Running Shamrock for Cameron Gallagher

Photo credit goes to speakup5k.com & the CKG Foundation

Before I share my story…

I am raising money for the Cameron K. Gallagher Memorial Foundation, whose mission is:

…to fulfill Cameron’s dream and legacy by being a positive force that works to cultivate awareness and understanding of teenage depression and anxiety.

If you feel inspired by her story, or would like to help the cause, you can donate here. I am trying to raise $131 before the race next weekend, which coincidentally falls on my birthday. No cards, presents or Facebook wall posts, please. Just a small donation to a worthwhile cause.

Continue reading “Running Shamrock for Cameron Gallagher”

Nike Women’s Half Marathon, Costumes & Friendships

This weekend was filled with great moments & memories. Let’s start with the Nike Women’s Half Marathon (#werundc).

Cheering Section

Typically, I’m the one running the race. But for this one, I was on the other side of things. And let me say, I honestly think spectating might be more exhausting than actually running.

  • Perfectionists making signs = lots of pressure. We spent over 2 hours brainstorming, googling, outlining, erasing, outlining again, taping, gluing & coloring signs the night before the race… some of which weren’t even seen until after the race.
  • Walking + Standing Still + Signs Overhead > Running? Not to take anything away from the amazing women that ran 13.1 miles (Amy, Bmass, E$$, Joan, Sally et al.), but spectating is exhausting. Please let it be known, that while exhausting, it’s worth every second.

Queen of Hearts

The costume of all costumes.

I love dressing up, looking silly, etc. at races — both while running & just cheering. But this weekend I took it to a whole ‘nother level. Amy was the (slutty?) Queen of Hearts for Halloween one year… but this year it was my turn. I knew I’d get a few laughs, but for a minute there, I forgot I was in our nation’s capital… AND that there were 15,000 people running.

Some highlights from the reactions I received:

  • 1 block from the house, before we even reached the Metro, a woman said, “I like your tutu.” That was only the beginning.
  • A guy helping with setup said to me, before the first runners came by, “Nice skirt. Are you wearing any underwear?” — That’s your question?! Of all the comments you could’ve made, you went with that? Oh, and when you’re wearing an outfit like that, it’s not underwear, dude. They’re panties. And yes, I was wearing them.
  • One of the 500 or so guys that were running, said, in his best Petey the blind kid voice, “Pretty girl.”
  • I was blown at least 2 kisses (that I’m aware of)
  • The cat calls were loud & consistent
  • One young lady put her handmade phone up to her ear and muttered, “Call me.” I think she might’ve been serious. She was hot, too.
  • Shortly after that, a man with a bright yellow vest & a whistle walked by, and T’d me up. Technical Foul. That was definitely a first.
  • One woman told me to work on filling it out (aka: get a boob job). Then some guy I just met 5 minutes earlier replied, “She’s working on it.”
  • I had more pictures taken than there are monuments in DC.
  • Another guy at the finish told me he saw me on the course, and laughed so hard he almost face-planted. No worries. He finished without a scrape on him.
  • Last but certainly not least, a woman at the finish just had to get a picture with me. She proceded to ask what I was wearing “under there.” I told her my typical boxer briefs. She then helped herself to lift up my skirt & take a peak. #cougartown

Making A Difference

One of the most important realizations I took away from the weekend was from the costume I wore, and the impact it had. I’m sharing it with you not to brag, nor looking for attention. I’m sharing it with you because it’s powerful. And you should all know that you can have the same impact on people (costume not necessary).

I expected a few laughs, a few more smiles, and perhaps a random high-five or two. But the reactions by thousands of women were overwhelming. Literally thousands of people smiled, laughed, cheered, fist-pumped, clapped, high-fived & even hugged… partly because of the costume I had on.

I knew none of these people. And I won’t ever see them again (except for maybe that girl who said to call her… if you’re reading this, hit me up in the comments, haha). But for those few short seconds — if only in a small way — I helped add something positive to their experience today. Whether you believe it or not, I’m telling you, that energy is contagious. I guarantee you more people did uplifting things today because of the positive energy that was created & shared.

It could’ve been any number of different costumes. A funny sign. The use of a stranger’s first name. A random high-five. Or just a smile that you share with a fellow runner.

