Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Almost Famous!

Well, that was a first! I was just recognized on the street. Granted, I was pulling up to Super Jock and Jill, lots of runners around, granted I was pulling signs out of my car for Good Karma 5K and 15K. But, still. To be stopped and asked if I was the Race Director from Lake Union 10K on Sunday? And then told how much fun she had at the race!? Well, I guess I am almost famous, amongst the community of runners in Seattle, who run races! I will take it!

Maybe I should hire a publicist. Next thing you know it's going to be paparazzi at my door! 

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

I am one of those types of people that will write something on a list that I have just done just for the satisfaction of crossing it off the list. Crossing an item off the list is one of my favorite things as a race director.

I keep notebooks, I am a pen and paper kind of girl and each race we produce gets its own dedicated notebook at the beginning of the planning process. It is my race brain, everything that needs to get done, every contact, every issue, every meeting goes into these notebooks. There are several satisfying things about these notebooks.

At the beginning of the year, when all the pre-planning down season stuff is happening one of the things I love to do is to start a new notebook. I feel as if I am starting fresh. Each and every event gets almost all the same lists; Permit, insurance, porto-potties, update website, update volunteer sign ups.....Yet I get some sort of pleasure out of writing it all out, one by one. I think it is because I get to see the scope of work in front of me each year.

Which, makes the second satisfying thing about these notepads: Putting them away, blank at the end of each event. At the beginning of the year I have this huge stack on my desk, each laid out, so organized. As we tick off the events I tear out the pages, file them away with that year's file folder and stow away the notebook until next year's plans start afresh. One of my favorite things is seeing that pile on my desk dwindle as the year goes on.

The things that drive me crazy about these notebooks: The items I can't check off until the day before race day. Things like "Print out volunteer list" or "Buy volunteer food." I can't seem to stand the sight of unchecked items.

These are just a few of my favorite things! Others include giant jars of leftover Nutella from races!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Race Directors Make for Strange Neighbors

I work from home, which is one of the great things about my job. Some days it is all PJ's all the time. Like anything it has its benefits but also its downsides. But, that is not why I am posting today.

We have a great porch on our house, its at the front of the house. Its totally covered and it's big, it's where I do all my big projects and also it is used as temporary storage for race things. I realized today, as my very nice neighbors drove up, that Race Directors probably make for strange neighbors.

Most normal neighbors, if there is such a thing, have the occasional box being delivered, maybe they have a barking dog or are out doing yard work on a nice day. Me, however, I guess I am not normal a neighbor.

Strange hours (most race days I leave the house with my huge Uhaul packed with everything for race day around 2:00am), strange projects on the porch, always boxes being delivered, often times very very big ones that contain things like 10x10 canopies, and we get a lot of large quantities of items that hang out on the porch for a couple of days and then disappear. They must think that I am crazy, or just stalking up for a zombie apocalypse that they somehow missed.

Today, this is what my neighbors saw, me on the floor measuring the letters on this giant banner. Yard signs too.

A couple of weeks ago it was a row of 15 gorgeous cones, being marked with RFG on them (sorry I did not get a picture of that), a few weeks before that an entire pallet of water bottles, a couple of weeks before that was a sign on a cone in our driveway saying TURN AROUND (I was testing it for wind durability so it had to stay up for a couple of days).

Maybe I should go over there and offer them a couple of free race entries so they know what I am up to and they don't hate me when I rev up that Uhaul engine right outside their bedroom window for the next race at 3:00am. Or maybe I should go recruit their teens to come volunteer at an event, or could you just haul this water down the stairs for me!?

Sorry neighbors!

An Update:
This came in the mail today and now its in our driveway, being tested for wind durability. It's 15 feet tall. I guess the neighbors will know where to go to register. I am getting funny looks from the roofing crew across the way.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Things That Make This Race Director Giddy

Some might call me a geek, some a dork, particularly when it comes to all things cones. If you have been following this blog for any amount of time you will probably see what I am obsessed with cones, of all shapes or sizes. When I travel I tend to notice cones more than anything else. I take pictures of cones and ogle over foreign cones.

