Linking up with Katie for a terrible post about nothing.
My alarm went off at 6:04 yesterday morning and I laid there for a while thinking ‘What the hell is wrong with me? I am developing into a sick individual, setting alarms for fun.’ Then it dawned on me. Today was the day I was to give back to my community. Right. I was volunteering at the Baltimore Running Festival! Woohoo. It had poured for the previous three days here in Charm City so I pulled a hoodie on and wandered on down to the M & T Stadium at 7 right on the dot.
I was supposed to check in at “Celebration Village” and by village, they meant zoo. People everywhere. I managed to find the Info tent and lo and behold, volunteer check-in was at bag check on the other side of the parking lot. I found my people and was ready to complete my assigned tasks. The lady asked my name, I confidently gave it, and then she wrote it down with all the other volunteer names. Wtf? I registered months ago. They handed me a shirt and said ‘Have fun!’ I blinked at them and then said ‘Now what?’
‘Umm. Go see where you’re needed.’
Oh, okay. We’re only in a football stadium. I could be needed anywhere. I asked who I should be looking for.
‘People who need help.’
Wonderful. I gave up on this conversation and wandered off. This was a shock to my system because I managed events in college and a staff of 70 of my peers to manage freshmen move-in day. I assigned every second of their shift and carried around a master copy of everyones schedule. On my own lunch break, I was scanning Facebook and a girl I knew posted “Love reuniting with This Girl and That Girl! Hanging out in our apartment watching The Office! We tried to make cookies and ate mostly dough tehehehehe!” This Girl and That Girl were on the staff. I posted a comment on the status saying “Is that why they aren’t at their assigned stations for move-in day?” One of the girls called me and told me it was passive aggressive and uncalled for. I told her not to advertise on the Internet that she wasn’t doing the tasks she signed up to do. ..especially when the task you are supposed to be doing right now is handing out room keys to freshmen. Duh. At least bring me a cookie.
Anyway back to the present instead of yearning for the days when I could bark out orders ……I, of course, had no one else I was signed up with so I made a few laps of the Celebration Village looking for people that needed me. Difficult task. Awkwardly skulking around a football stadium parking lot on my own….frighteningly typical.
I saw a group of volunteers far off so I meandered over their way and was told they already had too many people folding the foil ponchos. Fine. When I signed up to volunteer, I hadn’t envisioned myself folding ponchos anyway. I envisioned myself up on the podium dropping medals over the necks of chiseled, bare-chested men who thought this was the best day of their lives obvii. Or doing something fun with a golf cart.
the best of the fest, duh. she’s overdue for an eyebrow wax. excuse her.
I walked around for another ten ish minutes, convinced the security guards I kept passing were laughing at me, then saw a group of five volunteers in a pack following some guy with a clipboard. Perfect. I sidled up behind them and hoped this looked natural. The Food Tent. This I could do. There was a girl my age and she saw me and dropped back and said ‘Do you know what’s going on?’ Ah, my people. Her name was Jenny and she was nice so we silently agreed to be partners for the day. We opened up twelve hundred boxes of granola bars and olives (?). My nails are now in terrible shape from using them to slice upon all the boxes. Have you ever seen olives at a race? No, none of the runners had either. One runner asked ‘why olives?’ and I said something about salt which sounded smart and he accepted it. Or have you ever seen apples chopped in half? They were hideous. We did our assigned boxes and when one volunteer wandered up and said she was confused and where should she go, we said apples and ditched that table because I did not want to be associated with unappealing apples. I am a selfless volunteer.
Then we saw there was a water shortage – and I was mocked by all the other volunteers for my pronunciation of water – so we filled water cups. I turned it in into an exact science of ‘these people just ran for many many miles, how far should they have to stretch their arm to reach for a water cup?’. It’s an art. A water table is an art. It was very annoying how disorganized the volunteer side of things were. Volunteers kept walking up because they were looking for something to do. What. Runners were asking us all these questions that you would think we would know the answer to but no. Knew nothing.
I got to see Lauren straight off her first full! Crazy cool. Like a psycho I barreled right over to her the nanosecond I realized it was her and kinda yelled at her ‘LAUREN? HEY HOW DID IT GO!!!!!!!” A local teacher and cross country coach won, by the way, which was pretty awesome. Under Armour dropped their big title sponsorship this year (cue stephanie judith tanner: how rude) and thus there was no prize money, so no elite runners. But I love that a local guy won. I met a few of his students and they were adorable and so happy for him. Erika Brannock was the honorary starter. She’s a local pre-school teacher who lost half her leg while standing near the finishing line waiting for her mom to finish the Boston marathon in April. Supposedly when she regained consciousness in the hospital, the first thing she asked was how were her students. She was worried about how they were going to react when they heard about her news.
Despite the disorganization, it was a fun day. A marvelous day, if you will. There was a 5k, a relay, a half, a full and a kids fun run…so many runners. Sooo many runners. 27,000 runners. They were all super gracious and thankful. I saw allllllllll the people with medals around their necks and I was jealous. And motivated. Since I have been saying I want to run a half someday, I am henceforth declaring that I am going to try and aim for the Baltimore half 10/18/2014 at the ripe old age of 25 (!) and 5.5 months. Obviously don’t write it down or anything, give me some time to come up with some far-fetched excuses of why I can’t 😉 Either way……
1. do you volunteer at races?
2. favorite post-race snack? i know it’s olives.
3. favorite race?
4. favorite race song? i love a good pump-up.