Archive | April, 2010

Exhaustion and chaos.

19 Apr

I just got back last night from my first weeklong trip to a race. This race was one we put on so instead of just doing the timing (which is an in-and-out job), we had to set the whole thing up, coordinate all the volunteers and staff, clean up, provide food and water to all the athletes, all of that.

Overall, the trip was a good time. We got to Vegas Monday night and checked into our hotel. It was a dump. It was near the race site but it was only $20 a night.

Tuesday, we met up with the old race director, Brogg, and went to buy consumables, like duct tape, zip ties, bricks and rope for the buoys, and air horns. I somehow convinced the director of sales at Hampton Inn and Suites to comp us a room for the whole week because we would direct athletes to their hotel. So after buying that stuff, D and I moved to the Hampton Inn – SO much better!!

Wednesday, we just spent at the hotel, which now had free WiFi, free breakfast, as well as a light dinner and freshly baked cookies every night. We checked emails, confirmed vendors, and finalized packets for packet pickup. Travis flew in around 7:30 that night so I went and picked him up from the airport (which I will never do again, because I always end up pissed off for the rest of the night due to the airport roads being so asinine…long story). We went back to the hotel to check in and pretty much went straight to bed.

Thursday, we went down to the race site (Travis stayed at the hotel to work on school work and relax after his 10-day levee inspection) to stage the bike and run course aid stations by filling up trash cans with water, sorting course marking signs, and loading the trucks that would take the materials out on the course the next day. I didn’t enjoy that day because I spent a lot of time just standing around the race site watching other people work because I didn’t know much about what they were doing. I communicated to my boss and friend, D, that next time, I need a job. Just give me a job to do and I”ll be fine. When we got back to the hotel, Travis and I ate at In-N-Out Burger (first time! and it was good) and then went to bed.

Friday, everyone else headed down to the race site again to put the buoys out in the water, set up the barricades and fencing around the transition area, set up the finish line scaffolding arch and tents, and set up the bike and run courses. I did not do that – I was back in the hotel room getting ready for packet pickup. I had to print final rosters, mark the last packets from online registrations, load all of the packets into the car, then Travis and I drove to the packet pickup venue and set it all up. Overall, packet pickup went really well. I learned a few things that will make packet pickup go more smoothly in the future – like have more volunteers at the front table checking IDs and taking new registrations – but I think the setup was pretty good. Travis was a great help – it was really fun having him there. After packet pickup, Travis and I got subs from this great sub shop, ate, and went to bed around 11:00.

Saturday morning was D day. My alarm was set for 2:15 AM but somehow, I didn’t hear it go off (or it didn’t go off) but luckily, I woke up at 2:45 and realized what time it was. We left for the race site by 3:30 AM and got there by 4. Wow, that was early. I set about setting up all the timing equipment with Travis, while D went and worked on the registration data and other stuff. After getting all the timing equipment set up in probably a little over an hour, all hell broke loose.

It was absolute chaos for the next 2 hours. I had coordinated volunteers before the race and had expected to be off the hook on race day, so that I could concentrate on timing. But D radioed and asked if I could go up to the volunteer check-in site around 5:30. So I did. Only 2 volunteers showed up. After standing there for about 5 minutes doing nothing but wishing I could just run and hide far away from the pressure, I found out that more volunteers could be used at the transition area for body marking, so I directed them down there. After that, Brent (my boss who was helping me time, since this was my first time doing it on my own) asked what time I would be ready to time. Right then, I said screw it to the volunteer stuff and went and did timing. After that, for me at least, the day went MUCH better.

The chaos was caused mostly by 1) not having enough volunteers (a group of 30 canceled on us the day before the race) and 2) not having the volunteers there early enough. Two more things I learned that should make things go better in the future.

Timing went REALLY well. Pretty much as well as I could have hoped. It went worlds better than any of the other 3 timing events I’ve been at. So that was a definite blessing from God.

Overall, we had a great turnout (about 750 athletes), the athletes had a good time, got their times and awards, food and water, and the race happened. We couldn’t really ask for more for our first go-around at one. (Brogg had put this race on for several years but sold his company and we are now directing the races – he’s just available as contract labor for the year, to help us learn how to pull this type of event off).

Then yesterday, dog tired, D and I got to drive back to Denver! Yay for us! After getting to bed around 11 again, I got up at 5:00 to get my crap together in time to leave at 6:00. If we had had any more stuff to fit in the Sequoia we drove, it would not have fit. The entire SUV was full. There was no seeing out the back. After returning the radios, we got on the road.

When we stopped to get gas for the first time, D took over driving and after another 30 minutes or so, D said that she felt we should have turned onto I-70 by now. So I whipped out my phone and went on Google maps. Sure that we were still coming up on it, I scrolled to the north of where we were. Nope… that was Salt Lake City. I scrolled to the south… and scrolled… and scrolled. Oh. I-70 was about 70 miles ago. How did that happen?!?!

