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    LDRICHEL   50,581
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One America Indy 500 Mini Marathon: The Other Side of the Race


Friday, May 10, 2013

This past weekend, I volunteered to hand out pretzels at the finish line of the One America Indy 500 Festival Mini Marathon. It was my first experience as a race volunteer and not a runner, so I wasn't sure at all what to expect.

Woke up at 4:15am (that sucked) and drove downtown, only to get totally lost trying to find the Volunteer Check-In (which was conveniently located at a tiny table BEHIND a whole bunch of donuts). There were no signs. To say I was grumpy would be an understatement. But, as I drank my free coffee with the perfect 55-degree sunrise, I made a decision not to be in a foul mood all day.

As soon as I finished breakfast, I went out to my station. I hadn't thought about the fact that there would be things to do BEFORE runners finish the race. Ha.



We had about 15 huge boxes of pretzels to empty and then about 20 large bags of individual packets to dump into each box (for easier access as runners come through the finish area). Then, when we were done with our table, there were about 6 other tables that needed help with the same thing.



Then, there was a lot of cardboard that needed to be hauled to the recycling area. From 6am-8am, that finish line area was hopping! From the moment I started working, I suddenly felt happy.



It was a very physical morning and I was surprised at what a great workout I was getting just preparing for the runners. Around 8:30am, the 5k finishers started to come in. There must have been about 5,000 of them. We began handing out pretzels. Then, the wheelchair finishers of the half marathon began to trickle in around 9am. After that, there was a steady flow of runners that turned into waves and waves of humanity. We were passing out pretzels faster than we could grab them. It was just incredible. I personally handed out at least 2,000 bags. AMAZING!

The runners were so thankful and many of them were thrilled to have salt and carbs. It was cool, knowing how it felt to be in their shoes...to NEED something that badly and to have it right there waiting at the end. All in all, a really fun experience and a great morning. It was exhausting, but it was worth it. And I can't complain about a free t-shirt, free parking space and a bunch of free food on race day. :)



After volunteering at the Indy Mini, I definitely felt that I'd caught the running bug again. I had almost talked myself into signing up for the Fort4Fitness Half Marathon in September, but when I realized how close that actually is (yeah, I know...crazy), I didn't feel I would have enough time to adequately prepare my delicate joints/bones.

So, I'm sticking with the 10k, which I know is a manageable distance. I think I'm going to do the C210k (Couch-to-10k) program because, although I know I *can* do more, I probably *shouldn't* do more. Using the program will force me to ramp up more slowly this time and hopefully (fingers crossed) keep me free from injury. I've mentioned a few times in the past how difficult it is to figure out a training schedule on the weeks that I have kids. I'm actually quite happy with the 10k plan because it is something I can fit into my lunch hours easily. Now, all I have to do is get it on my calendar and keep my promises to myself.

You know, there was a short period of time there where I felt overwhelmed and thought, "Maybe I shouldn't even bother with this anymore. I'll never have time. I'll never stick to it." Truth be told, I have a wonderful person in my life that tells me every single day that I'm ridiculously beautiful. Although very sweet, it sometimes makes me think that I don't really need to do anything if I'm supposedly so perfect the way I am. But I just can't give up on myself that easily. When it all comes down to it, I know how working out and taking care of myself makes me feel. It makes me feel invincible. And no amount of doting and loving words from another can fully replace the sense of pride I feel when I am faithful to take care of the body that God gave me.

Another thing I've been thinking about is how very thankful I am for my ex-husband. I know that might sound weird, but I was away on business for an entire week (MY kid week) and he took the kids. The very next week, my friend flew in for the Indy Mini and it was supposed to be my weekend but he took the kids. We have had to change our schedule completely this month...not because anyone was crying "Unfair!" but mostly so the kids would have a chance to actually spend time with me. Through it all, he has been ever so kind and accommodating and has been willing to negotiate with me on every point.

