Last weekend was a good weekend. I had a very enjoyable Saturday which I spent with the ol’ ball and chain. I dragged him out to volunteer at a race with me and although I’m sure he was silently cursing me out at 5:45 am, he ended up having a lot of fun.
The race took place up in Skyline (in Palo Alto, CA) and although we didn’t get to see much of the beautiful course, we did enjoy some great weather. Tony and I were helping out with parking while people arrived. It involved lots of flag pointing. At this point, Tony was probably wondering what the heck he got himself into and whether or not he could sneak the keys out of my pocket and drive away without me noticing.
Once everyone was parked, the race started. Tony and I had a little more flag-pointing to do to direct runners in the right direction to the trails. Fairly simple, but necessary. You’d be surprised how many people add or subtract to a course by going the wrong way.
Finally, when all the runners were off, we started setting up our aid station. The course had some out and backs, so we were set up near the finish line for the people who had to go back out again. It was the 13 mile point of the course–so the half-marathoners ran past us to the finish line, but the full-marathoners and 50K runners came to our aid station (instead of to the finish) and went back out again. We also saw the 50K runners one more time before (at their 26 mile point) before they headed out on a 5 mile loop before finishing.
Confused yet? Basically, we got to see people at all stages of their race and it was very fun and entertaining. We were also joined by a boy named Carl. Carl was 11 years old going on 45. His dad was running the marathon and Carl was waiting around for supplies to give his dad at the halfway point. We ended up adopting Carl for 6 hours and put him to work at our aid station. He was great at running ahead and grabbing water bottles from the runners to refill. He also discovered the race fuel of boiled potatoes dipped in salt, and made sure to offer this to every runner we saw. In between runners, when there was a little bit of a lull, we talked to Carl and tried to understand how this kid was only 11 years old. He seemed wise beyond his years and a little jaded from life already. It was only when the M&M’s got hot, and squished between his fingers when he picked them up, that he got excited and I began to believe he was really 11 and not Benjamin Button.
Overall, it was SO fun to volunteer and joke with the runners who felt up to talking with us. We would’ve stayed for the whole race had we not been hot and starving. (Aid station food is yummy until you watch all the dirty, sweaty runners put their hands in the food bowls.) We took our green hats and orange shirts, said good-bye to Wendell (of CTR), and promised to be back for future races.
Wendell seemed a little confused when we left without Carl. We told him we had met him here and he wasn’t ours. Although when I was driving away, I did check the back seat to make sure Carl wasn’t a stowaway. He seemed like a great and interesting kid, and was just as fascinated with us as we were with him. I’m sure his day with Megan and Tony was the best one of all his 45 years.