As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the main reason my friend Kate came to visit was to watch the Olympic marathon trials. To be honest, until Kate had mentioned she wanted to come to town for the trials, I had no clue that they were happening now nor that they were happening in LA. So I’m grateful that Kate was coming to watch them because I learned about them too!
The Olympic trials took place in downtown LA (they had to do a bunch of laps on the course to complete the marathon), and since I had to work in the morning Kate took the light rail there and told me where she was so I could meet her later. Fortunately for Kate, the course was only about a block away from the train station, so it was pretty easy for her to get there. She gave me a heads up where she was watching and as soon as I was done with work I got in my car to try to join her.
It wasn’t easy to try to get to the course. A couple of streets were closed, there were lots of confused drivers, and it didn’t help that the LA Marathon packet pickup was taking place in the same area at the same time so there were even more people getting stuck on the roads. I thought that I’d have to either keep circling the area or stay in my car when I was parked in a semi-legal spot. But after parking in a questionably legal parking space and sitting in my car, I saw someone move a cone blocking a street so he could get onto the street (it was a street a block away from the course). I found a parking spot at a meter and the meter had already been paid for! So I parked my car and walked over to meet Kate.
By the time I had gotten to the course, the top finishing men had already passed by for the final time. So I never got to see them, but there were still lots of men working on finishing the course (it wasn’t easy in the heat so many runners either had to go slow or were at risk of passing out). But I was there with plenty of time to see the top women come by one more time. Kate had a runner that she was rooting for and had seen online that she wasn’t in the top 3 (only the top 3 get to go to the Olympics), but we were still excited to see her.
While I have no desire to ever do a marathon, it was still pretty awesome to see these amazing athletes running by me. And when the top 3 women came by, the entire crowd was shouting and cheering for them. It was so cool to be there to witness that. And the woman who Kate was rooting for was in 4th and the crowd was just as excited to see her go by as they were for the top 3.
We left a little bit after watching the leaders run by since Kate had to get to LAX for her flight home. I was able to watch the marathon trials for about an hour. And while I did wish that I had the chance to be there longer, I’m grateful that I was able to watch even a little bit.
The next day was the LA Marathon. I had gone out to the course in the past to cheer on the marathoners and was planning on doing the same thing again. I had a couple of friends running and I asked them all to tell me their average mile time so I could try to get out to the course in time to see them go by.
It was much easier to get to the course than the Olympic trials course, but it was still a bit difficult to park. I found parking after about 20 minutes, but sadly I missed the first person that I wanted to see running by at mile 19. But I still had a few other friends to be on the lookout for. So I double checked their posts on social media so I could see what they were wearing (it makes it easier to find them when I know what outfits to look for).
While I was waiting to see my friends come by, I cheered on the other marathoners. It was another hot day and the runners were having a tough time. I know that every person who was racing earned every mile that they went and some of them had to battle for every step. But even in the heat, so many people were still running with a smile. And of course, there were some pretty awesome costumes too. With it being on Valentine’s Day, there were some Valentine themed costumes like Cupid or wearing all red. I even saw one guy wearing a full tuxedo. And then there were the fun costumes like Forrest Gump and someone in a Gumby outfit (they must have been dying in the heat inside of that thing!).
I kept checking my watch for the time because I knew approximately when my friends should be coming by. I was terrified that I missed seeing them all (sadly, I missed 3 of my friends but I think one of them might have been faster than they expected). But after being out on the course for a little over an hour, I finally saw some familiar faces!
Jonathan (who is the business manager of Orangetheory) and Jordan (aka The Balanced Blonde) were running together. This was Jordan’s first marathon and Jonathan was staying with her. I was so excited to see them come by me and I know that they both heard me cheering them on. They both looked pretty happy and were looking strong at mile 19 (which is amazing to me!).
I stuck around for a little bit longer looking for my other friends, but after realizing that they would have had to do their miles 4 minutes slower than expected to still be on the course, I realized that I missed the rest of them and went home.
Even though I never want to do a marathon, I love getting out to the course to cheer people on. It’s such a huge accomplishment and you never know if you cheering someone on will give them the encouragement to ignore the pain or negative thoughts in their head and help them keep going. I know that there have been people on the 5K courses who have been that person for me. So I just want to make sure that I pay it forward.