This morning I woke up at 5:30am to volunteer for a local 5k and 10k race.
I did this last year too and there is just something special about volunteering and spectating a race. I arrived at the empty race area just before 6:30am and just soaked up the quietness. It was peaceful and amazing to think that in just under 30 minutes, this place would start to buzz with people and race excitement.
I was scheduled for packet pickup for the 5k race and although it was hectic and busy as I passed out bibs and t-shirts it was fun to interact with a bunch of racers - many who were running their first race. The excitement was contagious and I began to think about where I would be next Sunday. I would be standing around with a bunch of other racers while volunteers took time out of their day to help me possibly have a great race. I would be starting my race, my first marathon, and hopefully the weather would be good!
Once the 5k race went off, I made my way over to the finish area to see the top runners come in. This is possibly my favorite part of spectating. I love seeing the runners at their best and I love cheering them on because of course I know their name while they have no idea who I am. After the first few women came in, I made my way to the post race area and quickly began to give out water. It was a hot day and the sun was beating down. The swarm of finishers quickly over came myself and the other volunteers trying to pour water as quickly as possible.
The 10k race followed closely after the the 5k finish and I left the water area to spectate the 10k race as well. I knew a lot more people running the 10k than the 5k and I was excited to see how they would do. As I waited for the runners to come to the finish, I thought about how I would be feeling the following week. It was 9:18am and at that moment I hoped I would still be feeling good and finishing within the next hour and a half.
As the top men finishers started to trickle in, I once again began cheering for many who didn't even know me. I wanted them to run well and I wanted them to finish. The top woman looked awesome and I have seen her run many times - pretty inspirational.
I made my way back to the finish area and began handing out water again. It was insanely busy as we handed out water to the finishers and just being among everyone made me feel like I could do anything. Just being around the runners, made me want to run and to run well.
I don't feel nervous about next week, yet. I know the nerves will come. I still can't really believe that in one week from right now (9:19pm) I will be a marathoner! I am not sure how it will go, I am not sure that I will make my goal, but I do know that I will run this and I will make it. I know that I will run farther and longer than I have ever before.
Volunteering and spectating the race today gave me great inspiration to run a great race next week. It reaffirmed that even though I have all the training in the bank from the past 20 weeks, the greatest part of this race will be the mental battle that I will face on the course. It will be the battle of breaking down or pushing forward and pushing on.
I know it will be a battle but I hope I can win!
This is just a mishmash of thoughts....Can't believe the race is only a week away.