Friday, August 02, 2013

Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Run: Volunteer!

Early last week it became apparent to me that I wasn't going to be able to run the Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Run. Physically I suppose I knew that I wasn't going to, but emotionally...I was still holding onto hope. 

In the past-during my recovery from hysterectomy and than the herniated discs from that recovery-I chose not to volunteer at races, nor did I socialize with my very best friends in the world. I felt that I was no longer a runner, that my fragile eggshell mind couldn't handle the fact that I wasn't running while around my friends. I'm so thankful that I have learned from that experience.

Bill posted to FB that he was heading up an UMTR aid station and was looking for volunteers. I received confirmation that I would not be running and reached out to Bill about volunteering. I'm so glad that I did! 

UMTR Aid Station at Peterson's. Mile 16 and 32. Rocking it Out!

I slept in, was working the aid station from 730-330 so didn't leave for Duluth until 5 AM.  I missed a few signs so didn't get there until after 8, but it was OK. The station was well-manned!  

It was freezing outside!  A bit of rain, some wind, 43F baby. Crazy. I was so happy I hauled my down vest, jacket and full length coat. Yup, I wore my full length down Patagonia coat. I wished I brought gloves!!  It was cold for us but not so much for the runners. Many runners in sleeveless tops, shirtless guys, they were not freezing.

I had so much fun!  I don't believe I've worked an aid station for an Ultra before. I have been at registration and road races but not an ultra. Wow, so much fun.  I laughed so hard and so much that my face hurt. Bill talked so much that he lost his voice!  I, Victoria and Misty rang cowbell, made drums, cheered, it was crazy fun.  

Helping others to obtain their goals..that was what this was all about. Offering an Oreo Brownie, filling a water bottle, offering to fill a bladder..a kind word or hug..that's what I could do for the runner. I met so many new people-many of which will become good friends, I just know it. I rekindled so many great relationships with my friends, it was just what I needed. 

No more hunkering down and isolating myself from others during time of injury. I become depressed, withdrawn, unhappy. Laughing with the others..this is what I choose to do.

We broke down the aid station at 330 and headed to the finish line. John was already done-finishing in under 9 hours. Most of the rest of the group sprinkled through the finish line between 10 and 13 hours. I had more brownies to offer-they absolutely loved them-and more hugs and cheers. What a great day! Fabulous runners!  Great volunteers and incredible RDs. What more can a person want? If I can't run the race I'll help you to run the race :)

I am on the mend..Superior Sawtooth is still on the calendar. I need to find lodging..up next.

Me, Misty and Victoria representing UMTR.


Olga said...

I absolutely LOVE volunteering, often more than running a race myself nowadays. It's as tiring too:)

Julie B said...

Hey Olga! Yea, it was tiring and I even felt the endorphin rush! It was so great helping out, seeing each runner and them going to the finish line. Fun time indeed!

Ever Onward said...

It was great volunteering with you and the rest of our crew! Thanks for the brownies. It's good to hear that you're healing up. I'll see you out on the trail.

Julie B said...

Sue! Yes, Lean Horse was ages ago!!! It is still my 100 PR, too!! Looking forward to seeing you at Superior 100. 4 weeks!