They are essential to the operations of an event. I use them to mark turns and when I do that I like to tape arrow or directional signs to those cones. I have been made fun of by numerous people by my extensive use of tape. Every race our guy that helps with course set up tells me there has to be a better way. I just could not think of any way to get those signs onto the cones, or up in any other fashion for that matter. The cones start to get sticky, the signs only last a few races before the tape accumulation becomes too much and they have to be thrown away. But, its effective and people do not get lost when I do it this way.

So for the last 5K I splurged and bought brand new, shiny, clean cones and I fell in love. I did not want to mess these ones up. But, I noticed one that had a little defect, a notch on top, a slit that would fit a laminated sign just exactly perfectly. I slipped it in and behold, it held, perfectly, without any tape. It was a breezy day so I left the set up outside to see if it would hold up to the wind. The next day I peaked outside and it was still standing! Could this really be happening? A new, better way!?

But, I did not know if I could cut a slit into cones, they are made out of pretty heavy duty materials. I found our exact-o knife and it slid through that rubber like butter. I placed a sign in my modified cone and it stayed, breeze and all.

My life has been revolutionized. I texted a picture to the guy that makes fun of me and was so excited I could not stand it.

I started thinking about it, realizing it would save me time on race mornings (tape can take some time to cut and get right), save money on tape, preserve my precious cones, preserve our signs and be much cleaner and even more eye catching than before. Plus no more tape for breakfast when I can't find the scissors. I was positively giddy! How could I have not of thought of this before?

Here are the new and improved signs you will see at the next Run for Good Racing event! Ooooh, how pretty!!! Doesn't that make you giddy too!? No? Just me I guess!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Turning Excess into Heaven!

I have always been a fan of all those food blogs, you know the ones I am talking about. You google a recipe and these close up shots of ingredients and gorgeous looking food and a story about how the recipe was made and why pop up. I also have always secretly wanted to become a baker. I love baking cookies, cakes, name it. I think if I were not a race director I would open up a bakery. Perhaps this is why I run so much.

Any good race director will know exactly how much to buy for each event. Its an art that you learn as you go. Just enough to keep everyone happy, not enough to run out. Sometimes this is hard to do. I am from the school of thought of always over-prepare, always have more, not less. This was the case for Run Like the Wind a couple of weeks ago. It would be horrible to run out of Nutella at a trail race, its just a big no no! I also bought as if I was running it myself and I love eating a lot of stuff during long trail runs. The result was an excess of a lot of aid station food, just sitting here, calling my name.

So, I was staring at the leftovers from Run Like the Wind, thinking what am I going to do with two big Ziplocks full of pretzels and two GIANT tubs of Nutella? It really is a match made in heaven, but I needed more than simply dipping the pretzels into the tub.

So, I googled Nutella pretzel recipes and lo and behold one of those gorgeous blogs came up and I literally almost drooled and I knew what I had to do. Nutella pretzel brownies! What!? Salty, sweet, gooey, crunchy. Must bake now.

I tried do a food porn shot but my phone camera did just not do it justice. The ingredients. 

The mixing of the batter with the pretzels. I have to admit, the pretzels did get a little soggy, but so salty and good. 

The cleanup is the best part, right!? 

I wish you had smella-internet! Baking and waiting, baking and waiting!

Forgot to take a picture of the full pan before we dug in.

Sometimes I love my job! Thank you runners of Run Like the Wind for not eating all the Nutella and pretzels. Perhaps next year I will have to add a few more tubs in to the Costco cart again!! 

How many trail miles will it take to run these off? I have no idea, but probably more than our 30K!! 

