Sunday, November 11, 2012

Water Stops

I woke up bright dark and early this morning. Today was the big day: 13.1 Ft. Lauderdale. I ran it last year and set a new PR. This year I was incredibly stressed out as race day approached. How early do I need to leave the house? How early do I need to get up? What if things don't go according to plans? What if the other volunteers don't show up? Oh, yeah, this year I didn't run the 13.1. This year I volunteered to run a water stop.

Let me just say, I thought NOTHING was more stressful than running a race. Until this past week. Then I discovered that volunteering to man a water stop is more stressful. I was in charge of not just a water stop, but the first water stop on the course. For a perfectionist planner like me, this little venture was growing to nightmare proportions in the last week. I was having trouble getting people to commit to show up at 5 in the morning. Go figure! When Casey, an FCA director at the FAU campus called and said he was bringing some people, I was ecstatic! And then the 13.1 volunteer coordinator called me and asked could we man not one, but TWO water stops to cover for a group that backed out. I said we could (what is wrong with me?).

I will spare you all the long boring details about the last minute scrambling (a volunteer's car breaking down, parking issues caused by roads being closed on race morning, the 2 miles I and my awesome son, Justin, had to run between our 2 water stops on race morning, etc)... and will just offer a few words on behalf of all water stop and race volunteers:

1. We want you to have your best race ever!
2. We may have awakened even earlier than you on race day.
3. We probably have lost sleep, hoping and praying that the water stop would run smoothly for you.
4. We are trying our best NOT to interfere with your race in any way.
5. We totally understand that you are in a hurry and have a goal in mind.

So, please... forgive us if we do anything to slow you down. And we understand if you don't have breath enough to say "thank you," but throwing down your cup of Gatorade and saying, "I WANT WATER!" isn't really necessary. (This only happened a handful of times out of hundreds--a thousand?-- racers, but was totally worth mentioning.)
And despite my whining above, I highly recommend that you volunteer at a race, especially if you do several a year. It provides wonderful perspective and is a great way to encourage and give back to your fellow racers. 

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