This morning I volunteered at a race for the first time. It was at the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K and was pretty easy really. I even got a pretty sweet "race staff" performance t-shirt for my participation. I worked at a water stop, and my job was to stand about 10-15 yards in front of the table and holler at the runners to let them know about the presence of the water station (on your right!), because it was kind of hard to see through the sea of people. While I didn't break a sweat doing my task, the poor guys whose job it was to keep filling cups were humping! I swear one of them was even breathing heavily when it was all over.
After we were finished I was strolling around the post-race area when I stumbled upon other volunteers. One of them turned to me and asked, "are you here to help out with the kids' fun run?" I was like, uh, yeah, sure. So I was co-opted into that and my job there was to hand a goodie bag of stuff to the little runners once they finished up and got their little medals. That took maybe 5 minutes.
And that was the extent of my volunteering because I couldn't stick around for another hour or so to help with the tear-down and clean up of the tear-down. But volunteering was pretty fun and I'd do it again.
The one thing I really got out of working a water stop was how as a runner standing there watching people run by can make you feel really lousy, ok, and really good about your own abilities all within about 20 minutes.
When the race leaders came zooming by, I knew I could never hope to be in their class. Then when the mid-packers came through I felt as though those were my people and they looked and ran a lot like me. After that, when it trickled down to very slow joggers and finally walkers and then slow strollers I found a group of participants I could claim running superiority over. Score!
Now on the running schedule is chillin for a couple more weeks and contemplating which marathon training program to use because it's about that time. Yikes.