As some of you may know, the Wurst Running Club Ever AKA Wurst Ragnar Team Ever participated in Ragnar Chicago this past weekend. A relay race that would cover approximately 200 miles from Madison to Chicago. When they first decided to put a team together, I considered joining them but after a little over a year of spending a lot of money when I bought my condo, I decided to stick to my promise to myself to race less this year.
I ended up having a race on that Saturday morning that I got free entry to… so really, I was set.
However, with about two weeks until race day, my team needed a volunteer (quirk of the race, each team has to provide their own volunteers) to fill their last requirement and there were still spots open at the finish line which is a whopping mile-ish away from my place.
I said I would and thought I would just bail on the race (since it was free, not a huge deal) but then I found out that I wouldn’t have to be at the site until 4:30 so I would be able to race AND volunteer. Win Win
Except, I didn’t quite figure the early morning… as in 3:00 am alarm clock and the potentially late night would make for a VERY long day. But I also hoped I would be able to nap in between the race and having to leave to get to the site.
Luckily, I was able to shower, sleep for a little over an hour, eat and make it to the site with more than enough time to spare. I am also glad that it cooled off and was no longer insanely hot. Except rain was in the forecast so I really just hoped that the rain would hold off until we had broken down and cleaned up the finish line area.
I am one of those annoyingly on time (read usually early) people and I really HATE being late. I knew were to go but was also paranoid that I might be wrong and/or that I wouldn’t be able to find the spot to check-in. I also knew my team was slated to cross the finish at the same time I was supposed to start. So I figured if they picked up some time and crossed a little early I would still be able to see them.
I did, in fact, arrive really early. But I also had difficulty finding the person to check in with… and the very confused chick at the finish line DJ booth was no help. I must have repeated myself several times and she STILL thought I was supposed to take over for the DJ…. confused puppy. Luckily the DJ took pity on me and knew where I needed to be so he jumped in to tell me where to go.
I checked in and was put in charge of the free Cliff Bars and Shot Blocks. Luckily for me, this was not a taxing assignment. I was also under a tent (and thus protected in case it rained) and had a chair I could sit in if I needed to… which I avoided most of the time simply because I was afraid I would fall asleep.
This was also right next to the finish line so I had an awesome vantage point for watching my team cross the finish line together! Some of them came over to say hi and chit chat and thank me for volunteering. Mostly, they just wanted food and beer so they made their way over to the other side of the finish line area. Fine by me, if I had been them, I am not sure I would have been still standing.
A little later in the evening, I ended up moving a whopping 3 feet to the Race Shirts, where I remained for the rest of the evening until we broke everything down. When we started to wrap things up, I was told that we needed to count every single race shirt and needed a total for each size and gender…
I glanced at the boxes filled with shirts that were more than likely mixed with various sizes and came up with a plan of attack. Count and fold (with the tag out so we can read it easily) in sets of 10. I knew that there was almost zero chance we would put the shirts in a box and then never have to move them again (spoiler alert… I was correct).
The rest of the volunteers jumped in to help and this system seemed to work well and made the process easier. But in all honesty, if I never count another tech shirt again it will be too soon :-p
After that, we broke down the tents, tables and finish line. I was enjoying chatting with a couple of the volunteers while we all worked. Once we picked up all the trash and everything was broken down, we were free to go.
One of the volunteers, Dan, that I had been chatting with invited me to join him and a friend for a drink. Since I was, surprisingly, wide awake, I agreed. We headed to one of my favorite bars in my neighborhood… which turned into a trip at the Weiner Circle and then another bar.
Time flew and next thing I knew, it was 2:00 am…
I really had a lot of fun and all the people were awesome! Except next time… I won’t race in the morning…