I’ll be honest! I love holding a sign almost as much as I love running an event, probably even more. I’m a lucky “sole” because I’ll lace up to put some miles in with or without a race or event on my “schedule.” I just love to run.
With that said, I have a super-power I may not have mentioned…I make a ReAlLy GrEaT sign! I love to watch other runners, grit on their face, sweat on their chest, giving me a non-energy burning thumbs up as they read my usually hilarious, and possibly inappropriate (or inspiring) posters and signs.
I’m a fan of glitter and go through bottles at a time. In fact, I credit Katherine and I getting mega-phones for the Turkey Trot because Doug Kurtis couldn’t help but notice our glitter-rific signs! We had him at sparkle!
I also find that by volunteering I get to do what I do best…..show my village how proud, honored, amazed, and inspired by what they do, and how they do it, I am. I also get to introduce my daughter to this world of most amazing “humans.”. Many of us run in absurd conditions, at absurd times, and sometimes at absurd costs, but we run, and run, and run! Volunteering and holding signs is the opportunity I take to shower Runners with praise, compliments, and kudos, because really; who doesn’t like getting their ego stroked a bit?
I also get to bring Montana (my adorable 5 year-old) along on sign holding adventures and show her its just as important to support others as it is to do the running. She has become an expert “wa-hoo-er” and is a great “spotter of friends” while scanning endless miles of Marathon and other race crowds! She’s been bundled beyond recognition while getting strollered around from check-place-to-check-place in the cold and she’s waited in running cars until almost exactly calculated moments when our runners emerge.
It’s a serious business this sign making job! We scan crowds and keep a list of clever ideas. We love google and as I write I’m eager to jump on Pinterest to see what we could find there. It’s an art to make a good sign that is clever, quick to read, and gives a snapshot into at least one of the personality traits of the runner for which it was intended. The glitter is what Tana and I use as our “signature you know it is a Tullz” sign.
The power of the good sign, as well as the friends who held it, are one of the instrumental reasons I made my “break 3:25” marathon goal this last Spring). My plan was to have one of my Biggest fans, my sister and her husband, meet me at places along the run with water, fuel, and a verbal kick in the pants. I was bound and determined to come in on time, or be drug off the course (and if you knew my sister she’s just the gal to do either). I was feeling strong but knew the temperature was going to start reaching into the 90’s and I had just run a Boston in that disaster………..
I hadn’t told many people I was going to be at this race. The close few I had, I trusted would keep me in their prayers and I was hoping those prayers would take the shape of a cloud to block the sun pretty quickly………I never got a cloud, but upon turning a corner I sure did get a “fairy-rific” sign, and the friends who were there to hold it. It’s never good to cry at mile 8 of a marathon; you need your electrolytes, but this day was an exception in so many regards and the couple of tears shed from joy may be some of the most joyful I’ve ever shed. I believe those tears were evaporated and became an extension of the prayers I was already lifting up on this day of running, goal breaking, family, friends, and good signs!
And so I bring my daughter, and my friends, to races we’re not running, to cheer on people we know, and strangers we don’t. We learn lessons of digging deep by the mass of people who pass us and can barely find energy to crack a smile, but our eyes connect for just a sec, and I know…….my sign has just become a part of their story, and part of the reason their feet keep going……because that’s what Groovy Girls Do…….we keep going.