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funny marathon signs

Support your Runners at Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 2015

If you live in the Phoenix area, especially if you live near the race route for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon or Half Marathon this coming weekend, please come out and support the runners. It matters that you’re there.

Photo by Tyler Hurst from Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2012

Photo by Tyler Hurst from Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2012

My sister came to Phoenix to do this race before I became a runner, and I drove her to the starting line, saw her start the race, cheered for her around Mile 8 and at the finish line. It was fun to be part of the excitement of the race and see all the fanfare, but I didn’t think it mattered that I was there.

I didn’t understand until I became a runner myself how helpful and encouraging it is to have people cheering for you on the sidelines, even when they’re strangers. It’s even better when you see a familiar face in the crowd.

When I did that half marathon in 2012, I knew my friends would be watching for me around Mile 8 and Mile 11. At Mile 4, I started counting down how far had to go before I would see my friends. It was so great to see my friend Tyler holding a sign that insulted me (per my request) as I ran by him and other friends. That kept my spirits lifted until Mile 11 when I saw my friend Barb who yelled, “Move your ass Bitch!” (I specifically asked my friends to insult me that year. It’s part of my masochistic nature.)

One of my Favorite Race Day Signs Ever - Photo by Jeff Moriarty

One of my Favorite Race Day Signs Ever – Photo by Jeff Moriarty

Even when I don’t recognize the people who are watching us run, it means so much that they came out to support us. I love reading all the funny signs that people make and seeing the volunteers who dress up in funny outfits. It’s mutual people watching. It’s fun to watch runners who wear costumes or running shirts with clever sayings on them. Quite a few people put their name on their shirt so you can cheer for them by name if you want. This year we had the option to customize part of our race bibs. Mine says “First Marathon.”

The 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona race routes will cross Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Wherever you live, you should be able to get to a portion of the race relatively easily. If you’re going to be on the marathon route and you want to make my race, make me a sign that says “Go Baby Duck!” Baby Duck was one of the nicknames my late coach called me. This will only be my second race since his passing. That would make me happier then having people insult me.

To everyone who has ever driven a runner to their starting line, made a sign, or cheered them on along the way, thank you for your support. It makes a big difference having you there.

New Running Mantra: “You Forgot Your Flash Drive”

It’s monsoon season in Phoenix, so I got to go running in the rain last week. A rainy day means I can’t run with my iPod which means I’m left with the frightening experience of running with only my thoughts to keep me entertained. (And trust me, my mind is frightening place that no one should visit alone.) I set out on my 4.5-mile run. I’m sure I looked like a drowned rat within five minutes, but it warm outside and so the rain was a refreshing change to being covered in sweat which has a tendency to sting really bad when it gets in my eye. At the beginning of the second mile, I was settling into my pace and listening to the rhythmic sound of my feet pounding the pavement.  I randomly started thinking of the train episode of The Big Bang Theory and the phrase, “You forgot your flash drive,” started repeating over and over in my head.

You forgot your flash drive.  You forgot your flash drive. You forgot your flash drive. You forgot your flash drive. I don’t know why this became my mantra. It has nothing to do with running, or exercise, or any real aspect of reality for that matter. But it worked. It gave me a solid 9:00 mile pace for the rest of my run.

Funny marathon signs - Smile or it drops by Jeff Moriarty from Flickr, used with permission

Funny marathon signs – Smile or it drops by Jeff Moriarty from Flickr, used with permission

Now here’s the weird part. Two days later it was a beautiful sunny morning and I headed out for a run, happy to have my iPod strapped to my arm and earbuds in my ears blasting my training playlist. Despite my musical distraction, within the first mile my mantra starting playing again my head: You forgot your flash drive.  You forgot your flash drive. You forgot your flash drive. You forgot your flash drive. So it looks like this is going to be my running mantra this season. It’s so weird but it’s working so I’m not going to fight it. When I start feeling tired, I just play it over again and it picks up my pace. Historically, I’ve asked people to insult me when I’m doing a race. It makes me smile and feel loved. (Thank you to everyone who has ever yelled, “Move your ass Bitch!” at me as I ran past them while fellow spectators looked at them in horror.) I will be running my first marathon at Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona in January 2015. I think it would be awesome if someone would make a sign for me that says, “You forgot your flash drive” and hold it up as I run by. No one else will get it but that would so make my race.

Funny Signs at the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon

I had to miss running in the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona race this year due to leg injuries, but on the flip side, I had an awesome time cheering marathoners on with funny signs during the race.  I teamed up with Jeff and Dannie Moriarty for some serious fun near Mile 13.

We arrived at our spot a bit before the first marathoners would be running by so I gleefully took my sidewalk chalk to the marker at Mile 13 and wrote the following on the street.

Rock n Roll AZ Street ChalkIf You Did…

The Half…

You’d Be Done…

By Now!

Finish Strong

Oh I amuse myself! I chatted with a racer the next day and she said she when she saw my note she thought whoever wrote it was “pure evil.”

Now, I’m someone who actually likes being insulted when I run. Don’t ask me why, I just like it. My shirt from last year’s race said, “Masochist” across the front and “Run Bitch” on the back. I figured I’m not the only one who finds this endearing and helpful so I continued the “Run Bitch” tradition with one of my signs. Some people laughed said they liked it. The best reaction was, “How did you know my name is Bitch?”

Photo by Jeff Moriarty, Used with Permission

Photo by Jeff Moriarty, Used with Permission

I held this sign for most of the race until we started seeing more and more racers who were walking. I didn’t want them to think I thought less of them for not running the full route so I switched to my other sign.

Photo by Jeff Moriarty, Used with Permission

Photo by Jeff Moriarty, Used with Permission

Dannie had an awesome Breaking Bad inspired sign for the race. I told her to hold onto it for next because if I run the full marathon, I’d want to see that.

Dannie Sign

Jeff had the best sign of the race.

Photo by Jeff Moriarty, Used with Permission

Photo by Jeff Moriarty, Used with Permission

The reactions ranged from shock, to laughter, to “holy shit,” to racers and spectators stopping to taking photos – even two police officers took photos. I liked his Zombie sign too, but nothing could top Jeff with his pants around his ankles.

Jeff zombie sign

One thing I learned this year was that if you put your name on your shirt – like the original Mouseketeers – people will cheer for you by name. I thought I was hanging up my running shoes after last year’s race, but now that rehab is going well, I’m thinking I’ll be back on the course next year. I may have to get another custom running shirt for the occasion.

If you thought our signs were funny, you should check out Jeff’s Harassing Marathon Runners Flickr album that includes all his signs from this year’s and last year’s races.