Almost always, there's an agreement to volunteer at races in exchange for the flyer inclusion. This is something I'm delighted to do; one of my goals this year was not just to race more, but volunteer more as well. (I'm on the unofficial Scott Jurek Plan of Giving Back). I signed up to volunteer for a ultra race the week after the Chicago Marathon, as well as at the Red Rock Twilight Half (which I've run twice.) I'm very curious to see it from the other side.
For the ET race though, all bets were off. This isn't some three- or four-hour shift in the morning in your neighborhood. It's a two hour bus ride from Vegas which requires you to stay up all night in the middle of nowhere. Over twelve hours from start to finish, no sleep, and the possibility of an alien abduction. Who in the world would be crazy enough to agree to this?
I ran through people in my head. Brian was out for obvious reason (i.e. Scotty). Essentially everyone I know has kids, jobs, and responsibilities. Pulling an all-nighter on a Saturday just doesn't seem as much fun as it did when in college. Maybe I should recruit at UNLV?
Discouraged, I sat on this for weeks. Maybe this one wasn't going to work out.
Then one night while washing the dinner dishes, I told Brian my concerns. I told him I was going to post it on Facebook to see if anyone bites. He and Scotty were in their usual positions around the Lego table, furiously rebuilding the Batmobile before bedtime. Brian just nodded and said, "Go for it."
So with five minutes until night-night, I posted it.
Two minutes later, I had four messages. One friend said she needed more details. Two other required nothing more; they were in.
Bedtime was suddenly pushed back. Scotty had no idea who was responsible for his good fortune; all he knew is that he could continue his quest to bring the Batmobile to its former glory while Mom sat captivated by her phone. I sat in stunned silence as I watched message after message pop up, friends responding quickly, positively, and enthusiastically.
The whole conversation played out on Facebook for awhile. Kerry and Stesha were immediate yes's; in fact, Stesha would bring the chocolate preztels. Kerry mentioned something about glitter. Nancy, who was supposed to be in Leadville on Sunday, loves glitter. Suddenly she wanted to come. Chai, California-based, briefly contemplated flying in for the weekend. Sarah, Crystal and Sonnya couldn't make it but wished us the best. Then Nancy started an internal monologue via Facebook about cancelling her trip. For several minutes, we became the Junior League of Rachel, Nevada. There were new words created ("shamazing") and much talk of glow sticks, sparklers, and Rice Krispie treats. And glitter. So. Much. Glitter.
My head was spinning. Was it possible to bring not one but FOUR volunteers, for this insane, overnight, potentially out-of-this-world adventure? Was glitter allowed on the bus?
We eventually moved the conversation to texting (my poor phone's battery sunk dangerously low) and in the end, Stesha, Michelle, Kerry, and Nancy were all in. My favorite comment came from Michelle -- apparently, she had already mapquested Rachel last week, "in case you needed cupcakes or something." She was glad they were "officially invited" so she can stop wondering if they were going.
I started that weird laugh-crying thing when I read that. You know, when you are so happy and overwhelmed, you can hardly believe it and you kind of choke on laughter and tears? Yeah, that.
I don't know how I got so lucky to have these people in my life. When I picked up my packet last night, the race director gave me a huge hug, thanking me for delivering FOUR amazing volunteers to her. I wanted to tell her they aren't just volunteers; they are professionals. And I totally didn't deserve the thank you; that belongs to Kerry, Michelle, Stesha and Nancy.
What's really funny is the night before this whole thing played out, we were all at a Junior League new member mixer. The topic of "What's your favorite Junior League memory?" came up, and I rattled something off about the Discovery Children's Museum, which Junior League had a huge part in creating. If that topic comes up again, however, I'm changing my answer. Because this is one of my favorite memories, and the race has yet to start.
Thankfully, on Saturday night, it should be dark enough for me to count my lucky stars.