I realize what a gift this is. We have never fought. We have never made transitions with the kids a nightmare. We only speak fondly of each other to the kids. We filled out the papers ourselves and agreed on 50/50 joint physical and legal custody with no child support, then waived our final hearing. The judge signed it and it was done. Believe me...I know this is rare. I have seen firsthand divorces that turn out to be the complete opposite (my mom and stepdad, for instance)...where one party says awful things about the other to the kids, or does terrible things just to screw with the other person, or basically manipulates the courts to make their ex's life a living hell. It makes me wonder how so many divorced couples can let things get so out of hand. I just want to ask those people, "Do you even care what your selfish and immature actions against your ex are doing to your kids' precious hearts?!" How can people not be grown up enough to simply be civil to each other...when they've spent a decade or more together raising children?

Maybe my view is simplistic. You can say, "Divorce is messy, Leah. That's the way it is...that's the real world." Well, I don't accept that. It doesn't have to be that way. People have a CHOICE to be cruel or to be kind. All that to say, I'm glad my ex and I have chosen to be kind.

So, I guess that's my life right now. It's not glamorous or overly-exciting. It's not always easy. But it's a good life. And I'm enjoying it.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MONTREAL12 8/12/2013 11:00AM

  WoW, emoticon and emoticon

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JMARIES51 5/31/2013 2:11PM

    I just wanted to stop by and check up on you. How is everything going? Is your body healing and are you working out? No pushing from my side, just miss hearing from you. I know you are busy with the new lifestyle, etc. It is tough being a single Mom for sure.
Hope all is well.

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GEORGE815 5/30/2013 10:06PM

    Lots of big sponsors. Great deal. Good job.

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EFFRAYECHILDE 5/24/2013 8:13AM

    emoticon emoticon
I am happy that you get to be one of the lucky few that their divorce is civil and kind.

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LANNIEMANUEL 5/17/2013 6:04PM

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SHIRAZSOLLY 5/15/2013 11:14PM

    Thanks for the details and the photos! I've never been to a big marathon (being somewhat - no, I'll admit it - very frightened of crowds) but I've always wanted to go to one. And now I'm signed up for my first 5k... with plans to move on up. I think I'll volunteer before I run in the pack at a big city race.

And your honesty and willingness to see all sides - your new partner's, your ex's, and your children's are refreshing. You are a champion.

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KRYSTALLA 5/15/2013 9:07PM

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LISA_FRAME 5/13/2013 5:21PM

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CORNERKICK 5/12/2013 11:13PM

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AWOOD1973 5/12/2013 11:12PM

    Good for you! Happy Mother's Day! :)

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ALIDOSHA 5/12/2013 4:45PM

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JANEMARIE77 5/12/2013 7:58AM

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BLUEJEAN99 5/12/2013 1:53AM

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JUSGETTENBY42 5/12/2013 12:25AM

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MARYJEANSL 5/11/2013 10:26PM

  Glad your life is going well. You have many blessings.

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LRSILVER 5/11/2013 10:20PM

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ROCKYCPA 5/11/2013 10:15PM

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LIVINGFREE19 5/11/2013 9:50PM

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MISSLISA1973 5/11/2013 9:46PM

    I'm sorry I missed seeing you, but I was definitely grateful for my pretzels. emoticon

I walked the 5K, but am ready to sign up (again) for next year's Mini. I was so excited thinking about going around the track! I may not be able to run it, but walking that far that fast will still be a definite challenge! One I really want to be able to do.

I am so glad to hear from you. You have been so quiet lately and I was afraid the changes in your life were going to take you from us. Please don't ever leave!

emoticon Lisa

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HEARTS116 5/11/2013 9:23PM

    emoticon emoticon

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CICELY360 5/11/2013 9:05PM

  good blog

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SANDYCRANE 5/11/2013 7:47PM

    Maybe I will volunteer for a race sometime. Sounds like fun. Your kids are fortunate to have to level headed adults for parents. Good luck on your training.

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CLIMBERS_ROCK 5/11/2013 7:42PM

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JIBBIE49 5/11/2013 7:31PM

    emoticon emoticon Great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail. What an honor. emoticon

In 1973-74, I lived up on 76th Street in Indianapolis and worked at the Chrysler Foundry in Speedway. I really loved Hoosiers. I wanted to buy one of the new houses out in Carmel that were being built, but my husband said they were to high priced since they were $50,000. Think I had a good idea there, but he didn't listen.

