Okay, qualifying for the Boston Marathon, which I squeaked out on Sunday in 3:59:54, isn’t the same as winning an Academy Award, yet I still feel the need to make an “acceptance speech,” giving thanks to the folks who made it possible. Until this weekend, I never realized how crucial personal cheerleaders can be. But now I'm convinced: The shouts and smiles through the often-pouring rain powered me across the line more than the six gels and half bagel en route did.
Without further ado, I’d like to thank:
Megan M. I seriously thought you were going to do backflips down the road when you saw me, dude. The climb up to the bridge had taken it out of my quads, but you fired them right back up.
Eryn Your high-wattage smile around mile 9 was a bright spot in the downpour, and it reminded me of your awesome posse of Washington RLAMers.
My book group I anticipated your gathering for miles, and then it was all over in a blur. But that whole-wheat bagel and water you handed off made all the difference.
Intern Jessie I loved that I caught you, Ms. Prepared, Think-of-Everything, off-guard, leaving you barely able to take some photos and pipe out a, “Go, Sarah!” (We won’t dock your pay for not promoting the book with a, “Run Like a Mother, Sarah!!)
Tall Mom Mel Not sure how you, a non-Portlander, managed to get to so many spots around the course, but the effort obviously didn’t diminish your cheer-power.
Megan K. There’s something about your faith in me that touches me deeply. Like you believe in me even when I don’t. But instead of getting sappy, let’s laugh that we both obviously debated whether to hug or high-five. (And obviously unbridled, wonderfully hyper enthusiasm goes with the name. See Megan M., above.)
Tall RLAM fan Loved you and your friend recognizing me near mile 19. Were the (temporary) RLAM tattoos on my calves the tip-off?
Ali, Bonnie, Molly When I was flagging, there you were, bright spots among the soggy spectators.
Ellison We only shared a few words, but the unspoken message was loud and clear: “Get your rear in gear, woman!”
The kids and Jack Knowing you were waiting for me meant the world to me even if the little tykes barely seemed to realize who I was when I stopped to kiss them. (And poor Phoebe, what a trooper: Puking in a bush while waiting for me the first time. No wonder you looked so lackluster!)
Julie D. You are a champ, running a strong race on a bum leg (and sans tunes for the first 11.5 miles!). My Garmin had clouded over about midway so I was hazy (literally!) about how close I was cutting the finish. Your urgent shouts of encouragement clued me in without striking panic in me. Yes, you didn’t BQ, but you ensured I did. I’m so grateful.
Random man Not sure who you are (Stuart?) but your loud-and-clear “Sarah, run like a MOTHER!” spurred me to finally get back on pace for the final two miles.
Joanne Your exaltations of, “Go, Champy, Champy, GO!!” right near the finish line propelled me to my sub-4:00 time. Without you, I couldn’t have pulled it out. The image of you bounding up and down behind the crowd in your kelly-green coat is one of my most vivid of the day. In my mind, you were springing 10 feet in the air—and you got me high as well.
Thanks to you all and other cheer-ers I’ve neglected to mention, but the orchestra is playing me off….