Last Saturday I volunteered all day at The North Face series in Park City. It was a long day and I am still debating how much worth it was for me, but I do love contributing to races if I don’t participate in them.
After signing in at the volunteer booth and getting my radio gear and food and drink, I was dropped off at the top of Guardsman Pass for volunteer portion 1. I stood in a relatively small area for most of 7.5 hours cheering on runners, directing them where to turn, trying to get them to avoid some big ruts that were tripping them up, asking bicyclists to be aware of the runners and to give them right of way, etc. There was really nowhere to sit so I stood except for 15 or so minutes. The nice thing was – I saw every single runner that passed my position as Course Marshal so I got to see runners in the 50 mile, 50K, and Marathon. Even got to say hi to some friends and get a hug from Adriana Vars. Some other notable names were Phil Lowry and Mark Kruezer.
One of the negatives of this location was it was cool and windy. For hours. It was nearly 11 before I finally got some sun at my location and I was still cold even then. Spent a lot of time shaking and trying to stay warm. Didn’t think I would be out of the sun for that many hours. I did get some beautiful views of the fall colors and saw about a bazillion cars and bikes going over the pass. There was even a collection of luxury cars being filmed and driving to Midway (probably more than 100 cars).
Once Ryan – the marathon sweep came by, I was to join him and help sweep the course until the 5 way Aid Station. I was told that I could easily walk it out – but actually had to keep pace with Ryan or I would lose the advantage of the course markings. Of course, less than a mile into the sweeping portion I started to feel some chafing. Took a quick glance under my kilt and my compression shorts had suddenly decided to no longer have one of its seams. Luckily I had some anti-chafing solutions I could apply and by folding up the leg of the blown side I was able to avoid a lot of the chafing fun.
The 11 miles I helped sweep had some tough sections. Top of Jupiter Peak was challenging. I was glad when we finally got through the really rocky portions where we didn’t dare move fast. There were some pretty views, but I only really enjoyed about 6 miles of the section we swept. Glad I did it because I now have no urge to run these races.
I did love the color gradiants between the changing leaves and the darker evergreens. Does anyone know what lake is in this picture?
As we got close to the 5 Way Aid Station, I did a graceful fall to the side of the trail. My arms were full of signs, luckily I fell into some grass. Brushed off my pride and less than 50 steps later I did a full on face plant onto the trail. I can now tell exactly where the radio was because I have its bruise on my chest. The wind was knocked out of me and my confidence was shaken, so I told Ryan to move on and let me walk into the aid station and pick up the remaining markings since he still had more miles to sweep.
I was really glad to get to the 5 Way. Not only did I get some hellos from friends and a great hug from Jo Agnew, but I knew by now I was going to feel the pain in my hip again that had already crippled me twice this month. I made the decision to ride the tram down and head home to nurse my leg.
Once I got my volunteer supplies and a quick dinner, I visited with Phil Lowry for a few minutes and heard about his race and then headed home. Sure enough – within about 5 miles I could feel my hip flaring up.
It was a nice day to be outdoors. You can’t beat that. I got to see a new course and had some new adventures. All in all – not a bad day.