Sunday, October 10, 2010


The Hartford ING Marathon was held yesterday, and I knew I really wanted to go.  Now that we are living IN HARTFORD, it was about two blocks from our house.  Among other things, I insist that part of city living is attending city events.  So even if Hartford as a city has a massive inferiority complex, I will treat it right as a city and attend events.  Heck, I attended the farmer's market near Charter Oak Landing, which was both sketchy and lame, so an actual event had to rock.

When I did my tri, I loved the volunteers.  They were so happy and enthusiastic, and having people scream "GO TEAM BEN" really made the tough parts easier.  When Team in Training asked for volunteers for a water stop, I was really torn.  On one hand, I wanted to see the finish line, and I could have biked there.  No obligations, just all fun, watching hot, tired people come in from the course.  The TNT stop was at Mile 12, so there would be no view of the finish line for me.  I debated and considered and finally decided that, since I want to keep racing, I had to get some payment into my Karma Bank.  Water stop it was.

I arrived a little after 7, and was assigned the job of handing Gatorade to passing runners.  My other important duties involved helping set up (I put cups on the table), trying to locate the nearest portapotty (my advice: the woods behind us are really thick and the nearest portalet is far, far away despite what the lying sign said), chatting up the nice cops and bike volunteers ("OOOO, are those tubeless tires? On these roads? Wow!"), and eating snacks off the Volunteer Happiness Cart.  As you can see, I was a very busy and important person.

Excitement mounted as the racers approached.  Never having done a water stop, I was a nervous wreck. What if I did it wrong and ruined someone's race?  I have stage fright issues.  So I drew deep on my acting-class techniques and decided I'd pretend that I had a life-and-death reason for giving away that cup of Gatorade.  (It's a great thing, acting class.  Helps me out in all sorts of situations, and I even got a spouse out of class. Best class bonus ever!  Good study buddy too...)

The first runner blew by so fast the air cracked in his wake like sonic booms.  He was seriously speedy.  He was made entirely of muscle and sinew.  A few minutes later the next guy came.  Most of the really fast people ignored the Gatorade, but as the main crush approached, I found I was actually exceptionally good at water stops.

Having been a cheerleader, let's just say I know how to use my voice at high volume for a long time.  So I used my cheerleader voice to shout, "GATORADE! GATORADE!" Soon, I decided to start varying it up a little for the main body of runners.  That explains why I was yelling things like, "Awesome Gatorade for awesome people!  Nice lemony-limey Gatorade!  Gatorade Rocks!  You rock!  Y'all come on down now, here, and I give you the Gatorade!"  Behind me, I heard the other two Gatorade people shouting, "We give you the Gatorade!  Getcher Gatorade!  Gatorade, Gatorade!"

Do you think any carnivals are hiring shouters?  They totally want to hire us.

I got a few cups of Gatorade splashed on me by runners who just missed their grab.  (It's okay.  It washes out.)  We were a fast, well-oiled machine.  I saw a few familiar faces, including the Awesome Running Priest who looked incredibly strong and happy as she sauntered on by.  She didn't even look like it was work.  She made it look like so much fun, I almost thought about doing a marathon so I could be happy like that too.

Thank goodness, that didn't last very long.

All in all, I feel my Happy Karma Bank is well-filled.  And more water stops are definitely in my future! (More races, too...!)

Oh, and the bike?  Actually, I have only had my road bike out once since the tri.  After moving, I've been spending my fall bombing the trails at the MDC resevoir.  Did you know there's a whole unpaved trail system out there?  I sure didn't!  What the heck have I been missing?  It's AWESOME out there!  And somewhere along the lines, I became possessed of some strong legs, so I can climb reasonably well, though I still have a lot of hike-a-bike sections.  But it's really awesome to leave the weekend warrior twentysomething big mouth boys eating my dust as I catch and drop them.  Hee hee hee...


Audrey said...

Yes, you know how important those volunteers are!
It was fun for me, knowing that you were working at a stop to scan the volunteers at each table... wondering when the hell I was going to see you.
When I finally did get to your stop I was SOOOO glad to see a friendly face.. and yo were right out front! Yay.
My method is to walk through the water stops... that way I actually get to drink some fluids and take a little break.
Mile 12 was great.
Mile 19.... not so much.
I perked up again by mile 20... and finished strong.... but.. ach... Mile 19 bit me in the ass. Oh well. Isn't that part of the whole adventure?
Oh, btw, I ran for a while with a guy who was running his 103rd marathon! Unbelievable.
Thanks to you and the hundreds of volunteers.
You should do a marathon. You'd be great.

Joyce said...

As it happens, you DID have a life-or-death reason for handing out the gatoraid. One runner almost died of heat exhaustion, and he went down right after the 12-mile mark. He is recovering.,0,4656464.story