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.
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.
“NOOOOOOO! That’s CONCENTRATE! You mix it with FIVE GALLONS of WATER!”
Did I mention all the boxes of spring water Excitable had been climbing behind us? Yeah, that’s why they were there.
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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.