The key is creating good race karma.
Good race karma might not get you across the finish line first, but maybe it can keep you from losing your chip, tripping over your shoelaces, bumping into a pothole, or looking like an idiot in all of the race pictures. It certainly won't hurt. Here's how to bump up your race karma.
- At the beginning of the race, make an effort to actually look at the flag, not your Garmin. And take your damned hat off.
- Give the volunteers your appreciation. At the very least smile and nod at them.
- Wave at the spectators. Yes, they may be sitting in their front yard drinking beer while you run your butt off, but they can also give you a boost when you need it most.
- If there's a kid spectator looking for a high five, don't leave 'em hanging!
- Police officers taking care of the course need extra special love. Smile at them and say thank you.
- At water stations, get your cup from a kid if at all possible. If there are no kids there, pick that person all the way at the end of the water line who is getting no customers whatsoever.
- If you're going to pour some of that water on yourself or dump some out of the cup, pay attention to the people around you so that you don't accidentally drench a fellow runner.
- When you're finished, either throw your cup in the trash or at least toss it carefully on a pile of other cups so it's less of a hassle to clean up later. The same goes for Gu packets.
- Is there a band playing? Clap for them - even if you're wearing your iPod.
- Have fun and enjoy the food at the post-race party, but just eat and drink whatever you're going to enjoy there. I have actually seen people fill up bags with bananas and granola bars and such. You are not at the grocery store.
What about you? How do you practice good race karma?