Monday, April 20, 2009

Work, Play and Stories from the Bull Run Run 50 miler: Marina Aid Station

At aid stations anything you can see Reston Runners Tammy B and Mike B (note: not the same "B")goofing around at the aid station. Tammy was crewing for her friend Homer who ran a bit of the GWBirthday Marathon with us back in Feb. And Mike has decided to dumpster dive in this picture. With Mike around you never know what to expect!

Anna is enjoying a moment or so at the Marina Aid Station. Anna is so sweet, such an exceptionally runner and has such a warm, inviting and sunny personality! I am shocked in my "good wishes" e-mails at Umstead she threatened to trip me if I happen to speed by her:-). She consistently beats me at the 50 mile distance so I am not expecting to finish remotely close to her (well unless I trip her early on in the race:-)
The aid station is as good a place as any for doing a little internet surfing and twittering! I kid you not. And as you glance closer at this picture, notice my friend (who has run this race the last several years) has BRR50 shaved into his head...that is dedication!

My friend Marce from JFK50 finished her first BRR50! She is such an amazing athlete as well as so nice and funny. I believe her comment after the finish was: "You were smart to sit this one out and volunteer" parents didn't raise a fool!
Debbie and Monica both finished the Umstead 100 mile just a few weeks ago. Both ran it in around 24 hours (ie way faster then me) and are already recovered enough to be back doing more ultra's (and a relatively tough one at that). I know I will see Debbie at VT100 and believe I have a few marathons between now and VT100 that I expect to see Monica.

Sorry for this delay in my post but yesterday just flew by. But now I have a bit of downtime to reminsce about Bull Run Run 50 miler (which I will never run! seriously I would have taken pictures of the mud on runners feet, but my camera would be horrified and probably break down in protest). I don't do mud, trails, long distances, hills and a bunch of other things this course throws at you.

In fact while running a small bit of the Glutamous Maximus Fat Ass 50 km that goes on a piece of the course this past Dec., I thought to myself, too bad Bull Run Run is not during Dec/Jan cause as least then the ground would be frozen and I would be covered in about 3-4 pairs of pants and 8-10 tops thus at least giving me some padding when I fell. But alas it is run during April, a week or two after Umstead conveniently giving me the excuse it is too close to Umstead (well until I saw my friends Monica, Deb and some other hard core runners on the course). But I'm a sissy and I'm sticking with this label so I shall not be running this event in the forseeable future (i.e., EVER!)

Volunteering was so much fun. And it is alot easier to volunteer than to run (I think as I struggle moving my hands because they are feeling the burn after opening and closing about 100-200 bottles and camel backs:-). Oh yeah the assembly of many peanut butter/jelly sandwiches might have contributed to my hand pain as well.

The day started pretty early for me because of the ~40 mile ride to the Marina at Bull Run. After an uneventful drive I parked my car at the remote parking lot and started my shift. Opening food, putting out treats and pouring beverages was the duty for the morning. Pretty soon the fast runners were arriving. They were so quick and looked really good. The top runners really do not take much if anything. Maybe that is why I am not elite (that and the fact that "bear chasing me fast" is defined as 10 minute miles). Pretty much water and a gatorade was the extent of the items the top 10 runners grabbed heading out. A few of the faster runners had camelbacks or water bottles to refill which the volunteers tried to do as quickly as possible. After 30-40 minutes past the front runners, the runners actually started eating the food set out with a bit of gusto, drinking the assortment of beverages and chatting with volunteers. There were pretty challenging waves of runners that came through but all the runners were so nice and friendly.

Sporadically I would take out my camera and take a picture while I did my job (luckily I have extensive experience with my camera so can pull it out, turn it on, take a picture, turn if off and put it back in my pocket while simultaneously doing something else. And of course the knowledge that my camera is waterproof (and thus sweat and gatorade proof) as well as shock proof (up to 6 feet) makes it fairly industructable.

Either coming through the aid station at mile 21 or 44, I was able to snap pictures of my friends from Reston Runners including: Dave & Anna, the Jim's (Jim A and Jim B), Marce and Homer. I know a bunch of other Reston Runners were running but either they slipped by or had dropped.

Of course I also got to see and take a picture of my friend Monice as well as Debbie from Umstead 100. They both finished close to 24 hours and looked so strong at Bull Run Run!

My friend Dan Rose was supposed to be taking it easy and using BRR50 as a training run for Mohican. He looked like he was having a great time and looked really strong both times through the aid station. I had the pleasure of meeting his friend Elizabeth and his parents and am envious that he has such a great crew. What I need is for them to mentor my crew and pacers who seem intent on creating their own pacer rendition of the Keystone Kops/Three Stooges and Simpsons all roled into one!

