Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Other Side

As I'm sure you have seen, I race a lot.  And I'm always so grateful for all the people that volunteer and put on the races.  As runners, we are so lucky to be able to just show up, run our race, have someone hand us water and supplies, have a great time, then hop in the car and head home, relishing in a great day of running.  But as I'm sure we all know, it takes a lot of work to put on a race - of any size.

For a while I have been meaning to finally volunteer.  It's so hard though when it's a race that you really, really want to run.  I've had every intention all summer of doing my part, but the race always entices me to say, "maybe the next one."  But I had run out of excuses and decided last week I would man up and give back to the running community.

Earlier in the week, Punk Rock Ron, had asked me if I wanted to join him on a cheap, short (read 12 mile) trail half marathon in his neck of the woods.  I love me some trail running!  Right away though, I thought, this is my time to step up and volunteer!  So I emailed the race director, told him I was available and he welcomed me with open arms to help with the 5th Annual Los Voqueros Tarantula Run!  The run is put on by the Contra Costa County water district to bring attention to all that they do for water supply in the area.  It was a small race, probably with no more than 250 peeps.  They had a 5K, 10K, and a (12 mile) half marathon.  I thought starting small was probably my best bet ;)

Ron had also invited our good friend, always up for a race, Stacey! This was turning out to be a great Saturday!  The only problem was, I was sad that I wasn't going to run with those two characters.  I knew though, I had a job to do and it was on!  The race is in Livermore, about an hour and ten minutes away from Stacey and I, and I was scheduled to be at the race by 7 am.  Ugh!  Stacey though, is a morning person like me, so I hitched a ride with her and we were off hitting the road by 5:45 on a Saturday morning.  Yeah, us runners are crazy.

The weather was predicted to be cold, wet, and rainy - perfect.  And, I was coming down with a cold.  Perfect.  No worries, I knew I would have a blast and my face would hurt from laughing so hard at those two that I would completely forget my runny nose. 
RBR - the trooper showing up with me in the dark!


Right away the race looked super organized.  I was jazzed, especially since this group doesn't put on many races a year.  They had plenty of tents set up, registration, bib pick up and refreshments all ready by the time I showed up.  My first task was to make sure that each runner signed a waiver before picking up their bib.  This was very cool since I got to interact with pretty much every runner of the day.  The other plus was, that they were also having a 5K, and with any 5K you get lots of peeps who are running their first race!  And there wasn't a shortage of them!  So very cool to be apart of some one's first entry into running.  I helped a few newbies pin their bibs on the FRONT of their shirts and remind them that running would be a blast, and no, they won't get lost on the trails!
Working the waiver booth ;)


Finally Ron showed up, (read, fashionably late on the short bus) and hilarity ensued.  Ron and Stacey always make any situation fun, even when it was rainy and windy! 


Sorry for the crappy photo - it was still dark out.  But would you look at the calves on that guy!  Nice!

 When all the races had started, I was soon recruited to work the timing area.  They were using one timing clock and the tear tag system.  It was my job to tear the tags off and string them in order.  Everyone was super friendly, and I was pretty much the only volunteer who was an actual runner.  Everyone else came out to volunteer who worked for the water district.  They all had a bunch of questions and I think I even inspired a few to look for a 5K of their own and start running.  :)  The first half marathoner came in at 1:05 and man, was he sweaty!  That was the story of the day, tearing off sweaty, wet tags from the runners.  Many had never used the tear tag system before, so there was lots of yelling of, "stay behind the person you came in behind!  Don't get of order!"  Everyone who came across said the trails were a blast, and I was sad once again I wasn't out there experiencing for myself.  I knew though, I was in the right place.

The day seemed to go by really fast!  All of a sudden it was almost 11 am and we were waiting on just a few runners to come in.  Read, Stacey and Ron were still out there lallygagging and hamming it up for the camera.  I had to laugh, they were contemplating taking down part of the running shoot with 9 runners still out there!  I told them they couldn't, my peeps were still out there! LOL!  Sure enough, 2 hours and 45 minutes later, a tall guy (with great calves by the way)  and cute little chic (with a smokin' ass)  came running across the finish line and I got to congratulate my two running buddies for surviving the rainy race! 

My duties were pretty much done for the day when those two came across.  They only had 5 more runners out there and they began tearing down the finish area.  That kind-of made me mad, but from a logistical stand point, I got it.  They would still be timed, just no big fan fair.

Ron and Stacey reassured me that their lengthy run was due to the fact that they had to rescue someone from a burning house, help a mamma cow give birth...and stop to tie their shoes a few times.  They are such a bunch of do gooders!  There was one other funny story of the day: a goat came out to cheer everyone on.  Yes, you read that right, a goat.  The story of the goat is actually quite sad.  She belonged to an employee who had worked at the water district for over 25 years.  She was quite instrumental in the race each year.  Unfortunately though, she passed away suddenly just a few months back.  They brought her goat out to honor her, as everyone who knew her said she loved Sarah the goat and all her animals.

