Runners ~ Take Your Mark, Get Set… Turn It ON!

It was a little before 7 a.m. and I was standing on the deck watching the sunrise.  The tranquil colors of the sky casting their reflection on the water was breathtaking.  The world was coming alive minute by minute, but for some of us the wakening had come much earlier… 4:00 a.m to be exact.

Race Day Sunrise

Race day was here; HUBS had been training for his third half-marathon, and I was about to attend my first.  He was a bit anxious about this one for some reason.  Could it have been that he was about to run 13.1 miles with a leg that had been causing him problems; or reaching mile 9, only to start an ascent that would have me screaming, “no flippin’ way!”; or the coastal wind that can cause extreme resistance; or just the thought of making sure that he would be capable of smiling  for all the pictures that I was anticipating taking, as he ran his last one-tenth of a mile?

For some strange reason, I found myself a bit anxious, too.  What did I have to be anxious about, seriously?  All I had to do was make sure that I was near the finish line at an estimated time, with camera in hand ready to capture a little bit of running history.  No biggie, right?

While waiting for the start time of 7:00 a.m., I remained on the deck, in Manteo, looking out towards the sound.  HUBS was way on the other side of the peaceful sound, in Nags Head, anticipating the sound of the starter’s gun…. and off he would go.  Little did we know that while waiting for the start time, we were both focusing on the calmness and stillness of the water; the peaceful water that stills the mind.

Peace and Tranquility

Later, my youngest daughter and I would meet up with a friend and her son, whose husband was running his first full-marathon.  We would all venture into the center of town, where the race was to finish.  In plenty of time, we would find the perfect place  behind the spectator barricades that lined the final stretch of the race; the place where our cheering would certainly be heard and my photos would be taken.

Have you ever been to a half or full marathon event, either as a runner or spectator?  If not, let me clue you into the fact that this event is packed full of energy and emotion.  There’s this  feeling in the air that puts a spring in your step.  As the spectator, it is the feeling of eager anticipation to see your runner.  As the runner, it is the fleeting moment of fatigue that is quickly displaced by the sense of  jubilation and pride,  having gone the distance.

As spectators, once we reached our prime spot for cheering and picture-taking, we stood waiting patiently, as well as anxiously.  Yes, I’m aware that those words “patiently” and “anxiously” are opposites of one another, but as I stated earlier… “there’s this feeling in the air”, and it’s not completely describable.

Looking at the clock above the finish line, I realized that I had some time to monkey around with the camera.  I was using HUBS’ fancy-cam, as opposed to my pocket cam, so there were some settings that I had to get right…. just right!  As runners would come down the final stretch, I would focus… zoom… and shoot.  Quite honestly, I took some really good action photos of runners that I didn’t know;  they made for nice practice shots.  Everything was getting set.  Having adjusted all of the camera settings to my liking, way ahead of schedule, I proceeded to turn the camera off to conserve the battery; it was going to be a long day, right?

I couldn’t help but worry about HUBS and how he was faring out there on the course.  He’d injured his right leg several weeks back, and this had caused him to go easier on his training than he would have liked.  Youngest and I were well aware of his average mile-pace, based on his previous races, so we had a basic idea as to when he would approach the finish-line.  However, I was anticipating him to be a bit slower, due to his injury.  My prediction was WRONG ~ very WRONG!

Youngest shouted, “There he is!”

Remember that emotionally- charged air that I mentioned?  Well, it’s true… the emotions take over any sense of practical or logical thinking, in this high-energy environment.

Watching HUBS round the final corner, approaching the final stretch with an all-out effort was simply amazing!  With his injured leg that had set his training back, he was coming in 4 minutes ahead of his PR (personal record).  “WOW ~ HOT DAMN!”,  was all that I could think at the moment.

“WOW ~ HOT DAMN!”, shot through my mind again, and then just….


I could have said, “camera-fail”, but I had to fess-up and admit to “Carol-fail”.

Visualize, if you will, a runner with a strong steady pace, smiling when seeing his cheering squad; a look of sheer joy that says, “I’m almost there!”  “I did it!” “GREAT to see you!”  Oh, and not to forget the thumbs-up sign, as he looked back over his shoulder as he ran past us.  Unfortunately, this “photo” wasn’t captured on the camera’s memory card, but lucky for me, this is the image that is embedded in my mind; the one that I captured while looking through the viewfinder.

HUBS’ finish was truly an awesome moment that was charged with emotion…so much that I failed to turn the camera …ON!

A moment of race reflection

For now, I think that I will stick to the still-photos; I love how a second in time can capture a thousand words or just plain indescribable emotion.

Congratulations HUBS, on a very well-run race!  You persevered as always, and now you can start training for the next big race!

It appears that I have some training to do, as well ~

12 thoughts on “Runners ~ Take Your Mark, Get Set… Turn It ON!

  1. Tim Godsey

    Carol, you did it again. Love it Love it! Isn’t the image embedded in your mind better than any photo anyway? Because it will last a lifetime and is always with you. HUBS did great!


    1. Thanks Tim…Congrats to you on your 1st Full marathon! It was “awesome baby” to watch you sail across the finish-line. Thanks to HUBS… there are some FABULOUS pics of you and your family.


    1. Mary, I just hope that it stays there, in my mind; so many things seems to flit in and out!!! 🙂 Maybe we should hire you to travel with us to races, you being the photographer-extraordinaire!


  2. Great story Carol, really had me right there with you. Congrats to your husband on running such a slick race (beating a PR by 4 minutes is ‘hot damn’ great!). An action photo would have been nice, but then you would’ve missed all the little details you wrote about. Perhaps the answer lies in befriending the person next to you and agreeing to shoot each other’s friend/loved one!


    1. Thanks Linda! It was a great day; yes, I agree with your suggestion about taking each other’s runners photos~ at least the camera might get turned on. There’s a local race coming up, and you know me… I’m bound and determined to get it right this time. All those little details that I wrote about were seen through the viewfinder… they just didn’t record.

      I plan on catching up on your posts this weekend, as I’ve been pulled away from reading lately. How is it being a successful author? I’m so VERY proud of you… keep up the great work!!


  3. So sorry you weren’t able to get the photo of HUBS crossing the finish line! But the one you posted here is perfect!! What a great post–I felt like I was there with you! And congratulations to your husband on running and beating his PR!


  4. gayle erdman

    — that was a wonderful blog! I felt right there with you in the moment—-and there weren’t
    any “tricky” phrases or anything used too often—it was all fresh & heartfelt, with plenty of
    interesting sentence beginnings—plenty of variety in sentence structure. Really, very good
    interest & expression!!! YOU ARE A VERY APPEALING WRITER !!!
    from your happily “entertained” reader,
    (and Sister) Gayle


    1. Thank you, Gayle! Maybe I should hire you as my editor…. you certainly would be dependable and a pleasure to work with!

      Hope all is well with you and Stu ~

      Thanks for reading and sharing your opinions; I really appreciate it!


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