Sunday, June 10, 2012

Workin' the Water Station - Ojai 2 Ocean Marathon

Volunteering with new friends from the running group representing Walden Surfboards.
Last water station, less than a 1/2 mile away from the finish line.
A week ago today, I volunteered to work a water station at the local Ojai to Ocean (O2O) marathon and 1/2 marathon. Man, was it fun! Although it was super early and super cold for those of us standing around, I had a great time with some new amigos I have made recently  from a local running club (more about the club in another post).


We were suppose to be mile 9 for the half marathon and mile 21 for the full, but our table was placed in the wrong place and we ended up being less than a half mile away from the finish line. A great spot for us a spectators, a terrible/awkward place for the runners. But whatever...we worked our water station. Along with offering water and gels, we started offering "showers" too. That's right, splashing runners on their way to the finish line. I think we enjoyed it more than the runners. Who doesn't like throwing water at people. 


Being less than a half mile away from the finish line, you see ALL KINDS of stuff. People looking strong and focused, and others looking not so great. You can definitely tell who trained and who didn't train. I remember being in pain entering mile 12 and all I could think of was, "Man, I hope I didn't look like that!" It was a great reminder of why I need be faithful to my running schedule. The next time I run, I want to feel great at the end. Not like I am about to fall over and pass out. 


One great part of working the water station was seeing my amiga finishing the half marathon. Just days before the race, she asked me if I wanted to run with her number because she just didn't think she was ready for the entire half marathon (she had a baby like 3 months ago). I told her no, that she should do it, even walk/run it if she couldn't run the entire thing. Well, she ended up doing it, and she ended up running the entire thing, and she ended up with a great time! I ran with her from the water station to the finish line. Very motivating. She is responsible for lighting a "running fire" in a few of us and we are thankful to her for it.


The elite runners were so amazing, of course. But what I found to be even more amazing were those "regular" runners looking so awesome at the end of their race. I know I will never be an elite runner...I don't think I'd ever want to be. But I want to be good at running. I want to get stronger and faster and have respectable times when I race. And at O2O  I saw "regular" people like me finishing at great times with smiles on their faces as they made their way to the finish line. I think THAT is amazing. Being a regular person, living a regular life, and finding the time and dedication to train hard in order to accomplish great times is WAY more inspiring to me than watching the elite runners. I watch elite runners and my jaw drops...How is it possible to do that!?! I watch "regular" runners and I feel a smile form across my face...I can relate to that person. I can see myself somewhere in that person and I think that MAYBE, if I work hard, MAYBE I can do that too. 


O2O...nice course, nice people...nice for me to MAYBE run next year?!? Maybe :)


~Vanessa
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