Jerry was off work today, so we had a few glasses of wine before bed last night. I woke up feeling, well, not my best ;) I was signed up to volunteer at the Monroe Half Marathon this morning, but thankfully, the race didn't start until 9:00. Since I was up by 5:30, I had plenty of time to relax before heading out.
Jessica signed up with me to volunteer (actually, it was her idea), so I told her I'd pick her up at 8:30. We had to be at our station by 8:45. Just as I was heading out the door, I had the idea to grab a small portable speaker so that we could play music for the runners. I tore through the kids' bedrooms, but couldn't find their speakers anywhere, so I wasn't able to bring one. I will definitely keep that in mind for next time, though! I did grab some cowbells and signs.
Our official volunteer position was "course marshal", which basically meant we just directed runners to turn, and we had to stop traffic for the runners at an intersection (the course was not closed to traffic). The traffic issue was terrifying to me, because I know that some drivers get really pissed when they get stopped or rerouted for a race. I've nearly been hit by an angry driver during a race before, for that very reason!
We were at mile 3.5, which was nice--we were early in the race, so once the last person passed by us, we were free to leave. There was a church on one corner of our intersection, which was a little concerning, because of the traffic when the service was over. But we just set up with our cowbells and signs, and waited for the runners to come through.
I had to come up with a sign on the fly, because the ones that I had didn't make much sense for a half-marathon. I brought a marker and just wrote on the back of one of the signs: "1,300 CALORIES BURNED... WHAT'S FOR DINNER?" Jessica and I were talking about what motivates us when we run races, and we both like to think about what we're going to eat later, so I thought something food related would be appropriate.
It was a GORGEOUS morning for a run--despite being 35 degrees, it was sunny, not at all windy, and just great running weather. At around 9:15 or so, there was a hand cyclist that came through. Shortly after, the first runners started trickling through as well. This is a very small race (I would guess maybe 400 or 500 people?). Jessica and I rang our cowbells and cheered for everyone that went by. The sign I threw together last minute was a hit, too--lots of people shouted out what they planned to eat later!
I saw Stephanie and Meg, who were running together. Stephanie is my friend, of course, and Meg actually reads my blog--she and Steph met up at a race before, and made plans to run the half together today!
The traffic situation wasn't as bad as I imagined. I stood in the middle of the street, hoping that when cars saw me, they'd turn instead of trying to go straight (where the runners were coming from). When I saw them coming, I would just point to get them to turn anyway, and that worked well. I got a couple of dirty looks, but most people didn't seem to mind at all (we were in a neighborhood, so it wasn't a huge inconvenience).
When we were getting down to the last runners/walkers, there was an older man shuffling along, and Jessica and I talked about how we thought it was awesome that he was out there doing a half-marathon. When we cheered for him, he said that he was registered for the 5K, but mistakenly started with the half-marathoners, and didn't realize it until mile three. Yikes! He kept going, but I felt awful, and didn't know if he realized how long a half-marathon was. I chased after him, and then told him that he had almost 10 MILES left. I offered him a ride to the finish line, but he said he was sure he wanted to keep going. I just hoped he'd finish.
After he came by, the sweeper came through, so we knew there was no one left on the course. We packed up and headed out. It was super fun being a course marshal! It's basically just spectating, and making sure that runners know where to turn. I would definitely do it again.
I was really curious about the man who was supposed to do the 5K and not the half, so I tried looking up race results at home, but they must not be posted yet. I did find a post on the race's Facebook page that made me happy, though:
I am happy that I was able to participate in this race in some way, since I decided not to run it this year. Jessica and I had a lot of fun cheering on the runners!
Tomorrow is Motivational Monday, so please send in your submissions tonight!