AND SO IT BEGINS
BAD. Very bad!
Holy cow, it was hot and humid and I was soaked within the first mile. Granted, it was about 5 in the afternoon and there was no shade but I was seriously reconsidering the idea of running on Monday. I took it easy and checked out the area. I needed to do 6 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday so was hoping to run near the hotel before I left to help at the races. This test run didn't seem like it was such a good idea to be running there so early in the morning though.
I finished my run and then showered and got ready for the first pre-race dinner at Fazoli's. There were 7 of us there and it was fun.
I relaxed in the hot tub for a while, just watching the fireflies (the first I've seen in 16 years!) and looking at the stars and then I went back to the hotel and got ready for the next day.
THE JACKAL TRAIL MARATHON
Clark and I were going to do the timing and race support for this race and I'd told Josh I would be there about 6:30 and he said they would be there about 6 so I skipped breakfast (not my best idea) and met them there about 6:15 to help set up. It is a lot easier to get ready when you aren't racing! I wore the race shirt I'd gotten from Josh the night before and was ready to be Ms. Race Support for the day. Here is the back of our shirt for the weekend. It's a new favorite!
I also got to meet Monique on Saturday. She designed the shirts and medals and Josh introduced us. She is going thru some of the same things I did in that she's losing weight and just starting out running so I've been trying to help ease the pain of beginning running. Guess what? She brought me presents to thank me!
Very cool Wonder Woman socks, a "never, never give up" necklace and a bracelet with my favorite George Eliot quote. I was not expecting that at all and it was really nice to know that I'd made a difference, even a little bit. :)
About lunch time, I was starving and so was Clark so I went and got burgers for us. Also not my best idea because I needed to get a 6 mile run in. With the heat and then the burger, I wasn't feeling a run. :( There also wouldn't be time between race clean-up and meeting the Donnas (RIF #181 Donna Pittman and RIF #277 Donna England) at the hotel (they were staying with me) and I for sure didn't want to run after the race dinner in the dark so I decided on a 1 mile streaksaver.
There were only a few runners left on the course so Josh told me to go ahead and run during the race. I decided to run 1 mile in the reverse direction on the course so I could meet up with RIF #45 Leanne who was running her first trail marathon and on her last lap and then I could walk back with her. I timed it perfectly and got to keep her company for the last mile. :)
Once everyone was back, we cleaned up the site and took everything back to the cars and then I headed to the hotel to shower and meet the Donnas. After they got there and rested a bit, we drove over to Rafferty's to meet the others for the race dinner.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel so they could get ready for their races on Sunday and I could get the shirts and bibs ready for the morning. I slept like a baby for 6 hours. Even when I remembered that I had left Josh's watch hooked on a tree at the trail. Oops. I prayed it would be there or I knew I would never hear the end of it.
THE BACKASS JACKAL MARATHON
Sunday was pretty much a repeat of Saturday except I had been smart enough to pick up some protein bars for breakfast so I wouldn't be starving all day. First thing I did when I got to the trail was check to see if Josh's watch was there and it was! Score! :)
We had the routine down better for the second day so it felt more relaxed. I handed out shirts and bibs and checked people in and pretty soon it was time for the pre-race photo and prayer and they were off!
Clark and I had more help on Sunday from some of the other club members throughout the day and time just flew by. I got to take more pics and do a lot of cheering and crewing for everyone.
For dinner that night, we went to Coyote Blues which is a Cajun-Mex place. Good food and some great conversation. I love, love, love hanging out with runners because you learn so much about where they've run and what they've done and it inspires me to do more. I didn't want to eat anything too crazy since I was running a hot marathon the next day so just had 2 tacos and rice. But I did stop at Baskin Robbins on the way back to the hotel. I tried to go to bed early and not freak out to much about the race the next morning but I was pretty nervous. I did sleep okay though. After 2 days of helping out other runners, now it was my turn. I was as ready as I'd ever be for what was to come. Or so I thought....
I have volunteered at one race before but only manned an early aid station so didn't really do much. I'd also crewed Josh at YT100 and did a mini crewing for him at a couple of other races. But that was the extent of it. I wanted to do more and give back to the running community and that's why I flew to TN for these races. Not to mention the bonus that it would mostly be friends and Run It Fast Club members running so it would be a lot of fun.
The other reason I wanted to go was to support and help Josh. I have been on the receiving end of a lot of the good he's done - from encouraging me at the beginning of my journey to ultras to offering help when I ended up in the ER to driving me to races and waiting for me many times. I've seen him do that for others too and I wanted to make sure he had all the help he needed for the weekend. He still did a lot but hopefully Clark and I were able to take some of the burden from him.
Helping out felt good. I was happy to be a part of so many great runs on both days and spend time with friends and make new ones. :) The first 2 days were a blast and I would do that every weekend if I could. Except that I would want to run too so not sure how that would work out. ;)
Part 2 will be coming this weekend. I hope you'll check back! Thanks for reading!