Monday, December 8, 2014

Could it be the lucky socks?

Could it be that the only key to success of a race is this lucky pair of socks? 

I have this ratty pair of running socks that I got when I ran the Honolulu Marathon, back in 2007. They are the perfect pair of socks, not too thin, not too thick, the perfect height in the back, they don't slip....And, because I have had them so long they conform to my feet nicely. They are nasty, I am the first to admit this, they have pilled and are dirty from many many miles of trail running. I wear them in almost all my races and have completed about 10 full marathons, countless half marathons and one 50K in them. They are my lucky pair of socks. 

Now, I do not know if other race directors do this, but just like baseball players who have their pre-game rituals, I must do certain things or wear certain things to each of the races we produce. Wearing this nasty socks is one of those good luck things. Races seem to go smoother when I wear these magical socks. No explanation for it, they just do. 

The problem I run into is with Run Like the Wind, which in previous years has been a 2 day event. Do I re-wear the same socks two days in a row? Well, yes, yes I did! 

Other pre-race rituals include: 
  • Saying out loud when I leave the office for the last time before a race "I hope I have everything!" 
  • Eating a piece of string cheese on the way to the event, the breakfast of champions
  • Taking a long deep breathe right before I get out of the truck on race morning. 
  • Eating a HUGE meal after the race, usually Greek food, but often times a burger, fries and a milkshake. 
All of this means a successful event, without these things, my day would most likely be disastrous! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

If I am in jail...

If I am in jail you will know it was because I was stalking the UPS lady! This is the life of a race director, I suppose, at least this race director.

We recently moved our office. Apparently some of our vendors did not get that memo as they have still been delivering packages to our old address. Run Scared 5K is coming up this Sunday and I get a little anxious about items like these arriving in time. It is a fine balance between ordering too early and having your numbers be way off (either way to many and you end up storing them for all eternity, I think we still have shirts from our first year of some of these events. Or, not ordering enough thus making your participants angry).

So, when I looked online a couple of days ago it had said my boxes had been delivered, but no boxes appeared. I dug a little further and realized they were using my old address. Luckily I am friends with someone else in the building and she looked around and could not find them. The next day she texted me saying my boxes had arrived.

Thrilled I made the trek down to Seattle to pick them up. But alas, only 2 out 7 boxes had arrived. I did some errands around Seattle and stopped back by when behold, I saw the UPS truck, just up the street. She was delivering something to the next building up the hill. I had a feeling that my boxes were on that truck. So, like a stalker, I pulled in across the street, slunk down in my car and watched and waited.

Sure enough, she started unloading the boxes onto a hand truck. I jumped out, waved her down and asked if they were for Run For Good Racing. She was surprised, said yes, how did I know! I gave her a creepy smile and led her to my car.

All boxes now arrived and the hats look great! With even a few days to spare!


Let's just hope she doesn't press charges!

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Have I run a marathon recently? Oh no, that is just the day after race syndrome. The day after one of our own races my whole body usually is sore and aching and all I want to do is sleep. Walking down stairs is always interesting and I feel muscles in my body I do not normally feel. Frequently I am ravenous all day. I get the same sense of happy tired accomplishment and similar sense of pride.

Unlike marathon running though, race directing comes with a certain brand of bruising that you might not find anywhere else. I like to think that I am a victim of race abuse.

Why, you ask? Well, the simple explanation is there is a lot of shlepping, pulling, pushing, throwing, lifting, wrenching, carrying, kicking and various other actions that come along with race day.

Today is no different. We put on a small-ish event yesterday. We had amazing weather, a better than expected turnout with lots of smiles, and happy participants. I feel like the smaller the event, the less volunteer and staff support it usually has, which means more of it falls on the race director and our crew.

This nice set of bruises comes from carrying delineators around the course, out to turn arounds and mile markers that were not easily accessible by vehicle. I doubt you will find this sort of bruise patterns anywhere else. Those things are heavy and awkward!

Participants often times do not recognize that race directors take physical abuse to be able to put on these events. There is little time for eating or drinking and I have only gone to the bathroom once, at any of our own events, ever, which is a shame as I would like to be able to use the porto-potties that our company pays for! More often that not race days come with a very very early alarm clocks and the day does not end until late afternoon, and it is mostly non-stop physical exertion. I guess the adrenaline gets my body through. I always try coffee (usually we are too early and coffee shops are not open so I have somebody bring me a coffee) but 9 times out of 10 I set the cup down somewhere and forget it even exists.

