Tag Archives: volunteer

Dashing and Burning, But Not Jumping

HERE’S A RIDDLE FOR YOU. As I arrived at the Running Fit Dash & Burn Soiree last night, a sticker with a mystery name was slapped on my back, and I had to guess who I was using “20 questions”. Hokey, but it got people talking quickly and easily with other folks they didn’t know – which I figure was the idea. So who was I? Here’s what I found out before I guessed (answer at the end of this post).

I am a very famous man, fictional, who could be alive in today’s world or earlier. I am not in entertainment, science fiction, a detective, or romance novel character. I am not a vampire.

Other notables spotted at the party included GWB, Pocahontas, Huckleberry Finn, Captain Kirk, Katy Perry, and the Terminator (green Woodstock shirt) who, fortunately, never figured out who he was.

Other notables spotted at the party included GWB, Pocahontas, Huckleberry Finn, Captain Kirk, Katy Perry, and the Terminator (green Woodstock shirt) who, fortunately, never figured out who he was. Not sure if he’ll be back.

The Dash & Burn is the annual party for the lovely and talented volunteers who help out at Running Fit events, doing stuff like unwrapping medals, putting up tents, directing traffic (cars and people), registration, handing out water along the race course, and cleaning up afterwards. “All for a T-shirt,” as Running Fit owner Randy Step puts it. As a multiple-event volunteer, I can tell you that’s not true. You get pizza, too.

Trail run to the Dash and BurnThe D&BS takes place at a secret location in the deep, dark woods. It’s so secret that you need to achieve the 33rd level of the Sacred Order of the Goat (*) and run four miles blindfolded to get there. Or just volunteer for any Running Fit event. And you can walk a shorter path. And the blindfold is optional.

It was also the perfect time to try out my new Saucony Peregrine trail shoes. I want to use them for Devil’s Lake, and a 50K on a rocky, treacherous trail is not the occasion for breaking in new shoes. Breaking an ankle, perhaps, but not shoes.

Okay, here’s a final “who am I” hint: I am an imaginary person – and to everyone, not just the figment of one man’s twisted imagination.

See, it's more than just T-shirts.

See, it’s more than just T-shirts.

There was also a raffle of sorts for a pile of leftover race swag. You wrote a fun fact about yourself on a slip of paper. Then Randy read the slips out loud, and when you heard yours, you went to the swag table and picked something out. Many of the “fun facts” were ordinary, but there were a few good ones. Here was mine:

Fun Fact

No one said the “fact” had to be true. (It’s actually 48 years.) “How high can you jump?” Randy asked me, and I managed a six-inch vertical. Hey, I’ll embarrass myself in public for a free camp chair.

It was this couple's 20th wedding anniversary. Naturally, they celebrated at a mosquito-filled campground with lasagna and beer.

This couple’s fun facts: it was their 20th wedding anniversary. Naturally, they celebrated at a mosquito-filled campground with lasagna and beer.

Her fun fact was, “I got hit by a semi.” Seriously. Below is Amy Gluck, who was hit by a gravel truck two years ago on her bike while training for the Kona Ironman. She endured a medically induced coma and multiple surgeries. I wrote about the Ride for Amy fundraiser back in 2012, but hadn’t met her until now. Rock on, Amy!

Amy Gluck - 2

And I keep running into the amazing lady below. Actually, we carpooled to the party.

WMiA with "Mg Girl". I'll let you figure out what Mg stands for. Hint: it relates to the subject she's working toward an advanced degree in.

WMiA with “Mg Girl”. I’ll let you figure out what Mg stands for. Hint: it relates to the subject she’s working toward an advanced degree in.

All in all, a fun evening despite the mosquitoes who laughed at my bug spray. Guess I’ll keep on volunteering!

Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer, assuming you had any to start with. (One can hope.) Here was my mystery identity:

My first guess was "God" but this is probably the next best thing.

Ho ho ho! Sigh – none of the cute chicks volunteered to sit in my lap.

=============================

(*) – It’s a Running Fit inside joke.

Going Green?

For someone from the center of all things maize-and-blue, green was quite a part of my life yesterday.

At the starting line, sporting the latest in upscale race fashion.

At the starting line, sporting the latest in upscale race fashion.

There was the holiday red and green of the Holiday Hustle 5K in Dexter. This run holds a special place in my heart, being my first race, the first race in which I won an age group award, and the first time I broke 20:00 in a 5K. Last year I served as a volunteer, and for some reason found setting up for a winter race to be fun, so I did it again this year.

I helped put up tents, string Christmas lights in the registration area, haul water to the finish area, and set up the finish chute – in between leaning over the heater in the warming tent. With the temperature unbudging from the low 20s and a steady wind, keeping warm was a real challenge. But the cold didn’t appear to hurt the spirits of the crowd of runners (nearly 1,100 finishers) and spectators.

The Grinch is smiling? Gotta be cold out.

The Grinch is smiling? Gotta be cold out.

Then there was the environmental “green” which already has a prominent place in our house, and in Ann Arbor in general. The plastic water bottles we handed out were prominently marked, “Made from Recycled Bottles” so at least some reuse of waste is going on, and we put out recycling containers, so many bottles will avoid the landfill a second time. Then there was this sign in the Joe and Rosie coffee shop, where I had lunch and my post-race peppermint mocha.

I understand the sentiment and support it...but really, can't we find a better way to phrase it?

I understand the sentiment and support it…but really, can’t we find a better way to phrase it in the A2 area? But see below…

Enjoy it, Tori and Sis....you're not likely to see this ever again.

Enjoy it, Tori and Sis….you’re not likely to see this ever again.

And how can I overlook a certain football game last night, as the Spartans knocked off the Buckeyes to win the Big Ten title. It was bittersweet for this house full of Wolverines, but heaven for my sister and my older daughter (the green sheep in the family). Congratulations, little brother! You done good.

Hey, what about my favorite type of green?

Hey, what about my favorite type of green?
(from wikia.com)

Well, the stock markets were closed yesterday, but here is a recent article from Marketwatch (an investment website) that suggests that we use our cash this season for other purposes than giving stuff to each other. And putting his money where his pen is, the author of the MW article is giving away everything he earns this month. “Every nickel. Every dime.”

Wow. How many of us are willing to do that? Sure puts a few chilly hours helping with a race into perspective. I’m not saying I’m going to follow suit, nor would I suggest that anyone else do so. But I will consider doing something more than we’d planned for. Go green!