I'll admit that when my alarm went off at 6:30 am, the last thing I wanted to do was get up and go stand in the cold for several hours, but I have to say that this was really fun and so inspiring to see runners - both the ones who made it look effortless (at mile 16.5, no less!) and the ones who, you could tell, were feeling every step. While running a marathon is something that you choose to do, and it seems like a good idea at the time, it sure takes a lot of inner strength and determination to make it to the end. I'm glad we were able to offer some encouragement along with water and Gatorade - oh, and mini Milky Way candy bars - Julia was given one toward the latter part of her marathon last week, and she swore that made the difference in getting through the race, so she brought a bag for the runners.
For a runner (I can still call myself that, right?), I found the behind-the-scenes part of the race interesting - usually, I just run the race and at some point(s) come across a water station. Magic? Apparently not! We were given a time to arrive and set up - the tables, water and cups had been dropped off at our spot, but we (and I'm saying the royal *we* since some of our group had already arrived and started setting up by the time Jeff and I negotiated road closures to get there) set up the tables, filled the first round of cups, put up signs, started playing some music thanks to a generator being brought by one of our runners, and (of course) posed for pictures:
Moving the Gatorade table closer to the street - we were told to be off the street when the runners came by.
Water first, Gatorade second...
USA Fit BCS! Don't let Jeff's shorts fool you - it WAS cold. I'm wearing three layers under my coat!
Fun crew of ladies! My half homie, Julia, is in the center...but now I have to call her a full homie since she ran her first marathon last week!
Will showed up dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow - he stood at the turn and hollered and waved his swore for the runners - they loved it! He was a great distraction for them.
Waiting for the first runner to come through...
The entire reason we were out there - the runners!
Yay - another runner!
We were also responsible for cleaning up the cup trash - here's Rand coming back after picking up a discarded cup...we had the cleanest aid station by far thanks to him and Stan - all morning they kept up with the trash!
Nearly two years ago, when I was going to run my first race, I remember Helen giving me some advice about the water stations - she said to pick out one person and point to them so they'd know you were going to reach for their cup. The races I did were never that crazy at the water stations by the time I got there, so that wasn't necessary for me, but this race? We were told that some runners were trying to qualify for Boston and the Olympic trials, and to be really careful about not impeding their way. So we were understandably a bit nervous when the first few runners approached. Imagine my surprise and delight when I realized that as I stood there with a cup of Gatorade held out, a runner pointed at me! Oooh! I knew what he meant - I was in the club!!! That happened many times yesterday - and the handoffs went really well with minimal splashing or missing the runner completely. Quite cool!
My new rubber rainboots kept my feet nice and dry - Paco approved them.
Again, why didn't I think about getting these before Dallas?!? My mind, it boggles me.
While this was fun, and I have no intentions or desire to run a full marathon, I sure would like to be on the other side of the Gatorade table soon.