My little sister Liz got married this weekend, and it was wonderful.  As I stood up to give the “toast” to the couple, I found myself completely blubbery.  I laughed, I cried, and I made other people cry.  Throughout, I could hear my mother’s voice in my head (she was in the room, but this one was telepathic) saying “Oh please. There’s a time and a place for that! (the crying).”  She just hates it when people cry when they give wedding toasts.   And she’s right, but really, there are just times when you’re overcome with joy, and pride, and you’ve got to let it all out. 

The Kleenex people know this.  But if they were really smart, they wouldn’t only make those pocket packs for weddings.  They’d make them for Finish Lines.  Becuase if there’s one place that you can rest assured you’ll see some tears, it’s at the tail end of any half marathon, triathlon, and even a few 5ks.

I know, because I’ve been that person. The first time I finished a Sprint triathlon, I cried.  I remember rounding the corner, and thinking “Oh my God that was hard, but there’s the finish, and you just DID this!”  I crossed the finish line, dropped my hands to my knees, tried not to pass out, and cried.  Then I threw up, but that’s another story.

The first time I finished a half marathon (the Indy  Mini), I cried, too.  The whole last mile, I was trying to keep it together.  I’d never done anything like this – never trained, never stuck with it, never been so proud of actually completing something I said I was going to do.  I was a Big Girl with no willpower (at least that’s what I’d been told for years, subtly or otherwise).  And yet, LOOK!  I could do THIS! I could run for 13 miles, and finish smiling???  If that wasn’t worth tears, I don’t know what was.

So the question is, is there a time and a place for getting emotional?  You bet.  And it’s on the course.  But if you do find yourself amazed and proud, and just a little overwhelmed in that last mile, take it from me: you still have to breathe!  Crying can wreck that breathing mojo, so if it happens to you, just take some breaths, smile, and think of something positive.  Regulate your breathing as best you can, until you get it under control…and then put the hammer down.  You’ve worked too hard to hyperventilate at the finish line!

But once that tape is in your site, go ahead and let it go. Cry like a baby.  Smile through the tears, though, because it IS a happy day – and you’ve earned the right to enjoy it.

I’ll be looking forward to the laughs and the tears this Sunday, at the Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon.  I’ll be bike marshalling this year, so if you see a Big Girl on a bike, say hello, and introduce yourself!  I’ll be cheering for you, all the way!

See you on the path!

6 thoughts

  1. Last month I cried those last few hundred yards of my first triathlon – but no tears came out (I had sweat out the last of my hydration).

    1. Thanks, Diana!! Good luck this weekend at Choteau – it’s an amazing thing, that first race, and here’s to it being the first of many!!!

  2. I finished my first half marathon (Rock and Roll Seattle) and was tearing up all through the race because of all the participants “Running in Memory Of…” Then, I crossed the finished line, got my medal and lost it, started sobbing to the point that a medic came up to me and asked me if I needed medical assistance! So, yeah, I get the tears thing. I’m competing in my first triathlon in August and I know I’ll be bawling like a big baby then. No big deal!

  3. Just found this post, and had to say, I do EXACTLY the same thing. Almost every half I do, I start to cry when I see the finish line (for some reason, I’m not nearly so emotional when I do 10ks) – and yeah, I SO have to focus on not choking up and allowing my breathing to get all out of whack.

    I thought I was the only one who did this!

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