First, congrats to everyone who ran this weekend! Whether it was the 5k, the 1/2 marathon or the whole enchilada...way to go!!
I made it to the GRB Saturday for my 10 am shift with the Media Relations/PR group. They're a great group and I had a great time. It was pretty slow by the time I arrived, so after making sure we had enough media packets, I ended up blowing up helium balloons for that night's pasta dinner for a couple of hours. We also went through training on what we would be doing on race day - for me that was tracking the male marathoners. I had a feeling that Saturday was the calm before the storm. I suspected that Sunday would be a frenzy of activity with the actual races and the press conferences. We did get a sneak peak at the cowboy hats that were presented to the winners. :-)
After my shift, I headed to the Expo for a look around. Last year, I wasn't completely sure I had made the right decision about switching to the 1/2. But, by the time I made it to the Expo, I was okay with the decision. Today was completely different. For the 1st time, the realization hit me that I wasn't participating in any race. That was a bit difficult for some reason. Seeing all the runners picking up their packets made that realization really hit home. For a second, I actually thought I was going to cry. Weird, I know. I'm blaming it on those crazy-ass pregnancy hormones!
Sunday, I started out at 5:30 am at the corner of Commerce and LaBranch. It was dark and scary and no other volunteers were around yet, so I walked over to the next block where there were already two people. Our job was to just make sure that no one drove through the intersection once the streets had been blocked off for the race. Easy right??? This is crazy...after the cannons went off, we (the volunteers) were all looking toward the start line and could see the police cars slowly coming towards us. All of a sudden, this woman comes out of no where in her car! We had no idea how she got there, because she would have had to come through the intersection where the full marathoners were running. This lady goes on and on about how she just HAS to get to work and wants to know if she can cross "real quick". We were just looking at her like she was nuts...um hello lady, the race has started there are runners coming! She told the police officer, "You know, some of us actually have to work" and the police officer was all nice and replied, "Yes Ma'am, I understand, but I am sure all these people work too. They've been training very hard and this is their day." Turns out, she told the police at the other intersection that she had a medical emergency and was on the marathon medical team! Can you believe that? One other person tried to get through right as the 2nd wave started. He was going the wrong way on the one-way street. Crazy people!
Next, I headed over to the GRB to help out in with the PR group. The PR stuff was pretty interesting. The carefully planned out tasks we were assigned the day before got completely scratched. There was supposed to be someone on the trucks that lead the 1/2 and full marathoners with a radio updating us on what was happening. Then, we were supposed to blog race info on the marathon website...but we had technical difficulties getting the radios to work. So our updates were basically just repeating what was being shown on ABC. Here and there, we could wander over to the window and look down on the start line to see the finishers coming in. We also helped set up everything for the press conference after the race and got to see all the elite runners head over to the elite area. Occasionally, a reporter would want to interview a runner, so we would have to run over to that area and look for that person and bring them back to the media room. I had the honor of finding Jessica Armenteros-Word and walking with her to the media area...I have no doubt that she will once again be back at elite status soon! Umm, stupid me for suggesting we walk up the escalator to get upstairs. It was after the race, so I am sure she was exhausted. Doh!
Volunteering was fun and was exhausting at times, but in all honesty, I would much rather be out there running! ;-) I'll see you out there next year!