Monday, April 26, 2010

Race volunteering: my first experience.

I had my first ever experience with race volunteering on Friday (about time, eh? I've wanted to get involved for awhile but didn't really know who to get in touch with or how to make that happen). I did packet pickup for the Capital City Half Marathon. What I thought this meant was standing at a table and handing out bib numbers, shirts, and bags with a smile. I even "studied" the race website so I could do a good job of answering questions about parking and whatever else people might be unsure about. Then, I got there and they had too many volunteers. With 3 people already working the packet pickup table inside, they sent the remaining 4 of us out behind the building to stuff packets.

Imagine an hour and a half of "pick up plastic bag; put in lotion sample; put in 4 fliers; pass to the next person. Repeat," all while standing up and bent over a table. Let's just say I have a new appreciation for all of the race packets I've picked up and those who put them together, and I also have mind-boggling amounts of respect for people who do repetitive work their whole lives.

I got to go inside for the last half of my time there to pass out numbers and packets and shirts. People often brought lists of like 8 bib numbers to pick up, so it was a bit chaotic and nuts trying to get the right shirts and everything correct (They had shirts for both the half marathon and 5k, and then different shirts for men and women, and then the various sizing, so it was like a 3 step checking process). I'll be doing this job again this week, since I volunteered for a couple of sessions. The session I'm doing this week won't have 7 people there (just 2) so hopefully I'll just get to work the table instead of packet-stuffing. Though I know someone's gotta do that work too.

I got a free race registration and am running this one on Saturday. The good thing is: this is amazing and FREE. The bad thing is, I'm completely untrained for this race. My longest run in the past month was like 9 miles, and it had a little walking mixed in, and I've been pretty lazy about following through with speed training. Saturday is probably going to kill me. My goals are a) to come out of it without being injured from undertraining, and b) to try to come CLOSE to my January time of 2:15 (though at this point I don't really think it's possible), and c) to run the race to get a sense of my current fitness level so I can better plan my marathon training, and d) to have fun and try not to be ashamed of my slowness in spite of all of the faster people I know who will be running it.

Race shirt: Kinda weak. It's awesome that they did male/female sizing so I didn't just have to get a small men's shirt like I usually do. But they're cheap polyester "wicking" material, tight across the shoulders and chest, and baggy in the stomach/waist, and they just have a boring single-color screenprinted logo on the front. Last year's shirts for this race were nicer. But hey, this was free for me so I can't complain. And, the fit is probably still better than a men's shirt! I love it when races have a women's shirt to choose.

Now, to go take this shirt off before I curse myself with bad race luck!

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