about ten minutes. (I actually made their website’s slideshow. Check me out, I’m famous!) Not only was I wearing a shirt of my own creation, a pink tutu and
ridiculously amazingly bright soccer socks (yes, those are part of my game day attire), I was also carting THE LEG around. In my backpack.
I huffed it to the Carnegie bridge just in time to meet up with the PD photographer Joshua Gunter again (I bet he was wearing Sauconys). I set up shop around mile eleven and oohed and awed at the elite runners as they ignored me and zoomed by, dripping with sweat. Oh, did I forget to mention it was freaking SWELTERING? I saw several people collapse on the bridge – one girl needed the bike patrol to call an ambulance, and I poured my water over her head and tried to keep her calm as she literally rolled on the ground. I heard ambulance sirens all day and saw many people stumble and fall. It was not a day to PR, but a day to run smart, hydrate, and reapply Body Glide every 5 minutes.
After most of the field went by and I was hoarse from screaming and had quite the headache (from my own jingle bells), I tutu-ed my way to Subway for a snack and and fresh COLD water. I really wanted to make it out to MLK, which is where I hit my wall last year around mile 18, but there was no way I could’ve gotten there in time after cheering on the runners all the way to the five hour pace group. Instead I texted Sweaty Brian, who had finished his bike patrol duties, and we met up at mile 25 just as the 3:05 pace group was trucking by. Most of our friends were planning on running under four hours, with a couple speedier folks shooting for 3:15-3:30. So we waited. And waited. And waited. And cheered for strangers.
After finally getting to blow my train whistle at a couple familiar calves (and handing off the LEG so she could finish her first marathon), I headed to the finish to
tear up 20 times support friends and strangers as they finally finished a tough race on an even tougher day. Needless to say, the heat and sun had an effect on nearly everyone. It had been hot in Cincinnati a couple weeks before, but the Flying Pig wove its way through a lot of shaded residential areas with water stops every mile, impromptu aid stations, and lots of crowd support. I was very content to NOT be running CLE, because that day the weather was in control of the race, not the runner. It must be frustrating to do everything right in your training cycle only to be debilitated on race day by something completely out of your control. So props to the 20,000 of you that sweated it out on race day, and special love to Erin, Jason, Marcus, Doug, Mike, Marlo, Kali, Zack, Joe, Brad, Linda, British Dave, the Brothers, and Inside Out Guy. And to Michelle, who got her BQ, so proud. But mostly jealous. You rock my worlds.