When I started running (and I still have problems thinking of myself of a runner), I was naive.
“Oh, it’s an inexpensive sport. All you need is you. No gym, no personal trainer. Just you and your legs. And maybe one decent pair of shoes.”
Laughable, I know.
Tech clothing, compression socks, hydration belts, Garmins, KT Tape, snazzy gels and tablets… It adds up. I guess there are worse things to spend money on.
Hold on. I’m trying to think of worse things to spend money on.
I was also naive about it being a solitary sport. Sure, training can seem a little isolated, but I usually train alongside my husband (although I find running alone pretty empowering, too).
But races, by their very nature and purpose, are not. I mean, you have to run against someone, right?
And regardless of whether or not you are a social butterfly before and after, there’s always someone there pushing you on the course (even though they don’t realize it) or encouraging you (cheery course marshals, or supportive spectators).
And that has been my most pleasant surprise. I love the idea of the community.
Now, I’m kind of shy. It may not make a whole lot of sense for a comedian and an actor to be shy, but there you go. It can be tough for me to just walk up to a stranger and start a conversation. But like any good improvisor (and I hope I am one) I can’t help the draw of being a PART of something amazing, and fun.
In improvisation, a bit part of what makes it work, is the concept of people being their strongest version of their themselves, and empowering themselves and the people around them to just make ‘it’ work. We all just agree to move forward together, supporting each other’s choices and focussing on getting the best outcome possible.
You may be the star of the scene, or you may just be support, but everyone is moving forward. Together.
Since I’m not working right now – ugh – I’ve had to put a kibosh on registering for more races for a while. But I still want to be around that motivation and be a part of that community.
I knew I already wanted to browse the Expo, so it only made sense to volunteer for Race Packet Pickup for a few hours on Friday night.
And I’ve always appreciated the encouragement from the on-course volunteers, so I volunteered as a course marshall for our neighbourhood. I mean, it’s only a few blocks away, so it’s only neighbourly to be out there.
So there it is. All the fun and excitement of race day, without all that hobbled walking the next day.
Have you ever volunteered for a race?
I am an actor/writer/director based in Chicago, IL.