It was an early morning when I woke up at 4:15am on Sunday, especially with Spring Forward. Convincing my body to eat breakfast at that time was fairly interesting. As planned, I was out the door and on my way to Morgan Hill to volunteer at the South Bay Du before 5am. It felt like a scene out of the Walking Dead as I didn't encounter another vehicle on the road until I hit 680 and I felt confident that there had been no Zombie Apocalypse over night. I arrived at the High School around 6am, they still weren't quite ready to receive athletes, let alone a volunteer, so I headed out to get my run done. With my head lamp on I headed out in the dark to run the 5k loop. It is definitely weird to be out running this early in the morning, in the dark in a place you are unfamiliar with. Lucky for me the first half of the 5k course was marked. after that it was up to me to figure out the way back (thankfully it was a loop). As I completed the 5k loop, I stopped off at my car to drop off my jacket, grab a swig of water and consume a Gu, just in case. It had been over 2 hours since breakfast. I then headed out on the 2 mile loop. With about 1 mile to go the sun started to come up and I was able to turn off my light. Pleased to be done and pleased to have had a faster run than last weekend (even with stopping to upright course cones that had fallen over) I headed back to attempt volunteer check-in again.
There really was not a volunteer check-in I was told to go stand by the baby pools filled with ice and wait for the race director. I gave up on that idea after about 5 minutes and went to find Molly. One of the reasons I picked this race to volunteer at was because it was a Du and I figured it would be good for me to watch athletes in transition to get an idea of what to expect in my first Du in May. I also picked it because Molly was racing, if you're going to volunteer at a race, it's much more fun to volunteer at one that your friends are participating in. I also got to see and meet many more friends.
I chose to volunteer at the finish line because I knew I would have plenty of time to get my run in as well as see everyone finish! The spots available were chip removal, handing out water or handing out towels. I really wanted to hand out water because I know that chip removal can be a very dangerous task. Leaning down in front of an athlete right after they cross the finish line is tricky in the event that anyone pukes. And I have seen my fair share of people puking at the finish line. When I heard the first International Athlete was about 5 minutes from the finish line, I headed over to get ready. There was not one other volunteer there. I thought to myself, I'm so getting stuck with chip removal. I spotted the race director and told him I was there to volunteer and he gave me a huge hug, he said he was just about to go try and find people to work the finish line. So yes, I did chip removal. When the winner of the International Distance came in I shook his hand and said congratulations, he had that post race deer in the headlights look and asked me "Did I win?" You sure did! The rest of the morning was fun cheering people in across the finish line and I never did get puked on. The only thing I was not prepared for is that for every athlete you remove a chip from is a squat. I'm not sure how many chips I removed, I filled 4 or 5 buckets with chip timers but I can tell you that I can barely walk this morning and I'm pretty certain I have never done that many squats in my entire life.
I highly recommend volunteering at your local race, if you aren't racing on a particular weekend, the next best thing is to volunteer at one. For my efforts I was rewarded with a goody bag, shirt, food and a discount on a future race. If anything, volunteering at a race typically gets you a discounted entry on a race and helps keep the cost of your racing season down. I promise, the reward of helping other athletes on their race day will be the largest reward of all.
Thanks to TriSports.com for supporting me, I proudly wore my hat to represent as a TriSports Champion at yesterday's event.
Phew, it's been a big week for me and here are the totals:
Swim: 612 yards
Bike: 16.57 miles
Run: 12 miles