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RACE DAY!

Nothing compares to race day when it comes to my job. It seriously is one of the most emotional, stressful, amazing, crazy, busy, exhausting days ever. There is so much adrenaline, work and crazy things to do and finish and then it all comes together and seeing everything you’ve been working on come to life is amazing. So many girls are really into planning their wedding. It’s like that rush and feeling x 25,000 people and add not sleeping and excitement and all that emotion.  :) Of course, there are things that do go wrong and those are mostly what we have to focus on, but reminding ourselves that there were a majority of people so happy makes me so incredibly happy too.

We were down at the staging area and volunteer tent at 2 am after a quick hour nap and ready to get moving. There were a few final things to be set up so we got to work, hanging signs, checking in with vendors, wondering when the HECK the personal item storage people were going to get there. I about had a heart attack! But everyone showed up, things were slowly coming together, 3 o’clock time check and things were right on task. Around 4 o clock, people started to arrive slowly, along with volunteers. I was working the volunteer tent and with the VIP section and with medical. So many things going on at once and so many questions! Most of the questions were easy and I could answer them quickly which was helpful. All I kept singing to myself was no sleep till Brooklyn! I don’t know why, but it was in my head.

Then this happened.

source: my iphone

source: participant

The sunrise was maybe one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in my life. It was seriously breathtaking. I texted a few of my co-workers to make sure that they were looking up and just taking a deep breath. Wow, nothing can really top that. Maybe it was a sign that I wouldn’t die that day, who knows. Anyways, it was pretty lucky and something that I will always remember. Tired or not, it was simply amazing.

Then it was finally time for bikers to arrive. The one hard thing for me to see I think is people who bandit a race. Who didn’t pay and just show up to run. This is really a huge problem with our bike tour and it’s really sad when I see people who are out there and not paying. It’s like they cannibalize their own kind. They take the medals and food and then people wonder how we can run out of stuff.  Oh well, what can you do. Race ranting over.

So the bike tour took off. I was still working mostly over at the finish line area, helping the crew guys and at the volunteer tent. Runners were arriving and asking questions and I just wanted the race to start. I was starting to feel a little anxious for everything to get going. My friend was working the start line and send me some pictures to keep me updated on what was going on up there.

source: leslie’s blackberry

source: participant

All lined up and ready to go!

source: leslie’s blackberry

FINALLY! Start time! It’s crazy once they start you just wait an hour for everyone to come back and pray that everyone out on course is doing what they are suppose to be doing.  So off they went without much of a hitch. Then it’s making sure everything is prepared for their return. It was crazy. It’s always crazy. It’s crazy to know that we all worked together to make this happen. That 2,000 + volunteers come out to help us, that our crew of 17 guys who work round the clock for 80 hours, our little run racing staff of 7 that keep it going and even though we are a weird dysfunctional family, everything works out,  the 26.2 club members who oversee sections and our entire staff did it all together. We did it for the 20,000 people running one of the many events part of marathon weekend. It’s that so tired, so sore, so high on monster feeling with adrenaline that makes you want to do it again. The finishers started to come in.

It’s a great feeling because you know you are ALMOST there. You just have to get everyone back to the finish line and then it’s just clean up time. It’s like you’re about to finish the race too. You just want everyone to make it back, safe and sound. Finishers started to pour in, it’s amazing to see the fast people come in. More and more just kept running towards the finish line and wha-la. They just keep coming all morning long. The 5K started and those finishers raced in. It was about 9 am and it was just getting hectic with the bulk of the half finishers coming in around 2-3 hours.

Finally we had our first full finishers and it was the most crowded time and also where all the trash piles up. Clean up starts to begin and I wander around with trash bags and start picking up trash and talk to those on my radio who might need help. Everything kept going so smoothly though, it wasn’t making sense. Last year, I was so excited and I felt very defeated after being yelled at all morning by participants. This year, it was like a chorus of angels singing all morning. I think maybe I was so scared something would go wrong, that I braced myself for the worst. So besides picking up nasty trash and being a sweaty monster, it was a great day. It fills my little running heart with joy when I saw people finishing all across the board, from in the 2 hours to in the 7 hours. Teary as I was picking up banners and snipping down finishing signs people STILL were finishing. I know how it goes out there and just finishing a marathon is such a feat, and the fact that I’m a part of making that race happen for some people still makes me excited and happy that they choose our race do finish at. I clap for them as they cross the line and seeing them cry, or their families cheer for them, makes me so emotional. It’s crazy to be so exhausted and so happy at the same time. My body felt like it was going to just topple over. I’m always so sore after events!

I mean yea, I get emails like this.

source: my iphone

but I also get to watch this happen, as I pick up trash.

source: participant

source: participant

source: http://www2.brightroom.com/83329

It never, ever gets old to see people complete their goal, and to know that I was a little part in helping them complete that goal. Ever.

It was a hot day, but it was a great day. We had a few small mishaps and we are working on getting them all taken care of now, and debreifing, analyzing and making sure all our bases are covered, but overall, a great day and a great event to be a part of.

I am so happy to work for Run Racing, through it all. I didn’t cry between a portapottie and a dumpster this year. I am so thankful for all those who came out and Ran Long Beach this year, becuase without you guys it wouldn’t be the great community event that it is. I’ve finally waded through my 1,000 + emails from this weekend and turned off my auto responder and now, looking back, I’m so happy with how everything event. Amazing day. I’ve caught up on my sleep finally and am ready to start training for my next event.

source: Marathon Mitch

Thank you to those who came up to me and introduced themselves this weekend! Thank you to those who said thank you and I’m so grateful to all those who helped make 2011 a great year for Long Beach.

xoxo

 

 

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