What did I volunteer myself for? Week in review

I won’t keep you in suspense: I volunteered to sweep at a trail race this weekend. (For the non-runners, the sweeper runs the course after the last runner; no brooms involved.) Having said that, I am going to keep you in suspense on the details for a few more paragraphs. First, a few other happenings:

A Kara update

Kara had her 6-week post-op appointment last week and everything is healing as it should. We will be working her up to 45-minute leashed walks over the next couple weeks before gradually increasing her off-leash time. She is allowed off-leash swimming, so we’ve made several trips to the nearest dog-friendly pond. Good for rehab and beating the heat.

A garden update

I have been picking raspberries almost every day for the past week or so. We have one bush that we planted last year, plus a few small “volunteers” that sprang up in rather inconvenient places. It’s hard to estimate since we keep eating the berries, but I think we’ll get at least 4 pints. Not bad for basically 1.5 bushes that we put approximately zero time and money into! I’m thinking I should try to transplant the volunteers into my empty front flower bed.

Between my garlic plants and the CSA, I can’t keep up with the amount of garlic scapes we’ve been getting. I have lots of recipes/ideas for using them – there are just so many! Good thing they keep for a while.

On the other hand, some of my tomato and squash plants are shooting up, while some appear not to be growing at all. They’re right next to each other – what gives?

Running & such

Monday: I was so tired Monday – I felt like I never really woke up. I don’t know why. I had planned to run, but didn’t. It wasn’t even really a decision, since 1) tired and 2) I only planned to run 3x this week since I knew my Saturday run would be longer than usual. I did do a yin yoga video. Or that might have been Tuesday. There was yoga some time early in the week.

Tuesday: Tuesday – Thursday was a conference that the research center I work in holds annually. I was up early to run the video camera for the first session, conference-d all day, then headed to the gym.

Wednesday: I planned to do my interval run Wednesday morning, since I knew I would be skipping the first conference session on medical biofilms. My delicate constitution cannot handle the gruesome medical images that inevitably show up during said session (also, I don’t study medical biofilms). Like last week, my interval paces were all over the place. I suspect this means my goal 5K pace is a bit too aggressive…

Thursday: I planned to run early Thursday morning, but my pillows were too persuasive. After conference wrap-up, lab work, gym, and taking Kara to the vet, I finally got around to running around 7:30 pm. Thursday was the hottest day of the week (/year?), and it was still far too warm for my liking. I only managed 2 slow miles.

Friday: Rest + yoga.

Saturday: I swept the 15K route of the Crosscut trail race. (For more about the race, here’s my recap from when I ran the 25K.) It was still hot Saturday, and the volunteer instructions said sweepers would start around 10:30….knowing I would be running relatively slowly, I showed up around 9 and was thankfully able to start running about 9:30. I was even slower than I expected – turns out pulling the many, many course flags will slow you down/keep you from maintaining a good pace on downhills – and by the time I was through the shady middle part of the course, it was 80+ degrees.

A couple miles from the end of the course, I met two sweepers who had started after me. They suggested I run down the road and let them sweep the remainder of the course (much of which is such a steep downhill as to not really be runnable). I was grateful to accept – apart from the easier running surface, it was nice not to be grabbing flags every minute or so. I ended up running 10.8 miles (the road added some distance) in a bit over 3 hours.

Despite the heat and sun (oh, and the bugs – I didn’t even mention the bugs), I am really happy with this run. It’s the longest distance I’ve covered since I raced Crosscut 2 years ago. More importantly, I’m not especially sore or tired today. I’m starting to feel like I can run longer distances without needing a full week to recover…and without dreading a full-on flare if I do the tiniest bit too much. Maybe…I can actually start planning races months in advance now?



Have you ever swept a race?

Do you run in the evening during summer? How do you handle the heat?

Linking up with Meghan for week in review and Holly and Wendy for Weekly Wrap


29 Comment

  1. Great news that Kara is recuperating so well!

    I’ve definitely never swept a race. You volunteers are awesome! And really awesome that you weren’t sore afterward. I’m not usually, but I am this time! Not bad, but definitely more than normal.

