Monday, July 27, 2009

Volunteering at the WR 50

Eric, Jenny and Rob ran the White River 50 Mile Saturday - a tough course at the best of times, and especially so on a hot day. Eric and Jenny camped at the start/finish area with friends the night before, and Rob drove up that morning for the early start at 5:30 am. I chose to spend the evening at home, and to sleep in a bit Saturday morning. I was up at 6:00, picked up five giant bags of ice for the aid station, a Starbucks for the drive, and was on my way by 7:30. It's about an hour and 15 minute drive to the race area, up towards Crystal Mountain ski area at Mt. Rainier. It was a pretty morning to be cruising toward the mountain.

I was working at the Buck Creek aid station at the 27 mile mark, which, lucky for me, is right at the start/finish area. I got there just as the tables were going up, met my fellow volunteers and began helping prep for the racers. Ice out of bags and into coolers, check. Water and sports drinks tubs set, check. Pile of pb&j sandwiches ready, check. Bananas cut, check. Watermelon cut, check. S-caps out, check. Bowl of tums, check. Payday bars, pretzels, potato chips, granola bars, m&m's, animal crackers, goldfish crackers, boiled potatoes & salt, check. Coke and Mountain Dew, check. We were ready!

This shot is of Eric at Corral Pass, Mt. Rainier in the background. Photo is by Glenn Tachiyama, with permission.


The first runner blew through, there was a short pause, then the second, then the flow became steady. I saw tons of running friends coming through - covered in dust and sweat, some smiling, some not. Several runners chose to drop at our aid station - the heat and the tough course was taking a toll. Eric came through much earlier than I expected - he looked happy and strong, and nearly blinding in his neon yellow shirt. Jenny and Rob came through - a bit tired, but still going strong. Soon after I saw Linda looking cheerful, and towards the end (but before the cut-off) Jane come through - all our Y runners accounted for! The cut-off for our aid station was 1:39. I think there were about six runners who didn't make it. We cleaned up and packed up, and then it was time to kick back.


Jenny and Rob at our aid station. That's me with my back to the camera making sandwiches. Photo by Rich Walter


Socializing at the finish.

I planted my chair in the shade with another volunteer and whiled away the hours spectating and visiting. I think it was just a couple hours till Eric came through, and several other running friends after that - the socializing began in earnest. There was a great BBQ, complete with veggie options to share in, and still a steady stream of runners coming through. Jenny and Rob came in looking very tired and very dirty, but happy. By the way - check out Jenny's new running dress - it's a nuu-muu, an exercise dress made up in Bellingham. We first saw them last week at the Wild Thing, and Jenny had one before the week was over - she was stylin'. Most important though was that she reported it was fantastically comfortable.


Jenny and Rob finishing it out!

Eric and I finally got on the road as the sun was setting - and were treated to a brilliant, deep pink, turquoise and purple sunset on our drive home. We were up early the next morning so I could run a double loop of Pt. Defiance with Margaret, then off to coffee with the running club, and hanging out at Margaret's house while Eric did a bit of toilet repair for her. All-in-all, a fabulous weekend. Oh, and I managed to log 51 miles last week - frosting on the cake!

We are in the midst of a heat wave here - highs hitting the upper nineties, with threats of triple-digits, and lows in the mid-sixties. Good thing I got the high miles last week, because I suspect this week will be kind of low.

Have a great week everyone!

10 comments:

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Great report Michelle! If it cools down enough for me to be upstairs for longer than 5 minutes I'll write a report too! Thanks for such a great aid station and for kinda sorta being crew and filling up my camel back with ice! It was great to have cold water climbing up to sun top.
Jenny

Sunshine said...

We've been hearing about your unseasonal weather! Whew...
Congratulations on volunteering.
And yes, I caught that "sleep in" ... until 6:00!
Great time had by many...

And thanks for your ever encouraging words on my post.

Thomas said...

I had no idea you were there. I've read race reports from the winner and the third guy, and they did mention the great volunteers. You guys must have done well then.

Sarah said...

It was hot at the PCT 50 too! Thanks for volunteering. Glad you had a fun day!

robtherunner said...

The coke hit the spot at Buck Creek. Thanks for being out there supporting us! I only wished we would have finished sooner so that we could have hung out a little longer.

lizzie lee said...

What a wonderful time. Racing really comes to joining runners at the end, when all the energy is out but the satisfaction and sharing the experience are all IN.

Congrats on your 51 miles. I AM SO happy for you. And yes, this heat wave is horrible. I am frying right now.. I am glad I don't have to log SO MANY miles...

runnerinsight said...

Very good report! Very timely. And yes congrats on your most recent run! : ) You must had a fun day ha!

Ironayla said...

Great report. Reading it reminded me of the time I joined you in driving between all the different aid stations supporting Eric and Rob a few years back :)

jessica said...

sounds like you had fun & everyone was thankful for your support. I'm getting excited for the aid station at Cascade Crest 100!

Darrell said...

Sounds like you are having a bit of southern CA heat wave up there. I know you had fun volunteering and seeing so many friends come through the aid station. I'm sure they appreciated you being there.