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So, today I got to cheer for some of the 60,000 runners who undertook a wet, soggy Peachtree Road Race. I was supposed to run, but am trying not to aggravate a slow-to-heal injury from Ragnar Chicago. I was very responsible and decided to forego the race and serve as chauffeur/cheerleader for my husband, sister, brother-in-law, and friends.

So that is how I ended up outside the Flying Biscuit in midtown at 7:30 this morning, ready to cheer on runners at the busiest corner of the race. The intersection of Piedmont and 10th streets is just .2 miles from the finish, on the middle of an uphill push to the end. Also, it allows easy access to, you know, biscuits. And coffee. I was all coffeed up, outside and ready to cheer by the time the elite women went by.

I was alone, but I had brought my trusty cowbell so I could make some noise and give the runners a push. When I say there was a monsoon going on in Atlanta the past two days, I’m not kidding. That’s what the meteorologists said was happening due some tropical moisture that has dumped a ton of rain on the area. There were runners who opted out of the race due to the forecast, and so of course there were more spectators who chose to sleep in, too. And fewer people to cheer is… kind of a bummer. But I was ready to pick up the slack!

Soon, the elite women zoomed by. Then the men. Oh, hey Ryan Hall.

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Then, the mere mortals–the very, very fast mere mortals started to turn the corner and run toward us. Soon the street was filled with runners. Filled. Like this:peachtree 20133And so it goes. When this picture was taken, there were still people six miles away who wouldn’t even start the race for almost another hour. This crowd is massive, and this is not an easy race. I thought of a sweet post on my Nuun Hood to Coast teammate Megan’s blog, and knew that I, too, would not stop cowbelling. The crowds were already thinner than usual today. A lot of people really struggle as they make their way along 10th Street. I spotted several people I knew, and I yelled for them and rang the cowbell. I also yelled and cowbelled for… well, everyone. I saw Katie go by, I saw Jesica, and then my husband go by, and, just as I was looking for my sister and her husband and Melissa…

*tap tap tap* went a finger on my shoulder. I turned around.

“Ma’am,” said a man. “I know you’re cheering, but, I have a headache. Could you please stop cowbelling?”

“But…” I gestured toward the throngs, THE THRONGS of people running the race. The people who were passing by THE BUSIEST (read: loudest) CHEERING INTERSECTION OF THE WHOLE RACE. The people who needed a push. The people who just appreciate the crowd. The people who say “Thank you!!!” and come over for a high five.

“But I’m cheering for them,” I said.

“I know, but I have a headache. From the clanging. Can you just give it a rest for a few minutes?”

At that point, I suddenly grew very tired. I didn’t feel like fighting. I didn’t feel like being a jerk. I knew by that point that I’d probably get to our meeting area around the same time as my sister, and it was time for me to head out anyway. I looked at him and said, “Wow,” and then headed down 10th toward Piedmont Park to meet up with my family.

My sister and brother-in-law both told me that they looked for me, and I wasn’t there. I hate that the most about the situation. So here’s my question–what would you have done? I know that cowbells are loud and not everyone likes them. But… it’s a race. If you don’t want to be around noise, I might suggest bowing out of your runner’s cheer section?

My sister suggested I do my best Will Ferrell, but I wasn’t quite up to it:

What do you think, trusty friends and readers? I want to know.

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I cheer for you, Sea of Humanity. Cowbell, or no cowbell, I cheer for you!