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I was a little sore, but nothing like I expected! I’m sure it helped that I mostly walked the uphills.

  2. kc says: Reply

    Only in the 80’s? It’s been 110 all week here. Of course, I’m not running- barely going outside!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Guess you should’ve stayed at your summer home….

  3. I’ve never swept a race but I regularly volunteer as tail runner at our running club runs (the same but no flag uprooting) and also when I officiate at cross-country and road races I often have to help pack up the course (rolling up orange plastic temporary fencing in conditions approximating the Somme is a good memory there). Good for you.

    Re Wednesday, I hear you. I edit academic texts, amongst other things, and once had to make a knee surgeon remove all the images before I could work on his PhD!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I haven’t heard the term tail runner before! And I couldn’t handle the surgery images, either.

  4. I didn’t realise races even had sweepers! What a great idea and well done for volunteering!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I think road races often don’t – since you can easily have someone drive the course instead.

  5. Being a sweeper sounds really interesting. Did you really have to sweep any runners up for taking too long or did they require you to grab all the flags? I also did not realize that sweepers ran the whole course.

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      No, I started 2+ hours after the racers and there wasn’t a time limit. I only saw a handful of runners headed back to the finish. There were 2 distances and I grabbed flags for one of them – thankfully I was able to drop flags at the aid stations instead of carrying them all the way, because there were a lot of flags!

  6. Wendy says: Reply

    I think being a sweeper would be fun! Do you get a medal?

    Congrats on finishing!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      No medals for the race, but I did get a hat! It was nice to run the race course without actually racing.

  7. Kim G says: Reply

    Happy to hear about Kara and that all is well.

    That’s so great that you volunteered to be a sweeper for the race. I’ve never done this before so it’s good to hear about your experience with it.

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      It was a great experience! And nice if you want to run the course but don’t feel like racing.

  8. Laurie says: Reply

    I have never been a race sweeper before. I have volunteered at many races and helped at registration and finish line, but never sweeper. Did you have to sweep anyone? Sounds like a great thing to do. You get to run the course with no pressure or expectations.

    Glad your puppy dog is on the mend!
    Laurie recently posted…Rising Every Time We FallMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I didn’t sweep anyone – I started 2+ hours after the race start and there’s no time limit. It was mostly about pulling the flags.

  9. How many sweepers does a race usually have? Actually I did not know all races had sweepers. I know Disney does and the goal is to not see them…haha.

    I missed what happened to Kara. I hope she recovers quickly but that is nice that she gets to swim. I bet she likes that. My Labrador LOVES swimming.

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I don’t think all races do – road races don’t necessarily need them. This race had one sweeper for each distance (2).

  10. Being a sweeper sounds fun. No pressure on time or anything… Around here, the lady that sweeps at a road race is called the balloon lady. I’ve always wanted to do that. Obviously I couldn’t pick up signs as my hands would be full. LOL. It’s great you didn’t get sore after that many miles on the trails! Thanks for linking!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Well balloon lady sounds like a super fun job!

  11. I can’t run in the evenings as much as I like to try. Every time it usually backfires on me. I have a really hard time dealing with the heat.

    That’s interesting to be a course sweeper! I’ve volunteered in lots of positions for races but never done that before.
    Montana @ Pretty Lil Mudder recently posted…Space Coast Marathon Training Week 1: 7/15 to 7/21My Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I can’t do evenings either!

  12. Farrah says: Reply

    Hm, I’ve volunteered to help out at races before, but usually by the refreshment stands and such (heh) and never as a sweeper! I’m glad you’re able to start running longer distances again!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Refreshment stands are definitely a good place to be 😛

  13. Did you plant your squash plants from seeds or seedlings? Because when we did seeds every crop grew perfectly but seedlings we always found some grew and others just never amounted to anything. Veggies are weird.
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recipe: The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I have some of each, but the ones not growing well are some I started from seed. But others I started from seed are fine! Yup, weird.

  14. […] weekend I forewent racing in favor of sweeping a trail race. While for road races it’s possible to drive around and pick up course markings, for trail […]

  15. Wow that is one hell of a sweeper run. I’m impressed and happy to hear the pup is recovering well.

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      It was a bit more than I bargained for!

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