I stood in the shade of a tree ½ a mile from the finish-line I’d crossed a little over an hour ago. Absentmindedly I picked at my chipped fingernail polish, pausing intermittently to eat my post-race snack of dates and powerade. My car, loaded with my bike and gear from the race, sat silent behind me.
Despite the heat and my exhaustion, I stood in the shade waiting to encourage the last few athletes on the course. It’s one of my favorite things to do when racing. Except for those freakishly, naturally gifted sports-folks, we’ve all been there. The last one to finish, the back of the pack where it’s most quiet, when the only sounds you hear are the cars that pass you filled with athletes who'd finished long ago, and the disheartening sights/sounds of the race crew as they break down transition/the finish line.
But, if I’m there, if I see you, I'll stand witness. A rather loud and boisterous witness, but a witness nonetheless. Who cares when you finished, YOU FINISHED and you deserve just as loud and rowdy a celebration as the one provided to those who finished before you. Yup, I’ll stand witness and do my raucous best to applaud you home.