Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Volunteering at the Bear 100

Last weekend we had the opportunity to volunteer at the Bear 100 (as in 100 miles of running.)  We were at the Franklin Basin aid station which was about 61 miles into the race.  Mr. K volunteered last year and this time we decided to go with him.  We got there about an hour before the first runner was expected to arrive to help set up.  

I started sorting drop bags according to runner number while the kids looked for big rocks to build a fire pit with.  Mr. K dug the pit out with the ice scraper from the K-van.  He is awesome.  K1 built a log cabin fire and K3 shredded up bark for the middle.

The foster kids had lots of fun getting dirty.  When the runners started coming in I had them sit in their chairs so they wouldn't get in the way.
The younger Kboys ran around in the trees with sticks swords fighting off the bad guys and making secret forts.

K4 found a huge "rat" hole.  That was a little worrisome to him so he protected everyone by caving in the entrance.
K5 found a bunny hole.  (Go figure.)  He said he saw a green bunny come out, get some carrots, eat them and then run back into the hole.  Hmmm.
K1 and K2 worked behind the table getting the runners soda, snacks or soup.  They did such a great job.
After a little while it started getting crazy.  Crews showing up, pacers getting ready to run, runners coming and going, water bottles to refill, drop bags to find.  
Up there in the mountains it gets cold as soon as the sun drops behind the mountain.  We pulled out the jackets and Hostess cupcakes.  

The kids migrated to the fire.  
Once it got dark, K4 put himself to bed in the tent and we got the foster kids tucked away in the K-van.  Then it started getting really cold.  We had to get out the furry blankets.

The next thing I knew, the rest of the kids had migrated to the camper.
Eventually we got K5 and K2 in bed but K3 said he wasn't tired so he curled up in his camping chair.
He finally fell asleep and K1 called it a night too.  

The runners kept coming.  I am not sure how many cups of broth we gave out or how many water bottles we refilled but it was a ton.  As the night wore on, we had a few runners who showed symptoms of mild to moderate hypothermia.  I spent a lot of my time checking on them and making sure they were not getting worse.  I had one guy that I was pretty worried about.  We took him into the camper and had him take off his shoes because they were wet.  Two of his toenails were just hanging on by a thread and he had some nasty blisters.  It was gross.  He warmed up and slept for a while.  When he woke up he put his shoes back on (ouch!!!) and went back out to finish his run.  These guys are hard core.

Around 3:00 a.m. a runner came in and he didn't look good.  He was walking to the fire when he said, "I'm going down!" and then promptly passed out.  Luckily the guy next to him caught him and gently lowered him down.  I was right there and it was creepy.  His eyes were still open and he was making a weird gurgling sound.  I asked him his name and he told me.  I put one of his arms around my shoulders and the other guy did the same.  We got him into a standing position.  He seemed a little bit more alert so I told him to try to move his legs so we could get him into the trailer.  He sort of did.  We were able to get him up the stairs and laying down in the bed.  There was a dentist there (hey, they are technically doctors!) and he took care of him for a bit before he had to leave-he was a pacer.  After that I took care of him, giving him little sips of Coke to get his blood sugar back up about every 10 minutes.  The nice part was that I got to sit in the warm camper chatting with a couple of the other volunteers.  The not so nice part was worrying about that guy and hoping that he didn't have a seizure or get worse.  After a couple hours he started feeling somewhat better and joined our conversation.  He was funny and had a great story to tell.  Apparently he used to weigh about 400 pounds and through hard work, ie. healthy diet and regular exercise he has lost over 200 pounds and become an ultra runner.  How awesome is that?  I was glad that he was doing so much better.  About 7:00 a.m. I felt like he was ok enough for me to get some sleep so I climbed into the K-van and fell asleep for an hour.  Then it was time to pack up and drive home.  We partially unloaded and then went to sleep while the kids watched movies.  My bed has never felt so good.

I am planning on volunteering again next year.  Mr. K is thinking about running it.  He is crazy driven.  Maybe I'll pace him from Beaver Mountain to the finish.  That's about 25 miles, only a fourth of his total.  Of course maybe with my pace I'll just slow him down.  ;)

Just call me Starr.


Ali said...

Glad you were able to help that runner. That's scary. Cute pictrues of the kids.