Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to be a Stellar Water Hander Outer

Remember how one of my New Year's Resolutions was to volunteer at a race, since I've never done it before?  Well I finally did it!  I won't lie to you, one of the benefits of volunteering at this particular race is that you get a $30 voucher to one of their 5 races, which ends up essentially being a free entry into either their Christmas or St. Patty's Day 5k races.  So although I definitely would have volunteered anyway, just out of the goodness of my heart (ha!), getting a free race entry doesn't hurt.  So on Sunday morning I worked at Aid Station #3 of the Tacoma City Marathon / Half Marathon, which is the busiest of all the water stations, because you get the half AND the full marathoners, and you get the half-ers twice. So I got to hand out water and cheer on thousands (hundreds?) of runners!

I was especially excited to meet Becky from RunFunDone, who worked the aid station too, and to cheer on my running partners Jordanne and Amy, and also fellow bloggers Tiffany and Robyn.  Everyone rocked it!

I'm not going to lie, I feel extremely strong about my aid-station-manning skills.  I don't want to brag, but I think I might go pro in it.  Though I may want to keep my amateur status for the Olympics.  I'll have to think on that.  But if you too, want to be an amazing, professional water hander-outer, just follow these 5 easy steps:

1)  Practice proper hand-off technique.  It is extremely important you hold the cup in the proper manner and move "with" the runner to avoid catastrophe: dropped cups, water splashing, etc.  I learned the hard way.  

Becky practicing the proper hand-off technique.  

2) Make sure to properly (and loudly) share what beverage is in your cup.  You MUST, and I repeat MUST, shout "WATER", or, in my case, "GATORADE!"  Mix-ups occur if you EVER say the other word, even in the context of "water further down" - don't say that ever or confusion and chaos will occur.  I speak from experience.  

Don't worry, Becky is shouting "water", the correct term in this instance.

3) Cheer yourself silly.  Be the most ridiculous person out there.  I definitely accomplished this.  For example, I do NOT remember posing for this picture.  So this means, either I blacked out or this is NOT a staged photo.  This is pure full-on cheering folks.  Be afraid, be very afraid.

4) Take as many photos as possible.  But ONLY, and I repeat ONLY, when your water-handing-out duties allow.  Don't shirk your duties if needed!  No restroom breaks, no chatting, and no soup for you!  

Both of these ladies are an inspiration.  Amy ran her first half marathon EVER and totally blew her goal time out of the water.  Jordanne crushed her old PR time which was set TEN YEARS AGO.

Tiffany is also an incredible inspiration.  She ran TWO half marathons in TWO days!  See that t-shirt?  She's a half fanatic!

5) Re-hydrate like a rock star.  Let's face it.  Cheering your face off is exhausting.  Re-fueling at brunch, preferably with libations that look more like a salty salad than a drink and frittatas the size of your face are preferred.  And although nothing is ever as great as toasting your OWN PR, cheers-ing to your friends' PR's is a close 2nd best.  

The End.  Go, and may your aid-station-manning skills be forever bolstered.

Have you ever worked an aid station at a race?  Or volunteered in some other way?  Tell us about it!  I HIGHLY recommend it if you haven't.  I want to do it again ASAP.