About Me

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Wife (to Shaun), Mother (to Danni), Dog walker of Archie the JRX, improving cyclist, reformed gym bunny, broken runner Collector of exercise DVDs & equipment. Cake is my weakness together with cider (Westons only thanks)and brandy. Noisy spectator of running & cycling events. Owner of Tribby the campervan

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Volunteering - How to be ace in the bag drop

We've all been there - doing the race where you have no alternative but to put your worldly goods in the care of a complete stranger in the event bag drop.  

On Sunday I volunteered at Brooks Brighton 10k (love this race as a runner and a volunteer)!    Last year we had a wail of a time on car park duties and on the route and then helped dish out bags after, but this year me and Nik (minus Michelle and our gorgeous friend Sam) we were allocated bag drop - from set up to clearing away (there were others by the way it wasn't just me and Nik serving over 3,000 runners).    We had the most organised baggage section which would have been so easy when it came to pick up.  Unfortunately Richard - the lovely organiser of bag drop - decided that Nik and I were far too organised and moved us to the section that resembled the above photo.

We had such a laugh - it helps that it's a local race so there are familiar faces and friends running.   It was a knackering but brilliant day and on Monday morning my back felt like it had been battered with 3,000 bags.   I absolutely love volunteering it's amazing how satisfying it can be when runners thank you personally for whatever you've done.   I can't wait to have another opportunity.

Here are my tips for the smooth running of bag drop.

  1. Keep calm, make sure you have liquid refreshment to hand & brace yourself
  2. If the event doesn't supply their own bag labels make sure you have plenty of sturdy tags of some description and a Sharpie - don't bother with sticky address labels they were rubbish!
  3. Stand in one place and only accept bags for that particular area (none of this running up and down the bag area - you're wasting far too much energy).  Be courteous to the runners (most of whom will be in a flap because they've left it til the last minute to get the race) and ask them kindly to move to the section where their bag will be held.
  4. Chat to the runner as you're writing their number on the tag and wish them luck as they trundle away - you'll be amazed at how that makes them feel!  
  5. If it's not too busy try and keep the bags in a rough numerical order.
  6. As soon as the runners have all headed to the start line start "fine sorting" your baggage area - it really helps if you have OCD doing this job.   Make sure you have enough space between the bags to move later!
  7. Once you've sorted your own baggage area move along and help someone who is totally disorganised.  No-one likes a shirker!
  8. If you haven't already - now's the time to take a drink!
  9. Once the race has finished have one person (me on this occasion) at the barrier and your best buddy (Nik) standing among the bags.  If you can, clock the runners number as they're coming towards you and shout number to best bud.  If you're bag area is fine sorted this will be really easy!
  10. Once it gets busy it's best to ask the runner for a description of the bag - shout number and description to buddy and then collect the bag and hand it to the runner.   If it's taking a while to find the bag ask the runner how their race went.   Thank them for being patient.  By the way just because the runner says it's a black rucksack (or whatever the description is) doesn't necessarily mean it is.  Runners are forgetful and/or colourblind and your idea of a rucksack/holdall/suitcase may be completely different to the owner of the item! 
  11. As soon as the bag drop is clear tidy up and then help with any other jobs you can see need doing - like picking up discarded banana skins, gel packets, undrunk water/sports drink bottles and discarding clothing!
Have you got any top tips for volunteering? 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Doing Something Different

Ever since the shinsplint injury started and I was told not to run I've been looking for some form of exercise which I enjoy and I feel comfortable doing, something that wouldn't aggrevate the shins and meant I felt like I was working out - first stop conversion to road cycling.   I love cycling but I'm not that good at it and I hate going out on my own.  I did a couple of weeks ago - I didn't get very far, in fact only 2 miles, and then had a 2 mile walk home with a punctured back tyre.   Yes, I could have mended the puncture but ......... (a) I don't know how to (b) I took my spares but forgot to take a pump because hubby always carries the pump (c) it took hubby 40 minutes to get the tyre off when I got home, using ALL the tools and a lot of bad language.

A month or so ago Danni and I started doing pilates.   I'm quite enjoying it but don't feel connected with the teacher - she didn't recognise Danni after our 5th week which was a bit concerning, and she never comes round the class and corrects anyone's positioning - which I actually think is quite important.   The week before last I purposefully did every exercise wrong in some way even when she was looking round the room watching everyone and still she didn't come over & correct me!  We'll still keep going, correcting each other where we can.   I certainly feel relaxed and stretched when we've finished.

Last week I spotted my local leisure centre were starting a Boxercise class.

 I've wanted to try this class for ages, but normally it's run by expensive franchises or the bigger gyms.  The opportunity to try it out at £4.15 seemed perfect.

On Tuesday I headed for the local sports hall - alone and feeling slightly anxious.  How many people would be there? Would I know anybody?  Would I be able to actually do the exercises or would it just be another embarrassing Zumba class where I come out feeling rubbish?    I really didn't need to worry, Claire the instructor introduced herself as soon as I walked in the door and asked lots of questions about  my health and exercise/fitness status.  I told her about the injury and she said to keep the aerobic side low impact.   Phew that was a good start.   There were about 20 ladies, quite a few from Claire's Boxercise classes and a few newbies.

We very quickly got into our first aerobic section -  learning the punches, kicks and doing star jumps etc (low impact version for me).  We then paired up and donned gloves and pads and started another section with more punches.  the next section was a circuit for conditioning including burpees, wall sits and planks (and lots more).  Back to the pads and gloves and then before we knew it the hour was up and we were doing a cool down and stretch.

Did I enjoy it - oh boy yes - massive smiles all round.

Am I going back - most definitely, in fact I've already booked my place!

The other good thing - although on Thursday I have serious DOMS in just about every single part of my body and I've had to do giraffe impressions to be able to pick anything up from the floor, my shins are no more painful than they were on Tuesday morning - looks like I might actually be on a comeback.

I'm still waiting for my NHS physio referral - nearly 6 weeks now and I'm still waiting for my permanent orthotics to arrive - a month later!   I'm seriously considering starting back running in the New Year physio referral or not.