Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

I totally forgot to tell you guys about the end of my week last week. Friday morning was actually so much fun that I’m diving back in almost a week later to bring you up to speed.

Much to the confusion and consternation to pretty much everyone I know, I volunteered to work the 3 AM – 8 AM shift at the Ragnar Relay last week. Ragnar Relays are long-distance running events where teams of 6 or 12 partner up and run the distance. There are big-ass vans involved, long stretches with mediocre sleep, and usually 3 legs to run, per person (except 6-runner teams, who run twice as much). It sounds crazy, I know, but it is SO much fun and volunteering was the next best thing to actually running.

The request had come through my running club and my mindset was this: not a weekend, can still get to work on time, and missing next to no time with the baby, all while getting to help out the club. If those were the pros, the only con was the call time: three o’clock in the morning down at Nantasket Beach. I was pretty sure I could swing it, even though it didn’t dawn on me until later that arriving by 3:00 meant waking by 2:00. Alas.

There was nothing much happening around town when I rolled in at 3:00, and to be honest, I didn’t take any pictures most of the morning. First we popped some tents in the parking lot to create the start area — it was surprisingly cold and windy, despite summer-like weather last weekend. I was glad to have a pretty warm coat stashed in the trunk of my truck. I would have been real cold in my denim jacket.

Somehow, I managed to get assigned to the check-in table — a major score. I worked with a couple of other women from my run club. I had met each of them before and volunteered with two of them on other occasions, at the South Shore Half Marathon and the Paddy Kelly Five Miler. As always, it was a friendly group.

I have to say: I think it’s a Ragnar Relay/Reach The Beach requirement for teams to have hilarious, witty, and clever names, sometimes bordering on edgy. Check-in began before 5:00, and I laughed — a lot — each team I asked a group for their name upon check in. I especially loved the runners who were sort of embarrassed by whatever their teammates had agreed upon.

By the time the sky started to grow bright, it felt much later than it really was. The shift went quickly, to be honest, and I didn’t mind being up so early, especially given the gorgeous sunrise we were treated to as the shift progressed.

I saw a couple of people I knew from Team In Training and other running adventures. I was definitely jealous that they were about to spend the next 24-hours having such a blast running from Hull to P-town. Running Reach the Beach a couple of springs ago is one of my favorite running memories.

If anyone is thinking about a team for the fall relay in New Hampshire, or has a team who needs an extra set of sneaks/feet/legs/lungs — let me know! I’ll bring copious amounts of Twizzlers, camp wipes, and play lists. Who’s down?

I mean really.

Volunteering at races used to make me kind of nervous. For being a chatterbox, I’m shockingly nervous making small talk and I almost always rather be running the actual race myself. That said, over the past year, I’ve really learned to embrace it. Runners are so grateful to volunteers for their help — and usually speak up about it — and it’s a great way to give back — to your club, your favorite race, and your community. So, my personal PSA would be to sign up! Introduce yourself! And slap a smile on your darn face while you’re at it.

Real life, people. No filter. Can you imagine anything more beautiful?