Whew ...

It's over, I'm elated, getting over being exhausted, and can't wait to do it again! The race, that is. I was an absolute nervous wreck the night before. Really. I mean the can't sleep, lying in bed shaking, tossing, muttering kind of wreck. I think I fell asleep around 5am, and had to get up at 6. We had a minivan coming at 6:30 to take all the stuff to the park. A LOT of stuff. Tables, boxes of goodie bags (they were heavy!!), carton of t-shirts, food, water, giant easel signs, traffic cones, orange barricade posts/weights, etc ... the list goes on. We got it all crammed into the van, except the cart full of cones/chalk/arrows, which was to mark out the course in the winding park. I pushed the cart to the park while M and the van took the load, dropping all the stuff at the edge of the park. I needed a few minutes to cool my head. Wet head actually, setting me up for freezing later on.

Lesson one in Not-to-do-ever-agains? Get the vehicle-permit for the park, no matter what! It's a separate permit, and one thing I didn't do because of time/money, but regret. Carrying everything in/over the wall and up into the park, both directions, was a HUGE pain. Of course I had no idea how much stuff there'd end up being. Pictures you ask? Ah, pictures. Hah. The camera battery died when I tried to take the first one, the backup battery no longer holds a charge apparently, and the friend with a camera that was to show up couldn't as her son woke up with pinkeye. So, NO pics whatsoever, though there is a bit of video. Maybe I can grab some stills from that.

So we (M and I) got it all into the park by 7:15 or so. Registration opened at 8, and we had to get it set up, as well as the course marked. One friend was arriving at 7:30 to help (thanks C!) and Steph was already at our place, up watching the boys until Opa arrived at 7, and she was off with the wagon to pick up the donated bagels from 2 places, apples and yoghurt drinks from the greenmarket, and coffee/hot water from the bagel shop. She ran herself ragged, getting it all to the park by 8:30 or so. Meanwhile M and I ran around marking the course. This involved chalk lines/arrows/cones to make sure people took the right course at each turn, and when the course stretched over 3/4 of a mile, it took a long time! I abandoned him to finish on his own close to 8, and went to take over registration setup.

By this time my aunt/uncle/friend S had arrived, and were helping get things going. Someone had already come to register while I was away, so I scrambled for the numbers/charts/pins/maps and so on, only to discover the bag with all that in it was missing!! M and I had been carrying it around while marking the course and no longer had it. It could have been anywhere in the park! A parks person had mentioned to C that she'd seen one up the hill, was it ours? My aunt went to find it, did thank God, and brought it back to my frantic hands. I fumbled in the freezing cold for all the stuff, raffle tickets, pens that didn't work in the cold, and so on, and finally managed to register the kid.

It was nonstop from there, getting the registration thing down (thanks to S showing up and handing out pins, numbers, maps, and t-shirts) and getting people ready to go. We had about as many walk-ups as no-shows, making it an even 30 people. It would have been 31, but Steph was too run ragged to actually run the course! Somewhere in there someone handed me a cup of tea and a cut-up apple, the first sustenance of any kind in my morning. I was sitting there shaking with cold, having worn nothing but a t-shirt under my jacket, and with wet hair pinned up on my head. Fynn/D/Opa arrived around 8:30 also, and were fine for the first bit, but then Fynn started screaming bloody murder. Bad mom failed to notice his freezing hands, tried to backpack him but his screaming was so loud it was almost impossible to think. Carrying in my arms didn't work either.

I managed to give the 10 minute warning at about 9am, after checking with Michael to make sure he'd be done marking by then, as it had turned out to be a hugely long job for one person, cart and all. Bless the man! "Managed to give" means I used the bullhorn for the first time in my life! Why I had such a hangup I do not know, but I did. I didn't want anyone but the ppl right around me to hear, and knew it would carry further than that. Has something to do with the fact that I mostly hate to be the center of attention, but part of me loves it. Go figure.

Got everyone up to the starting line, which just so happened to be 20 yards away from a PUPS event (read: many many people with many many dogs) that I didn't know would be there that day. Yay, more audience for the Bullhorn Malfunction! Harvey was holding it for me (heavy thing, and I was shaking a bit and standing up on a bench) and he pressed what he thought was the On button, only to discover it was the siren. Michael insisted you just had to 'let it run out' and so it went for several cycles. Turn it off. Michael insists. Repeat. Finally the two males figure it out, give me the microphone, Michael draws a starting line (the one line neglected to be drawn, though there was a sign) and I send them off!

Given the 3k route, I knew I'd have only about 11 minutes before the first person arrived. More scrambling for medals, shuffling a screaming Fynn, hunting high and low for the missing finish-line tape, and end up substituting a roll of raffle tickets instead. The tape was later discovered in Douglas' pocket, as he 'really liked it'. :) The first runner in was a HS student. I forgot to mention I'd invited the track team from the HS across the street to come, for free, and they'd be eligible for prizes but not t-shirts, etc. The first 4 or 5 finishers were the kids, and they all refused to take the awards! No medals, no dinner gift certificates, nada. Just said they were there to support the effort, and a couple even handed me a few dollars to put towards the charity. Nice kids!! and a dream to have there.

There weren't a lot of cheering fans, but we made the noise we could, and the stroller race ended in a deliberate tie :). Medals were handed out, awards announced, and the raffle items raffled. Thankfully one of the HS kids won the 6-month Crunch Fitness membership, which helped even things out a wee bit, and I dug out enough t-shirts for them all.

It was such a nice bunch of people, both runners and helpers, and I couldn't ask for more. Sunny (freezing!) weather. Enthusiastic and grateful runners, and no major issues. The Kiddie race ended up being just 3 kids (I had about 12 expected, but the cold probably kept them away) and one girl fell and skinned her knee. Douglas was super proud of his medal (they all got them) but wanted to know yesterday why the kids all got medals, but not the adults :)

I can't wait to do it again. We raised $760 for charity, had an angel cover the cost of the t-shirts and equipment rental, and spent enough of our own money to call it a good marketing effort.