Last weekend, I participated in the Orange County Marathon.
But before you become too proud of me, and too holy cow, wow, she teaches full time, watches reality TV, and runs marathons, I didn’t run.
And I didn’t walk, either.
I volunteered at a water station! WOOT WOOT!
How it all happened is a bit of a long story, and a little haphazard, but the gist is . . . some of us from my small group at school volunteered in honor of a little boy named Jake, who passed away from complications due to cerebral palsy. It was in conjunction with the OM Foundation and there’s a lot more to it than that, but I’m just going to leave it right there because it’s a long story and it’s sad. 🙁
When Steve and I first agreed to do this, it was back in March I think, and we were bright eyed and bushy tailed because it was in the middle of the day on a Saturday.
Or for all I know, we were in Coronado watching the sunset with a glass of wine.
Because once it became May and it became REAL, we were having second thoughts like nobody’s business because we had to be in Orange County, parked, and at our water station by 5am.
IN THE MORNING.
ON A WEEKEND.
A PRECIOUS WEEKEND.
We don’t live in Orange County. We live in the Inland Empire (say that with an echo) which means we got up at 3:30 in the morning, brushed our teeth, threw on some clothes, and got out the door by 4am.
WHO DOES THIS?
Not to mention, we weren’t even running!
Do marathoners just do this? I mean, do they need to see someone? Like, a professional? I think this is a serious disorder and requires immediate help and intervention.
We found a 24 hour drive through Starbucks and then we were on our way.
Because I’m married to Steve, we were the very first ones there. In the dark.
In fact, we were there before my friend, Kristy, and her husband, too. And they were in charge of the whole entire operation, and they were driving the truck with all of the water, the tables, the cups, the gatorade, the easy-up, etc etc etc.
We beat them there. Because Steve has no idea how to be on time or late. He is always early. ALWAYS.
Meanwhile, Steve and I are just sitting on a bench on a sidewalk on the corner of such and such, right next to three porta potties.
When you’ve been drinking coffee, you use the porta potties. Which were unbelievably clean, by the way. I’m not kidding. CLEAN!
So when Steve went in, I sat outside on the bench by myself, in the dark, guarding our backpack.
And lo and behold, a WHITE VAN started driving up super slowly. So I started praying Please Lord Jesus, make this van go away, or make Steve get out of the porta pottie right this very second, please and thank you!
I have a very healthy fear of white vans, and I actually think everyone should. Listen to me. Don’t park next to a white van, don’t walk past one, and if you happen to see one, pray for the poor soul trapped inside.
Well, this white van not only slowed down, it made a U turn, and pulled up right alongside the curb where I was.
My prayer became Help me, Lord Jesus, please help me . . .
And then out of the van jumped my friend, Kristy, and her husband, and then Steve came out of the porta pottie, and then all was right with the world, except for the fact that it was 5 in the morning, dark, and freezing cold.
Our other friends started to arrive, and we spent the next hour or so setting up cups on tables and pouring water into them. It was a HUGE production. I had NO IDEA! We had big sheets of cardboard to put on top of the first layer of water cups so that we could have multiple layers of water cups. The gatorade had to be mixed up, too!
We were at mile 14 which meant we would only see the runners who were doing the full marathon. The first guy (the winner of the whole situation) just ran right on by us, no water necessary, as if he was going for a little stroll in the park. I’m telling you – this guy was hardly even sweating. Just swinging his arms, pumping his legs, and BAM. He was gone in a flash. It was pretty darn impressive!
The first group of runners were really fast and they meant business! There was a bit of a trick to handing out the water, but I am proud to say that my water always got to my runner, and no cups were lost. Sometimes, there were just misses. What can you do? But I had no misses! WOOT!
When I first started handing out water, Steve told me to raise my arm higher since I’m so short and all.
You guys. My arm was KILLING ME!
It should have gotten a medal of some sort, if you ask me. Forget those marathoners running 26.2 miles. What about my poor little arm?
The fast runners were FAST. Too fast to slow down and take a small water cup without us feeling like they were going to knock us over (or out).
The middle of the pack was slower. They would actually slow down to get the water cup, or stop to use the porta potties.
The whole time, we were yelling, and hooting and hollering, and doing everything we could to make them feel good and inspired. I’d yell things like You’re amazing! Or You’re awesome! Or You’ve got this! You can do this! LOOKING GOOD!
Then after the middle pack ran by, we started seeing the slower runners and they were farther apart from one another. They would come right up to me to get water. And they would stand there, and catch their breath, and drink their water, and then muster up the courage to keep going. I’d say You’ve got this! You’re looking good!
And when they ran off, I would turn to whoever was closest to me and say They did NOT look good.
Because they did NOT. They were DYING. And they still had HALF WAY TO GO! And they were bent over, and their knees looked like they were going to give out, and they looked very very very ill, but they kept going.
It was seriously INSANE!
After a long while, a man came up with some homemade signs and said he was looking for his wife who was running. He had three or four kids with him and they told us her name so we could all cheer her on. AND THEN HE SAID:
She hasn’t trained at all. Not one day. She just decided to run a marathon.
Hasn’t trained at all? Just decided to do this? What kind of a person is this? I can’t even decide what I want to eat for dinner and she just decides she wants to run a marathon?
I just cannot.
Anyways, it was a super fun experience, and if you ever get the chance to volunteer at a water station during a marathon, I highly recommend it! We would totally do it again!
Reliving all of that just made me feel so tired though.
I’m off to watch a marathon of reality TV.
Wish me luck!
Colleen E Dougher says
MAN! I only did the OC HALF Marathon! Bummer that I didn’t get to run into one of my Teacher Inspirations! But yes, I totally agree: people who run full marathons really need to be checked for some type of mental break from reality #onlyhalfcrazy
Sarah B says
Even without running the marathon, this is an amazing achievement! i recently ran my first 5k and the water (at the end only unfortunately) was very appreciated! The volunteers who run these sort of events are fabulous, without them the runners can’t do their thing!