What I do all Day… [A Look at My Job]

First off, I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving yesterday and are just about recovered from your food comas.

Food Coma GIF | 2 Generations RunningIt happens to all of us, even cats.

Although it is not holiday-related at all, I’ve been meaning to share this post for a while now and the timing just worked out this week, so let’s take a break from talking about turkey and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and talk about me.

2 Generations RunningLOL, I hope that everyone realizes that that’s a joke… I usually feel pretty awkward talking about myself, but I figure there’s a time and a place for it.

Like now that I’ve been at my job for just about 6 months (Where does the time go???)

In case you’re in the dark about what it is that I actually do, I plan races [Just as a note, I tend to try to avoid sharing too many personal details on this blog because there are crazies out there in the world – you can never be too careful!].

Crazy PeopleBut seriously, I go to work and think about running and races, and then I come home and blog about running and races. It’s so funny for me to think back to that first half marathon my mom talked me into in 2012. It quite literally changed my life.

10 Reasons Why the Half Marathon is Where It's At | 2 Generations Running(Throwback pic to a previous post)

See, I always wanted a career where I would feel like I was helping people. The crazy idealist in me wanted to change the world, even if it was in some small way. When I was in high school, I thought I was going to be a lawyer (one of the good guys, like the lawyers that you root for on Law and Order).

Law and Order GIF Then in college, I decided to study psychology. It fascinated me and I figured I could become a psychologist and still help people with their problems. I LOVED all my psych classes in college, but the more I learned about clinical psychology, the more I realized that AGAIN, this might not be the right fit career-wise. I didn’t know what I was going to do, which stressed me out to no end, even as a sophomore with 2 years of school left (or really 1 and a half years as it turned out). Living without a plan made me very uncomfortable (maybe this was my first hint at my future career!).

I don't Know What I'm going to do with my life | 2 Generations RunningMy thoughts exactly.

And then I fell in love with races. (And I do mean races, not running. The love for running came later, but the excitement of race mornings caught me hook, line, and sinker right from the very first half marathon). There was no instant epiphany for me, but slowly I began to play with the idea that if I enjoyed running races so much, then maybe being involved in putting on races would be a career I could enjoy. And I would STILL get to help people, albeit in a very different way from an attorney or psychologist. I still remember what Dave McGillivray (race director of the Boston Marathon) said during a Q&A at the Falmouth Road Race (when describing what he said to people about his job when compared to his siblings who were doctors).

2015 New Balance Falmouth Road Race“Yes, I’m a race director. I put on events and am responsible for raising the self-esteem and confidence of thousands of people.” I’m sure I don’t have the exact words right, but the sentiment struck me and has remained with me to this day.

After volunteering at countless races and jumping at any and every resume-boosting opportunity related to running, I finally landed my internship with a company that puts on obstacle course races across the country and even globally (not saying specifically which one because again – crazy people.) And that internship turned into a job. And now, I spend way more of my time discussing toilet to participant ratios then I EVER would have imagined. 😉

But in all seriousness, working in this field has given me an incredible appreciation for all the nuances that go into putting on a great race. There are quite literally HUNDREDS of details (probably thousands depending on how you look at it). And I personally have experienced some less-than organized races and a lot of really awesome races, and I want to make sure that the events I am personally responsible for leave people as excited about running as I was from my first race. I know how impactful it can be.

Rochester Marathon | 2 Generations RunningFinishing my first marathon.

But I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I have the most perfect job in the world.

Butterflies Gif^Yeah… That’s not my world.

Yes, I feel passionately about it, but it’s not a cakewalk. Race days are STRESSFUL. And they are a THOUSAND times more stressful when you are responsible for making sure they go smoothly than they are when all you have to do is go out and run. I’ve learned that it is impossible to please everyone (people have an incredible knack for finding things to complain about), and that can be hard for me because I do take things personally, even when I shouldn’t.

