Confessions of a balloon killer

I killed some balloons today. All in the name of running.

Today was the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA 5K and Barn Dance. Since I have a race next next week I opted to lend my enormous talents as a volunteer. ( had pointed out that it’s National Volunteer Week. Whatever that is.)

By enormous talents I mean drinking coffee and nodding. But then they pointed me toward the balloons.

Shockingly, those enormous balloon arches at the start/finish line don’t come straight from the factory. There is some assembly required. As in, put down your coffee (grrrrrrrrrrr) and at 5 a.m. attempt to tie a square knot around a ribbon while neither bursting the balloon or letting out enough helium to create a chorus of Mickey Mouses around you. As a search for a new career path, I assure you that balloon tying will not be at the end of that path.

But then I graduated to parking lot director and things got better. I just had to stand. I am good at standing. I fell down a few times early on but mastered it quickly. I considered collecting $2 per car for an imaginary parking fee but making change would have required too much thinking for early in the morning.

The yin and yang of today's running: At right, a drawing by a friend who was checking runners' numbers and left, the heart rate zone for Mr. Serious.

It’s funny how different a race feels from the spectator end. You get so used to that routine. The check-in, goody bag inspection, pinning and repinning, warmup, endless wait for the portapot, restless anticipation of the starting gun. None of that happened today. I just toted some tables, killed some balloons, waved at cars, heard a gun, waved at more cars and went home. I will go to my next race a lot more appreciative of the thankless job volunteers do. I’ll even give them something from my goody bag. Maybe not the good stuff, but still …

I went back later for my run. Six miles at marathon pace. Today was a LOT better than the last couple of days, probably because of Lit Chick’s harsh admonishment, but also because the day off yesterday helped a lot. That Halifax Hilton may know what he’s talking about after all. Still crazy slow, but miles in the bank.

All in all a fun day. Hung out with a lot of really nice people and saw a bunch of super-excited kids racing for the first time. Maybe it’ll stick and they’ll be runners for life.

At least I hope so. I would hate to think all those balloons died in vain …

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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2 Responses to Confessions of a balloon killer

  1. Jill says:

    I read split times last year at a race; I wish I would have considered collecting $2 from each I read a split to….12 grand right now would be fun $$ for a quick trip to Mexico for margaritas….or sponsoring a rim to rim to rim run. Or new running shoes that didn’t kill my feet, since someone told me it wasn’t time to hang ’em up yet. Hum….

  2. Senior Runner says:

    “I fell down a few times…”

    “Mr. Serious” had better tie those shoe laces before he falls on his yinyang a few more times!

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