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Bonus blog: Volunteer gig on Race Day

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Being me, I left early. Only, also being me, I freaked out about a block away from home, came back, looking for something I forgot I had already packed (the list of phone numbers beyond the ones I had programmed into my phone). Discovering that I already had it in my camelback, I decided since I had come back home anyway, I'd snag some extra tissues, it being allergy season and all.

Got to the park plenty early. Took a little stroll before drifting back to my assigned post. Found a fellow volunteer who was working the turnaround point. I was working the last turn into the street leading TO that turnaround point. We introduced ourselves to the officer on site.

The first wheelchair competitor was the first to arrive, about 5 minutes before the first runner was anticipated. The first runner came pretty much on schedule. Things got tricky when the crowds started arriving... as there was only ONE of me at a point where there was two-way running traffic, and many of the runners had earplugs in their ears, and weren't tracking directions well... "keep to the right"... "out on the street, back on the sidewalk" sounded pretty clear to me, but between distractions and being a bit punchy at about mile 19 and a half... not everybody got it. At least we didn't have anybody directly collide head-on, did NOT have to call the EMTs or the SAG wagon... and an angel of another volunteer who relocated himself from 33rd & Sheridan (on the half course) stepped in about 15 yards in front of the turn to direct runners to stay right, and I stood at the corner to direct them into the blocked off street lane.

Our officer gave me a tip about how to signal oncoming runners by pointing, to make it clear they were to run around me to the right. Worked a little better than just shouting, but still had folks who "didn't get it".

Partway through, I noticed that ALICIA363 had showed up to look for some of her favorite runners. I waved at my workplace wellness buddy who was the cyclist accompanying the first female runner. And my at work buddy stopped to say hi when she reached the turnaround point, giving me a chance for a quick potty break during a break in the clumps of runners.

They finally pulled the cop after the last 26.2 participant was in the park. I walked down the road toward where he'd be coming from, and walked with him to the turnaround and back to the mile 20 marker. By then, they were picking up the traffic cones and vehicle traffic was starting to flow freely through the park. I walked back, picking up discarded cups, empty Gu (gel) packets, etc. and putting them in the trash (so if anybody sees my Runkeeper walk, it might look a little funky). Girl Scout training.

The end of the gig was kind of anticlimactic at this post on the course. A very different experience from working the finish line or the body marking, or packet pickup. The runners still had 6 1/2 miles to go, and we sent them on their way with good wishes. Hope they all made it back. It would be a shame to get to mile 20 and not make it to the finish, for sure.

I had a fine upper body workout with all the gesturing attempting to get runners into the right lanes (especially those who could not hear me, or those for whom English is not their native tongue).

By the way... the cop relayed to us that first runner finished as the crowds were just starting to pick up at our post. Amazing. When the 5:15 pace group was headed back, it was pretty much over out here.

Still, a satisfying way to spend a day... and now... naptime? emoticon

LIFE *is* good! Spark on! emoticon
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