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Monday, January 11, 2016

WDW Marathon Weekend 2016 Volunteering Report


As we always do, we started our trip with donuts from Daylight Donuts, then headed south to The World.  It was an extremely uneventful drive, so we stopped at WaWa to grab a soda and some snacks.

So, I'm thinking this person likes to run at Disney?
Once we got to the Expo, we checked in for our shift, plus picked up our Half Marathon and Marathon credentials.  I was happy to see that the rumors were true – we got PURPLE SHIRTS this time!!! Oh, so pretty!

We were taken directly to our volunteer spot (usually we get to chill in the lunch room first, which was why we got snacks at WaWa…) We were assigned to gEAR bags again, which we discovered we like much more than packet pick up.  Packet pickup is too hectic, with too many things that could go wrong. gEAR bags is just handing out shirts and telling them where Shirt Exchange is, if they need it. Shirt Exchange looks fun, and hopefully we’ll be able to do that at least once. 
 
Crazy family during a lull
We worked for a few hours, and soon my stomach began to feel like it was eating itself!  Two donuts at 8am doesn’t hold me over for very long, but I headed to lunch around 4:30 or so.  

It was way over in the Stadium and I totally got lost. I had to ask some of the other volunteers where it was located, I still got lost and found it about 10 minutes later. It was located in the Press Broadcast Area this time, which was a fun room, and not as claustrophobic as other rooms.

Sign next to the door
That's me! I'm allowed in!
I HATE these chairs - they don't scootch very well
Keurig machines with coffee, tea and hot chocolate
 As usual, there were boxed sandwich lunches, which I joyfully bolted down as fast as my mouth would work! (Boxed lunches are a sandwich, bag of plain Lay's and a cookie).

Once I returned, the Kiddo went to lunch, and then the Hubby.

Around 6 or so, the Kiddo began feeling icky. Tired, achy, had no energy.  I figured it was just because we’d not eaten very well that day.

So tired

After our shift was over and we checked out, we headed to Arby’s for dinner, and then checked in at our hotel, Seralago Resort. 

I love a good Arby's sammich!
After unpacking a bit, we all hit the hay, since we had an early shift the next day.

On Saturday, the Kiddo woke up feeling worse than yesterday. She said that she felt nauseated and still very tired, and that she didn’t feel up to volunteering today.  I wrestled with Mom Guilt – I really wanted to volunteer today, but should I stay home with her? She’s 17, she’ll be fine!  What if she chokes on her own vomit?  She has her cell phone!  What if someone breaks in and kills her?  Yeah, it was tough.  But she said all she was going to do was go back to sleep anyway, so Hubby and I decided to go ahead.
We made a quick pit stop at CVS, however, for some Pepto-Bismol, Sprite and Saltines – the holy Trifecta of Tummy Trouble Maladies. We brought them back, hauled ass to WaWa to get me some caffeine and made it to the Disney Performing Arts building to check in for the half-marathon.

We were told to park in a specific area and wait for a shuttle bus.  We hopped on said shuttle bus, and – I kid you not – it took us about 1/8 mile to the Check In building.  It took, at most, 1.5 minutes. Seriously.  We had a good giggle about that when we got off the bus. 

We parked at the Yellow Circle. We checked in at the building top right.
I don't know if I was here, way back in 9th grade... Probably not.
Let's go check in!
We checked in with our credentials, let the staff know that the Kiddo wouldn't be joining us, and picked up our jacket – PURPLE! – and snacks. Usually, we get to pick out our snacks, but this time, they had pre-made Ziploc bags with snacks in them, and we just had to grab a bottle of water to go with it.  

Where's the "Damn!" size?
Check in was at the top right, then snacks, top middle, then water

Before throwing my new jacket on, I hit the potty, since it was an actual bathroom, not a porta-pottie. 

Cute, with the musical references. Still flushin' a Tampax, though. Eww.

Once jacketed up, we headed off to our bus, which drove us to our Volunteer stop – Mile 1.9/9.7. 

In our group, we had some VERY loud, very OBNOXIOUS cheerers. It didn’t take very long for the two of us to move away from them. 

A very misty morning shot of the eventual winner

Go, fast runners, go!

Once runners started really coming through, we all started clapping, cheering, ‘woo-hoo’ing and the like.  We graduated to high-fives after a while. 

Sorry, ladies, you were too obnoxious for me

Near the back of the pack, I finally saw Jeff, a co-worker who I knew was celebrating his 60th birthday by doing the Dopey!  His son signed him up for it without him knowing… what a son!  He looked good and had a good pace. Out of respect for him, there is no photo!

Once the final runner came through Mile 1.9, we walked across the median and began cheering on the runners passing Mile 9.7 (behold, the MotherFucker Mile!)
I let him take the brunt of the high-fives
We continued with the high-fives, now getting the OTHER hand beat to shit (really, why do people deliberately try to HURT you when giving high fives?)

Damn! I'm not as fast as him, and I'm NOT blind! Good job!!

I hope Sven didn't pick his nose before the high-five

Yeah, you guys stay over there
Miss Piggy and Animal
Peter Pan and His Shadow, and Wendy Darling
Action Shot!  Great Job MiniTech Sparkle Sister!
Here comes Goofy, Donald and Mickey
Welcome Belle, Gaston, and the dreaded Balloon Ladies!
We never saw Jeff return and I was so nervous (later I found out that he did finish, we just missed him).  We kept cheering when and after the Balloon Ladies came by, and then even harder after, cheering and woo-hooing and high-fiving until the very last runner passed us (these are the runners that need it the most).

