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An Ode To My Sherpas

As the countdown to Boston continues, I’m getting excited about the race but also about spending the weekend playing in a new city with my mom.

And that got me thinking — I love having my family at all my major races, and I’m so grateful to them for suffering through weekend after weekend that is all about me and my needs.

My family has traveled with me to all three marathons I’ve completed, along with several other races — my parents even ran Chicago, ING Georgia and the Miami 1/2 with me — and I can’t even describe how awesome it is to see them out on the course and at the finish.

I have a very distinct memory of seeing my sisters just before the final left turn at the 2007 Chicago Marathon — literally the only part of the course I can still picture — and barely being able to say “I feel like death” as I struggled to the finish. My mom and Caroline were at the halfway mark at Shamrock last year, and I ran by shouting “I’M GOING TO DO THIS, I’M GOING TO BOSTON!” [also something along the lines of “I’M STARVING…”] While crowd support is amazing — and one of the things I’m most excited about for this weekend — there’s something even greater about having a familiar face to celebrate your accomplishments.

That said, I’ve never been on the other side and can’t quite fathom how frustrating it could be to deal with my high-maintenance needs on race weekend. It’s been all about me — what I want to eat, when I need to sleep, how much time I want to spend at the expo — even when my parents and sisters also were running as well. And they take it all in stride. Hannah patiently endured the long trek to and through the Chicago expo even though she was crazy bored. When my mom showed up in Virginia Beach for Shamrock, she brought along Powerade Zero, homemade muffins, hummus, peanut M&Ms, fresh fruit, etc, which are all of my favorite things in life. Caroline’s too, I think.

Caroline ran her first half, I qualified for Boston

I think the same thing goes for tris. I only competed in area races last year, but I couldn’t go to Wisconsin in September knowing that I wouldn’t have my parents there for support. My other big travel race this year (Musselman) will be with my teammates and friends, which will be fun in its own way, but I’m really looking forward to eating, shopping and running in Boston with just my mom.

So, thanks family. I hope there are many more race weekends in the future, and maybe even some for which I can repay the favor.

Update: I couldn’t even count how many hours my parents have spent sitting at weekend-long swim meets or blistering hot cross country races. They’ve been doing this for a very long time!

When you travel for races, do you bring your family and/or friends along? Are you as demanding as I am or an easygoing athlete?



5 thoughts on “An Ode To My Sherpas

  1. I race and do meets in secret :). I feel like I own them more that way…and if I have a bad meet, I just don’t mention it to anybody (OK, so I’m a wimp. Whatever.) That is cool that so many people support you. Go rock Boston! Get some ice cream from JP Licks while you are there.

    Posted by Victoria (District Chocoholic) | April 13, 2011, 3:01 PM
  2. For me, having my family there would just stress me out. I am SUPER selfish around race time and cannot deal with other people’s needs. Its so nice that your family supports you so much in your racing! They must really get it!

    Posted by Beth | April 13, 2011, 4:09 PM
  3. i love having my family there. They have supported me in everything I have ever done and I couldnt have done it without them. One of the most exciting things about Cozumel is that my whole entire family is going to be there to cheer me on. Family sherpas are awesome 🙂

    Posted by Lauren | April 13, 2011, 8:52 PM
  4. Hey Woo! Thanks for the shout out and the gratitude! Quite honestly, being a part of your race life and sharing the excitement, enthusiasm, success and yes even the literal pain is a privilege that we wouldn’t dare miss. We are inspired by your dedication and grateful for your willingness to encourage our presence. I’ve been a sherpa for almost 24 years now…….I wouldn’t know what else to do with myself! We are so very proud of you and look forward to celebrating many times crossing the finish line!

    Posted by Jenny | April 13, 2011, 10:42 PM


  1. Pingback: Thanks For Everything, Mom « Speed Laces, Amazing Races - May 9, 2012

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