This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, November 08, 2010

If I Am Not Running It...

...I might as well volunteer for it. This year I volunteered a second time for the same spot I monitored last year, for the City of Oaks Marathon and Half Marathon.

It's the best spot: about three miles into the race, right in front of the State Capitol. Two cops block other ends of my area, so I can at least feel pretty secure. And my spot is not a busy area but one of the best spots to see all the runners in the race. Being so early in the race, there will be no runners dropping out at this time and their spirits are still high.

I didn't have to stop anyone from entering the intersection. A couple of folks passed by with their dogs, wondering or watching and at least two other folks were there to cheer the runners on.

I felt pretty good in the cold and wind of a Sunday early morning, after getting a little too much alcohol in my system the very night before. Well. At least I wasn't running it...

This year I took some pictures:
This is what it looks like when you are in the front of the pack - you have police cars blazing the trail for you.

And a bicyclist too! What treatment!

And here they are, up close:

It is eerily quiet when they pass by. You can hear their footsteps and their breathing. It's as mesmerizing to see them, as they look effortless but in full concentration mode of their run. I cheer for them but it's as if they can't see me. What is fascinating is that they are all competitors of each other - each is a threat to the other for first place - yet they run together, pacing each other. It truly is a beautiful thing. BTW, this pack is running at an approximately 5 minute per mile pace. That is INCREDIBLE.

And then a solo runner.

This is what I would see in the first few minutes: a small group of six or less, then one solo runner.

The first person I recognize is Derek Fenton. He's not hard to miss with all his tattoos *and* he happens to be a co-worker.

I then see my friend Ryan, who seems to be well in an early pack and he looks at ease. I see Rich shortly after Ryan. I am ecstatic at seeing people I recognize.

It is cold and windy. I am not wearing gloves, nor am I wearing a jacket. Not that I am freezing either (my blood has warmed in the past year) but my hands start getting numb from clapping so much in the cold. At some point, a runner gives me her packets of hand warmers and I feel relief. The irony being that they are probably starting to burn up now.

The middle of the pack comes in and they are a happy bunch.

They are thanking *me* for coming out there. And while I am an 'all about me' kind of gal, it was wrong to thank me. I would respond with "no, thank YOU for running today!" I told groups often that THEY were inspiring me. Or 'what a way to start the day!' Every smile, every nod my way, or thank you was such a privilege to receive.

I got a hug from my buddy Charles. That really brightened up my morning. And then I saw my (ex) running buddy Frank - he looked amazing:

Here's a shot of a couple of runners who had to get a picture in front of the State Capitol. Love the tights:

And then the end of the pack...they also get a couple of cars to follow them:

One of the cars has the Lieutenant who is just as inspiring about having our city host this race...she releases me from duty and I take a parting shot of my intersection:

I'll be here again next year...that's if I am not running it.

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