This was my 4th year of volunteering for the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run. At this point in the game I thought I could basically wake up and be on autopilot. Not so much.
The PLAN was to wake and get ready around 5 AM to report for 6 AM duty at mile 12.4 aid station. Everything was laid out the night before, I had picked out multiple outfits for all the various stations all including different themes, I had taken my shower and prepped my food. I was ready. 5 AM rolled around and I set my gears in motion. Then I walked into my room and what did I notice? The world’s greatest dog aka Emme had an accident in my bed! And not something that was easily cleaned up either. Honestly, if it had been literally anywhere else I would have left it, but it was my BED on the side I sleep on for crying out loud! So I had to take an unexpected break to clean. Luckily my mattress pad (which is like a giant electric blanket) is so thick, the mattress was fine.
Out the door without the aforementioned food and a few other supplies, I drove 80+ MPH all the way there! Ugg. I arrived around 6:20, moments before the first runner. Not cool man, not cool. Our theme was once again Woodstock and without the massive downpour like last year it was rather awesome. I brought brownies and decorations and my task was to stand along the edge of the road with jugs of water and fill bottles as runners approached. I was also cheering.
Of course every time someone would yell out to a runner “Water! I have water!” Or a worker would tell someone to drink Heed because “It has electrolytes” My mine would go to the Brawndo scene from Idiocracy.
The station overall was quite uneventful this year. Except for a small field mouse who kept running back and forth across the street and the volunteers keep ooing and aahing over his cuteness. All the runners were reasonably spaced out and no one said or did anything too crazy. A few were funny (like the guy who skipped Ed and said he needed his water “from the hippy” referring to me) or dressed up (colorful tutu and hair), and the last runner came through WAY before the official cut off. In fact I think we were closed and put away long before the actual cut off. All of this is great for the runners though! It meant people were rocking it and in a safe way.
Afterward while it was raining big time, Gale and her boyfriend Ed showed me how to geocache…which means I’m now covered in new mosquito bites. Then we went to Bob Evan’s for some breakfast and chatting. It was so nice to catch up with her I don’t think we even thought to notice the time. Of course it didn’t help that a GIANT potato drove by. OK IT didn’t drive by, but it did go by on a truck. So after our meal we stalked it. Because, what else would you do?
Needless to say when I noticed I wouldn’t make it to the Egbert station until after 12 PM, I realized it wasn’t worth my dropping in this year. Instead I took my super tired self home and crawled into bed. Of course thanks to Emme I had a total Jenna Marbles moment and just tossed some blankets on the bed to “make it”. Back up around 3 PM to have some lunch, get dressed and head back out the door to the rest of the fun (and write the first part of this post).
I arrived at Pine Lane around 5 PM. I saw Katie and Adam, Julie and Tom, and Melissa and Rick. I stood around and chatted with a few friends and helped fill water bottles. We were well staffed and the racers were well spaced, meaning it was another station where we were never overwhelmed or too busy. Adam and Katie brought yummy chips to share and Pam brought hot dogs, so I had “dinner”. Pam also had her dog Charlie there which was a highlight to nearly all volunteers and runners alike.
Mostly this was another chance to talk with friends and rekindle what has always been there for my running community. Sorry if I didn’t mention you by name and you were there. I did talk to a lot of people this weekend with the same theme “I’m hurt, I can’t run right now”. Here I was thinking so many people have forgotten me or ditched me in the community and the truth is a lot of them are missing from the community too. Injury, pain and struggling as all part of what we sign up for as runners. It’s never going to not suck to deal with it, but even when I’m “alone” I should remember I’m not going through it by myself. I’m also super happy to report Gale and Melissa and I are going for a looooong hike next Sunday. Guess my training for BBA50K is officially underway!
The only other thing worth noting about Pine Lane is the moment when a super super insanely hot guy was at the aid station. No, seriously, looking at him made me feel like I had 4 pots of coffee being directly inserted into my veins/heart. Holy palpitations. Of course Mark knew who he was…and just writing that opens me up to the risk of someone putting two and two together and telling him I wrote this, but whatever. He was all tan and sweaty and his shorts were so so so low it was borderline illegal to be that damn sexy at mile 60 of a 100 mile race.
I left Pine Lane around 10 PM with a watermelon and a bag of bananas and headed to the Covered Bridge and mile 80.
Covered Bridge adopted the theme of M*A*S*H, and I have to admit it was a bit before my time, so while I know what the theme was, I didn’t really “get” any of the jokes/decorations.
Mile 80 is an interesting point of the race. Very different feeling from where I was moments before at mile 60. Back in the day, this was a place where runners looped through twice. This made it a very important station and a very high traffic area. It was also a location for crew, meaning very crowded. This year the race directors and the park took away crew access. We also did not have a fire or generators. Everything was lit by lanterns and food was prepared on grills with propane or whatever it was. My impression of the changes? Very eerie. It was too quiet and too calm and too lonely. The workers were able to stay sane for the first time ever, but if I were a runner coming in at that point in the race, I would WANT the chaos and the energy. I would NEED it to replenish my tank and keep going. Then again I’ve never gone 80 miles so what do I know? It seemed to be working though, because unlike other years where people were literally camped out for hours under the bridge, very few people stayed for more than a few minutes.
I called it a night around 2 AM and drove home. Past the darkness and the deer lining the roads and into the city. To my house and then walking up the steps and falling into bed at about 2:30 AM. I set my alarm for 9:30. I woke at 5 AM to pee and turn my heat on, then almost immediately back to sleep.
It was a great weekend. Burning River always is a great weekend. As I said on Facebook…From the start to whatever mile your race ended, YOU ARE AMAZING. Thank you runners for doing what you do.