When I planned out all the races I wanted to run I never decided when I was going to do my +1. After e-meeting a bunch of runners and Weight Watchers members over on Instagram and learned that they all were going to run the NYC Half. I looked into that being my +1. When I started looking I figured that all the spots were going to be filled or I was going to get a boring job or the spots available would be when I was working or in dance mom mode. After a little bit of clicking, I found that medals distribution still had openings. HOW AWESOME!?! Not only did I get to cheer I got to give out the best thing given at this event.
I was very excited to announce that I was going to be giving out medals during the half. I really didn't know what to except since I never volunteer for a road race event before. When I got my email confirming my post I was even more excited.
I knew that volunteering wasn't going to be an easy task for me. I had to travel from the Bronx to South Seaport (Fulton and Water) uber early in the morning on a Sunday. Because the event was so early and I had to travel some distance, I had to take public transportation. When my alarm went off at 5am I hit snooze and proclaimed that I didn't want to go. I wanted stay in the warm bed next to my hubby. I prepared for that....I set a second alarm at 5:45am. When that went off I peeled myself out of the bed, grabbed my pile of clothes I set out on the sofa the night before and bumped into everything on the way to the bathroom. As I got myself ready I was thinking to myself, "Thank God I am not running this one...I am so sleepy." I left my apartment a little 6am. I was suppose to left at 6am on the dot to make it to my post at 7am. I sprinted to the bus stop hoping that the bus driver will skip stops to that I can make it to the train station quickly. I was very lucky because that is what he did. I waited just a few minutes for the 2 train... Which was pretty awesome. I was making great time until the train was stopped in the tunnel for 20 mins. When I finally got to my stop it turned out that there was an apartment fire near where I needed to be. I smelled the smoke when I exited the train. When I got to the surface I saw the smoke. I thought to myself, "Oh great someone set the half on fire." Silly me.
I quickly travelled to the volunteer booth to get my gear. I was late but I wasn't too late. I was escorted to the medals area by a sweet older man. He was joking around and he helped me tied my vest down. I was having major vest issues. My supervisor was very funny and serious at the same time. I can't remember his name one bit. He lost my printed name tag so he especially created one for me. I felt so special (NOT!)
It was time to get down to business and unpack over 15,000 medal with amount 40 volunteers. We all were focus and we had a great rhythm going. As soon as we unpacked everything we pooled together and was told that the front runners were 15 minutes away from the finish line. How exciting! When the front runner came through there was little excitement for me. Many of these runners killed themselves running 13.1 miles in about one hour. My mommy mode was kicking in and I wanted to help them feel better. That was not my job. I had to tell my mommy mode to be quiet and chill.
After the 2 hour mark was when the crowds started coming in. Crowds of physically and emotionally exhausted runners. Old, young and in all shapes and sizes. I did my best to smile for them. I told everyone that they were awesome. I got many many MANY hugs from strangers happy that they finish. I took pictures with many runners. I was also picked out by many of the male runners to give them their medals. I didn't really understand that. Maybe they didn't want a man giving them their medals. A few older men bowed down to one knee so that I can "crown" them with their medals. Many times tears came to my eyes because the pride of the runners. The everyday men and women who do this for themselves not for prize money or sponsorship.
I got to meet two very special ladies that I e-met on Instagram, Kathy and Lucinda. Both of these ladies walked to me. I am so happy that they did. I am terrible at picking people out of a crowd that aren't my children. I screamed and gave them both a giant hugs. I am very proud of these ladies. I am so happy to have been apart of their finish line moment. I can't wait to see you at the Brooklyn Half Kathy. I can't wait to see you when you return to NYC, Lucinda.
|Picture taken by Sheryl|
As time ticked on I was looking for my inspiration Sheryl. I hadn't seen her yet and the official time clock was well pass three hours. I check the NYC Half app to see her last check point. She had passed the 15k mark. I was looking for her pink compression sock. There were very few runner left coming in. It was going to be easy to spot her. Suddenly!!! I see pink socks! I started screaming and jumping around like a crazy woman! I saw her use her last bit of energy to run across the finish line. I hear the announcer say her name and I screamed even louder. I stood in the middle of the road waiting for her to come to me. She didn't realize it was me! We took our picture. I am so proud of you Sheryl.
After 5 hours of standing and screaming in the cold, I walked away from this experience motivated. I want to have an amazing run for the Brooklyn Half. This is the push that I needed to get my brain re-focused on my goal.