26.2 Miles of Running and Cheering

Having a boyfriend who runs marathons might seem intimidating. I’m extremely proud of his awesome times and running skillz, but he’s what I would call a normal guy who lives with a running addiction. It does keep me motivated to stay in shape, though! However, unlike what I perceive to be extreme – runners who join track clubs, obsess over training and intervals and whatever else – Collin just runs. He runs short and long, to feel better or just because he wants to.

Sure, it can be frustrating during the peak of his marathon training when he goes off for hours on the weekends or just has to get a run in before dinner (and I’m hungry!). Really though, Collin is the ideal competitive runner to date. Running is clearly a part of who he is, and he’s great at it, but he doesn’t let it define or overwhelm him. He’s in grad school, working on awesome projects, has a career plan and a great network of people in his life. I could go on, but then it would just ramble on with more reasons as to why I admire him (can you read my insecurity about my future career here? I digress).

Before the marathon last year I had been a spectator once before. My friend Lisa ran the marathon in Newport, OR, right before we all graduated college. It was fun and was on the Oregon coast (beautiful!).

We have weird nicknames for each other

However, last November I learned that nothing is quite like the NYC marathon. My roommates and I stood on the sidelines of 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, at a spot I predetermined with Collin. Of course, I wanted him to know where I was so he’d see me, but we also had a plan. He knows himself well enough to know he could slow down for a few seconds to high five me. It was fantastic! (Unpictured, though, because I was just nervous about missing him and didn’t properly prepare my roommates.) I stuck around with my roommates to cheer on more people and look for their friends running. The excitement is so palpable out there between the crowd and runners.

My favorite moment: One runner came off-course through the crowd while his friend waited on the course. Was he hurt? Is there something wrong? That man comes running back to his friend with something light blue in his hand: cotton candy! I know some people’s goal in life is just to run the marathon, regardless of time, and you can tell a lot of people are just having fun out there.

After spending time with my roommates cheering on more runners, I rushed to Central Park to try to catch Collin at the end, around Mile 25. I was at a fair distance, but I succeeded in seeing him, although the picture is blurry. Once I knew he was finished, I started walking to meet him, but I wasn’t aware of the long process of getting out of the marathon. I wandered over the what was apparently the ‘elite runner’ exit before finally getting a call and walking about 20 more blocks north to meet Collin at his exit. He was a little blue in the lips but otherwise completely resilient!

One fast dude

We crashed at home for a little while (well, he crashed and I left him alone), and then we went out for a big Mexican dinner that night. The only amusing aspect was the exhaustion showing on Collin in tiny ways, like fumbling utensils and his words.

This year I’m just as excited to be standing on 4th Ave once again, looking for Collin to swoosh on by. Maybe we’ll have another high-five plan, or maybe we can come up with something else crazy to do. No matter what, it’ll be a fun time. Plus I’m looking forward to a great dinner afterward (to be decided), and this year we also have an after party with other runners and friends. Woo!

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