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. (myrunshorts.com 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.
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 …