Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Desperately Seeking Susan

In this case “Susan” is “spectator cheering advice” but I thought Desperately Seeking Spectator Cheering Advice came across as a bit of a clunky title. So, I opted for the shorter title followed by the longer, never-ending post title explanation. Good choice?

Plus, I wanted to get a reference to 80’s era Madonna into a post. Not 21st century muscle toned, mother of two (or three?) Madonna but the slightly pudgy, perm haired, lace skirt over jogging pants Maddie from 20 odd years ago. God bless her. Keep on rocking out those skin tights!

Over Memorial Weekend, I’ll be attending my first marathon purely as a spectator. Frankly, I’m pretty excited about it. Fellow Steers LDP members Mike and Lisa (and non-blogger Steer B.R.) will be hitting the pavement at the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, Michigan. This is the race I BQ’ed at last spring. It’s a beautiful, mostly flat down and back course along the Grand Traverse peninsula – if the weather is right, which it was last year. Otherwise, it’s a hellacious, soul-ripping wind tunnel with sideways driving rain pelting you into submission on a lonely, amaranthine (+10) road. (You’re welcome guys!) Here’s to the former! Cuz if it’s the latter, you won’t see my butt out there cheering you on.

Having never spectated a marathon before, I’m seeking your input on the best ways to cheer on the runners. What works best? I know what works for me when I’m racing. However, I refuse to go topless. Or wear pasties. So, I’ll need to come up with something else.

Some ideas:

- Cold beer. Not for the runners. Screw them. I could use a few and I suspect they’d enjoy seeing someone drinking beer while they’re running.
- Slather a piece of board with Vaseline for the runners to rub on their chafed nipples. Stationed right before the event photographer. Oh, and its not really Vaseline but Icy Hot with sprinkled Tabasco instead.
- Constantly shout out “Way to go, Sisyphus!” What? Too obscure?
- Set up a water and banana table but place a clear glass box over it. Laugh hysterically as they crush knuckles frantically trying to get to the refreshments.
- Remind them they have a long, long, long way to go and the really hard part is still to come…no matter where I’m at on the course.
- Trick runners into giving me their mp3’s or iPods by placing a box out and announcing ‘last chance to turn in your mp3’s or face disqualification’. Pawn them at local store before race finishes.

I don’t know. Maybe these aren’t good ideas. In fact, as I reread the list, it seems like they are more like self serving ideas for my amusement.

On to signage. I’ve seen some good ones while running. Real motivating and inspiring messages to all or specific runners. You didn’t think I’d come up with any of those, did you?

- “Your Shorts Make You Look Fat.”
- “The Kenyans Are Already Done. You Lost.”
- “Run Like The Police Are Chasing You.”
- For this one, I need to convince Mrs. Nitmos to stand next to me with a sack tied around her head and her arms/legs bound while I hold a sign saying “I Have Your Grandma. Set a PR or You’ll Never See Her Again.”
- “You Look Very, Very Tired. Give Up.”
- “The Pain WON’T Go Away At The Finish.”
- “Maybe This Sport’s Not For You.”
- “They Are Selling the Finishers Medal at 7-11 for $5. I Already Have One.”
- “There’s Still A Chance You Won’t Finish.”

For you F.M.S regulars, you’ll appreciate this:

- “I Could Read Don Quixote Quicker Than You Run This Race.”

I’ll be out there somewhere on the course with some kind of sign and, possibly, provisions. If you have better ideas than those above, let me hear ‘em. Otherwise, I may just go with my own.

I may run a portion of the last 6 miles or so in with Mike based on hearing “the word” from him. I’m happy to do so. I’m also happy to tackle other runners if they get in his way. This may require more than “the word” though…maybe something more along the lines of “bail money”. Mike is looking to set a PR of his own. I think he will.

Happy trails.

To all you folks jeering on my reading ability, I am in fact finally close to finishing Don Quixote. It's a grind. The book has made me easily distracted. Look there's a piece of dust floating in the air....oh, wait, what page was I on? I may leave the book showing to the right though after I've finished it just out of spite.

I also finished reading about the FIRST method and Run Less, Run Faster last night. I haven't decided yet if I'll bless you with a book review which, no doubt, would be the absolute bee's knee's! (Please help me in bringing back this old adage. Look how fun it was to read it!)


Anonymous said...

“The Kenyans Are Already Done. You Lost.”

SO true. Every single time. Le sigh.

C said...

I like "Run like the police are chasing you", but then you could be referring to the band The Police. And there are some people out there who wouldn't mind being caught by Sting. Just saying.

I also like the Sisyphus comment. But then again, I would.

Kevin said...

ROFLMAO. I had to cover my mouth (at work) I wanted to laugh so bad.

My Fav

Slather a piece of board with Vaseline for the runners to rub on their chafed nipples. Stationed right before the event photographer. Oh, and its not really Vaseline but Icy Hot with sprinkled Tabasco instead.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a sign that reads:

"I'm getting tired just watching you"
"All the 10k runners are eating your post race food"

MissAllycat said...

"Your Shorts Make You Look Fat."

Wait...I thought runners were an emaciated bunch??

Mir said...

Nice signs...I especially like the Don Quixote one and "Go Sisyphus!"

<---lit nerd...

Anonymous said...

I think I love you.
In a writerenvy way (tell your beter half that please :))

I like to think Im a tough nut to make laugh--and I always do here.

this one?
“Way to go, Sisyphus!”

I almost went with the name SISYPHIT for my blog.

beyond the obscure I was informed repeatedly it make people think of syphilis.



