Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gimme a Gatorade, Heavy on the Gator

timeI survived the Baltimore Running Festival without injury or illness. The same can’t be said of a hundred or so fellow participants I “helped” during my volunteer shift at the finish line.

But first, the non-pandemic news.

As you see in the graphic, I ran my first major 5K in a decent 29 minutes and 8 seconds. This put me squarely in the middle of the pack of people my age (last gasp before the rapid downhill slide) and gender (hmm … yep, still male). Proof you can’t spell “mediocrity” without “me.”

Except for misestimating the location of the finish line three times, my run went down as smoothly as the two free beers the organizers gave us runners afterward. Drinking at 9 a.m. after exercise and almost no breakfast may help explain what happened next …

After chugging my brews and eating a post-race corn dog (it’s called carbo post-loading), I headed to the finish line with the rest of the Uncool family to do our appointed volunteer duty. My Love handed out Mylar blankets, Li’l Diva gave out medals, and Excitable and I passed out Gatorade.

Gatorade The first hour went slowly. The earlier volunteer shift had poured a few thousand cups of Gatorade and layered them on the tables lining the finishing chute. With only a trickle of runners coming in, I spent most of my  time telling Excitable, who had downed a few dozen cake pops in the volunteer tent earlier, to stop climbing the boxes of spring water behind us.

Then the waves came a-crashin’.

Hundreds of marathoners and half-marathoners suddenly flooded across the finish and drank every ounce of liquid we had in a matter of minutes. We were overwhelmed by sweaty sponges in compression socks and headbands.

Luckily, I stumbled upon a solution. Literally. I tripped over an industrial-sized jug of Gatorade peaking out from under our table. That supply lasted less than 5 minutes.

Despite the exhaustion and pain, race finishers are very appreciative of volunteers. Many look you in the eye and thank you for handing them liquid or food or just showing up to support them. However, when you are standing there with only empty hands … well, that’s when you realize what it’s like to be the ire of the living dead.

Then I saw it. A few tables down another volunteer had a one-gallon container of florescent liquid gold.

“Heywheredidyafindthat?!” I said as I rushed over and promptly stubbed a toe on a box of the stuff.

Cracking open the seal, I yelled at Excitable to line up cups for me to fill.

I kind of knew something was amiss when I twisted off the cap and my nostrils felt like they had gone thorough a salt scrubbing. I should have been more suspicious that the stuff that glugged into my pitcher literally went “glug” like the slime in “Ghostbusters.” And what about that shade of nuclear yellow that could only be viewed safely through a pair of welders’ goggles?

Then came the runners’ comments.

“Oh, God – that’s awful!”

“Ugh! What is this?”

“My tongue! My tongue! It’s on fire!”

I glanced at the bottle. It sported the Gatorade logo and name and said something about “Pro Series.” I figured it must be special formulation for endurance athletes.

“Yeah, watch it,” I said. “I think this is the ‘rocket fuel’ version. Don’t forget to get your tickets for the free beers.”

Two bottles of the stuff and a lot of spitting later, the volunteer coordinator runs over to us.


Did I mention all the boxes of spring water Excitable had been climbing behind us? Yeah, that’s why they were there.

+ + +

Again, thanks to all of you who donated. In total, the event brought in $200,000 for Cure JM – nearly all of which goes to fund research into searching for better treatments and, eventually, a cure for juvenile myositis. If you haven’t contributed yet (and you know who you are), you can still donate on my FirstGiving page.

Special thanks to my fellow blogger/runners – Clay Nichols of DadLabs, who raised $1,500 and ran his second marathon ever in an impressive 3 hours and 33 minutes; and Oren Miller of Blogger Father, who raised $230 and whom I passed in the last mile of the 5K – sorry, I had to say that. Also props to Homemaker Man for raising $125 from the comfort of his own home.

And thanks to all of you who cheered us on via the Internets and the Twitters and the Facebooks. You’re good people even if you associate with me.


  1. Ha! This made me laugh at you, which is always a fun way to start the work day.

    1. You laugh because you did not have one of my special sodium. potassium and Yellow dye No. 6 milkshakes. And thanks for the hefty donation!

  2. Did you hear the big ruckus coming from just north and east of you when you crossed the finish line? Rick and I each had our cowbells a'ringing and I was waving my race pompoms frantically while dressed in the sweetest cheerleader uniform I could find.

    Well done, Kevin. We are bursting with pride.

  3. OMG! I feel badly for those who drank the concentrated Gatorade, and yet, I can't stop laughing about it!

    1. It was funny if you didn't swill the stuff down.

  4. So awesome. Something I'd do. Besides, what are they complaining about? Concentrated Gatorade equals concentrated hydration, right? You super saturated those speedsters. And who says my home is so comfortable?

  5. You sexted 1160 times while running a 5K? That's like, one sext every two seconds. I wonder what the winner's stat was.

    Congrats on the fundraising!

    1. It's nice to know someone notices the details in these posts.

    2. Words are alright, but what really grabs my interest...numbers! In columns!

  6. My version....this marathon like every full marathon was not easy. Truth be told, I think I set up in my mind it was going to be hard so it was. The sights were great, weather was totally awesome, and my team was terrific.

    My best chance at distraction from the discomfort at miles 20 and beyond was spotting Cure JM shirts. There was only one Cure JM shirt however that never looked so good. It was the one behind the finish line. His shirt meant I was done. I did it. Completing a full marathon always comes with emotion for me. My brain is usually a little fuzzy, lets face it, your spent.

    As my emotion set in, I was stared at the by guy in the red Cure JM shirt. At this point that is all he was too me. A red shirt. I picked up the green stuff he was intensely pouring into cups. *Remember my mind is fuzzy* I sobbed suddenly, because it felt right to do. Cry. Cry that I was done, cry because it hurt, cry because I kept going. It's all a very glorious triumphantfull moment. (Yep, made a new word).

    I wanted the red Cure JM Shirt to leap over the table, pick me up, and cradle me like a baby. I wanted it to kiss me on my sweaty forehead and tell me I was the most amazing woman in the world. I wanted red shirt to tell me how impressed he was with me. I wanted red shirt to carry me back to my hotel. Red shirt, however, did not.

    As his magic Gatorade starting replacing what was causing me to hallucinate returned, I finally focused on his face. It greeted me with a look, what the hello is your problem lady. His eyes came into focus for me. I heard, "you alright", with a move on lady tone and quite staring at me. I stumbled on to the next station.

    The red shirt belonged to a married man. My hallucinating possibly psychotic mental impairment soon resolved. I thought, "wow, his wife and children would not have appreciated that very much".

    Thank you Kevin and Rhonda for all you and your family do for the Cure JM Foundation. So that is what it feels like to be a zombie. I hope I didn't drool on you!


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