So when Iliana asked me if I'd volunteer at the Caumsett 50k (which I did last year), I said, "Of course." I had a blast volunteering at the race - the race directors were nice, the fellow volunteers hilarious, and I really liked giving back and helping out other ultrarunners. I didn't need volunteer credit, I told her - but of course changed my mind about needing that credit. I will most likely be running the Vermont 100 again - it was so much fun last year, how can I not run it again?
We got to the race at 7:30 and began setting up the aid station with food. Blaming it on the fact that it looks like poo and she did not grow up in the U.S., Iliana left me to spreading peanut butter (though she did spread jelly on some of the sandwiches). We poured snacks into trays, poured cups of water and Gatorade, sliced bananas, made more sandwiches, cut more bananas, handed cups of water, cheered people on, gave people Ibuprofin. It was a blast!
It's also nice to not be in pain and just be chilling and cheering on others. Because I know how much hard work goes into each and every run, I tried to pump up the runners.
Iliana got into a great system of handing water and drinks to the runners. She got to know the runners, and would call me, "Cherie! Michael Wardian!" That meant two cups of water. Jill Perry? That meant a cup of coke and a Gatorade. Iliana knew everyone's drink preference - after 10 laps, she was a true expert. I may as well slathered my body with peanut butter and jelly in my sandwich creation, but I had a blast.
I knew a lot of the people out there. I got to see the lovely Scott Dunlap (Funny - I saw him, knew I knew him somehow, asked him, and then realized he writes one of my fave blogs, A Trail Runner's Blog), Tony, Steve Tursi again, and others. They were all running and I wished I was running too - but was glad I was helping out.
When it came time for Tony's final lap, Iliana and I began running with him. Iliana ran ahead to pace a doctor on her final lap, and I kept pace with Tony, trying to do my best to cheer him up. I kept chatting about Umstead, races, random things, trying to perk him up. He seemed cheered as he pulled into the finish.
Then, Iliana and I ran with the infamous Ray K from the Ultra list. ("I love his posts," Iliana confided in me.) He shared all sorts of great wisdom, advice, running tips, racing reports. I'm excited that he'll be at Umstead, and he might even have time to run a lap with me (which sounds even better, especially after my pacer AKA little sister's email of this morning complaining that her hip flexor is bothering her).
After we finished volunteering, Iliana and I headed for a long run ourselves. It was getting dark and cold and we explored the trails as much as we could during the daylight. We looped around the pavement, avoiding oblivious children on out-of-control tricycles and old men on wobbly bicycles.
After the run, we piled back into Iliana's car to finish the Banana Oat Choc Chip bars I had made, drink some water, and say goodbye to a weekend of fun 50ks.