Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 282 - Marathon

Today I woke up at 5am on this perfectly good for sleeping in Sunday. I got dressed and joyfully walked down the street to the Chicago Marathon's Mile 8 Volunteer Check In station. How quickly my enthusiasm diminished when I was met with, "You're not on the volunteer check list". Now, I don't know about you, but I don't think I'd randomly get up at 5am to volunteer for something I hadn't pre-planned on doing. Besides, if I wasn't pre-involved, how would I know where to go? Despite this logic and e-mailed communication, I wasn't deemed an official Course Marshall volunteer. I got denied my marathon participation jacket and hat, and got demoted to "Gatorade Girl". I took my credentials and walked toward the Gatorade station, but nearly turned back to go home. "Pshhh", I thought, "I got out of bed for this?".

Before I knew it, I was meeting other volunteers and hanging up Gatorade signage. Soon after introductions, I was laying out out first level of cups. Each batch of "Gatorade" was 5 gallons of water per every 1 gallon of Gatorade, stir, and pour.

"Half full only!", an experienced volunteer yelled as I started pouring the Gator concoction into the cups. "They'll throw it on you!". I didn't quite know what he meant by that, but I found out later. I continued to pour and layer my cups, and 4 layers later, here's what my table looked like.

It wasn't long before we heard announcements that the first wheelchair marathoners were coming through, quickly followed by the Elite runners. Neither groups would take a beverage we were warned, as their goal was all about speed. In a blur, they were gone. With under a 5 minute mile to their name, there wasn't much to see.

Before I knew it, the "regular" runners were coming, and the handing out of the beverages began. "One foot on the curb!!!", we were reminded. This made sure we didn't go too far out into the street consequently impacting running flow. "Hold the cup by the top or bottom, not the middle!", we heard. This would make it easier for the runners to grab their beverage of choice. After what seemed to be 5 minutes of holding a cup out by my side, it was miraculously gone. A blur had gone by and sucked it out of my hand. Such an odd feeling. I quickly got another cup and waited. It was almost as if I were fishing, but the goal in this case was to allow the fish to get away with the bait!

As more runners passed, I began to get splashed with left over Gatorade as they tossed their semi-empty cups to the ground. Now I knew what the senior volunteer meant! As my arm and shoulder grew tired of holding out the offering cups, I found myself moving onto other tasks, like keeping new and fresh cups of Gatorade coming. If I thought this task would keep me Gatorade free, I was wrong. Pouring is not my forte! Soon I found my volunteer jacket (yes, I finally got one!) soaked in grossness. The day continued, and the Gatorade, cups and all, continued to flow. Towards the end of my volunteer shift, I found myself shoveling hundreds of cups into garbage bags. Now I've shoveled many a things in my life, but cups has never been one of them!

Walking home, I smelled a foul scent and checked my shoes to see what I had stepped in. I found my shoes were clean, but the smell was now emanating from my Gatorade soaked jacket. Eww! I had become the smelly kid! I didn't let that deter me however, from picking up a "Denver Omelet to go please", on my way home. Upon arriving home, I quickly got out of my Gatorade Gear, changed, and enjoyed my breakfast. It was only moments later, I dozed off to sleep to enjoy a quiet Sunday, all to myself.

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