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CINDHOLM 5/11/2013 7:27PM

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MISSBOOBOOKITTY 5/11/2013 6:47PM

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ON2VICTORY 5/11/2013 6:01PM

    You know, that's one thing I have never done is volunteer. Truly, its the volunteers that make the race and the enthusiasm or lack of it that really creates the memories. I'm so glad that you are taking care of #1 first but I'm also thankful that things are working out for you on every level. Especially thankful that the kids don't have to suffer the ugliness of it all because 2 adults made the choice to be civil and work together. That is so rare today... good for you.

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DIANNEMT 5/11/2013 5:38PM

    Thanks for being a volunteer--I have also been on both sides. And glad your divorce has been manageable.

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JSEATTLE 5/11/2013 5:30PM

  I have been a runner and volunteer at races for many, many years now. The joy of running and finishing a race is one gift, but to volunteer is really another great gift. Always so nice when you get the "THank you for volunteering" from a grateful runner!!

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PATRICIAANN46 5/11/2013 5:13PM

  It sounds like you have found BALANCE in your life and a way to adjust to your present physical condition. You are also doing such a great job with your children. Our best friends divorced when their kids were in Junior High and handled it the way that you and your husband are. There were NEVER negative things said about either parent and never any time when the kids were used as pawns. Both of their kids are married now and are so well-adjusted. emoticon

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LIVELYGIRL2 5/11/2013 5:00PM

  I'm glad to hear that eve though you weren't running, you could still enjoy another angle of the whole thing.Like when someone does all the stuff behind he scenes in theater.

I think it gives you more appreciation of he entire event, right.

That is so great you ad your X can be nice to each other. That's so much less stressful for everyone. i hate to see kids learn to hate one or the other, and all that nasty stuff.I hate it when the relatives are at each other too.

You both have a decent and productive attitude.

I hope it would would still be here, if $ was involved. emoticon



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NILLAPEPSI 5/11/2013 4:37PM

    That is so emoticon I'm glad you got to be a part if it even if you weren't able to run it. You go girl!!! emoticon

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KARENLEIGH32 5/11/2013 3:33PM

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KIPPER15 5/11/2013 3:29PM

    Sounds like you are making you changes very positive! Well done to think of the kids first and not as a leverage point as so many people do. You can do what every you set your mind to! And you are an awesome and beautiful woman. emoticon

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SHOAPIE 5/11/2013 2:28PM

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PATTISTAMPS 5/11/2013 12:52PM

    I love working as a volunteer at races. I've done the Disney Marathon and a few 5K's here in Orlando. Throwing those blankets around the marathoners as they came across the finish on a cold January morning was thrilling. Made me wish so much that I COULD run...

I am really proud of the way you have managed your divorce. So many times it seems like there has to be a "bad guy" (which could be male or female). And keeping your kids from having to pick sides is one of the best gifts you can give to them. I have seen some real doozies in my day... Like the woman who would take the support check to mail in, and keep it in her purse for a week so it was always late, or the one who told the child - ask your mother for it because she has all our money. It pains me to think of those kids. So give yourself and extra hug, knowing you are doing awesome things for your kids!



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GRIZ1GIRL 5/11/2013 12:32PM

    Awesome blog--thanks!

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PEGGYO 5/11/2013 12:15PM

    keep on keeping on

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IAMAGEMLOVER 5/11/2013 11:29AM

    I hope you will be happy.

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JACKIE542 5/11/2013 11:08AM

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NEPTUNE1939 5/11/2013 10:37AM

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SIMONEKP 5/11/2013 10:20AM

    good luck

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WORKNPROGRESS49 5/11/2013 10:04AM

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TRYINGHARD54 5/11/2013 8:54AM

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MOMMY445 5/11/2013 7:56AM

    i'm glad to hear that you really enjoyed your volunteer experience! volunteering is so rewarding, in so many ways. have a wonderful day!

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NCSUE0514 5/11/2013 7:55AM

    WTG

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PENOWOK 5/11/2013 7:49AM

    You are so very fortunate, Leah! I too have a fairly good relationship with my ex (it's been over 30 years now), but it was tender in the earlier days. Too many are hateful towards one another and that helps no one. You are right-stay the course on taking care of your body, even with someone who loves you...

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WENDYSPARKS 5/11/2013 7:25AM

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