On Monday, May 25, 2009 I had the pleasure of watching my boyfriend cross the finish line for the LA Marathon. It was an amazing event. Minus of course some misdirection and rerouting - all in all it was a pretty smooth event. It was nice and overcast all morning; perfect weather for a marathon in Los Angeles. I can't tell you what it's like to train for an event like this or even run it, well maybe not yet. What I can tell you is how motivating and inspiring it is just being there.
We stayed the night in a historic hotel downtown. I think it might be haunted. That's a whole other story, but some other time. We had to stay since the race began at seven am. The wake up call was set for five. Excited we sprang from bed turned on the news and got ready as fast as possible. (Plus I just wanted to get out of that hotel.) Parking was close and easy. Next stop just a little more coffee and off to the start line. There was energy in the air you could almost taste it. Or maybe that was the remnants of the bad coffee we made in the hotel. People were bustling about early in the closed off streets of downtown Los Angeles.
Finally, we hit the gate- only runners beyond this point. I give him a kiss and wish him luck. It will be about four hours before I see him at the finish line. I head off to find my spot. This is where all the redirection and crowd dodging begins. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement. People are smiling and I can't help but smile too. People have signs cheering on friends and loved ones. There are people in costume. There are groups with t-shirts made just for this occasion. I make my way to the start or somewhere close to the starting line.
I nestle in under a television camera up on a boom. The race begins and the enthusiasm is unleashed. Now I have a burst of energy. I decide it's time to find my spot at the finish line. I know the race just started but I am a short girl and I need to make my claim quick. I have my own strategy to be able to see the finish and then make my way to the designated locations to meet the runners. My marathon begins.
It takes me a little time to find just the right spot but I have plenty of that. While I wait to see him cross the finish line I witness several amazing finishes. Of course the winner who finished at two hours and eight minutes. Next there was one of the wheel chair racers whose modified bike was apparently not working. Someone towed his bike along side of him while he used his walker to cross the finish line. The crowd roared as he made his way cross the line. The closer he came the louder we got. It was incredibly inspiring and touching.
Next I saw a young boy, my guess he was 11, but he finished the marathon. I saw man carrying a drink tray like a server as well as a Spartan, or a man in a Spartan costume wrap up the race. Some people still had amazing amounts of energy to sprint to the finish in hopes to beat the runner next to them. While others were fueled by sheer determination; like the man I saw crawling towards the finish. Another runner came back to help the man up and complete the marathon. I then saw my boyfriend cross the finish! Of course I was the loudest person there for that moment. Then I was off to swoop him up and drive us home.
As we got to the car we shared our inspiring moments from the perspective of runner and spectator. It was incredible. I was so glad that I was able to be there for him and witness such an amazing event as a marathon. I am definitely inspired. Not necessarily to run a marathon but to action without a doubt. The people I witnessed crossing the finish gave me a glimpse of the endless possibilities in life. Now what I do with that is up to me.