WORKING OR RUNNING......
Well this weekend I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Detroit Flagstar/Free Press Marathon, all I can say is what a day. At some point someone asked me if I would rather be running or working at an aid station? HMMMM, quite the poser, but first about the day.
I woke up bright and early at 4:25am and so began the dressing ritual. First the tights, then two pairs of socks, then jeans, then my work out pants, then a dry-fit longsleeved running shirt, dry-fit t-shirt, hooded sweat jacket, fleece lined vest. WHEW!!! I am tired already, it was about this time I realized that I had forgotten to set my clock back because of daylight saving time, imagine my embarrassment!! Well I couldn't leave yet and there was no way I was peeling off all of these layers, so I plopped down on the couch calling myself a bunch of names for my blunder.
A quick stop for coffee and muffins and I was off to pick up Jill. We made really good time, except for a brief lesson I gave in how not to navigate Downtown Detroit. We ate our muffins on top of Cobo Hall as the first signs of daylight started to show over the Detroit river. It was a short walk to the aid station that was already busy with activity. After we stacked all the cups we could there was about 45 minutes before the first runners would show so a walk by the River to see the sunrise was in order. Other than the biting wind it was going to be a beautiful day for running.
The first runner made his past our station at 7:50ish. Then a smallish group of 3 or 4, then another about the same size. Very few of these guys took water, as a matter of fact very few of them seemed to be aware that we were there. A short pause, then mayhem. This is what I was waiting for!! A wave of people was coming at us and for the next 40 to 50 minutes or so we were slammed, but it was awesome!!! Our tables never came close to getting empty and everyone working did a great job. There were a lot of "GO TEAM" shouts as the purple shirts would run past. Eventually most of the runners had passed so we decided to move on to the aid station at mile 20. After a 3 mile walk down Jefferson Ave. we were there and just in time. The two Team in Training aid stations were placed at, what had to have been, the windy places in Detroit. There was no escaping the wind and it played havoc on the cups. Both empty and full!
Being that we were just past mile 20 and the fact that the runners had just come off of Belle Isle, which from what I was told is by far the worst section of the course, the attitude was a little different. The attitude of the runners, not the volunteers. Just a week earlier I was on the other side of that table so I know how important that word of encouragement is at this point of a marathon. Just a simple "Way to Go!" or "Stay Strong" does wonders. It was such an uplifting experience that I was sorry to see it coming to an end, but again most of the runners had passed and we needed to make it back to the finish line. So we were off, back down Jefferson towards downtown and AGAINST the wind. All I kept thinking was, those poor runners! After 20 plus miles they need to finish against this, yikes! By the time we made to Ford Field most of our Team in Training buddies had finished. We found our way inside and decided to have a seat for a few. As the runners came into the stadium I would guess the first thing they saw was the finish line. The second was the big screen at the far end of the stadium with their image running across the line. There were all different types of finishers, those that kept the same pace and those who sprinted. Groups of runners holding hands and single runners that just seemed relieved it was over. I think my favorites were the older runners. Those folks over 60, some I would bet over 70. They inspire me, they give me hope and fill me with awe. If I could one day be one of those guys, that would be something!
As luck would have it we ran into Tami outside as we were leaving and she invited us to the celebration dinner. We had about 2 hours to kill so it was off to find a coffee. Now you would think Sunday afternoon in Downtown Detroit that would not pose a problem. Well to my surprise it did! After about an hour of wondering through the EMPTY streets of Detroit we finally came across a Starbucks, CLOSED!!! Ok, where are the cameras this has to be a joke! We came to the realization that it would not be a money making proposition for businesses to be open on the weekend in Detroit. This will be a subject of another post. :o)
We made our way back to the car a dropped off several of the layers of clothing and finally got that cup of coffee at the Renaissance Center, which again seemed unusually void of people.
It was so nice to see everyone at the dinner. So many people who have accomplished so much and have made such a difference, not only to my life, but to countless others. You all have had a profound effect on my life and I thank you and CONGRATS!!
Would I rather work or run?....
As long as I can do it with people like you, it doesn't matter because either way I am a better person for it.