This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to participate in race day from a different perspective! As a running participant, I LOVE race day. I love everything about it. The anticipation that leads up to a big race you've been training for, the feeling of camaraderie as everyone makes their way to the start line, the good juju you get from other people out on the course, the feeling of accomplishment at the finish, and of course the party at the finish line festival!
I knew from the beginning of the run season that I wouldn't realistically be able to run Zydeco this year. At 37 weeks pregnant, this was an unrealistic goal to set for myself. I've run the race the previous two years, since it began, so I couldn't imagine not participating in this event in some form or fashion. I was able to run the Cajun Cup at 20 weeks and the Cajun Country at 24 weeks, rounding out with Zydeco participation just felt right. These are the big three races in our area. I went back and forth over being an official volunteer, to cheering out on the route with a sign and fun hand outs. However, when two other ladies from my run group couldn't run the race this year and decided to volunteer, my mind was made up! We signed up early for a job we knew would be fun- awarding medals to finishers!
Congratulating people is a really tough job, but someone has got to do it! We got to award medals to so many of "our people" which made handing out medals that much more special. I saw so many people I knew crossing the finish line, it was good to just get out! I forget how chatty people are after they finish a big race. Happy people like talking. As a group, distance runners are super happy people, and I love happy people.This was an overwhelmingly positive experience, a fun and rewarding day.
Full disclosure: volunteering wasn't all glamorous. We were asked to do some not so fun tasks too. At 37 weeks pregnant, I got tiered from being on my feet for so long, squatting over a port-a-potty is much more challenging when you're smuggling a watermelon under your t-shirt, and once I made it home, I was basically useless the remainder of the day. It's really eye opening how much work goes into these events behind the scenes. When you run, you show up, and it's your day. ALOT of time and effort goes into making that happen. The experience made me even more grateful for all of the race day organizers, and volunteers who put so much time into making these events so successful. Much respect! If I ever find myself in a similar situation as I am this year, I would absolutely volunteer again.
That said, I can't wait to get back on the road. Running a race is a million times more fun than volunteering at one. This event made me miss running even more than I already was. I hadn't realize how much I relied on running for stress relief and overall decompression "me" time, until I couldn't do it anymore. I ran across the parking lot at Sams Club last Saturday and even that felt so so good. So silly. I'm really looking forward to getting back on the road. I've got me some running shoes, a jogging stroller, and zero excuses. Countdown continues....