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BRM Volunteer Restoration

Here’s what I’ve realized about me. This week.

When my back is at its absolute angriest, there are exactly two things that make it feel better. Rogue’s elbows. And lifting heavy things.

And when my soul is at its absolute tiredest, there are exactly three things that restore it. Running mountains. Working with kids. And cheering on other people.

Yesterday morning, I cried in the bathroom at work. Twice. For so many reasons. So. Many. Reasons.

But then the kids showed up at school. And I got to interact with them. Only a little bit. Because testing. But that little bit was enough to drag me out of my funk. Mostly.

But my back. Holy hell, my back was one giant knot by the time I got to the Blue Ridge Marathon Expo to help with breakdown. And I didn’t really want to be there. Because my soul was still pretty tired.

But I didn’t run that 7 1/2 hour virtual marathon last weekend for no reason.

So, I rolled in and presented myself.

My first assignment was breaking down the discarded boxes.

And the woman assigning me to this task was very. Very concerned. About my ability. To breakdown a box.

She kept trying to get me to admit I needed a knife.

Honey. I worked fast food and retail. I know how to breakdown a box. With my bare hands.

And then I punched the box she’d handed me.

Because that’s how you breakdown a box.


But nothing happened…

Like, that tape held strong.

No no. It’s fine. I can totally do this.


And when I’d finally successfully torn off the tape and broken down the first box. She reluctantly walked away. And left me to my task.

Broke down everyone of those damn boxes.

Except one.

That I’m pretty sure my grandmother came back from the dead to completely wrap in packing tape. That woman would cover the entirety of every package she ever mailed in the thickest packing tape known to mankind. Because you can’t trust the damn post office.

So, I just left that box to its business. Kind of as a tribute. To my grandmother. I don’t fuck with shit my grandmother’s spirit has had a hand in. You do not fuck with the spirit of a woman who kept a skull with red light shooting out of its eyes in her bedroom as a nightlight.

But I got to spend the rest of the breakdown carrying boxes and breaking down tables and lifting heavy things.

And that made my back very happy.

But when I woke up this morning. At 4am. Instead of 3 am. Because I live in civilization now. And don’t have to wake up an hour earlier than the rest of the world just to get places.

My back was again irate.

So, it was good that Rogue and Everyone’s Favorite Husband and I had signed up for the early shift to help set up the Blue Ridge Marathon start line.

Because apparently I got to keep that bitch working nonstop to keep her from seizing up into relentless knots.

And when we got there. At 4:45am. Rogue and I were directed to start carrying the fences over to the starting line. While EFH found himself some power chords and began expertly plugging shit in. No idea what he provided power to this morning. But it looked professional.

Then Lead Volunteer Guy called us all up to the starting line area.

Where we found a wagon full of flour…

Ok. I don’t know what we’re gonna do with a wagon full of self-rising flour. But I’m in. I’m all in.

And Lead Volunteer Guy explained.

“We are using the flour to mark the corrals.”

Ok. Cool.

“So everywhere you see a chalk mark on the sidewalk. Draw a line across the road with the flour.”


But here’s the issue with this plan.

There are a LOT of chalk-like marks. On Roanoke City sidewalks.

So if you saw an out of place flour line. Near the start line…

In my defense. It’s REALLY hard to distinguish random city sidewalk markings from intentional city sidewalk markings at 5 o’clock in the morning on only a half cup of coffee…

And I also may have been a little distracted by Rogue threatening to yank every driver that rolled up on us out of their truck.

We’re working here!

Eventually she just started picking up every barricade she could find and shutting the entire city down.

And Lead Volunteer Guy started handing out maps. And tried to hand me one. And I tried to explain how much I should never be handed a map.

I mean, I know parts of Roanoke. But sweet mother, can you imagine what would happen if I were in charge of directing runners through any portion of the Blue Ridge Marathon???

Pure. Chaos.

After we had run through all of our flour. And setting up the finish line chute. It was time to start corralling people.

And we did our best. To get these runners excited.

It’s hard to get amped up. When you have to be so spaced out from the rest of your people.

But we rolled through 17 letters of the alphabet. And then on back around. And just kept circling back for more runners. And leading them up to the start line. And getting the hell out of the way so they could take off.

And on back around for the next group.

And I was impressed. By how well this many adults followed actual directions.

I didn’t have to kick a single runner out of a single corral.

Or yell at a single person to get they ass back behind me.

Runners really are pretty cool people.

And by the time we were finished rolling through all of the runners. My brain was in real actual pain. From caffeine deprivation.

So we went for coffee. To calm my brain down.

And then strolled on over to Fishburn Parkway. To spectate.

And we did spectate.

We spectated the hell out of Fishburn.

We maybe overspectated a bit.

Rogue maybe had to say, “Stop. Just…stop talking.” Once. Or twice.

I just don’t…I don’t know why the inappropriate words. Just flow right out. As if entirely under their own power.

ANd when I try to get the appropriate words out. I stumble around fifteen different versions of what I want to say. And by that time, twelve different runners have passed and the runner I was originally cheering is all the way over on Peakwood. And so what I’m actually saying makes no sense to the runners currently passing me…

My brain panics. When it has to do too much social.

When I told the dude to think about getting naked in the back of a van…it was because he was wearing a Ragnar shirt.


My Ragnar people understand.


At least I wasn’t telling marathoners. And half marathoners. And double marathoners. That they were almost done. When they had more than 15 miles left…

Note to future race volunteers. Know your race course.

Meanwhile, Rogue’s throat was over here slowly drying up. To the point that I was messaging Fall Risk to get her ass on down Fishburn. So Rogue could have some of her water.

Anyway. I got over 28,000 steps in today.

And a good 10,000 of those steps was simply from clapping my hands.

And screaming.

At however many hundreds of badass people. Were out there. Killing it on America’s Toughest Road course.

And y’all know. That was a lot of peopleing. For me. So much social.

So, I’ll be hiding out in my apartment. With my fresh pot of coffee. And books. Until at least tomorrow.

So that I can recoup my socials. Before Monday.

Because I start my tenure as an Outdoor Track Coach. (Volunteer Coach. Not, like, Real Coach.) And my brain has so much learning to do this season.


Just reading and writing and running and looking for my happy place.


  1. martywinn says:

    My mother-in-law always puts amazing amounts of packing tape on envelopes to seal in the $20 birthday cash with the card. Not sure exactly who she doesn’t trust but it is quite the job to retrieve the card and the money.

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