Monday, June 27, 2011

volunteering observations ...

Yesterday morning, I woke up at 4 a.m. by choice. It wasn't because one of my kids was screaming my name. Or because I was headed out to log some miles. It wasn't even to savor the quiet and alone time I could get at that hour of the day.

No, instead, I was waking up at 4 a.m. to volunteer at the I Love the Tavern Triathlon - my first race volunteering experience. (Well, other then the Penn Relays - I used to work in media relations for that event.) I always wanted to volunteer, but it never seemed to work out. Either training got in the way. Or racing. Or J's work schedule. Or an inability to convince J that it would be fun to hang solo with the girls all day.

But, finally, the stars aligned. And it was awesome. I would highly recommend that if you've ever raced or even considered racing, that you volunteer to work an event. It will make you appreciate all the hard work that goes into your "race experience."

Personally, I learned more than just that though. Like ...
  • G and I can have fun no matter what time it is.
  • "Body Marking" does not suck. Triathletes are some fit individuals.
  • I have really good handwriting. If you need well-written numbers on your arms, I'm your woman.
  • I have serious bike envy.
  • You can never have enough volunteers. If nothing else, they can stand and cheer for every athlete. Especially the ones who left their posse at home on race morning.
  • Be prepared to give up your sneakers. Elusive Dave (volunteer coordinator extraordinaire for Richmond Multisports) handed his over to a racer who couldn't find his when it was time for the run.
  • G and I make "red shirts" look good.
  • Standing in one spot for three hours and cheering for every last racer is the perfect opportunity for calf raises and other various isometric exercises.
  • A good leader makes all the difference.
  • The part of the triathlon that makes me cringe the most is the barefoot run from the swim to transition.
  • I can do things I never thought possible. Like lift my arm over my head.
  • Some people are way more body confident than I.
  • Some guys shave more of their body than I do.
  • People have a fascination with my socks. A dozen people must have asked me about them.
  • I now know what outfits "work" and "don't work" while racing.
  • Seeing someone crash their bike, takes me back to the very instant when I crashed mine.
  • Working the race gets you "insider information," such as race dates for new 70.3 races in Richmond (may have found my 2012 70.3 goal race. Just saying.)
  • Some people volunteer only for the food.
  • Little kids cheering for their parents, or running with them through the finish chute, will always make me cry.
  • I want 70.3 bad.
Have you volunteered before? What are you waiting for?

Be sure to enter my NYC Marathon Raffle HERE. There are still 15 prizes to be won and the next three winners will be selected on Friday.

23 comments:

Running Ricig said...

Body Marking doesn't suck. This post is awesome! Glad you had such a good time.

Did Dave get his shoes back?

Rachel McPhillips said...

This makes me want to go volunteer right now!! People do have a fascination with the tall socks... I got called "crazy socks" all morning Saturday.

Karen said...

Sounds you like had a blast! I LOVE volunteering. You are right, everyone should do it at least once. I did body marking at one race and a girl had me test write her numbers before I marked them on her so she could approve my handwriting. LOL. I guess it is part of "the look" at that point :)

Run with Jess said...

Neat, funny observations! Great post. I've volunteered twice. Making time is difficult, but I always thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It's super motivating!!

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman said...

Volunteering is awesome!! I wish I had more time to do it myself. Guess I just have to go pro and quit my job. haha

Lisa said...

volunteers rock! thanks for being out there, i'm sure the athletes racing that day appreciated it.

i like volunteering, but i've never done it for a triathlon....yet

SupermomE12 said...

Sounds like a blast! I am so glad you got to volunteer. Love the body marking. :)

TNTcoach Ken said...

Ha, this was my volunteer weekend also! I just hate being that volunteer that yells at the by-standers, but sometimes it's necessary......

Laura said...

Such fun...I volunteered yesterday at a charity bike race. The actual volunteering was good but the organization before wasn't....and I am not a patient kind of person....

Runners Fuel said...

sounds like a great experience!

Wym said...

Im starting a race company. I am terrified! But i enjoyed reading that you liked working the race. It gives me hope people will come help work mine!

Austin said...

Volunteering is awesome, but dangerous. Working the finish line at IM Florida convinced my wife and I to sign up for our first 140.6. The enthusiasm is contagious.

Tricia said...

loved this

and yipppeee for raising your arm over your head

Cory Reese said...

We volunteered at St. George Ironman last month. I had so much fun volunteering that I questioned why I run races. Volunteering is much less painful!

Carin said...

Great post! I'm hoping to volunteer for more of my local races especially while I'm trying to work my way up to full training again.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

I'm glad the stars aligned for you to get to do this! How great to learn a sport from the other side too.
I have helped set up for races prior to the race/race day and then run them on the actual day. Still too selfish to give up the actual race but I do agree that it would be a blast!

Marlene said...

So fun! Glad you had a chance to volunteer. But yeah, the butt-crack-of-dawn wakeup is not the most fun thing ever! I'd love to volunteer at a tri... then again, I don't want you tri-pushers getting ideas. :)

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

I huge high five for volunteering.

Michelle said...

Wahoo for being able to raise your arm up!!

Jen said...

Share date please. I just gave up Patriots (in my head). I want in... RIC 2012

ajh said...

I have serious bike envy myself these days. I volunteered at a half ironman once. I watched a team of father, mother and son. THe mother swam and was the last one in. I saw the father and son pacing and was afraid they were upset with her. Instead they cheered her in like she was the first one in. The memory still brings tears to my eyes.

Courtney said...

I have volunteered at an expo before. One of these days I'll get to work at a race too!

Cynthia O'H said...

You got to body mark? Lucky!

These are great perks to being a volunteer. Men and shaved legs are just one of them.

I better stop...