Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wildcat Volunteering

 Again I have to say I almost feel bad with how much we are compensated for spending a beautiful morning outside in the middle of nowhere helping runners get through a tough half marathon.  Brazen is the best, still.  For 6 hours of "work" we get shirts, medals, lunch, and 5 comped race entries.  What does that equal out to? Well the race we used our entries on would have been $54 x 5.  But, and I hate to sound cliche or sappy, but when we got to the finish area after we had our last runner come through, we got so many thank you's from the runners who had come through our station earlier in the day.  That's really the highlight of the experience.

Anyway, we got to where everything had been dropped the day before. It was in a big pile under a tarp.  We all went to work getting everything set up, slicing fruit, filling cups, mixing sports drink, setting up signs, and sending Brian a mile out to be a course marshal at a turn.  It was a beautiful morning! Just stunning.  It was a bit windy and we quickly took down the tent we had up initially, but other than that, it was an amazingly pretty morning.  There were cows off in the distance, and turkeys that would get pretty close from time to time.

 Above, that's sports drink and ginger ale.

 Above, that's Mt. Diablo off in the distance.
 We got set up pretty fast and then had to wait what we estimated would be about 40 minutes if the fastest runner was running somewhere in the 7's per mile.  We were at almost exactly the half way point.

 Above, runner coming down the hill.  Below, a lady turkey about to cross the trail.

 Once the runners started coming, things just go by in a blur.  Lot's of activity and refilling things.  Filling up the runners water bottles, making sure the ones who don't look great are ok, not talking to the ones who you can tell don't want to talk, and making conversation with the runners who want to hang out for a bit to recoup. A funny thing that I haven't had happen before was we had a little run on wipes. Yes, for that.  There were few (if any??) potties along this course.  Runners were needing to go, so I'd send one off in one direction to a bush, and try to not send the next one in that same direction. I thought we only had baby wipes, but after so many people were asking for tissue I dug through a bin again and found a roll of TP that I could have sold for a pretty penny at that point.
 This was the view on the walk out and back from where we parked to where the aid station was. Not Bad.

 Above....it may look like nothing, but picture a screaming mouse inside a snakes mouth being carried away to be eaten.  It was kind of awesome. Sad, but that's nature.
 Once the sweeper came through and said that's it, no more runners, we packed it all back up. I texted Jasmin to tell her we were packed up, and she let the park ranger know. He came out in a truck and we loaded it all in his truck and hiked back to the car. Then drove to the finish area for It's It's and goody bags and visiting.

Check out the size of that medal! It's huge!! A fun side bit is Emma took pictures of the runners that came through the aid station.  She was able to upload them to the race site, and Jasmin gave her a shout out in the post race email, and one of her pictures was also used in the email.  She was so excited!
So that's about it.  It was a blast.  I was tired at the end of the day, it's fun, but it is tiring once it's over and you home and trying to figure out why your back and feet hurt. Not that it compares at all to actually running....I'm just saying I'm so totally out of shape that I was feeling it that night : )

It was fun to see some old friends, and to see Sam and Jasmin again.  Felt kind of like putting back on a favorite sweatshirt you forgot you had but found again in the back of your closet. We quickly got signed up for Brazen's Nitro 5k which is right around the corner.  Can't wait!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Back in the Saddle

Tomorrow we get back into the race scene! Granted, it's as volunteers, but still.  It's been well over a year, probably closer to two years, since I've had anything to do with a race.  I'm super excited to get back into the swing of things!  We will be working aid station 3 of Brazen Racing's Wildcat Half/10k/5k.  We actually only see the 13.1ers at a bit past mile 6.  We'll be driving into the hills, and then hiking in 2.3 miles to where the aid station supplies were dropped by a ranger today. Setting up, putting up some sings at a turn, and one person will hike another 1.4 miles to a turn to act as a course marshal at a turn to keep everyone headed the right way.  Super excited!! Here's a peek, if you've ever wondered, of what the instructions look like. Plus, there's a binder with more instructions waiting for us with the aid station supplies.
 I like to highlight important things so we don't miss anything.
 Below is a map of the drive from the race start/finish where we check in at 6 a.m., to the area we need to then drive to for the hike into the station.
 That blue line is our hike into where the supplies were dropped off for the station. After the race sweep comes through, we break it all back down, call the ranger, load it into his truck, and then hike back out.
 Below is the race map with course marshal spots on it.  We will be that water drop #3.  CM 5 will be where one person is telling the runners to turn, and that green word "sign" is where we need to walk out to and put a "Left Turn" sign.
 It's super well marked already, and chances are everyone knows where they are going....but I always feel like one wrong move and we could be sending runners totally off course...so I study and highlight and make notes.
These are the actual turn by turn instructions for the runners.
Anyway, there's you behind the scene prep work behind volunteering!! It's going to be a fun day!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Suns Out!

First -
I mean, really.  How can you have a bad day when it starts with such amazing goodness??  So green, so blue, and so sunny!

We had our family planning meeting....not that kind of family planning....the meeting where we decide what's happening race wise.  We decided to stick with walking/running 5ks.   We'll have the joy of the race experience, without any time consuming training (i.e. no training).  We'll be volunteering at Wildcat and Bad Bass, and running at Nitro, Bear Creek, Trail Hog, Goonies, and Diablo.  There's also a Huntington Beach Color Run in there, around our anniversary in September.  So these picks take us into November, when we'll meet again and plan some more.
Turkey Vulture

Other than that, we are wrapping up another school year! Hard to believe, but we've got about 5 weeks left.  State testing is happening for Sophie and Myles, and Emma's gearing up for finals. We have one big trip planned for the summer that we are all stoked for.  It's Brian's parents 50th anniversary and we are all spending the better part of a week on a fancy houseboat on Lake Shasta.  Fancy for us is one with a slide, hot tub, and up stairs area : ) By all I mean Brian's sisters and their families and his folks.  We are all excited and I can't wait to have all the kids together.  It's the first time they will all get to spend a decent amount of time together.

Our Summer table is out, pool and lights are next!
But before we can get to that, we've got end of the year parties, the 4th grade Gold Rush Days, Gold Dust or Bust musical, 7th grade awards, setting up the pool, figuring out how to keep the hot half of the house cool....anyone else have that problem??  One end stays 75 and our bedroom and bath are hotter than the outside temps, which have been in the 90's.  Brian has a few work trips coming up, too.
We did a short, hot, family hike this past Sunday in Shell Ridge.

I hope wherever you are, you are enjoying whatever weather you have! Happy Hump Day!
There's a P.S. down there....

 P.S I know I've always complained about phone pictures vs "real" camera pictures.....but man, this new phone isn't bad! I rarely use my actual camera anymore.  These pictures are all unedited, straight off my phone : )

Monday, May 1, 2017