This weekend I went to Benton Harbor, Michigan on Sunday to cheer at Steelhead 70.3. I did this race last year and had a total blast so was excited to get back.
It involved a 2:30am wake up call in order to get there before the gun went off and the time change didn’t help! If that’s not love waking up at that ungodly hour on a Sunday morning than I don’t know what it!!!
I decided to bring my son with me to this race. It is on a beach the whole time and he gets to see me race but I wanted to share the other side of racing with him … Cheering and how to be a good spectator!
We all loaded into the car and set off for Michigan while the rest of the world was sleeping.
I got to see Bob off and also spend time with the Bestie, Jay, before he started. It was a beautiful day to RACE!!!!!
The top 5 things I loved teaching my big guy about “how to be a good cheerleader” are this:
- Try to make eye contact with the people you are cheering for. If you can, you usually always get a smile and that smile will at least momentarily help them forget the physical aspect they are enduring.
- If you look at their bibs on the run, you can see their names. People LOVE to hear their name. So if you can see their name and then say, “Good job Michael …. or …. Keep it up Cindy” you will likely make them smile and feel really happy for that time.
- The louder the better!!!! We don’t half ass our cheering!!!! Cowbells and bright colors and screaming until we lose our voices!!!!
- We cheer for EVERYone because EVERYone is out there doing the same course and the same distance. Some may be faster than others but that doesn’t mean anything. EVERYone is a human out there participating for different reasons. Each kit has meaning and some involve charities. Some triathletes are doing this for a cause and I liked to teach him about the different ones I knew. It is WAY more than a sport to some people. It is a dream of hope and magic.
- It is HARD work. It takes a lot of dedication and tenacity to race in these endurance sports. We watched one guy hobble to the finish line because his calf was cramping and we cheered even louder. We saw countless people pulled from the swim including one person we went to cheer for. My big guy asked if they would ever be able to participate in an Ironman race again and I said they sure CAN and WILL. Sometimes we can’t finish. Sometimes things happen out of our control. Sometimes our bodies just don’t cooperate. That is OK. And I was able to teach him … Well so what do you do then. After you have had a “failure” … Well first thing is you didn’t fail because you were BRAVE enough to show up and TRY! That is HUGE. And second. We will get knocked down in life BUT what defines us is how many times we can get back up and keep trying. Try Try Try again. Never stop moving forward.
It was such an amazing race day and the time spent playing on the beach with my little and seeing my favorite people was priceless. I love that my boys are getting to an age where they can be my partners in crime and be part of my experiences and life. I am excited for the years to come and all the bonding moments and things I can teach them through my sport. I am thankful for some truly inspiring friends that I can learn from and cheer for in this life. I’m so happy my son gets to see these people race too and have examples to look up to. Triathlon is SO much more than a race … It is a lifestyle and one I am proud to be a part of and share with my little family.