Ian said...

Hmmmm. Maybe something for the celebrity gossip crowd like "Even Katie Holmes is ahead of you."

Marcy said...

Ooohhh Madge. She was so much better back in the day. Before all this stupid lesbo action she tries to pull on stage. No one wants to see it :-X

I love em all :-)

B. Kramer said...

When I was as spectator, I helped set up an impromptu fluid station with Bloody Marys. Cold beer is a must. At the same race, an old lady passed me, turned around and asked me for a sip of my Yuengling Porter. Unlike you, I obliged.

BTW--I like "amaranthine." What'd you do type "unending" into a thesaurus and pick the first word that popped up?

Arron said...

"slightly pudgy, perm haired, lace skirt over jogging pants Maddie"

good times.


Razz said...

Holy crap that was funny. I didn't know that chicken salad could fly out of my nose.

How about: "Veer right, the wagon needs to pass you."

sRod said...

I wonder if those signs would fly on a race course.

Sorry, seem to be at a lack for witty comments.

Laura said...

Oddly enough, I'd actually appreciate seeing those on a course. First of all, because it would be a great inclusion for my race report (we all know the only reason I run is to blog about it later). But seriously, it would piss me off and make me want to run faster to prove the jerk who made them wrong.

KimsRunning said...

How 'bout....

"You're going the wrong way!!!"
or, and this one actually worked for ME...

"There's naked men and beer at the finish line!"

Yep, someone said that to me at mile 25, and I believed the beer part. I was so delirious I remember thinking the naked men would be interesting but I really want a beer. True story. No beer at the finish either. My husband followed me around for 15 minutes trying to convince me the guy was joking. I was kinda

nwgdc said...

How about, "You're running in the left lane with your turn signal on"

Thanks for a great post. And isn't that part of Michigan an hour ahead of Madison? You've got PLENTY of time to catch me finishing!

Viv said...

LMAO, Those were great!

Madonna in the 80's even 90's was so schwing worthy. If I could schwing.

I never know what to say while spectating. I say sumfin like, "Go run that run" real motivating!?!

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by and the advice. I love the signs. my favorite is. "The Kenyans Are Already Done. You Lost.”

jen said...

Hilarious!! I think my favorite is the prank water stop and the signs about "you look very tired, have a long way to go" etc. So mean.

If you run with your friend Mike are you going to use these same tactics on him? Because that would even funnier. "Oh my God, aren't you just so tired? Let's just walk a bit... Every muscle is screaming in agony.... No one will care if you quit," etc. Guaranteed laughs! (for us)

The Laminator said...

I think if I actually saw that Kenyan sign, I'd be like "Oh!" and just stop right there.

thebets said... will refuse to wear pasties, but will sport a pair of Hello Kitty band-aids?!?!

Unknown said...

I say mix some French's yellow mustard with water and pass it off as lemon/lime Gatorade.

Oh wait, I wasn't supposed to come back here, was I? I think I was mad at you for something, but not sure what. I'm sure it'll come back to me.

Candis said...

More Cowbell!

How about... "Don't you have to pee?!"

Meg said...

“Maybe This Sport’s Not For You.”
That may be the meanest one; it made me cringe a little bit!

L*I*S*A said...

I love

"Toenails are for sissies."

Thanks for the support. I look forward to hearing you cheer me on to the finish. Lord knows, I'll need all the help I can get.

AddictedToEndorphins said...

"The Kenyan's are done already, you lost"

NOT True, in my half marathon I beat them by 10 minutes atleast. It doesn't matter they were doing the full.

I love the Grandma one. Go for that!

Good for you for being a spectator! I know that I always appreciate the specatator/volunteer support.

Triseverance said...

Stand at mile 5 and yell, "almost there!!! You can do it!!!"

Hilarious post.

To your Steer mates Mike and Lisa yell, "Hey your running team symbol is Phalic, cool!"

Kristina said...

Shadenfreude, much? That's +50 in case you're wondering.

Midwest said...

Outstanding, all of it. Might I suggest a simple SUCKS TO BE YOU sign?

Jess said...

What a hilarious post....hell I'd maybe even say this tops some of Vanilla's stuff...that's what he gets for not giving me the bike hehe

Nancy said...

The book has made me easily distracted. ???? you're blaming the book????

I think you should rent some outrageous costume (chicken or cow or something) and cheer tirelessly. If that fails, I do like the signage, especially run like it's the police :D

Reluctant Runner said...

At the 30K "Around the Bay" race in Hamilton, Ontario, a guy stands at the 28K mark dressed as the grim reaper, asking runners if they are ready for him yet. If they look really tired, he tries to escort them to a nearby cemetery. You guys sound like soul-mates.

Good luck on your Quixotic quest to finish the book -- I definitely would not wrap it up until you have something equally impressive to list in your "now reading" section. Maybe Ulysses?

Pokey said...

I think this is seriously the funniest post I have ever read.

But come could probably read DQ TWICE in the amount of time it will take SOME of us to finish....let's be honest here! :P

Pokey said...

Oh yeah...and I used your post on my blog. I'm all about plagiarism ;)

(((still dying laughing)))

E said...

I think the best is the one about kidnapping grandma. That's so funny!

Amy@RunnersLounge said...


Very wonderful post and the comments round it out - would you mind if I added this post/comments to our Runners Lounge articles. I know it's not the typical spectator support articles ...and that is why it would be a great add!


Bob A said...

Way too funny -- both the post and the comments.