Today was not the May 3rd I planned for back in January. I was supposed to be running my half-marathon today. My derailed training required me to spectate rather than participate today. That's fine, in fact, better than fine. I got the opportunity to provide support to some great friends who have done the same for me in the past. I got to watch people I care about do great things. I got to experience the race atmosphere again. I got to ride my bike in the rain like a kid.
I got up at 6, loaded my bike in the back of the van and drove to a friend's house that was near the race route. We rode over to the route and stood outside under swollen grey clouds at mile 6 as the first runners came by. I cheered as several friends passed by and continued to cheer for countless strangers. The clouds burst around 7:45 and continued spilling out the rest of the day.
Once the certain people I was there to see passed mile 6, my friend and I mounted our bikes and rode in the rain over to mile 12 to catch our running friends on the second part of the race. We cheered for everyone:
"You're doing it!"
"Keep it up!"
"Way to go!"When each of my running friends came by, I either rode or ran alongside them as long as I could during their last few miles, giving them words of encouragement that I know they wanted and needed at that time. I met them each at the finish line and was so thrilled to see their satisfied faces of accomplishment. Even though I didn't run today, I am so happy for them. I had the best time watching it all unfold. Good on you, ladies!
I wish I could have a race atmosphere around me all the time. It is a very energetic place to be. The crowd cheers for everyone, no matter how fast or slow you go. Sometimes you get louder, more impassioned cheers when you aren't performing so well. People love underdogs. No matter how perfect or awkward your stride is, the crowd loves you. Wouldn't it be great if everyday, in life, everyone really wanted everyone else to do their best, just like in a race? What if we all had our own personal cheering section to follow us around? What if you cheered a stranger on for doing what they do, challenging them to just do it the best they can? I can hear it now:
To the grocery store produce worker, "Way to stack those melons! Awesome!"
To the mailcarrier, "You can deliver that mail! You're doing it!"
To the mom doing laundry, "You can sort those clothes! Keep it up!"I imagine my personal cheering section as I am unloading the dishwasher, "Go, go, go! Plates! Cups! Now silverware!!! You're the best! Don't stop now!" Gosh, they really love what I am doing here. I must be doing it right.
Tap into your personal cheering section as you go about your day. Give yourself cheers for doing what you do. And do your best. As for strangers, you might be misunderstood if you actually cheered for the guy behind the counter. Maybe just a "thank you" would suffice.