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Sunday, November 23, 2014
You Are Awesome! Yes, You!
So, one of my favorite things to do is to enjoy my local Turkey Trot.
You probably have something like this in your town...it's a race (5K or 10K or kid's race options) and streets are closed off, and port-a-potties are lined up and a big finish line banner is hoisted and it becomes very official: people are running, or walking, or pushing strollers.
I have participated in my town's Turkey Trot one time as a stroller-pusher with Caroline strapped in as a toddler. She seemed fine with it. Patrick walked alongside me and it was a good feeling of participating as a group working toward being healthy and a citizen of my town.
But I didn't like it nearly as much as my sideline participation in the Turkey Trot.
You see, the Turkey Trot goes right by house.
And every year I get up, purposely late, walk to the corner and scream to the runners:
You Are AWESOME!!
I just yell and yell for about 45 minutes.
Cheering on the runners at the end of the race. They aren't the elite racers. They aren't the every-day-five-mile-no-matter-what runners. These are the ones who are trailing behind and bringing up the back.
I pretty much repeat the same phrase over and over and I'm telling you, it's a winner.
The reactions are so honest and so beautiful and some are downright funny.
You have the "super-cool-and-I'm-a-real-runner" reaction...
they don't flinch, they give a head nod and keep running, they keep their pace and stay focused.
They are real runners after all and cannot be distracted by a weirdo yelling You're Awesome.
Let me also reveal for the record that I am most assuredly not a real runner.
I attempted cross country in 8th grade and had some heart palpitations that sent my mom into her own heart palpitations and the distraction of running became a no no.
Couldn't even entertain the thought...besides...I didn't like it.
I'd much rather be a walker, a bike rider, a dog walking-dancing machine...anything but running.
So it helps that I truly do think these people running -- and that includes everyone -- are awesome for getting out there and doing it.
So back to the runners...
we have the "dang-I-can-barely-take-another-step" runner.
These people are winded, tuckered out and shame faced when they come upon my cheering.
They mistakenly believe I'm cheering for someone else.
When I call them out and say, "Yes, you!! You are awesome!!" They look up and get that shy smile that is the effort of every cheering section on the planet.
And, for a millisecond they let it sink in...they are awesome.
Sometimes they brush it off but other times it perks them up and you can see the transformation.
You can see their mind calculating: "Wait. I'm not running, I'm breathing hard, I'm struggling, how can I be awesome...but that weirdo over there is yelling it directly to me...and well, I am out here running, and it is a foggy/rainy/cold day...maybe I am awesome."
I love it.
Yes, you are awesome!!
No proving it.
No worthiness needed.
You, right there, hon, you are awesome!!
When I'm doing my cheering, I get in the flow.
I don't care who sees me or how crazy it looks.
I love having the socially acceptable moment to yell "You are awesome!"
to anyone and everyone on my path.
I highly recommend trying it sometime.
It makes your heart swell.
For a brief moment in time, you can see the awesomeness in all of humanity and it's pretty beautiful.
Of course, there's always the polite runners.
The ones who've been taught manners and thank you notes and reciprocity.
They are the ones that when I yell "You are awesome!" to them they yell right back to me,
"You're awesome too. Thanks!"
I smile my shy smile because the mother in me wants to high five the mother that shadowed and loved and nurtured those runners...you see, that mother is most definitely running right alongside them.
Heloise would agree...manners matter...even in a Turkey Trot.
Maybe it's the time of year...steeped in gratitude, ginkgo trees and fire ash and oaks showing off, humanity has a halo of goodness built in for me.
But whatever it is, I love the Turkey Trot.
And if you didn't get to hear my cheer, here's one for you,