These things matter. And when people drive home after a race, and their family & friends ask them “how was it?!”, they will undoubtedly say something positive, and say it with a smile. Thus, spreading more positive energy beyond the running community.

Which brings me to…

Friendship

I’ve said this before, and it’s worth repeating (because reminders are helpful). I haven’t done the greatest job of 1) keeping in touch with old friends, and 2) seizing the moment & hanging out with the friends I have right now. But I’m realizing more & more how important/awesome/necessary it is to do both.

I have some of the most awesome friends on the planet. Some of them I see regularly. Others, once or twice a year. And some we go years without seeing each other. But this world is filled with awesome people, and I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of really cool ones.

Remind your friends how awesome they are. When they ask you to hang out, drop what you’re doing and go chill for an hour… or a weekend. 99% of the time, it’s way more important than whatever else you were doing.

Awesome weekend, friends. Thanks for making it one to remember 🙂

2010 Patrick Henry Half Marathon – Volunteer Report

An amazing volunteer experience at the Patrick Henry Half Marathon in Ashland, VA. Big shout out to Richmond Road Runners Club & SportsBackers for coordinating an awesome race.

It’s obvious they’ve been putting on races for years because they nailed almost every aspect of the volunteer experience. Although, I did find 2 things they could do better…

Night. And. Day… compared to my previous two volunteer experiences (Rockett’s Landing TriPink Power Tri)

Volunteers for the Patrick Henry Half Marathon had a great experience, thanks to the Richmond Road Runner’s Club & the SportsBackers.

Pre-race email

In less than 24 hours from when I signed up to volunteer, I received a detailed email from the volunteer coordinator. This email contained the following:

  • the name of my specific aid station coordinator
  • the name & cell phone number of the overall aid station coordinator
  • directions to the aid station
  • instructions on parking
  • a brief description of what I’d be doing (filling cups, handing them out, cheering on runners)

I can’t say enough about great communication. My hat goes off to Lisa Randolph at the SportsBackers for a well-planned, well-executed pre-race email. (There was one thing she forgot, but I’ll detail that at the end.)

A common sense approach to race morning

The volunteers were extremely efficient on race morning. A few, key decisions contributed to our success:

  • We went directly to our assigned aid station. There was no check-in required at the S/F area.
  • We showed up at 6:30 for a race that started at 7:00. No need to get there super-early and stand around for an hour or two.

I know. That’s why I called it a “common sense” approach.

We had all the cups that we would need (for all 1400 runners) filled up & ready to go 10 minutes before the first runner came through.

A coordinator who coordinates

Our coordinator actually instructed us on what to do.

“For those of you who may not have done this before, spread out in a line, hold your cup at the top with your hand directly above the cup, let them know we only have water here, no powerade…”

A few more aid station tips

I previously posted a list of aid station tips for both volunteers & race coordinators. Here are a few more that could fall in either category:

  • The elites run fast. And they will not slow down for water. Therefore, have multiple people – spread far apart – with cups of water. This will give them multiple chances to grab a cup in case they drop the first couple.
  • Use pitchers to dip into the large gatorade jugs, and fill the individual cups. It’s quicker than using the nozzle on the gatorade jugs.
  • Use cardboard or posterboard to place on top of cups on the table. This allows you to stack cups in multiple layers, and potentially fill up all the cups you’ll need for the entire race… before the race even starts.

Clean up, pack up & call it a day

As soon as the last runner came through, the Richmond Road Runners truck was right behind them, ready to pick up our supplies.

We had our trash ready to go. We just emptied a few cups, broke down the tables & loaded up the truck.

The Diamond Springs truck was right behind the Road Runners. He picked up the extra (and the empty) water jugs.

Then some guy dropped off a few volunteer t-shirts for us, and we were done… at 8:30. Only 2 hours after we had arrived.

Big thanks to the RRRC & SportsBackers for 2 of the most efficient, well spent hours of my life. Well done, guys.

The 2 things they forgot

They did a great job, but what good is it if I don’t have any constructive criticism? Here are the two things they forgot:

  • Ice. They forgot about the Iceman. Never forget the Iceman.
  • Directions on how to get home, since many roads were blocked for the race.
    Since we were finished at 8:30, and many runners were still out on the course, most of the roads were blocked. We couldn’t take the same route that we used to get there. A map of the closed roads, or directions on how to get back to the interstate, would have been nice (especially for the directionally challenged, like myself).