Ahh, remember those carefree days of yore when I was uninjured (or at least not knowingly injured) and running races happily? The Mill Cities Relay (the photo above is from my victorious baton hand-off at that race) was only one month ago, but it feels like ages. Injuries do weird things to one’s sense of time, don’t they?
My last post before my year in review celebrated the fact that my foot injury was not a stress fracture (huzzah!) but instead a case of peroneal tendonitis. Yesterday marked the end of my doctor’s suggested two-week layoff, and while my foot doesn’t hurt the same way it did before, the pain has changed to more of a strained muscle/tendon feeling, rather than the original sharp, “Ow! Oh holy crap is my foot broken??” pain. So I’m not celebrating the end of my layoff just yet.
In the meantime, what has been going on? (Other than cursing my foot, of course.) I was supposed to run my first race of the year on New Year’s Day, the Run Your Hangover Off 5-miler sponsored by the Shammies. Once I knew I wouldn’t be able to run I offered my services as a volunteer… a decision I was cursing profoundly the morning of, after not having gotten home til 3am from NYE festivities.
Clutching my coffee, I arrived at Shammies HQ and was promptly assigned the role of road guard (which they called “course marshal” at another race, but I like road guard better… especially because everyone pronounces it “road gahhd” and it makes me smile). The Shammies president slipped a stopwatch around my neck and told me to wait til the starting gun went off before getting myself down to the 4-mile mark, which was just over half a mile away from HQ via shortcut. Our club’s fastest runner was racing, so I knew I had to get myself down there as quickly as possible; I made it in just under 10 minutes by walking fast, but then had a sore foot to deal with afterwards. (I don’t run the race but manage to aggravate my injury anyway. Figures!)
My duties as road guard were to divert the runners up a hill instead of going straight into a dead end, make sure no one got hit by cars, and yell out people’s times as they ran by. I would say I was successful in two of those endeavors. No one got hit by a car, though there was way more traffic to deal with on that little dead-end road than I expected. And no runners went the wrong way under my watch; I’m pretty good at pointing and doing fun windmill arms to point out the direction of the course.
Yelling out people’s times? Yeah, I made that way harder than it needed to be. I was so concerned with giving people accurate times that I would start staring intently at the stopwatch as soon as I saw runners in the distance, then I would glance back at the road, back at the watch, back at the road, etc. until the person was close enough to hear me, only to have me give them inaccurate times because my brain was stuck on the first time I saw. Actually, it wasn’t that bad… I only gave gravely inaccurate times to maybe 3 runners, but then I’d yell out “No! Sorry! Wait! Your time is [usually 3 minutes slower than original time yelled]! Sorry!” to their retreating backs. Worst. Time keeper. Ever. No one punched me in the face or yelled at me for messing up their race though, so I guess it wasn’t a total loss.
After the race the Shammies threw a party/chili-cook-off back at HQ, with tons of yummy food and general frivolity. I stayed long enough to cheer for all the winners as they got their medals (the overall winner, the Shammies’ fastest that I mentioned earlier, finished the race in 27 minutes. 27 MINUTES. For 5 very hilly miles. That’s faster than I run 5Ks. CRAZY), and to soak in the warm fuzzies I get at Shammies gatherings.
I have yet to christen my shiny new gym membership… mostly because I can’t bring myself to battle the January-at-the-gym crowds, and I’m waiting on a visit with orthopedics before I ease myself back into running. So really, road guarding is the most active thing I’ve done since the Jingle Bell. The rest of my time has been spent with long hours at work and Friends marathons (thanks Netflix!). Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can get back to running soon!
How has 2015 been treating you so far?
Be honest – would you be upset if a road guard yelled the wrong time at you, then corrected him/herself? Or would you not mind?
Any awkward race volunteering stories you’d like to share?