Sunday, July 29, 2007

Volunteering at the PCT 50/50

Our weekend began on Friday, when Eric, Steve, Lorri and I slipped away to volunteer at the PCT 50/50. We headed south to the town of Welches where we camped in Steve and Lorri's trailer - sheer luxury for Eric and I. It's about 3.5 hours drive down there, and we talked non-stop the whole way. When Eric and Steve get together something happens - some kind of silliness gene kicks in and away they go. They feed off each other and can have me laughing till the tears run in no time. Occasionally they try to be serious, but it doesn't last long and it's back to utter chaos. All I can say is that it is a lot of fun.

We got to town in time for dinner and stopped at a little local cafe. The service was abysmal, but the food was great. We couldn't really blame the lone waitress though - she was solely responsible for all the diners and the bar on a Friday night. After we left there, we got to the park and got the trailer set up, then we played double-handed cribbage for the rest of the night. We got to bed around 10ish so we could be up and at our aid station by 8:30.

Our aid station was the 4th and 6th for the 50 milers - at Barlowe Pass, around miles 19 and 32. We had a Hawaiian theme going - flowered shirts, leis and hats for the guys, one woman in a sarong, and Lorri and I in grass skirts and coconut bras (don't get too excited - it was a little cold, so it was over my sweatshirt. I'll get a picture up once Lorri posts them). Our aid station strived for authenticity - so aid station fare included fried spam and fresh pineapple. Surprisingly a lot of the spam got eaten. The first thing we discovered was that we didn't have salt for the potatoes. Lorri and I were designated the "go to" girls and sent to the nearest little town to get salt. Since we were already in the swing of things, we kept our coconut bras and grass skirts on for this little errand. The first place we walked into was a gas station mini-mart. We wanted more potatoes too, so after the guys at the counter finished staring and laughing, and after we answered all their questions they sent us farther into town - which we didn't even know existed. We went into the first little grocery we saw, and were sent down the street a block. It was pretty funny seeing the double-takes, hearing the laughs after we passed and generally, to quote Lorri, "spreading the joy". We went through the same set of questions and stares and laughter at the store, but we were successful in our quest. We didn't make it out the door without explaining ourselves to a few customers though.

Back at the aid station, things were just getting going. We got back in time to greet the first runner through - he had a 4 am early start. Most of the runners loved the theme and many loved the costumes. We heard that we were the best aid station going, even better than the cowboy one. Our goal was to fill every water bottle and camel-bak and serve every runner. We didn't want them to do anything but eat and drink, and to leave with full drinks. Several runners commented on the bras and especially enjoyed it when Lorri and I tapped out tunes with our rings. We were fortunate that the other Lori at the aid station was Hawaiian and had beautiful Hawaiian music playing for us all day, and even better, worked with us on learning to hula. Notice that I did not say "taught" us to hula. Lorri picked it up pretty well, but in my case, it takes more than one afternoon to overcome my natural gift of klutziness.

We had a great time greeting runners - I got to see Karen Wiggens come through, and Bad Ben, Tom Riley and Hippo, and met several new and wonderful runners. Sarah stopped by for a visit - she was supposed to run, but was sick, so her husband, Marc, got to run in her place. Lorri and I made a second run to town, thrilling the populace once more, to pick up some cola. Eric and Steve headed off to Timberline to begin their sweeping duties, and Lorri and I finally got a chance to sit down. After Eric and Steve came back down, we packed up the aid station and went to the finish, where we unloaded the aid station. We had barbecued burgers (they even had veggie) and got several hours to have long, wonderful, winding conversation. We got to chat more with Hippo, with Karen and once things calmed down, with Olga. We also got to meet and chat for a long time with Monika, Olga's co-director.

Once Eric and Steve made it back down, helping the last runner in, we went off to find dinner. It had been a long time since our burgers, but neither Lorri nor I felt like we should eat a second dinner. Instead, we decided to share an order of onion rings and an order of fries. When they arrived we found out they were platters - absolutely huge helpings. Even so, we did our best. Eventually we headed back to camp, and off to bed. We had a leisurely morning today, stopping in Kelso to have lunch with Lorri's parents, and made it home around four.

Eric and I got the car unloaded, then I unpacked all my stuff right away so I could get out for my run. I got 5.5 miles in - it was a little warm, and a lot more traffic than I'm used to, but I got it done. I hit my goal of 32 miles for last week, and am working on 34-36 for this week. Everything still feels good and I am really enjoying building the miles again.


Lorri and I had a great time together this weekend - Eric and Steve had better watch out, because we bonded. The boys are in trouble now! I'm looking forward to lots of trips in the future. The only thing is...Lorri tells me that it's possible to go on trips that don't involve running races. I am shocked! Who knew? She has so much to teach me...

31 comments:

Journey to a Centum said...

Wow, this is so well written I feel like I was there with you! This was a fun weekend!

Eric

robtherunner said...

Don't listen to Lorri. She's a bad influence. There is no such thing as a trip without a run involoved.

Mama said...

I beg to differ with you Rob, but there is a whole big world out there. Not better, but different. We have to celebrate all of our differences.

We also had a grand weekend. Thanks for sharing.

Lorri

scott keeps running said...