Luckily, there was a road we could take to cut over to I-70 and not have to completely backtrack. My idiocy cost us about an hour and 20 minutes. D’oh! But when I realized how offtrack we were, I just had to laugh. I don’t know exactly how it happened but I’m sure that it had something to do with being exhausted, concentrating on staying awake, and the exit to I-70 being poorly signed. D had almost missed it herself the last time we were driving back from Vegas. D was really nice about my stupid mistake and hey, now we have a story. Road trips are nothing without adventures like that!

Finally, I got home at 9 PM. I had planned to sleep in as late as possible today but woke up at 7 AM Denver time (6 AM Vegas time!) and was wide awake. So I got up, made some coffee, and am now watching the news and typing this blog. What a whirlwind of a weekend!! And we get to do it all again in a month. Not only that, D and I leave again this Thursday morning for a timing event near Salt Lake City.

My parents are coming out the first weekend of May, then I have a weekend to relax, then it’s another racing planning whirlwind in St. George. But we have a crap ton of stuff to get done between then and now!

So after this experience, I would say that I am enjoying this job. It doesn’t really feel like a job because it’s so different than sitting in an office but HOLY CRAP is it a lot of work!!

Grateful.

3 Apr

Travis and I just finished watching Julie & Julia. That’s a cute movie. And I love the movies that make me feel good about my own life when I’m done watching them.

While I don’t fancy ever boning a duck or cooking a whole chicken, the movie made me appreciate my husband and the partnership of marriage. Travis and I are coming up on our 3rd wedding anniversary in less than 2 months and I feel like we are just beginning to function as a team and I am really beginning to appreciate who Travis is. So far in our marriage, things have been pretty easy – we have had almost exactly the same schedule, same time off, same lifestyle. We didn’t have to put any effort into spending time with one another because we were very often home at the same time. That meant we didn’t put any effort into spending time with one another – I mean, not NO effort but very minimal. Some nights, we’d eat dinner together, but in front of the TV. Other nights, we’d go to the Rec together, but exercise separately. Or I would watch TV while Travis did homework in the office.

None of which is bad, necessarily. It just made it very easy for me to take Travis for granted (I won’t speak for how it affected him). Like Julia says in the movie, “Who has time to be married?” I feel like that has been my attitude a lot, which sounds horrible when presented like that. Why does my husband take back seat to other things – any thing? He should be my #1 priority here on earth. He is the love of my life, my partner, my support. He is always there for me when I need him. He takes thought for me, what I think, what I enjoy. And also like Julia said, “I don’t deserve him.” I really don’t.

But that’s the beauty of love – it’s undeserved. “Love conquers all.” “Love covers a multitude of sins.” “Love bears all things; believes all things; hopes all things; endures all things.” “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

The epitome of love is shown on the Cross – what a glorious thing to remember at Easter time. Christ endured the cross because He loved us. He loved me. Even when I don’t deserve anything good. Especially when I don’t deserve anything good. He died for me despite my not deserving it. He died so that by putting on His robe of righteousness, I don’t have to deserve it.

How often I get distracted from the true point of life. Not only in regards to eternal things, like salvation and sanctification, but also in regards to earthly things, like my husband. I’m so consumed with doing that I forget about being. I do the dishes instead of spending time with my husband. I rush out the door to some meeting instead of linger in prayer. I push Travis away when he comes to bed because cuddling will rob me of 15 minutes of sleep.

It wasn’t just the movie that made me realize all of this. It’s also the change in lifestyle/schedule with my new job and the upcoming month. Travis leaves Monday morning for 10 days in Little Rock. Then he’ll spend 4 days with me in Vegas (while I’m working a race), then he’ll head back to Little Rock for another 10 days. The anticipated separation has prompted me to take time to appreciate Travis – to kiss him, to say good morning, to hug him, to talk to him, ask him how his day was. Not that I didn’t do those things before, but I didn’t savor them like I do now. Then, I was often doing it to feel like a good wife and not a heartless person. I wasn’t taking time to love my husband, to remind myself of why I love him, to do the things I love to do with him, to tell him I loved him. I was taking him for granted. And we both lose in that situation.

But by the grace of God, I am seeing now where I have been going wrong AND I have the motivation and desire to fix it. I want my husband to feel appreciated. I want to support him, from the big things, like his getting a new job (after finding out that he’s being cut to 20 hours/week) to the small things, like helping him rake the yard (a task which I hate).

So right now, tonight, I am grateful. Grateful that I have a husband who loves me, even when I swing from being a cluster of emotions to feeling nothing. Grateful that I have a God who is faithful to show me the truth, whether hard or easy to accept, whether hard or easy to show. I am loved. And that is all that matters.