Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oh, running world - you disappoint me!

One of the things I love about the world of fitness is the people. I love when you pick a regular time to: run the canal, walk the dogs, hike a mountain, etc. and you start to notice familiar faces and it becomes a community. I LOVE hitting the canal or the trail on Thanksgiving mornings - people are usually SO warm. These are the people who had other choices - and chose to enjoy movement and sunshine and fitness. Lots of smiles - lots of greetings. I love it.

There are moments when I DON'T love runners. Often on Expo + race packet pickup day. People can be crabby - and rude. But I attribute that to pre-race jitters because the same group of people can be so FUN the next morning when we start the race! (wierd)

I DON'T love runners when that same group of 4 executive men run in the mornings and refuse to break up from their line of 4 and pratically push me into the canal after my partner and I form a single line to make room. (arg!)

And well, this morning - NOT a fan of the Phoenix running/biking/walking community.

Today our Team in Training group did 20 miles in preparation for the Nike Women's Marathon. This is the hardest day of their whole experience: they have been fundraising in their "off hours" for a long time, they have spent countless hours on the hot, dusty canals and this is the longest distance many of them have ever run or walked before. The mentors and the coaches - it's OUR JOB to be out there supporting them, cheering them on and making sure they have everything they need. The most important need: hydration.

We set up all our water and sport drink stations along the route and put LOTS of signs of support for Team in Training on each station - there was NO mistaking who the supplies belonged to. And yet, runner after runner after walker after biker had no problem walking up and helping themselves. I didn't want to be rude, but I went ahead and wrote a sign for the front the water jug at my station that read: "We are running 20 miles today to fight cancer. Please save the drinks for our team." You HAD to read it while using the spiget to pour a drink - so it wasn't missed.

I then went out for a mere 3 mile run with a friend and came back to find my 5 gallon jug of sports drink almost GONE. And they took the race GU (like liquid nutrition - you buy them at the store for several $$ each) - and threw the wrappers away in the bag with the clean cups. I guess I can happy they didn't throw them on the ground. So I went to the store and bought more (my $) sports drink, ice and supplies. And they continued to take it - while their eyes visibly read the sign. This happened all along our route, all day. I went to the store and spent $$ 3 times today to refill our supplies. It's FREAKING ridiculous.

I followed the last runner/walkers as they completed each station and would bring the supplies to the next station so we could combine remaining fluids and keep them hydrated to the end. It was about 100 degrees today - MUCH better than it has been throughout training. But still - HOT!

Maybe it's just a misconception? Perhaps people just assume that the charity is this big entity with loads of $ buying these supplies and should share with everyone. I mean, isn't charity about sharing? But the signs were pretty clear - people were out there for 20 miles counting on these supplies. I'm so disappointed in people.

Maybe I should have been more aggressive with them - but they read the message - they knew what they were doing and I don't want to "represent" the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as a total bitch. We are a charity dedicated to helping people.

Seriously? I AM so writing our local Fitness publication AND Runner's World and seeing if they will post it in their "Letters to the Editor" sections. I'm curious what the public thinks when they are just helping themselves. So much for community.

Before the vultures swooped on my station


Now back to me: I did run a total of about 5 miles today - my initial three and then in between stations. My lower back hurts. Ugh. I tried the lean forward technique my chiropractor wanted me to. We shall see. The first 3 were GREAT. I could just be tired. I started loading up supplies at 4:30 am - and left the park at 12:30 pm. 8 hours. I didn't do 20 miles today - but I sure feel like I worked a long, sweaty, dirty day. We'll see how I feel tomorrow!


Lily & Lilacs said...

Thats too bad... maybe you can the word out there to "guilt" those takers into donations later!! Keep up the good work! :-)

Anonymous said...

Get them Amy!

Alissa said...

Thank you so much for all you did on Saturday. I was one of those out there that benefited from your beautiful water station. And it was beautiful! Like an oasis in the desert. It was hot out there. I know what you mean about people using the water. When we were filling up at the water at the Biltmore, some cyclist came up and started helping himself and asking us what race were running and it was obvious he wasn't with TNT - were there any TNT cyclists out there at all? I'm so mean, I hate cyclists. We encountered some extremely rude cyclists South Mountain park the last time we were there. It was like road rage!

I almost wonder if it should be required that you wear TNT shirts on 20 mile day. It would be perfect if we had our singlets by then, we could test them out. That way, the sign could read "if you don't have a TNT logo on your shirt, you are steeling from cancer patients!" Okay maybe that's a little harsh, but you know what I mean :-) I think people would be less likely to help themselves if it was more obvious they weren't from TNT.

Laura said...

Good for you, Amy! I could not believe how many people helped themselves even with the signs! You rock!

Unknown said...

Thanks for your posts everyone! Good advice - next time we will have cards prepared with a web address - "Hope you enjoyed the refreshments, please make a donation at this website . . . "