Sunday, September 6, 2009

Skinnyman Race/Volunteer Report

This was the view when I arrived at transition Saturday morning at 5:30!!! Yes, even earlier than I would have been there for racing! It was a little chilly, but all of the usual excitement was in the air. This was my first time volunteering at a race, and I am surprised and delighted by the great experience I had.

After the sun came up it looked to be a perfect day for racing. I have to admit that, in between carrying cases of water and chocolate milk, loading up buckets with ice and water, and setting up garbage cans, I was wishing I was racing and realizing that I had made a good call not to.

My partner-in-crime, Jill, and I had a fun time getting set up. We were the official finish line water girls, so once everything was set up we had some time to watch the beginning of the race. Her husband was also racing, and we got a great spot to watch the athletes come out of the water. (The pink volunteer shirts pretty much got you in wherever you wanted to be!)

(Yes, that is a banana in my pocket! The volunteer breakfast was your choice of donuts or muffins, so I snagged some fruit from the race food tent.)

I got a great picture of Kel coming out of the water. His swim was slower than I expected, so I was starting to get worried. By the time I saw him, I'm not sure who was more relieved that he was done, me or him!

Kel is in the silver cap with the big smile.

Since my volunteering duties didn't really start until the first people were finishing, I also got to see Kel come in off the bike. He looked great, and had a great bike time. After the race, he told me he was chatting with someone as he came through the finish! I was like, WHAT!?!?!?! He said he could definitely have run faster, he just wasn't sure why he didn't. That's a hard pill for me to swallow since his run pace was faster than I have ever run in my life!!! Even still, he had a good race, swim aside.

Kel is in the orange jersey, but I realized as I was looking through the pics last night, that I also know the guy in front! I was so focused on Kel, I didn't even notice Tim right in front of me.

Volunteering was awesome. I got to congratulate everyone right at the finish. All of my friends who were racing got a huge hug and big cheers from me as they finished. I cheered pretty loud for the people I didn't know too. In fact, my throat is still a little rough today! A highlight of the day for me was when a woman who had just finished came up to me and said, "Hi, I read your blog, and I have five kids!" I gave her a hug too (nice to meet you, Gera?? In all the hustle and bustle, I can't remember exactly!)

It was very interesting to be at a race, and not be racing. When I went to watch Kel at Green Lakes in June, I had the boys, so I was kind of busy with them and didn't get to watch much of the race. Yesterday, I saw a lot. Here are some thoughts from the day:

  • To win a triathlon seems a little anticlimactic. There were hardly any spectators at the finish when the winner came through. There was no victorious jumping up and down when he won. He just got his bottle of water and walked off. The finish line was much more exciting and emotional when the masses started to come through. Of course, if I ever won a race, there would be excitement like no finish line has ever seen!
  • In watching people get out of the swim, I saw the good and the bad of triathlon. There were several racers who were pushing and yelling to get through the people in front of them. The sad thing was, there was no way they were going to win...they were well behind the front runners. I also saw so many encouraging things. One man slipped on the grass as he entered transition, and another competitor stopped and helped him up. I loved that!
  • I knew one of the men who finished in the top 10 overall. I congratulated him on a great race, and he said he was disappointed. It's interesting that these really great athletes can have a better day than most people would ever dream of but be disappointed, and then the average age-groupers are so excited to just finish.
  • I always get emotional when I see an Ironman finish on tv. I got almost as emotional yesterday watching people finish. What an accomplishment! I am so proud of everyone who raced yesterday!
  • I'm really glad I decided to not race. I'm not sure I could have just walked.
  • I can't wait until my next race.
  • I can't wait until the next time I volunteer at a race. In fact, I think I'm going to try to do it at least once a year. It is inspiring to say the least, and it really makes me appreciate all of the work that goes into putting on a great race.

Thanks for all of your encouraging words as I get through this foot injury! I really appreciate it!


  1. I am glad that you had a great experience volunteering. It is definitely on my to do list. It sounds like you made the right call on the race :)

  2. Awesome RR, volunteer-extraordinare :)


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