You might have noticed I like to encourage people. We are capable of achieving unbelievable things, if only we work hard enough. But sometimes the going gets tough, and our commitment and energy fades. I like to be the positive voice that says, “You can” when your own voice is telling you, “I can’t.”
Last fall, I spectated the Twin Cities Marathon. My brother-in-law and his wife were running together. My husband and I were cheering them on. Astride our bikes, we were able to leap frog the marathon. This allowed us to see them every 2 to 3 miles starting at mile 11. They were running fairly consistently, so I started to recognize the runners slightly ahead of my family, and cheer them on, too.
We stopped at my friend’s house for mile 21. Located near the top of a several-mile-long hill, the runners could use some encouragement. My friend was amazed at the enthusiasm with which I cheered on perfect strangers.
This friend is now registered for a 5 mile open water swim, and she wants my encouragement during the race.
Swimming is a different beast than running. How do I cheerlead an open water swim?
My husband and I will be her escort boat for the race. We will be canoeing within 20 feet of her for the entire distance. We will stay on her right, slightly in front of her, with the rear paddler even with her body. That way, she will see us when she breathes.
How do you cheer on a swimmer? Her ears are in the water. When she does come up to sight her course, words are a distraction. If we bang on the side of the boat, would that be rude to other racers?
Would visual encouragement work? She would only get brief glimpses when she breathes.
Do you have any ideas? My friend will be swimming for approximately 3 hours, so encouragement may be necessary. I have a few ideas, but it would be great to surprise her with different things throughout the race.
If you have any ideas how to encourage a swimmer, please share in the comments below. I welcome all ideas, even the crazy ones you have in the shower. Feel free to come back to this post a week later after inspiration strikes you in the middle of the night. Her race is Saturday July 28th.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. See how the race went in the post How I DID Cheerlead an Open Water Swim.
*Photo credit: Andrew Storms (Creative Commons)