So two weekends ago, when my friend Mala asked if I might be interested in running the San Francisco Half Marathon with her, I readily agreed. Not only do I like running, but I like Mala too. It then occurred to me to ask when the run would be. “Next weekend,” Mala said. Fab. No time to worry about – just time to get out and go.
Arriving at the race early didn’t mean standing around with other runners and letting our nerves get the best of us. Instead, since the full Marathon had already started (as had the first half-marathon – SF got clever and ran two different half marathons – one for the first half of the course, one for the second), there were tons of people already running. And you know what that means: tons of opportunity to be encouraging (B – E encouraging! Oh, sorry, got a little cheerleader there).
So Mala and I found an empty patch of road and started clapping our hands and getting in a few “Wa-hoos!” Besides never having actually run together, another thing Mala and I had not done together was cheer.* Probably due to not having attended many outdoor sporting events together. I mean, we have been in proximity of one another during Oregon football games, but that’s not the same as being rightnexttoeachother.
She’s a good cheer partner, meaning she’s enthusiastic and seems to enjoy the task of celebrating and motivating complete strangers. My cheers consisted of “You may be sweaty but I’d still make out with you,” and “I like the way you are running,” and “Go Canada!”
The former stemmed from a conversation with a stranger, as initially I had cheered “Looking sexy!” The girl next to us pointed out that at this moment, most people are probably feeling at their least attractive, and I wanted to articulate the sentiment that there are people in the world who find sweat super hot (pun intended) and that they should keep running. Not sure how that worked.
The latter cheer was for the man dressed in a Canadian bike jersey. Got a high-five from for that one. A very powerful high five. I may or may not have had to shake my hand out afterward.
*Mala and I had never run together before; in a way, running with someone for the first time over a long distance is a bit like planning a blind date that is going to last all day. I mean, if it works out well, it’s going to be one kick-ass day. If it doesn’t though, it might be one of the more awkward experiences of your year. This was a kick-ass moment.