Sunday, December 8, 2013

To Give Something Back

Mile 7 Before the Runners

Mile 7 Below

Mile 7 Above

Week of December 2, 2013:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Evening run.  36 minutes total, with 24 minutes running.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Bike commute to work

Friday: Off

Saturday: ~25 minute walk (slow, not included below)

Sunday: Bike ride to and from my assigned marathon spot. (~7 miles round-trip) 

Estimated mileage: 3.2 miles.  Total minutes run/walked: 36.

This weekend, I was able to be on the other side of marathoning: the volunteer side!  On Saturday, Paul dropped me off on the other side of town so I could work the bib table at the expo for three hours.  And this morning, I biked about four miles from my apartment to be the course marshal at Mile 7 of the BCS Marathon.  I figured after a half-marathon and a full marathon this year, it was time for me to give something back to my running community.  So it was with a sense of duty and excitement that I bundled up into marshmallow-like layers and braved the cold and the dark.  My biggest fear was biking in the dark this morning, but even at 6:45 AM, there was enough light that I felt safe.  Plus the roads were pretty empty—always a perk of an early-morning departure.

I made my way into Bryan, parked my bike, and waited for the first runners to come through.  About 40 minutes after the start, a scrappy-looking guy came through, looking strong and fast (<6:00/mile!).  Two minutes later, another runner came through, followed by a handful of other leaders.  The trickle became a steady flow of runners, coming in all shapes and sizes.  I cheered for them all, including my former boss and my friend Tonya.  I clapped, I cheered, I said words of encouragement, and I even got a few high-fives.  There were plenty of runners saying thank you as they went by, and I kept saying, “No, thank YOU!”  I was just as happy to see them as they were to see me.

Having run my first marathon earlier this year, I think it was especially fun to volunteer because I felt like I was part of the club.  I knew what it felt like to be in their shoes.  I knew that most of them would be feeling great when I saw them at Mile 7, but ten or fifteen miles later, they would be digging deep to find the strength to finish.  Knowing what a big accomplishment it is to run 26.2 miles, I was honored to be a part of it for this group of runners.  It was satisfying to give to them some of the love that I received on the Detroit Marathon course.

But now I’m cozy and warm at home again.  We’re going out to dinner tonight to celebrate Tonya’s first marathon, and I’m looking forward to that.  I’ve been working at home today, doing some lab website work and trying to tick off my to-do list.  (Clean out kitty’s litter box?  Check.  Vacuum?  Check.  Give Paul gas money?  Um…no check.)  Tomorrow I get to work at home, which I am very much looking forward to.  Last Friday was my final paid day for postdoc job #2, and I’m glad that milestone has now come and gone.  My last day wasn’t bad, but it’s awkward leaving a job when it isn’t your choice.  I really hate that, no matter how smooth it may look from the outside.

Nothing lasts forever.  A first marathon comes and goes.  Jobs come and go.  Everything flows.  Knowing that, running teaches us to embrace the moment for all it’s worth and to do our very best with the time we have.

I just love how running is a perfect metaphor for life.

PS  Lucy didn’t run today, but she did provide early-morning company.  She’s resting now.  It takes serious dedication to look this cute all the time.  

So Pretty


  1. Congratulations to Tonya! I have wanted to volunteer at a race, but never had the opportunity. Maybe this will be the year!

    And I agree about running being a handy metaphor. I can't wait until my back is healed and I can get back out there!

    1. I'm glad you are rehabbing your back! Your return to running will be that much sweeter, having come back from an injury :-)

      I think once you've decided that you DO want to volunteer, you'll find a time and a race that works well for you. I was pretty busy over the weekend because of the marathon festivities, but it was worth it.

  2. I should really look into volunteering for a race. It is something that I have never done, but have benefited immensely from others doing it.

    1. JD, you would be the perfect volunteer. Nobody is more positive and enthusiastic about running than you! Despite the cold, it was very fun to be on the volunteer side of the marathon experience. It lifted my spirits to see so many people out there, tackling 26.2.

      PS I hope we get to run together later this month! I need to send you a message :-)