These three awesome runners were getting their money's worth at the back of the pack

Once our shift was over, we were bused back to the Performing Arts building to check out.  We debated taking the Super-Helpful Shuttle, but decided to hoof it back to the car… yeah.

Once back at the hotel, we woke up the Kiddo, who stated she was feeling better. We chilled out for a while, reading, tweeting, and the like, before deciding on dinner.

I don't think she moved at all since we left

While getting ready for dinner, Hubby realized he’d had (at some point) a crotchular trouser malfunction – he had a huge hole in the butt of his pants!  So, of course, we needed to go shopping (he only packed one pair of pants to wear all weekend!).  Though we hate it, we stopped at Target (because I don’t know where Wal-Mart is on 192).  It was pouring rain at this point too.  The kiddo stayed in the car, playing on her GameBoy, while we headed inside to pick pants.

Sigh. My hubby is picky and I am frugal. It’s a terrible combination.  Also, Target – for being a place where you can buy pillows and toilet paper at the same time – is not as inexpensive as Wal-Mart.  I’m sorry, but I’m not spending $40 on a pair of khakis. 

After a shopping trip that took way longer than expected, he ended up with a pair of Wrangler blue jeans.  He changed in the bathroom, then we headed over to TGIFridays for dinner. He and the Kiddo both had a burger; I had shrimp. 

After our eventful evening, we got back to the hotel and conked out. We had an even earlier day tomorrow!

Waking up on Sunday, the Kiddo said she still felt icky, so we left her at the hotel again (luckily, our shift would end early enough to allow us time to return to the hotel before check-out time).

We headed back to the Performance Arts building, but didn’t take the Super Helpful Shuttle this time. Not many other people did either!

Checked in, got our jacket (yes, I always get as many pieces of apparel as possible!), got our water and our bagged snack and headed towards the buses.

Today we were working Heat Sheets and Cool Towels. 

At the finish line area, there was a great set up of coffee and hot chocolate, so of course, I had to get a hot chocolate!

Yummy! Mass-produced somewhat hot chocolate!

Then we waited at the “Simba” sign (as noted on our credentials) for our Team Leader. And waited. And waited…

No one had any idea what was going on

Eventually, our leader showed up and took us to the finish line, right behind medals, where we’d be doing our thing.

Okay, this was a crappy job. And a crappy team.

Half the team went over to do Cool Towels, the other half, including us, stayed to do Heat Sheets.

Sheets come on a very large roll, like paper towels.  I’d say they are 8 feet long, each.  Our job was to unroll the sheets, open them (they are rolled in half), fluff them open and stuff them in the metal fencing. This would ensure that they could be grabbed and handed to runners as they came by.  We had to do about TWENTY THOUSAND of these things!

Hard to see, but there are 'stations' going down the fence
Here's what it looked like fully stuffed
There were only so many sheet holders (like paper towel holders), so the way it was originally set up was that one person would unroll a bunch, move away from the roller to open/fluff, allowing another person to unroll a bunch to open/fluff. You know, taking turns, like you learned in Kindergarten?  Well, many people were volunteering as a couple or team (as we were) and one person would unroll, the other person would fluff and stuff the fences, leaving no rolls open for other people to assist.  Since we’d never done this before, we ended up just kind of floundering around, grabbing an open spot whenever we could. We’d get lucky for a while and have a groove, but if we left our ‘roll,’ someone else would take our spot and not give it back. There was just such a “got mine” mentality, it was making the morning uncomfortable.

After a few hours, it got tiresome and frustrating, so I just quit.  Eventually so did Hubby.  I really didn’t feel bad, either.  The fence was super-stuffed, we were running out of rolls, so it wasn’t like there was a lot more do be done.  So, we sat over at the Self-Care area of the med tent and had a snack (yes, we stopped at WaWa again; I got a Nutty Bar!).  We wandered around the area, checked out the medals. Bullshitted with Christine and Greg, other volunteers we’ve worked medals with before.

Many volunteers take advantage of the benches at the Med Tent
One day? Nope!
Eventually, we made our way back to our section, as the first runner was arriving soon.  We each grabbed a handful of sheets and lined up. 

At about this time, the Second Shift came in (I didn’t know there would be a Second Shift – definitely going to pay more attention to scheduling next year!), grabbed huge handfuls of sheets and butted in front of everyone that had just bust their asses unfolding them and kept trying to shove them in runners' faces!  They were very rude and had no tact with the runners, at all. 

Hi, we didn't do any work, now we're here to do the fun stuff!

Oh. My. God.  Don't chase runners with sheets!
Our team leader allowed me to take a few home (which I later refolded into a teeny tiny rectangle and put in my Run Bag).

We piled back on the bus, got back and checked out.  We were also given our ticket for working the race, but were told that as of March, future tickets will be mailed out. 

We headed back to the hotel, where the Kiddo was sitting up and playing on her computer. She said she was feeling somewhat better, so she was able to help us pack up the room, so we could check out.

None of us were really feeling up to doing any parks, so we hit up the WaWa for breakfast and just headed home. I spent the rest of the afternoon curled up on the couch, enjoying my WaWa snacks and a good book!
Fact Sheet about the 2016 Race Weekend