Complain a lot GIF | 2 Generations RunningIt’s something that I’m working on. But the job itself is something I feel strongly about, which I know is more than a lot of people can say. So I’ll take the challenge and I’ll continue to learn about what it truly takes to put on a great race, because I know it’s worth it – for the person running their very first race to the person running their 50th. So if you’re running a turkey trot this weekend, take a moment to look around and appreciate all the work that went into putting on that event- thank the volunteers, smile, and enjoy the race!

So that’s a little background on me! Feel free to ask me any questions you might have about putting on races or what it is that I do! 

Keep enjoying the holiday weekend!

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The Falmouth Road Race: Part 3 [The Expo]

Need to catch up? 

So Nora has filled everyone in a bit about our adventures at the 2015 Falmouth Road Race, but I thought I might add a few words about some of the highlights for me.

Because this race is so popular that people routinely book their hotel rooms the same day of the race, for the following year, it was impossible for us to find a place to stay in Falmouth. So if you are new to this race, and don’t have relatives or an existing connection with an inn in Falmouth, don’t be afraid to look for lodgings beyond the Falmouth area. We eventually found a cute B&B in Sandwich, called the Cranberry Manor which was very nice and convenient to Falmouth.

So going back to the expo…..Obviously, hearing Meb Keflezighi  and David McGillivray, director of the B.A.A. , speak was very exciting.

the Falmouth Road Race | Race RecapMeb spoke a bit about his early life in Eritrea and also gave some of us older runners some advice. Because Meb just turned forty, he is now officially in the “Masters” division, though that title is clearly not slowing him down! But he did stress that we older runners really need to take the time to stretch and to incorporate it into our routines, just like brushing our teeth. (I have actually been pretty religious about stretching since starting my training for the Bay State Marathon, so it felt good to get the “nod” from Meb.)

2015 Falmouth Road RaceTaking our selfie, and buying his book, Run to Overcome (which he autographed!!), was probably my favorite part of the expo.

The Falmouth Road RaceI’ve already read a good chunk, and it’s been so inspiring, especially with my current marathon training.

However, we also attended a talk by Tatyana MacFadden – and that was awesome, too (Props to the Falmouth Road Race for knowing how to put on a great expo!)

The Falmouth Road Race 2015Tatyana (who was born with spina bifida) was born in an orphanage in St. Petersburg Russia, but adopted and brought to the U.S. Once here, she began her amazing career as a Paralympic athlete, with many, many victories in the wheelchair divisions of marathons all around the world. Her story is both heartwarming and inspiring and worth reading about! One reason I was so thrilled to meet her is because I have a niece who was adopted from an orphanage in China, who is also an athlete with a disability. Zoey, who is 13 years old now and has dwarfism came to the U.S in 2010. About two years ago, she began a swimming program through BlazeSports, the nationwide feeder organization for the U.S Paralympics.

The Falmouth Road Race

The Falmouth Road RaceThis is Zoey with her coach, Fred Lambeck, and assistant coach, Julie (Coach Fred’s daughter who is also an occupational therapist).

Though Zoey and all her teammates train with various physical disabilities, they learn not to let those disabilities slow them down – and they have fun and make lots of friends while doing it. So meeting a girl like Tatyana was a pretty special for us, and we wanted to share that with everyone.

If you’d like to learn more about the programs at Blaze, check them out at BlazeSports.org.

Hope you’re having a great week!

 


The Falmouth Road Race: Part 2 [Race Recap]

So, as promised I’m back to give a full rundown of the Falmouth Road Race! (See Part 1 here.) I’ll get into more specifics, but to start, here are the positives/negatives about the race:

Positives:

  • Very well-organized. There were PLENTY of shuttles, and porta-potties everywhere you looked from the shuttle pick-up point in Falmouth to the starting area in Woods Hole.
  • Tons of crowd support. I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever run a race with this many cheering fans crowding the roads, and it really does give you a HUGE adrenaline boost. I’m glad that the locals don’t mind 10,000+ runners taking over their city for a few days because all the support really does make a big difference.
  • Beautiful course. It’s the Cape, so you know it’s going to be beautiful, but somehow, it still managed to surprise me.

