This photo taken at about Mile 6 sums up my spectating experience at today's San Francisco Marathon...
A big blur with me whooping and hollering obliviously at runners I may or may not know :P
You can't see from the picture that I am screaming "GO, RUNNERS!" as loudly as I can as I drive across the Golden Gate Bridge on my way to cheer on a couple of my Nuun Platuunmates (Cap'n Cupcake was doing the full marathon and Sargeant Style took on the half) and a few other running bloggers I follow (like Aron).
I had a plan... drive the truck with my bike in the back, park sort of centrally, bike to a few good vantage points, and cheer on and photograph my blogbuds in a couple of locations.
Initially, I had hoped to do my first rah-rahing at the approach to the Golden Gate (roughly Mile 5), but of course the parking lot was closed and of course I had not gotten up early enough to allow for that, so I ventured up to the Avenues at around Mile 11... my husband, who is much more familiar with The City than I am, had suggested this as a good place to park the mondo truck.
After picking my spot, I realized that the course was a split route at that point, with some of the runners coming up 27th Avenue and some up 26th and no way of knowing who was going where! Dang it ... lucky thing I had a bike! It was around 6:45 a.m. ...plenty of time to see Cupcake (who was shooting for 8:30 pace) and Style (who was looking at finishing the half marathon in a bit under 2 hours).
I whooped and hollered and clapped until my hands were numb and red (really) and my voice was hoarse (sort of). I whipped back and forth on my bike, between 26th and 27th, scouting the crowds for the ladies I knew.
I never saw them :(
The passing runners enjoyed my cheering, but when the 4-hour pace guys came by, I knew I needed to high-tail it to the half marathon finish in the hopes of seeing Sgt. Style cross that line. Even on a bike, traffic and road closures made it slow going, and I missed her. I scanned the crowd of finishers for a pretty woman with a buzzed, bright red hairdo...
Hustling over the the full marathon course so as not to miss Cupcake again, I found myself at 17.5 miles with a good view of runners coming around a curve and down a hill. I watched and waited. Right away, the 3:40 pace guy ran by. Whew... based on her projected splits, Cupcake would be coming soon! Time passed. Runners passed. The 3:50 guy passed. So did the 4-hour guy and the 4:15. All the while, I whooped and hollered and clapped myself stupid. While this led to some buoyed up and appreciative runners...
these guys aren't looking too inspired and motivated
because I had to stop clapping and screaming to take the picture ;-)
No Cupcake :(
This put me in a weird limbo... bike downtown to see the finish? go back and get the truck and drive downtown? which would take longer? parking issues? Needing to ultimately get the truck to go home, I went back and loaded in the bike and started driving cross-town. Traffic was a nightmare... of course. There was no way I would get to the finish in time to see Cupcake cross the line and who knew if I would be able to find her in the throngs of people down there...
I just went home.
In the car I get this crazy text...
I saw you at 27th Ave & California! I screamed your name & you barely acknowledged me... isn't it supposed to be the other way around? :)
Cupcake saw me even if I didn't see her!
While I may be losing my sight in my old age, my reputation as a supporter and hollerer remains intact. And bringing the bike was perfect. Unless you are watching a marathon in a city with amazing public transportation... like Paris... I highly recommend doing it from a bike.
Congrats to all the finishers!