|An odd tree in the middle of vineyards with a flag on it|
Next time I SWAT (which is in October at Vegas) I'll take two days off from work. Because of the short notice for work, I asked to work remotely on Thursday to minimize my time off and hopefully keeps me on my boss's good side. What I didn't realize is after Thursday mornings training the team would set up the start line. So while they drove to the start line in San Francisco, I went back to the hotel room to work. Even though I got a lot done ( maybe even more work than if I were actually in the office) I felt like since Ragnar brought me out there, I should have helped set up the start too.
Being my first time as course manager, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. The "day" started at 10:30pm on Friday night. I showed up early to try and sleep in the van because I couldn't sleep in the hotel. I followed lead foot Janessa as they started/stopped putting up directional and the favorite "Mile to Go" signs. They really did all the work putting out the cones and signs but I did help put cones together and consistently put the bases on the cones backwards. When I was taking down the course and fighting getting the cones and bases separated I realized the grove on the base center would match up with the cones base.
I had three hours of sleep on my schedule from 10am-1pm but when that time came I was busy at an exchange and not tired so I kept working through it. I needed to drive through my exchanges a second time and pick up trash and talk with the volunteers. Had I taken a break I wouldn't have been at exchange 34 to help out a dehydrated runner. Being SWAT we have special black shirts and a runner came to me and explained her teammate was throwing up, couldn't keep anything down and wasn't able to finish her last leg. Luckily during SWAT training dehydration was discussed and he went over the symptoms so when I heard what was going on with the runner I called 911 immediately. I explained to 911 what was going on and gave her my address, although she already knew where I was at. She asked for the van description and I explained it's a white van but the parking lot is full of white vans. Look for the person with the blue and orange wig I told her. The firetruck and ambulance arrived promptly and after she threw up on the paramedics shoe, they whisked her away to the hospital where she would be given an IV.
As I mentioned, there are things I would do better next time. When I was setting up the course I was very aware of how the runner would be coming in. I wanted to make sure there were no obstacles for the runner coming in and out. One of the placements was great for the runner and looked great until there were people standing around and vans trying to park. Next time I'll know to incorporate the crowd into the equation. At another exchange the safety managers came by and put up orange cones with the orange tape and created a barrier. Next time I'll use that trick to manage the crowd. The final thing is when I see a runner walking back on the course I'll stop. I realized hours later that I saw the dehydrated runner walking back towards two female runners on the course and although it was odd, I thought she had dropped something or knew the two runners and was going to run with them. Had I turned around I might have been able to help her sooner but she hadn't told her van mates she didn't feel well until she started throwing up.
After the runners passed through my exchanges I was supposed to pick up the signs and cones. Other Ragnar volunteers started picking up my exchanges and I felt guilty. In the corporate world you get help when you're failing and can't do the task. With Ragnar they were helping to get the task done and I'm truly thankful for their help.
The last team on the course I pretty much followed for the last 3 exchanges. I would wait for them to get to a sign, hand them water, help them cross the road (dang those were busy roads) with the red flag, send them on their way, take down the sign, drive to the next sign, hand the runner water, get the sign, go to the exchange and cheer them on as they came in. Rinse and repeat.
We started the task of unloading the vans, sorting all the equipment and loading the big truck. It took hours to get everything put away. Afterwards we went to IHop for "dinner" and I got back to the hotel at 12:30pm on Sunday in which I promptly crashed after my shower.
While sorting out all the equipment the final team approached the finish line and everyone that was working, everyone that was there went to the finish line to cheer the team on. They probably had a bigger cheering section than the other finishing team. We hooted, hollered, yelled and cheered them on. We built a tunnel with our hands for them to run through. I'm an emotional sap and teared up as the team came through the finish line. This final team represented all the accomplishments each of the 300+ teams did out there on the road starting on Friday morning, running through the day and night and into another day.
Job well done to everyone!