"Most loved the theme and many loved the costumes." Are you saying that some of them DIDN'T like your coconut bra?? Must have been dehydration or snow blindness or horrific like that. :)

maniac hippo said...

Michelle,

Any day I see you guys is a great day for me. Thanks so much for coming down and joining us - I'll see you at CCC.

Randy said...

What a great weekend...Eric cracks me up....have a great week....I got my 100+ miles in for the month..finished with just over 111....a first.

robtherunner said...

Is that the voice of reason I hear? And I think it comes from a coconut bra wearing mama:)

olga said...

Guys, THANK YOU SO MUCH! You are awesome! I am so glad you responded and had a great time at it too! The coconut bras look mighty yummy:)

caroline said...

I was one of the lucky runners who got to stumble into your aid station and be greeted by your friendly smiles and positive energy. I felt downright pampered and actually had to be kicked out of the aid station by Meghan. Thank you for helping to make it such a wonderful day! Your description of going into down in coconut bras and grass skirts has me laughing out loud! Ultrarunners just seem to know how to find joy in life. How I love being part of such a group!

caroline said...

oops, typo -- down=town, obviously. need coffee :-)

Sarah said...

It was great to see you again! Your aid station was awesome. I would have liked to hang around at the finish to chat. Next time! : )

JustRun said...

Sounds like a great time! Great bras and skirts- so low maintenance. :)
Too funny on the vacations without running. Imagine that!

E-Speed said...

I love the luau skirts! We are doing a "fiesta" theme for our burning river aid station, so we will have Mexican music, Sombreros, maracas etc. I am trying for authentic food too with some tortilla chips and salsa and perhaps some tortillas with chicken, if the runners don't eat it I figure the volunteers will :)

Juls said...

Nice post and Cute picture. Thanks for sharing - as always.

Joe said...

What a great theme, Michelle, the work you put into that was a huge plus, I'm sure, to tired runners.

wendy said...

that's hilarious! I love the themed aid station, what a great idea!!

It sounds like a really good weekend, and good job getting your mileage up a little each week (as opposed to LOTS each week, since I know you like to go-go-go)

Is tomorrow still the scary hill run??? =)

Anne said...

I bet you were the hit of the race with such a fun atmosphere. And those outfits scream: Pacific Northwest Meets Hawaii. The townsfolks got a real treat too.

psbowe said...

That's so clever with the aid station. Great picture and hope your 30+ miles goes well this week.

craig said...

Sounds like a great weekend Michelle. Don't let Lorri lead you over to the dark side.

Nicole said...

Sounds like fun. I love the costumes but could have lived without the spam! Who even knew that was Hawaiian? Not I.

And non-running trips sounds like a lot of fun.

shawn said...

What a fun time you had. I'm jealous of your trip into town - I'm always up for self-embarrassment! I might have to take a stab at PCT next year based on your reports! You might have a hard time living down your "beer swilling" reputation if Eric keeps bragging about it :) My kind of women! Keep up the mileage increases too Michelle - nice work.

Addy said...

How great! Sounds like you guys had a fabulous time at the aid station (they're always so fun to work). I love the costumes :)

Glad to hear that your miles are going well and are feeling enjoyable.

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

I am going on a trip that does not involve a race( unless on just happens to fall in my lap, then of course!)but I DO intend to run and sight see at the same time!
see ya bright and early!
Jenny

Annette said...

It sounds like you guys had a lot of fun. How nice of you to volunteer! And, yes, there are trips out there that don't involve running. You might want to try one sometime. ;)

Nice job on your mileage! Keep it up!

Travis said...

thank you for running a great aid station!! I'm the one that made the comment about liking older women in coconut bras :) It really did keep me going knowing that after I got back from Timberline, I'd have some fun people waiting for me. I've read your blog before and should have recognized you but, you know how race day goes. Thanks again, I had a great time.

Randy said...

Michelle, the photo says it all, that is great.

Thanks for the comment on the blisters...I think I found your blog as you were getting over your foot problems....I can go back and locate your posts...I seem to remember maybe you talking about using duct tape....is that correct? What is it about duct tape that makes it good to use...do you apply anything between the duct tape and the blister area...gause or something else?

Ryan said...

Great aid station! Enjoyed the picture ;-) what a great place to volunteer, you guy’s are such good doobies, every race could use more folks like you! Glad to hear your run went well and the heat didn't trouble you much!

Dori said...

You sure have a zest for life! That's why I love reading your blog. :-)

A friend of mine is doing her first relay in a couple of weeks and I sent her a link to your relay post. It was supposed to give her some insight, but it may have scared her. She started to calculate and realized that at the speed her team ran, her "24 hour" relay will probably take 30 hours! She did enjoy reading your post, though.

Meghan said...

Michelle,

I'm speechless, for perhaps the first time in my life.

Nope, wait, not totally speechless. I've got enough words to say, "Holy crap you two are brave women for posting that photo!" I love it, absolutely love it!

Sounds like you had a fabulous weekend!
Meghan
www.running-blogs.com/meghan

Robb said...

Beats toenail pics.

Darrell said...

Who knew for sure. If it ain't for work it must be for running. LOL.

It seems to me you all pretty much have a good time no matter the circumstances. They'll mark time in that little town by the day those two funny grass skirted ladies came to down.