Sunday, November 26, 2006

Seattle Marathon, Part III: Mile 20.7

When we left the house this morning, there was a dusting of wet snow on the ground, and it had begun to rain, at a nice, balmy 33°. Perfect marathon weather.

~running tights
~silk long-sleeved running shirt
~long sleeved cotton shirt
~long sleeved thermal Patagonia ski shirt
~polar fleece top
~canvas-type cargo pants
~smartwool socks
~insulated waterproof boots
~goretex coat
~ski hat
~goretex insulated ski gloves
~second goretex goat
~second pair of insulated ski gloves

Did I run the marathon? Hell no! In that weather? I thought it'd be much more fun to stand on the side of the road for 6 hours with a neon vest on.

Ahhh, yes . . Course Marshal, Mile 20.7. And I got to choose the location. Last year we were one block up at 20.8. Either way it's along mile 20, in the middle of the most grueling hill on the Seattle Marathon Course. And I honestly used all of those clothes. Goretex works until it gets saturated enough to drip onto your pants that aren't goretex, then you need to switch to coat #2. It rained nearly the whole time the runners and walkers were out there - there were two short breaks, and once it hailed or snowed, I'm not sure which. I'm just amazed at the ability of all of those participants to withstand the elements. One of my friends that ran the half passed out at the finish line and was put in the med. tent for a while. I can just imagine how chilled to the bone all of those people were at the finish, and how stressed it made the medical personnel. What saved me, was my daughter joining me for the duration (in and out of the warm parked car) to keep me company, and my husband bringing me warm soup and coffee and relieving me for a short break.
It's actually a pretty cool thing to be able to stand there and watch the looks on all of those faces as they run by. Some are seasoned Seattle-ites and could care less if it's cold and rainy; some are seasoned marathoners and don't need your assistance or advice - they're in the 'zone'; some are complete newbies and have a horrific look on their face as they come up that hill. The real job there is to keep vehicular cross-traffic off the race course, but some runners are so grateful to have someone standing there telling them something - anything - positive to help get them up and over that hill. Their ability to experience what they were going through and continue on was truly inspiring - and I'll keep them all in mind next time I think I feel tired when I'm running a marathon.
Lucky for me, I love a sport where I can spectate free for six hours on the best part of the course!
I took the day off from running. I'm home and warm and dry. It's snowing again outside and my husband went for a run in it. Time for me to get out decorations for this big green tree we cut down yesterday and brought into the living room. 'Tis the season!


Bruce said...

Hey, thanks for volunteering!

I ran the marathon in the rain today, and I guess I'm one of the Seattle-ites used to it - it wasn't so bad. I had four upper layers on, nylon running tights, gloves, and a hat. My wife waiting for me at Seward Park told me she was chatting with a woman from San Diego whose husband wasn't at all used to the rain and cold. He had a short sleeve jersey, a running jacket, shorts, and a hat, and one new thing he'd bought at the Expo - gloves! My wife said he ran by 30 seconds ahead of me saying "I'm freezing to death! I can't see how people do this!"

Anyway, thanks for being on that hill today. If I recall correctly, that's the short concrete street one block long that was super steep. My legs were getting shot by then and my heart rate was high, so I walked most of it. I probably looked pretty zoned, too.

Carrie said...

Another Thank YOU. From an out-of-town islander (Honolulu!), I couldn't believe how incredibly cold I was. And I only did the half. It was stupid and crazy and something I will only do once. But I did it -- so thanks again!

Sarah said...

What a spot to pick! : ) I like your assessment of the different types of runners. I'm sure ALL of them appreciated your encouragement.

JustRun said...

Brrrr. Good job, standing out there encouraging those runners. I am not sure I could be so tough to do that or run in that weather!

IHateToast said...

they say it takes 3 years for one to get used to the new climate after a move. well, i'm there. i'm a subtropical winter wuss! i can't believe i ran in that weather once. but never a marathon. nor did i ever stand in one place that long.
i'm impressed... yet scared of you.

Josh said...

Whenever I see someone wearing a NYC Marathon volunteer shirt I stop and thank them.

And you are right - even if I am in the "zone" those words of encouragement mean a ton!


Kurt said...

I grew up in Seattle, got to just love those hills on the marathon! Still a bad day in Seattle is really nice!

D said...

How awesome of you to give back to the sport the way you do!

Sarah Elaine said...

I've marshalled before too. It's fun, isn't it?

My question is though... wouldn't they let you marshall dressed as a cookie?! ;-)

Angie said...

sweet!!! that's awesome!!!

Danielle said...

Good for you being out there, standing in the's not even so bad for the runner's those days, you have to worry about the volunteers and admire the dedication.

Robb said...

You had me going with all the clothes...I started thinking you were crazy to be running with all that gear on...and then, your confession!

I think it's great that you helped out on the course. I think most runners at some point do that - someday I'll do the same. Good job.

Joe said...

You chose to be stationed at around mile 20? Isn't that when most people hit the wall? You must like seeing people struggle! Hehe. (I would have chosen the exact same place, BTW).