So I sit here today, on my couch, trying not to move, happy that the event is over and successful, but bruised, scraped and sore. I am not sure which is easier, running a marathon or race directing. They are both about equally as painful.

Next time you see a race director schlepping that heavy generator, cone, tent, water jug, table....take a moment and thank them for taking the abuse so that you may have a great race experience. You will probably hear a genuine "you are welcome" as we all love our jobs too much to quit!

Signing off, the ice cream and movies are calling me!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Longest mile of my life

I have had some memorable miles in my running career. There was the last mile of the Honolulu Marathon, hot and humid and raining where I was trying to run a personal best and when the 25 mile marker came along and I looked at my watch and I had two minutes until my goal time I got so excited because my marathon math brain took over and told me I could run a mile in 2 minutes. Or, there was the last mile of my first marathon, where I was a sobbing mess full of emotions. Or, the gorgeous mile across the Deception Pass bridge at dawn on my 2nd leg of the Ragnar race. Or, the last mile of the Paris Marathon, which was made even longer by the fact that I took the sip of wine offered at mile 25.

Of all those memorable miles, yesterday I had the longest (in time) mile of my life, it was approximately a 2.5 hour mile! So slow a Garmin did not even register movement. And, I know it was exactly a mile because I was pushing a measuring wheel the entire time.

For every race in Seattle that impacts streets there needs to be neighborhood notifications. It is simply not good enough to post posters along the route anymore and the City has really cracked down on this process because of all the complaints they have been receiving. I get that. But, there has got to be an easier way than going door to door!!

Good thing the Earth Day Run is only a 5K along Alki. Alki, as you probably know only has buildings on one side of the street. Thank god, or else my 5K time would have been 5 hours instead of 3 hours!

I walked out with my measuring wheel to the half way mark. That part, not so bad, its flat, its gorgeous, it was a gray day but with no wind or rain. I ran into a friend. Really quite pleasant actually.

Then I hit the turn around point and got myself across the street with my bag of tape and notification letters. I started in. Condos were the worst. How do you get a full building of condos with tight security to see your notice? I decided to simply tape the notice to the front door. Something I am sure these buildings with their manicured lawns and fountains did not appreciate.

Houses were easy, simply stuck them in the mail boxes.

The problem was, every time another building came along I had to stop the wheel, kick stand it, go do my notifications, un-kick stand it and push it to the next building. Doesn't sound so bad, but when there is a mailbox every 10 feet you have to do that over and over and over and over again.

All in all, every single condo building, house, apartment building and business was notified and I feel really good about that. The result though, was the longest mile of my life.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

For the love of interns!

Nothing like a good intern to make you feel old and out of it!

We recently hired a UW School of Communications intern for some of our ancillary marketing and community outreach jobs, like putting together registration parties and writing press releases and working with running groups. But most importantly to handle our social media. Fiona is amazing!

I am the first to admit that I am a late adopter of technology, some might even call me a dinosaur. I only got on Facebook a couple of years ago, with a very twisted arm, still have no idea what the purpose of Twitter is and that is about the only social media I even know about.

So, eagerly, our intern took over some of the admin's on these accounts and has been doing great things with them. She started an instagram page and has done more tweeting in the last week than I managed to do in my whole life.

We were in a meeting the other day with a crowd-funding website we are using for Good Karma 5K called Projekt Karma and Fiona asked if we should post this to "^!%S(!))#@" or something! I looked at her funny and said "Huh!?" She said it again, "^!%S(!))#@". I told her I had never even heard of this thing she was talking about. I think it was Mobli? Or some other thing. I really cannot even remember.

Then later I was tinkering around with our new email software program and there was a button on linking your E Newsletter with your various social media outlets and I clicked on this link and it took me to a screen that just boggled my mind.

Do you see how many icons that is!? What are they all for? What does it all mean!? Help, I am drowning in them! 

I remember, back in my day, when all you needed was a good poster to get your event some attention! God, I feel old! Thank you Fiona for keeping me young and for getting us all those new participants! 

Anyone have a suggestion on any social media sites you would like to see us on? Fiona would be happy to set them up!!