Sarah the goat - I tried to get a picture with her, but my camera died :(

So the day was a huge success in my book.  Even though I had to get up at the butt crack of dawn on a Saturday and brave the rainy elements with a cold, I still got to give back to the running community, hang with a goat named Sarah, and laugh my butt off with two of my fav running buddies!  Success!

Stacey and me after the race
My buddy Ron
I'm so glad I went and volunteered on Saturday.  It felt really good to cheer on all the runners coming across the finish line and to experience the race from a different perspective.  I promised myself I won't wait so long to do it again!  If you've never volunteered, give it a shot!  I'm on the prowl now to find my next one!

The week went by really quick for me.  I was busy and tired - I think the cold was coming on since Wednesday.  I had a pretty decent week of running.  I managed some speed work, a 12 mile medium long run and took two rest days.  I also was able to get in one more attempt at a long run today.  It was miserable with the rain, wind and cold, and decided it would be smart for me to turn around a 5 and just stick with 10 instead of the 18 I had planned.  I'm hoping I will get out tomorrow morning for my long run - just need to get over this cold!    I rounded out the week with about 47 miles.  Not my best showing but I needed to get over this cold!  I have the Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon on Saturday and I want to be healthy!

I'm off to catch up with all of you!  Congrats to all the racers! 
Have a great week and Happy Running Peeps!

21 comments:

PunkRockRunner said...

Maybe if you had spent less time hanging out with the goat you could have acquired (read stolen) some race bling for Stacey and me (or at least me). You may also want to consider an entire blog post dedicated to the awesomeness of my calves.

I can’t wait until next weekend and thanks for volunteering.

All the best,

Ron

Heather said...

That looks like a lot of fun. I think it is great to volunteer at races, everyone who races should do it.

Book Worm Runs said...

Very nice!! I think every runner should volunteer every once in awhile to give back. It sounds like you had a lot of fun! :o)

Teamarcia said...

Good for you for volunteering--awesome! I love that you wore your Boston jacket..there were a ton of them spectating the Grand Rapids race and I found it so inspiring.

Christina said...

Volunteering isn't an easy job!
I ran my first half this weekend and there were a bunch of volunteers manning the aid stations and what nots. I'm thankful for volunteers.
I am going to volunteer one of these days.

ajh said...

Good for you. I usually do one race a year. I should do more.

Erika said...

Sounds like a fun event to volunteer at! And the goat is super cute!

Jenn said...

Nice work volunteering! A GOAT-LOL!! Not a lot of races up here but I would love to volunteer sometime! I just love the whole race atmosphere!!! Good Luck with the half this coming weekend! Honestly, how many weekends do you actually have off to relax each year-ha!

Denise said...

i really enjoy volunteering for races. it's so exciting and makes you appreciate what it really takes to put on such an event. glad you had fun!

Jill said...

I'd probably stay up all night to volunteer at a race with Ron and Stacey - I'm sure they made you laugh the entire time. Sometimes it's hard for me to watch a race that I so want to do when I'm volunteering, but in the end, it feels so much better. And look at the $$ you saved by not paying the entry fee - like now ou can get new SHORTS!!!!! There are some wickely cute new ones out there girl, and yous gots to gets some!!

Hope you're feeling better.

I'm headed out of town for a few days...any new "news"???

Miss ya!
xo

Morgan said...

Volunteering always ends up being interesting! Great recap! :)

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

ok i too have been thinking a lot about volunteering so now you have me extra inspired

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oakley said...

Your photos are great. Congrats on a nice post!

chris mcpeake said...

cant have a well run race without all the great volunteers that is for sure

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

that sounded like a great way to give back to runners! It does take a lot to pull a race together and have it run smoothly. thanks for helping grease the wheels!

Katie said...

cute nike top! and nice goat! what does lilly think about her?!

hope you are feeling better! hugs hugs!

Bethany + Ryan said...

fun! i've volunteered at a few races, it was fun. i volunteered at a 70.3 one time, my job was to give out medals at the finish line, it was pretty funny, half the finishers were really proud and wanted the medal to be placed around their neck, and the other half litterally ripped the medal out of my hands and kept walking, haha. it was a blast tho

MCM Mama said...

I love volunteering! I often volunteer at the registration or bib table before a race and then jump into the race at the last minute. Gives me a chance to volunteer and still run.

Kristen said...

I loved this post! Yay for volunteering! Looks like you picked a great race to work. It is always nice to have wonderful volunteers out there - I am sure they greatly appreciated you.

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