Have I run a marathon recently? Oh no, that is just the day after race syndrome. The day after one of our own races my whole body usually is sore and aching and all I want to do is sleep. Walking down stairs is always interesting and I feel muscles in my body I do not normally feel. Frequently I am ravenous all day. I get the same sense of happy tired accomplishment and similar sense of pride.
Unlike marathon running though, race directing comes with a certain brand of bruising that you might not find anywhere else. I like to think that I am a victim of race abuse.
Why, you ask? Well, the simple explanation is there is a lot of shlepping, pulling, pushing, throwing, lifting, wrenching, carrying, kicking and various other actions that come along with race day.
Today is no different. We put on a small-ish event yesterday. We had amazing weather, a better than expected turnout with lots of smiles, and happy participants. I feel like the smaller the event, the less volunteer and staff support it usually has, which means more of it falls on the race director and our crew.
This nice set of bruises comes from carrying delineators around the course, out to turn arounds and mile markers that were not easily accessible by vehicle. I doubt you will find this sort of bruise patterns anywhere else. Those things are heavy and awkward!
Participants often times do not recognize that race directors take physical abuse to be able to put on these events. There is little time for eating or drinking and I have only gone to the bathroom once, at any of our own events, ever, which is a shame as I would like to be able to use the porto-potties that our company pays for! More often that not race days come with a very very early alarm clocks and the day does not end until late afternoon, and it is mostly non-stop physical exertion. I guess the adrenaline gets my body through. I always try coffee (usually we are too early and coffee shops are not open so I have somebody bring me a coffee) but 9 times out of 10 I set the cup down somewhere and forget it even exists.
So I sit here today, on my couch, trying not to move, happy that the event is over and successful, but bruised, scraped and sore. I am not sure which is easier, running a marathon or race directing. They are both about equally as painful.
Next time you see a race director schlepping that heavy generator, cone, tent, water jug, table....take a moment and thank them for taking the abuse so that you may have a great race experience. You will probably hear a genuine "you are welcome" as we all love our jobs too much to quit!
Signing off, the ice cream and movies are calling me!