Hey, everybody. I finally fulfilled my goal of volunteering at a marathon.

I woke up at 5AM to volunteer at the Tobacco Road Marathon. I set up a water station at mile marker 2/24 with a team of employees from Allscripts.

On the way to the marathon, I got lost. (No coffee!) I had to park at the starting line, which meant a two-mile walk to the aid station in the dark. I used my phone as a flashlight, which is an inelegant solution. I stepped in a puddle. Then I stepped into the mud. Then I stepped in dog poop.

But the event was awesome, and I was happy to have an opportunity to “people watch” and figure things out. Things I learned.

1. Nobody runs a marathon with good form. You run a marathon by using everything you’ve got to get across the finish line. I knew this, and this is the story of my life, but it’s interesting to watch how people get stuff done. You use everything you’ve learned while training, and then you add grit and determination.

2. Volunteers bust their butts. I had no idea what went into setting up an aid station. Water, Gatorade, and Gu were the least of our concerns. We had to find Vaseline. We had to set out snacks. I put on latex gloves picked up water cups by hand. I did not rest for nearly three hours. I ran 11 miles on Saturday, and I was a little apprehensive about standing on my feet for four hours on Sunday. No problems, though. The time flew by!

3. Great runners know how to work the course. The best thing runners can do is lock eyes with a volunteer, point to what they want, and simultaneously yell it. (WATER!) That’s so much better than the passive “can-I-have-this-water-touch-grab?” that most runners do at aid stations. Imma change my whole style.

Anyway, the whole morning was tremendously rewarding. I was thanked 1000 times for volunteering. I know exactly how those runners feel, which makes it very special.

I’ll volunteer, again.

And the team from Allscripts was great! What a fun company with generous and thoughtful employees. They made me feel right at home.

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