Sunday, January 13, 2013

Building my Running Karma

Last January I ran my first marathon at Walt Disney World. This year, due to illness, injury and general life craziness, I am in no shape to run a marathon. However, not focusing on running the race gave me a great opportunity to volunteer and give back to the community that helped me last year. I was also lucky enough to have my husband volunteer with me.

Our shift started at 2 a.m., so we arrived at Downtown Disney at about 1:45 a.m. The last time I was there at that time was for my bachelorette party over four years ago and I had not slept and I was not sober. It is amazing how quickly things change.

We checked in, grabbed our bright yellow windbreaker and our snack and got on the bus to the start area. We were assigned to start water, and with today's heat, it was going to be especially important. Once there, out came the cups and then the water. Before any runners got there, we had about 10 tables full the two tiers of water.

Anyone thirsty?

At about 3:15, the first runners started to trickle in. They were followed by the first of the buses from the Walt Disney World resorts. For the first 45 minutes or so, the runners came through the bag check pretty slowly. In addition to handing out water, I got a chance to talk to chat with some of the runners. It was great to hear their stories.

After that, things got a bit crazier. For the next hour or so, I was handing out water as fast as I could pick it up. The energy in the start area at this point was really great. Everyone was excited and pumped. It was fun to chat with all the runners, see all the costumes and wish them good luck with the race.

By about 5:30, most of the runners had cleared out, except for those who came on the bus that got lost...oops. That group was a bit anxious to say the least. We watched the start fireworks and it really is amazing how far you walk before the start at the Disney races.

After the race started
Once the race started, we were excused and got on the bus to head back to Downtown Disney. We checked out and headed home. After a quick nap, I signed up to help out with the Princess Half Marathon at the end of February.

I have run a number of races and the volunteers have always been great. There have been times I may not have said thank you at the time, especially when I was in a lot of pain, but I appreciate your help more than I can say.

There is a part of me that missed racing today, but I was really happy I got up in the middle of the night to volunteer.