Monday, June 6, 2016

You've heard of runners high, but have you ever experienced a volunteer's high?

Earned a shirt but not the medal.
No doubt that giving your time to benefit others in need is truly rewarding. But today, I felt extra special. After spending about 3 hours helping out in a triathlon, I learned some things that will help me with my first triathlon.

Transition area.

I'm training for my first sprint triathlon scheduled in August 2016, and three weeks ago on May 18, my friend Mike recommended that I join a super sprint as part of my training. Although I can bike and run, I didn't feel confident about my swimming skills. The Independence Triathlon that happened on June 5 in Lake Nockamixon, Pennsylvania included a 1/4-mile swim, 10-mile bike, and 2-mile run. I didn't race but I helped instead.

I volunteered to help for 3 reasons:

  1. Fulfill my 2016 promise. One of my goals this year is to help in at least two race events. This was my second race, but I'm not done yet.
  2. Support my friend who was participating in the event. 
  3. Learn,  

There were 3 waves:white, red, and blue caps.
Here are 9 things I learned today:
  1. So that's how a transition area looks like.
  2. If you wear glasses, always bring it. I expected to assist at a water station but plans changed on race day. I ended with registration and OMG, I couldn't read the text on those race packets. I quickly moved to shirts, and later gave out the finishers medals.
  3. Swimmers must wear caps. This event provided free caps and they were color coded: white for men, red for women, and blue for anyone racing with a friend.
  4. You can swim anyway you want to. I saw someone doing the backstroke today.
  5. Participants start changing their outfit as soon as they end swimming. They slowly take off clothes while running to get their bikes.
  6. Running shoes are ok for biking.
  7. Bikers may not have to worry about traffic, but must beware of speed bumps.
  8. Flat tires and wipe outs can happen even to seasoned triathletes.
  9. I didn't see any participant wearing head phones at any time. 

I've read a lot about triathlons and watched videos, but being in the event as a spectator or volunteer was an incredible experience. There was so much adrenaline and emotion. I witnessed first timers consumed with joy at the finish line, seasoned racers who finished real strong and others who wiped out and got up. 

Of everything that took place, the most beautiful I've seen was the phenomenal dedication of a father to his son. This dad raced all the way with his handicapped son. 

Moving from swim to bike.
Temperatures remained in the low 70F.  Clouds covered the sky all morning while thunderstorms threatened the afternoon. It poured by the time I drove home. External conditions may have been gloomy, but everyone's spirit was bright, especially mine. I was so stoked coming home that I ran 3 miles in drizzling weather.

With today's experience, I feel more relaxed about my upcoming race. On August 16, I will conquer my first triathlon, that's 1/2 mile swim, 13.6-mile bike, and 3.1-mile run.

Have you volunteered in a race?

My Tri training this week included:

Tues - 4.13 miles to celebrate my 4-year runniversary
Wed - 45-min. pool drills, 32-min biking, and 1.5-mile run
Fri - 3-mile run
Sun - 3 miles


  1. I totally get the feeling of a volunteerer's high and even a spectator's high. Before I started running longer distances I would watch my sister run the Disney races. I even volunteered at the Marathon one year. It was truly one of the most exhilarating experiences ever!

  2. Thank you for this post! Rspecially the things you learned list. The Du I was doing this month has been merged into the Tri! I'm clueless about all of this and certainly not trained for the swim. I will be one doing a back stroke! The pictures of the Dad with his son gives me chills. Good luck as you continue to train for your tri! Thanks for linking.

    1. Thanks Holly. Hope you didn't have to pay extra for the swim =D

  3. Since I've been running haven't yet volunteered but I do want to. I think your right you can relate to the competitors so much!

  4. I've never volunteered at an event, but I think it would be a fun, rewarding experience. I imagine you can learn a lot by watching others compete too.

    1. If you get a chance, try to be the person awarding medals.

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