Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Volunteering is the Best Way to Recovery

As the time passes since Sunday's marathon, my legs are reminding me less and less what I put them through. That's not to say I am recovered fully, but I can actually go up and down stairs now without it taking 20 minutes.

Now, this wasn't my first marathon so I knew what to expect. I knew what I needed to do after the race: REST, REFUEL & REPAIR. Basically take it easy, increase intake of high protein foods, re-hydrate, stretch and foam roll a TON, all those typical things. This is a littler different than the other marathons I have done, mainly because I don't have the time to recover as properly as I should. I have more races on the schedule and triathlon training really needs to become a priority at this point. So you bet I have been making a huge effort to recover as safely, but quickly as possible.

A few weeks ago, Fleet Feet sent out an email saying they were in desperate need for volunteers for the Corporate Challenge. I knew it was a few days after the marathon, and I wouldn't be running so I figured "why not?", little did I know it was one of the BEST choices I made.

I checked in and got my shirt and flag and made my way to my post about 45 minutes before I knew the race would be starting. I chatted up some of the cops driving around, and some of the other volunteers making their way to their posts. Finally around 7 I heard the first bang go off for the start (there were 2 starts, this was the championship for the Corporate Challenge so the first wave was all of the international participants). I watched them come through I cheered and waved my flag. Then I heard the second bang, and knew that within a few minutes I would have 11,000 people running at me.
My volunteer post before the crowds.
Hey humidity, thanks for the Afrobun.

My official flag that matched my Nickelodeon Orange colored shirt
 (y'all know exactly what I am talking about)

Sure enough, after a few minutes I had the leaders flying through. I was screaming and cheering and having a great time. I saw so many people I knew, I put aside any feelings for anyone or anything and if I knew your name it was getting yelled. I was so pumped, I got a million high-fives, a ton of thank-you's and even a few hugs (love love love seeing one of my favorite women running right at me to stop in the middle of a race to hug me, thank you Mary W. that made my night!).
The participants of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship take off.
Start of the race: Photo from Democrat &Chronicle

I cheered and yelled and smiled and waved and did everything I could to be a good volunteer. I was dancing and making jokes and yelling out the company names as I saw them on peoples shirts. You couldn't wipe the smile off my face, I loved every second. Although I did fail miserably at one aspect of my job. I didn't know how far into the course I was. Yep, I have run a million races and didn't think to find out exactly how far I was. I figured I was roughly a mile and a half in but wasn't sure. Epic failure, I know.

After about an hour of cheering and yelling, the last few walkers came through. I made my way slowly back to the volunteer tent and handed in my flag. Within seconds of getting in my car the rain came down. Phew. I sat in my car for a few minutes just thinking. That was so much fun and something that I really needed.

Seeing all the runners/walkers out there doing something I love to do, feeling the energy of 11,000 people...was amazing. I seriously think this is something I want to do after all my big races, find one to volunteer a few days later. I know how much those volunteers helped me on Sunday, and I loved knowing I could cheer and help others even at a 3.5 mile race. I am even more excited to volunteer at the Buffalo Marathon this coming weekend. I signed up a few months ago because I knew my cousin and lots of others were running. (Don't worry I will find out how far into the course I am before Sunday!).

I went home last night with a renewed motivation for this thing I love. I can't wait to get back out there, feel that energy and excitement and be around the amazing people of the running community.  Volunteering again later this week is only going to strengthen that motivation, and I am really looking forward to it.

So when you're recovering from a marathon, or any race....
rest, refuel, repair and VOLUNTEER! 


Have you ever volunteered before?

What are your go to recovery tips?

15 comments:

  1. It's great to be on the OTHER side of things and experience volunteering. You never think about the people who are cheering YOU on during races so it's nice to switch sides! It's a great way to recover, too, because like you said... It will definitely lift your spirits during recovery time!

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    1. I don't think I ever really appreciated volunteers as much until I started doing longer races. Now I make time to thank them and truly take the time to appreciate the things they do. I want to do it more, but that's also hard because of my love of actually racing...therefore during recovery is the best time for me to do it. Inspirational and motivational!

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  2. Yep, definitely one of the best ways to recover! We love to volunteer! We're volunteering for the 0 SPF Half after Musselman, it will be a great way to recover.

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  3. Wow that does look like a lot of fun. I honestly didn't know the race was that big but glad you had a great time volunteering...how you are on your feet right now pretty much blows my mind.

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    1. See that giant cup of caffeine on the ground in that picture...THAT is how I am on my feet ;o)

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  4. Volunteering is awesome! I volunteered at a triathlon last summer. It was awesome seeing that perspective! And of course I LOVE cheering them on!

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    1. Seeing things from the "other side" really makes you appreciate things from BOTH sides. :):)

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  5. I will volunteer for a race by the end of the year!

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    1. Totally worth it! :) Have fun with it!

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  6. I have never volunteered before, always because I have always wanted to run the race. However, after one of my marathons when I knew I couldn't run I went out on a race course and cheered for everyone. I should think about volunteering.

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    1. I believe this was the first race I ever "officially" volunteered for (I've gone to cheer and spectate plenty of times). I loved it, something I want to make more of an effort to do. It's hard because I usually want to run the races I would volunteer for, which is why when you are in recovery it's a great time to do it. :):)

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  7. I got to volunteer for a race last year and it was really fun and rewarding. so great to be on the other side for once. I love cheering people on! ~KatieMoves

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    1. Makes you appreciate both ends of the spectrum! :)

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  8. You were a great motivator Tuesday! Thank you! I was surprised to see you there, and that you saw me! Have you ever thought about being a pacer for a marathon, or half? That's something I want to do someday... but I feel like you would do really good, and enjoy it. Best of both worlds - running and volunteering.

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    1. I was glad I saw you, I was surprised with how many people there..it was relatively easy to pick out everyone I knew! I have thought a lot about pacing races before and it's definitely something I would like to do even if once or twice a year! Like you said it would be best of both worlds:)

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