Friday, March 18, 2011

Runners are weird

Runners are weird.

Take 5 or 6 runners out of their running clothes and ask them to volunteer at a 5K, and what you're going to get is a half crazed group of socially awkward individuals.

And knowing this, I still gave up my morning a week ago to help run the finish line at a 5K right here in town.  Ultimately my job was to write 3 digit numbers down 400 times in 35 minutes... on your mark, get set...  It was fun.  A British Guy and I had a good time mocking ourselves, talking about tea, and writing 400 3 digit numbers down in 35 minutes.

So. Why am I continuing this post, since we've established a level of "fun"?

Here's the thing.  YES...  I had a really good time.  A really good time.  I would totally do it again.

 But the reason I had fun had pretty much NOTHING to do with the group of half crazed socially awkward runners.  Sorry guys.  You kind of sucked.

Here's the thing.  There's a group of runners in our local Road Runners Club who volunteer ALL THE TIME.  They are the bread and butter and martyrs of the club.  Without them, the club would not function the way it does.  No way.  It just wouldn't happen.  I get that.  Absolutely.  However, I have put in my time this year, and I have handed most of those people a bib number and T-shirt at packet pickup recently, I certainly don't expect to get treated the way I was treated upon arrival last weekend.  Oh, did I say martyrs?

I arrived and introduced myself to the Guy in Charge.  He was pretty nice.  Name withheld to protect the Nice.

I signed in, was told we had nothing to do for a solid 15-20 minutes, so I went to say "Hi" to a friend.  Name with held to protect the Cool.

I then saw after a few minutes of chit-chat that I was disrupting the usual flow of Nice and Cool, and decided the smart/polite/stupid thing to do was leave the comfort of my pal, and go join the non-running runner volunteers.  I actually know two by sight from around town, and figured I speak the language RUN, I could pull this off.

I mean, HEY ~ What could happen?

Well.  Apparently without my skirt/socks/pigtails, I'm COMPLETELY unrecognizable and look stupid.  Because when I joined the half circle of conversation, one guy, who Isn'tcool got in my face... about 4 inches from my face... and said, "ARE YOU ONE OF US?!?!"

Never in my life have I so had the desire to say, "Nope, lost my way there for a minute....clearly I do not belong.  I'll just head on out now... got shuffleboard team tryouts today..."

But is that what I did?  No.

See above note about stupidity.

Instead I smiled and said, "Well, YES.  I'm here to help."

Isn'tcool says, (and this is a direct quote, burned into my brain for the rest of my life) "OH.  Well." awkward pause,  "You're wearing a lot of pink."

I'm wearing... WTF...  did he just... no... seriously?

In my head I'm thinking ~ I showered ~ I'm not a completely unfortunate looking female ~ Do I have spinach in my teeth? ~ Am I dumb looking in pink? ~ Do I clash? ~ Would this man even know if I clashed? ~ Are my headlights on? ~ Is this like wild kingdom where the pack senses an injury and cuts the injured runner out of the group to be eaten by lions? ~ Are there lions?

Because with the words, "...a lot of pink" still hanging in the air, the martyr'd volunteers, busy talking about how they are the only "ones who do anything for the club", actually moved a few feet away from me, leaving me alone, so they could talk amongst themselves.  So, with that, I learned why the club is having trouble getting volunteers out to the races.

I also learned that I'm apparently uncool.  Epically so.

The next time I volunteer, perhaps I'll put that in as my middle name... "g. uncool finn"...  hey, whatever, it works.  Oh, and if you're there, scanning the crowd for uncoolness, I'll be the one who's dressed from top to bottom, in a f*cking lot of pink.


Jill said...

Um, why are people weird and rude? I would to to see you in ALL pink. They were JEALOUS...remeber that you know if someone like you too...they say stuff like that.

Go G in your PINK and way to help out!

Julie D. said...

one of your best posts yet. and you have a lot of them. Runners ARE weird. You handled yourself with perfect grace. ;) I had no idea that mr. martyr was still a part of the junior high popular club. too bad for him. Too bad he didn't know you were captain of the 'pink' GBA club. I'm sure he would have been put in his place! ;)

Alanna said...

Gah. It's amazing what people get cliquey over... it's called volunteering for a reason. If the martyrs need more acknowledgement for their efforts they're obviously in the wrong place. And, yeah, if you need more volunteers don't alienate the ones you've already got...

I volunteered at a half recently where club members are not allowed to run and have to put in time. I'm not a part of that group, but even though I didn't know anyone I was made to feel pretty welcome. I didn't have a clue who they were talking about half the time, but it was still fun. The best part was the thank yous from the runners for taking their stuff for bag check anyways.

Q said...

At least the coffee was decent....

momof3 said...

I agree Alanna - the best part of my day was seeing the 400 sweaty and elated 5K finishers realize their accomplishment ~ whether it was the 17 minute finisher or the 38 minute finisher. THAT is what made it worth it, and THAT is why I am browsing the race calendar for April for a Saturday where I am free.

April said...

Yikes! Were these really grown ups!? One thing I have loved about running is the camaraderie among all the runners. Unfortunately, there always seem to be those few insecure "grown up challenged" people who try to taint it. We have a junior high circle here too and it seems their only purpose is to make others feel less than...
Girl, I'm sure you were rockin that pink! Sometimes people like that are just intimidated by a strong, beautiful, secure woman.

Jen said...

See... this is the article. I get this. I can relate to this. And if I saw acute chick all in pink with pigtails, I would go right up to her and talk to her, afterall, I am probably dressed quite similar.... epically COOL!

Katie said...

At least you got a killer post out of it :D Your writing had me very entertained :), but sorry you had to deal with that.

Maybe they want to make sure they can keep saying they're the only ones that do anything for the club?

Zoƫ said...

I'm sorry, that sucks! But, this post completely made me laugh and is phenomenal.
You ROCK. IsntCool is just jealous of your pink self. And, you still volunteered, which is AWESOME, because races cannot function without people like you. So, rock on, G!

kat said...

First of all I didn't know that wearing pink was a crime, very strange behaviour, good on you for voluntering and for not being put of.

I've volunteered in a number of different scenarios and the worse was a homeless shelter for women, a couple of x-mas's ago where the lead workers were horrific I vowed never to go back!

Victoria said...

Pink is my favorite color. theend.

(yes, I read the blog)

MCM Mama said...

Sheesh! I volunteer all the time and have never had anything but a good experience, regardless of who I'm volunteering with.

I will admit freely that I do wear a marathon or half marathon shirt at every race where I volunteer though. ;o) Got establish my street cred.

Go you with head to toe pink. Preferably with a pink skirt...

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

I am sorry but this just makes me laugh. What kind of WEIRDO says something like that?? Confused.. FYI Pink is awesome and should be worn daily.. I repeat daily!!

THANKFULLY you are one of us, those who accept people and don't say things to make them feel unwanted. Lordy!