Ok, now here are a few negatives:

  • The course is CROWDED. Even with staggered start times, the group never thinned out along the course, so my mom and I were doing a ton of weaving, which did get tiring.
  • You have to get to the shuttle pick-up point very early (my mom and I got there around 6:15 or so), but then you end up having HOURS to kill at the start in Woods Hole. Not a huge issue, but I do prefer races where you can sleep in a bit more, especially if it’s a 9 am start time.
  • It’s an expensive race for 7 miles. Yes, it’s a great experience. But at least for me and my mom, if we’re going to spend good money on a race, we’d rather it be a half or full marathon.

Ok, now for the specifics of the day!

Because the course is point-to-point, my mom and I took the shuttle from the finish in Falmouth to Woods Hole bright and early. The good news about being there 3-ish hours before the race was that we were able to grab a couple of iced coffees at a little local bakery while we walked around, checking out the views along the water.

The Falmouth Road Race |Race Recap2015 Falmouth Road Race Recap

Falmouth Road Race | Race RecapNot a great photo I know, but you can kind of see all the runners hanging out along the water!

Finally, when it was getting closer to 9 am, my mom and I found ourselves a spot in the middle of the 9:00 min./mile corral (it was self-seeded based on the honor system). This part was not the most fun. It was already hot and sunny, and we were packed in with other runners.

The Falmouth Road Race | Race RecapBut then, what REALLY annoyed me, was when a group of 4 or 5 girls jammed themselves in front of me and my mom a few minutes before the start, when there really was NO space. They then proceeded to talk loudly about their lives, take a bunch of group photos, and fix their hair (which was essentially right in the face of the runner they had jumped in front of). I’m not trying to be a stick in the mud, and I know running should be a fun, social activity, but they just really didn’t seem to follow any basic running etiquette, and it just rubbed me the wrong way.

From where my mom and I were in the pack of runners, it ended up taking 25-30 minutes for us to actually start after the first waves of runners began at 9 am. But FINALLY, we reached the start and were on our way.

2015 Falmouth Road RaceThe course had more rolling hills than we had expected with it being so close to the water, but luckily, my mom has been doing a lot of hills as part of her marathon training and I’ve joined her for a bunch of those workouts, so we had no problem coasting up and down the small hills, maintaining a pace right around 9 min/mile. Unfortunately, it seemed a lot of people were much less prepared for the hills, so getting around people taking walk breaks was a little challenging.

By this point, it was also really hot – 80s, humid, with absolutely ZERO seabreeze. Thankfully, many of the spectators were out in their front yards with hoses, spraying down runners as needed. My mom and I took advantage of this a bunch of times, and it made all the difference.

At mile 5, my mom encouraged me to take off. She wanted to slow the pace a bit, and I was feeling good so I decided to go for it for the last 2 miles.

Mile 6 split – 8:19, not too shabby for already having 5 sweaty miles under my belt! Mile 7 had a brutal hill into the finish, but the last street into the finish was INSANE – the crowd of spectators was at least 3 people deep, all of them cheering like it was the end of the Boston Marathon. I loved it, and ended up running my fastest split of the day, 8:00/mile, to finish. My final time ended up as 1:03, with an 8:55/mile pace, which I was pretty pleased with, given that I wasn’t really trying to race it, but rather just enjoy the whole experience.

The end was a little confusing. I saw tents along the beach, and automatically assumed that was where the post-race party was, so I hopped out of the finish chute. A few minutes later, my mom called me, trying to figure out where I was. Well after a lot of confusion, I finally realized I was supposed to stay in the finisher chute, and walk about another half mile around a corner – that’s where all the food, porta-potties, and awards were! It didn’t help that by this point, the heat had really caught up to me and I desperately wanted to sit down. But eventually, I caught up to my mom and found out she had only finished a minute behind me! We gladly grabbed food from the awesome spread they had laid out for runners – bananas, bagels, Cape Cod potato chips, cranberry juice, chia bars, and my personal fave – Yasso frozen Greek Yogurt bars.

