Last weekend when I was watching Jared’s race, I started thinking about the first races I went to with him. I had no clue what to expect– watching is so different than actually racing and Ironman races are long all-day (14 hrs) events– and the first few times, I made rookie mistakes and did things like forgot to bring food (ummm starving all day!), didn’t bring anything warm to wear (it’s cold at 5am!) and had no idea how to calculate his times or when to expect him to pass by (so I would end up standing there for way too long, afraid I missed him…when I was really way too early).
Even though it’s always a work in progress, I’ve “learned” some Dos and Don’ts of Spectating. I still have at least 3 more races to watch in the next few months, so I’m sure I’ll keep learning, but here are some things I noticed last weekend when I was at the race.
The Dos and Don’ts of Spectating a Race:
1) Don’t Use the Porta Potties at the Start of the Race
Trust me. Athletes have serious things wrong with their stomachs before a race, so spare yourself. Besides, the line is usually a 100 people long (at least) and all the athletes are freaking out about being on time, so if you’re a spectator, try not to get in the midst of this. Luckily, Iremembered this from my race days so I knew not to drink much water in the morning
2) Do Bring a Nice Camera
I’m always so impressed with all the amazing lenses on so many spectators’ cameras. Get great shots! Your athlete will appreciate it.
3) But Don’t get in the way of the athletes just to get a good shot
So not fair to them.
4) Do bring a friend…or make friends with the other spectators.
So much more fun to hang out and watch together, plus you’ll meet some great people.
5) Don’t keep your feet bare in the mornings.
It’s cold out (at least, it is in Cali) before 10am! I always just wear flip flops and my feet are freezing. Sneakers for the mornings would be so much better.
6) Do find out where the closest coffee shop or food spot is
There will def be downtime and I love reading my book and laying in the sun and all, but it’s nice to find somewhere to go. I’ve lucked out the last few times and there’s been a Whole Foods or Starbucks nearby. Last year, in a tiny town there wasn’t much to do, but I ended up cruising around Walgreens for an hour and then sat in McDonalds sipping a coffee and reading a magazine (it was too cold to sit outside and there was no where to watch along the race course).
7) Don’t rely on your phone for directions or a course map.
Trust me on this one: a) you might not have cell service. i got so lost last weekend trying to find the next location and most courses are in rural areas so service is anything but guaranteed. b) the phone screen is so small, you can barely see it. Not worth it!
8) Do bring a CowBell.
The athletes really appreciate it, especially on a course without many spectators. A bunch of athletes ran by and said “Thank You,” which I thought was super nice of them. Sometimes in a race, all you need on a course is a little something (like a cowbell!) to get you through a rough part.
9) Do take advantage of the freebies.
Coconut water and Clif bar samples? Sure, why not!
10) But Don’t drink the water meant for the athletes. Get your own!
11) And Don’t expect to leave anytime soon
After the race, there’s usually more hanging out so be patient!
And #12: Do Have Fun! It’s not all about them, it’s your day too so make the most of it, have an adventure, and enjoy it.
Okay, your turn:
– Add your own Dos and Don’ts!!
– Anyone make a rookie mistake at a race? (while racing or spectating?)