An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Post-race gluttony

This morning my wife, daughter and I volunteered at the Seattle Marathon and Half-Marathon, in the athlete recovery area. We were posted at the table with Gatorade and pretzels, and kept them stocked as the runners came in out of the wind and rain (though this year not so cold). Four and a half hours of filling dixie cups with salty crunchy goodness and stacking bottles...

I was the guy with his eyes averted toward the floor.

Not for any sense of shyness. I was looking at peoples' shoes. I saw a lot more in the way of minimal-"ist" shoes than in past years, and a very few minimal shoes. No bare feet though (but there was one guy I did have to ask, as he was barefoot in the recovery area). I think I saw 5 pairs of Vibram FiveFingers, a few dozen of the Brooks Pure line, countless Saucony Kinvara's, two of the New Balance Minimus Trail and one of the Road, two Merell Trail Gloves, and two Vivobarefoot Neo's.

And while it was interesting looking at all the shoes, what really struck me was the gluttony.

I've always been impressed with the running and triathlon community at large, in just how... conscientious... every one is. I've done hundreds of events as a participant, and dozens on the other side of the start (and finish) line, and in the vast majority, people take some free fuel to start re-filling the tank, and go about their business -- they don't pick the carcass clean like a vulture. Sure, there always seems to be that One Guy (and yes, men, it always is a guy), the one who loads up on all the free food, enough to feed a small family, and carries it proudly, like a trophy buck, homeward.

What I saw today, though, just seemed to erode my faith in my fellow runners. People asking for bags, boxes, anything with which they could increase their haul of plundered booty. And it wasn't just the participants, but spouses, kids, grandmothers... All holding bagels, Gatorade, Refuel (by Darigold - yum), bananas, oranges, fruit cups, cookies... It was pervasive. The percentages were FAR higher than anything I've ever seen before. It was like half the crowd turned into that One Guy.

I can understand that maybe the run could deplete some one to the point of feeling a need to horde up some grub so that they didn't faint on the drive home (as if there weren't a dozen Safeways or Fred Meyer's along the route). But what is the excuse for the non-participants? Do they not get that the entry fee of the people that actually RAN is what paid for all that food?

And an interesting note: Those that ran the half-marathon (and those that accompanied them) were FAR worse than those that ran the full marathon. We had to hold back a significant amount of food and drink for the later finishers, and were reduced to telling some people (who had already been by a couple times) that we were out so that we'd have something to put out later.

Maybe it was just that this race takes place three days after Thanksgiving, the traditional holiday of gastrointestinal excess. Maybe it's that the race was in a major city. I don't know. And I don't get it.

Something to think about at our next post-race refueling station. Maybe be an example. A good example.

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