The Falmouth Road RaceWe also got to see the awards ceremony, where our new buddy Meb got first in the Masters division (for ages 40+), and tenth overall. Woo, Meb! A local woman who is a regular at the Good Times Series 5k my mom and I have been running this summer took first place in the Masters for the women, so that was pretty cool too.

The Falmouth Road Race | Race RecapAfter hanging out for a bit, my mom and I headed out to check out the rest of Falmouth and grab some lunch. We ate outside at a cute little Mexican restaurant that had been taken over by sweaty runners! After seeing some of the other runners enjoying some delicious looking drinks, I decided to order a margarita! It was totally delicious, but I’m not sure my stomach really appreciated tequila after the 7-mile run. 😉

The Falmouth Road Race Race RecapAfter that, my mom and I headed out to beat the Cape traffic heading home. Overall, it was another successful race weekend and I’m already looking forward to the next one!

*Note: I realized I made a mistake in my Part 1 post of the Falmouth Road Race – with the detailed results chart, I was passed by 10 runners during the last mile of the race (not the whole thing), and I passed 246 runners during that last mile.

Have a great day!


The 2015 Falmouth Road Race: Part 1

Hello again!
YES, I’m still alive! Sorry about the little blogging hiatus lately. Life suddenly got crazy busy (in a good way) and my blogging duties had to go on the back burner.
BUT NOW I’M BACK!
First, some quick updates to bring you up to speed on the Good Times Series 5k:

  • 2 weeks ago, I beat my 5k PR and placed second in my age group! Woo! This past week was insanely hot (again), but despite the ridiculous weather, I was only a couple seconds off my PR time again. This week was also the infamous bikini 5k (although the number of runners brave enough to actually run in full bikinis is pretty limited- neither me nor my mom took the challenge).
  • This week, my mom placed third in her age group, and she’s still holding onto her first place position in the overall age group standings. I am ONE POINT out of first place in my age group as well, which I am completely psyched about because I never expected to be this high in the leader board with such a competitive age group!

Ok, now that you’re all caught up on the 5k stuff, we can talk about the Falmouth Road Race! It was our first time running it this year, and my mom and I headed up to the Cape this past weekend for a little R&R (running and relaxation). I will have a detailed post about the expo/race coming out soon, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Meb Keflezighi gave a Q&A at the expo and then was signing copies of his book after. (For my non-runner friends, Meb is an elite marathoner who won silver at the Olympics for the event in 2004 and just as importantly, won the Boston Marathon in 2014.)

2015 New Balance Falmouth Road Race

  • MY MOM AND I GOT A SELFIE WITH HIM!! Excuse me, while I freak out.
  • 2015 Falmouth Road RaceI bought a pair of compression sleeves at the expo and I’m in love with them.
  • 2015 New Balance Falmouth Road RaceThe race:
    Wow, do I love spectator support. You never realize how much it helps until you run a race like this where there is TONS of it! There was hardly a stretch of this 7-mile course that didn’t have a crowd lining the edge of the course, cheering you on or offering to spray you down with a hose (which was much needed with temps in the 80s and humidity at 1000%).

Falmouth Road Race Recap

  • This race has a LOT of people in it. I looked it up afterwards, and there were 10,692 runners. This meant the pack never really thinned out much on the run, so my mom and I were doing a lot of weaving around, even though we were running the pace of the corral we had lined up with. Not a huge deal, but it means that there were clearly people who had lined up in the corrals ahead of us to run a faster pace, who could not actually run that speed.
  • 2015 Falmouth Road RaceAlong those lines, check out this stat from my detailed results –
  • Falmouth Road RaceI’m pretty psyched that only TEN runners passed me during the race! I ended up finishing in 1:03 and my mom was only a minute behind me at 1:04.

It was an awesome weekend filled with lots of running fun, and I’m nowhere near done talking about it, but I need the upcoming weekend to catch up on posts, so stay tuned next week for more details on this fantastic and extremely fun race! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

2015 New Balance Falmouth Road RaceHave you ever run the Falmouth Road Race? Would you be as excited as I am about a selfie with Meb?!