When there were no runners coming through the aid station was pretty laid back and alot of fun. I knew Mike from Reston Runners (and being passed early on the towpath this past year at JFK50 miler), I vaguely knew the aid station captain Jeff as well as a fellow VT100 miler, Jim. There were several others working the aid station who I befriended over the course of the day.

So the best (and most embarrasing story from my perspective) was my inability to recognize Sean Andrish. This would not be as bad as my question to clarify who he was (or if he was an ultra-runner was: Are you doing Promise Land next weekend...and yet my friend Mike did not discretely punch me in the arm, kick me or just simply football tackle me). Sean was very gracious about my faux pas and I now have a picture of him in relatively speaking "street clothing". I just would like to point out alot of people do not look like their pictures from events and certainly UltraRunning Magazine while creating very nice pictures (as exhibited by the Rocky Raccoon 100/50 miler Spread from this past Feb including yours truly), does not always capture what the runners look like in real life. In fact I am more likely to recognize runners by their gait or the back of their head or bodies. This is particularly true for fast runners if I have been passed by them several times because of me using an early start or a lap course. I also learned that the Sue Ellen who was running with Caroline from the Virginia Happy Trails VHTRC who I ran a bit of the first few laps with early on in the race is his mother. Small world, eh?

My next horrifying story has to do with a poor runner who DNF'd because she timed out. Closing in on 6 p.m. we started cleaning up the aid station in anticipation of the 6 p.m. cutoff. Unfortunately at least one runner did not make it to the aid station by at least 10 minutes. She indicated she would appreciate a ride and since the aid station was essentially cleaned up (with about 2 boxes needing transport to a car), I did not feel bad about driving this runner to the finish line and post race festivities.

As I mentioned earlier in this blog my car was pretty far from the Marina Aid station, but the walk was apparently fine with her(I offered to bring the car over). But as we walked to my very messy car this runner made the mistake of suggesting she felt a bit queasy. Well of course because I had just been to Umstead I thought I had my puke bucket in the car (yes, I have a puke bucket in every car just in case). Sadly somehow it had been taken from the car; however, there was a steel water bowl of Gilligan's in the back seat. After I cleaned the passenger seat in the car well enough to give her room to sit and a bit of room for her feet (but not the entire floor--because I am not that good a hostess), I hand her Gilligan's rather large dog bowl. I kind of felt bad (but apparently not bad enough), and ultimately as got about 10 minutes into our ride she mentioned she felt fine.

In fact by that time in our trip I was about to puke because the dirt road we took was a bit rickety and uneven. But drivers rule says the driver does not have to experience the humiliation of the barf bucket! In retrospect I am not sure what I would have done if she puked in Gilligan's bowl. A piece of me goes with the wasteful philosophy if something is puked in, it should be thrown away (and in so many other area's I am the queen of recycling!). But then, Gilligan has eaten, thrown up then eaten his own puke. And in fact I think he thinks others puke (and poop as well) is a real delicacy so he might have been thrilled by this. Well alas there were no reversals of fortune in my car.


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

I am jealous of you for two reasons:

1) You actually KNOW someone named Homer! ZOMG, that is SOOOO cool! I don't know ANY Homers personally and I don't want to die never having known one because my life would be incomplete.

2) You keep puke bowls in your car. This needs no explanation. That is just out-and-out sick in the non-puking sense kids use that term, i.e., as synonymous with COOL.

So you must vomit a lot, then, huh?


FYI, I don't know if I can take my brother now, but I DID get taller than him. He's a puny 6'2" tall and I'm 6'4".

So I'm gonna say yeah, I can kick his @$$ now, sure. Why not?

If I ever told Teh 'B. I was thinking of going to watch or help at an Ultra, she would stage an intervention because she knows I would never do something like that unless I was thinking of running one, which I'm not. And she wouldn't allow it anyway.

Because SHE can kick MY @$$.

Runner Tammy said...

1) So you should sign up for an ultra or marathon in the DC area and I could potentially introduce to you Homer. You've got plenty of time to train for Marine Corps Marathon or JFK50 miler next Oct/Nov!

Anyway, you have a child, how could you let that opportunity to ensure there is a Homer in your life slip by?

2) I'm glad I am now cool in at least one person's eyes. And my husband mocked me for the puke bowls in our cars blue-y and death trappy.

So far I have escaped with only one pukefest and that was after Marine Corps Marathon in 2005 (a shot of beer, a hot day and a bit of Dayquil might not be an optimal race strategy).

I have felt quite miserable and been pretty close to spewing liquids and solids during and after several races. But luckily I have a pretty good gag reflex (which after some of your posts, pictures of my friends feet and even the sights of some chaffing at events) which is definitely an asset.

I wish I could kick my sister or husband's @$$. In fact in my household and immediate family I think I might only be able to take one of my in-laws; but that actually may be a bit overly optimistic.

CTmarathoner said...

debbie and monica are really hardcore, despite their fun outfits!!
I think debbie said that she is doing a 24 hour on May 3!!!