Saturday, March 24, 2012

Grasslands from the other side of the aid station table

Over the last four years, I have run in a couple dozen races, trail and road.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that today was the first time I have volunteered to work at an aid station in a race.  If you've ever run an organized race, you know how important the aid stations can be.  When you're trudging down the trail, especially late in the race, and you come around a bend or emerge from the woods to see the aid station, it's a welcome relief.  Today's runners expressed their appreciation repeatedly for our aid station, an oasis in their journey through the LBJ National Grassland.
Elliot was quick to lend a hand wherever needed.
I somehow convinced Elliot, my 12-year-old son, to get up and leave the house at 5 so we could drive an hour to the middle of nowhere to serve water and pb&js to hungry trail runners.  He was a great sport, up and showered before I was even out of bed.  He stayed engaged with the runners, actively helping out throughout the day, jumping up to fill water bottles, slice oranges, and offer words of encouragement.  I'm sure he could have thought of other things he'd like to have done on a Saturday, but he said he had a good time.

The weather was gorgeous today, but it did get rather warm toward midday.  Quite a contrast to the sleet and freezing rain during my 2010 DNF (see my post here).  Conditions were much better today, sunny and breezy, getting up into the 80s by the afternoon.  According to the runners, the trails were very runnable, but the mud caking their shoes and legs told the story of some muddy portions.  
We enjoyed hanging out with fellow trail runner, Steve.
From my view at the Red Ant aid station, Paul Smith and the North Texas Trail Runners volunteers did a great job, as usual, putting on this race.  I enjoyed being on the other side of the table for this one, but look forward to getting back on the trail soon!

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