Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sacramento Urban Cow 1/2 Marathon 2010

For Mrs. G and I, the 2010 Urban Cow Half-Marathon (aka the Cowtown Half-Marathon) was our first foray into volunteering at a race rather than running it. In short, we had a lot of fun and learned a ton! Arriving around 7:00 AM, we met these two ladies crossing Freeport Blvd. What are the chances?  I actually DO own other technical shirts, but this shirt is always such a conversation starter and I'm a social guy so I had to say hello! On the left is Marisa and on the right is Alicia - first time veg runners and now CowTow Urban Cow finishers! I had to let Matt (NoMeatAthlete) know so tweeted immediately. I'm a dork, I admit it.
"Hey! Those shirts look familiar!"
"is that Kevin Johnson?" "quiet! they're singing the national anthem!"
We got to the race and said hello to Kellie from CRRM, got our t-shirts and got to work. We helped with the post race food corral and if you remember this race last year, it was a mess. In 2009 after I finished my run, I got my cowbell and didn't even bother with food because there was such a backlog of people there. Last year I also met Barefoot Ted and purchased Born To Run from him. This year, CRRM moved the corral and expanded the area to allow runners a chance to walk a bit and collect fruit, bread, juice, cola, water etc. I hope the runners enjoyed the change, it seemed to work out well from my vantage point. We worked with some of the nicest, most enthusiastic kids ever. It was so refreshing to have kids refer to me as 'sir' 'thank you' etc. We weren't 'supervisors' or anything, but the kids just deferred to Amy and I. I didn't argue the point! I wonder if it's running culture or these particular kids? Whatever the case, it was nice to deal with happy, polite people.
Mark giving the most agreeable kids in America a last minute pep talk.
 We saw the start of both the 1/2 and the 5k and clapped for everyone then set out to prep food and drinks. Once the first finisher came through, the morning flew by. We spent the majority of our time handing out food and Amy tried to coordinate with other parts of the food area and would occasionally send me to the dumpster to empty the bins. I'm happy to report that most runners in fact, like 99.99999 percent were awesome! There was a tiny demographic that got carried away with small crimes, like taking a whole carton of strawberries instead of just a couple! We ended up handing them out to stop that issue, otherwise the mid-pack folks would've been left with nothing. We also saw some runners take whole milk cartons and then chuck them. Why take them if you aren't going to use? Waste not, want not. I mean I don't want milk anyways but I digress. One of our fellow volunteers had a bullhorn blaring "once you leave you may not enter, Chipotle tacos are free for runners" over and over again. Some people still went in. Others asked me for food from behind. I wasn't going to say no!
Amy and two other volunteers, and lots of strawberries!
We noticed a lot of runners were running out of hands when we'd hand them their fruit, so once we freed up some baskets we'd give them to the runners and send them to the Grocery Outlet table (which had plastic bags!) this generated a lot of smiles but the Grocery Outlet people weren't too excited and eventually moved their bag giveaway to OUTSIDE the corral (what?). This made no sense to me but the GO people were there own entity so there's not much else we can do about them. Sometime during the 1/2 finishers coming in, I met another runner with a No Meat Athlete shirt! Turns out we have a mutual friend in Holly who does a blog as well!. We chatted for a bit, I gave him some strawberries, he gave me some injury advice and we took a photo or two together!
add Jeff to the growing ranks of Nor Cal veg runners!
Towards the end things got really hectic in the corral, and I was shocked to discover how little food was left!
Mental note: run faster, you will get more post race food! As I was lugging away a juicy, liquid soaked garbage bag, I heard "Jose!" and ran into Daphne, a friend from DailyMile. Daphne her husband and a friend stopped for a photo and looked absolutely awesome for completing 13.1 miles of fun. Congrats again Daphne!

Daphne her husband and friend. Check out her blog!
We took a break to roam around and check out the booths, vendors, etc. The line for Chipotle was huge, and I just missed running into two fellow runners who I have yet to say hi to IRL though we talk constantly on Twitter and DM. Kelly and Derrick both were going, but with thousands of people, it's a surprise I ran into anyone really. (Speaking of Kelly, she's close to her goal of raising $5,000 for her charity. If you have a paypal account, head over and give her a buck or two!)

Here then in no particular order are some observations about the Urban Cow:
  • One guy was a sweaty, sopping mess and reached OVER strawberries- bathing the poor fruit in his post race fluids. I couldn't in good conscience let another runner eat those so I trashed em.
  • It is a lot of work to get a race put together, we were only in one section but it took a lot of people, muscle and motivation to get things done. Hat's off to the people at the aid stations, booths, etc.
  • I've only been running for a short while, but I really love the disposable chips. Remember having to wait for someone to cut them off? That sudden stop = barf city.
  • Even though I didn't run, I didn't feel bad for not participating, I was a part of the event still, and it felt good to know that my efforts were appreciated. I got a lot of thank yous from runners and fellow volunteers. So much love!
  • Runners are beautiful people. Everyone is giving it their all sweating, smiling, and living! It was nice to be around the positive energy of runners.
  • It's nice to see Mayor Kevin Johnson at so many running events. All politics aside, it's good to see community leaders take an active role in physical fitness. He's up early on a Sunday, good job Mr. Mayor!
KJ and yours truly.

Congrats to all that participated! Also - I'm sending prayers and encouragement to everyone racing next week, lots of big races! Chicago, Portland, Buzz Oates, Royal Victoria, do it up friends!I will do another 'rah rah' post soon, just know that many of you are in my thoughts. Here are some more links to Urban Cow 'round ups' so to speak. Enjoy!





  1. Great recap Jose! Jacob and I both commented on how relaxed and smooth-flowing the finishing chute was. I don't know what it was like last year, but it seemed great this year! I'm friends with one of the GO owners and I guess a bunch of people were grabbing whole stacks of bags and thats why they moved them outside. Can't please everyone I guess lol. It was awesome to meet you and Amy! Jacob and I are hoping to expand our running friendlies as our current pool of friends could honestly care less about being in shape or working out. =o) Can't say we are no meat athletes, but I'm glad to say that we can now call ourselves athletes at all.

  2. Daphne - oh! Thanks for the heads up, If you've seen previous posts you know that sometimes the comments section is great for hearing the other side of a story (like the veggie run).
    I know what you mean, I have hundreds of friends on FB but only a handful actually get up and RUN. Though I am sure with a new year coming along, I will see everyone post for a few weeks about going to the gym. Start today I say!
    I celebrate what people have in common, we are runners and going for it, so I tip my hat to you!