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In the continuing saga of things I never do like bowling, Primus, and eating Pringles (actually I do that last one pretty often)…

My dear friend and I spent Sunday at the NYC Marathon alongside 47,107 runners.

I say alongside, because we were amongst the 2 million spectators ALONG the route. I mean, you didn’t think we were running, did you? (Well, actually, SHE probably could run it.  But not me. I’d rather have toothpicks shoved under my toenails.)

We were volunteering at the Hydration Zone on Mile 17, at 1st Ave in the 70s. That meant going to bed at a reasonable hour the night before AND waking up early on Daylight Savings morning.  No extra hour of sleep here!

We really give until it hurts.

When faced with the choice of running 26.2 miles for hours or pouring cups of refreshing water for hours, I’ll pick the pour. Every. Single. Time.

So, while a couple of Kenyans were busy making history, we were being schooled by fellow volunteer, Seth. He was a likeable enough guy. Very excited to be there. Took a lot of pictures, striking the “double thumbs up” pose.

Seth took his hydration volunteerism quite seriously.  And he had three strict rules:
1) Be precise about the amount of water in each cup – 1/3, no more no less.
2) Stack the cups 3-high in a “honeycomb formation” to ensure stability at each level.
3) Thoroughly inspect all cups for dirt, dust, or floating debris of ANY kind before distribution.

It was the last one that was the toughest to enforce. You have NO idea how much crap flies into thousands of water cups that have been sitting out for hours waiting for thirsty runners to whiz by. I was going nuts trying to keep them fresh!

Personally, I felt his standard was too high. If it were me, I'd say, dirt? Ok. Giant leaf? Not ok. Hair?

On the bubble.

Didn’t this guy ever play beer pong in college? There was so much junk floating in those cups I’m amazed we didn’t all get trenchmouth.

Keeping up with The Water Monitor wasn't the only drama on the sidelines. Z-100 was there (and my 12-year-old self was SUPER psyched). PLUS, I watched a sweaty runner man go off-course to propose to his girlfriend. AND I watched a sweaty runner lady go off-course to sit on a stack of boxes. I’m no doctor, but I’m guessing her immediate need for rest was largely due to the strange bone protruding from her shin.

Thankfully, I also avoided seeing the dreaded Poop Leg.  I won't go into the details, but you know it when you see it.  And then you can never erase that image from your brain for the rest of your life. 

Anyway, on our run home (and by run, I mean taxi cab), I felt good knowing I’d pitched in -- gave something back to a city I love (sorta).

In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I think I’d like to hand out new things next year. Tissues! Breath mints! More modest ladies running gear! (Seriously, ladies, cover up.  You can’t possibly chafe if your thighs don’t touch.)

Oh, I know, I'm just jealous.  My thighs rub so much I could burn the crotch out of a suit of armor.

So, to sum up... volunteering is good, Poop Leg is nasty, dirt won't kill you, and I must stop eating Pringles.

Have YOU ever run for fun?  Any distance at all?  List it below and you'll win a cup of water!

tags: city life, sports


Anonymous said...

I ran the Boston Marathon 5 years ago in honor of my Dad. Training was the hardest thing I ever did, but I am glad I did. These races could not heppen without volunteers so thank you! May I have my water now? ;-)

Kevin said...

I ran a 5-K once but mostly I just run fom the kitchen to the couch.

Jenny From The 'Brook said...

Anon: Good for you! And yes, you can have all the water you like. You earned it!

Kev: Me too. About the couch. Not the 5K. That would be silly and highly uncharacteristic.