Recipe from Buns in My Oven blog! Added pretzels. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Eggs and Bacon

Some days as a Race Director you spend figuring out how to make an egg and bacon display out of the things you have in your office. This is for a window display for our awesome running store partner, Super Jock and Jill at Greenlake for Seattle Magazine Brunch Run happening on June 6th. I often times get asked what I do all day and how can being a Race Director be a full time job. Well, ladies and gentleman, sometimes I make eggs and bacon and sometimes it is what it is cracked up to be (pun intended). What did you do today at your job? 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to Make a Race Director Almost Pee Her Pants!!

We have a storage unit where we keep all of our race stuff; cones, tents, tables, banners, PA system, generators.... You know the type of space I am talking about, cramped, overcrowded and seemingly growing stuff every time I turn around. It is a small room, I believe its a 10x10 space with aluminum siding and concrete floors. Outside is a maze of hallways, doors and elevators with cameras everywhere. Usually empty of all other human activity. With automatic lights that turn off if you don't make some sort of movement in the hallway every 5 minutes. The result is me doing a seizure like movement to get them to kick on.

I was in there today, organizing stuff that will be needed for this weekend's Run Like the Wind Running Festival. To navigate inside this small cage is precarious, at best. There is often times I find myself climbing over delineator posts, one foot in a garbage can, one foot on the Volunteer Check In box to reach that one small box way over there. That was the case today. Every time we have a race we have a crew of great people working for us that all help to unload the truck and we are usually incredibly tired, which means a lot of throwing it in and dealing with it later, which results in a lot of searching for items when needed. That was the case today.

I was searching for the cash box (still haven't found it, had to order another one. Thank god for Amazon Prime!) and I was leaning over a box that happened to not have a lid on it. It just so happened that there was other human activity on the floor. Usually I am all by myself up there, sort of spooky. I gently leaned over, put a hand on what I thought was a box with a lid, my hand went inside the box and pressed the button of the air horn we use to start races.


That thing is loud, meant to get the attention of a boat over miles of open water. I almost peed my pants as it reverberated around this aluminum cage. These things were not meant to be deployed inside, let alone inside a storage unit, unbeknownst to the user. I can only imagine what the guy down the hallway must have been thinking.

Use this device to make a race director almost pee her pants! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hazards of living with a Race Director

I have often times found myself feeling sorry for my husband who has to live with a Race Director. Races take a lot of stuff and the stuff sometimes takes over the whole house. I try to contain it to the office, but during race weeks it usually spills over to the living room, which quickly starts to resemble a storage unit. Sometimes there is bag stuffing in front of the TV, sometimes there are laminated signs strewn across the dining room table and bibs hiding under couches. Good thing he is so tolerant. If it were the other way around, if his stuff was taking over our house, I probably would not be so nice.

These events have a lot of people who need a lot of stuff. Food, bibs, prizes, flyers, posters, goody bags, giveaways.... and the most insidious of all...the safety pin! The safety pin has a tendency to escape from any container that you might try to use to contain it. How do these little buggers end up on the floor of the kitchen, or in the couch cushions, or pretty much in any crevice it can find? It is one of life's mysteries, sort of like socks that go missing from the laundry. In fact, I have found safety pins in the dryer before. Maybe there is a safety pin and missing sock coalition forming in there? Just be careful when sitting down on a couch or a chair in my house, you might get poked with one of these guys.

Sorry honey, I love you and thank you for living with this Race Director! 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why I shop Local Running Stores

Can you feel the love tonight!!?
Run Scared 5K window display at Super Jock N Jill, one of Seattle's most beloved stores

I can, for local running stores. I just got done shopping for a new running bra at my local running store and it made me realize how much I absolutely love locally owned stores. Here is why:

1. Amazing service - not only can you try on shoes by experts with very personalized service, but if you shop at one store long enough they might even remember what kind of shoes you have purchased in the past. Most local running stores keep track for you. You can ask questions and hang out talking about running for as long as you like. Most stores around here are more like running club hangouts than stores. Sometimes I have to pull myself out of the store because I feel so welcomed, like I could just live there and be happy.

2. Instant gratification and no shipping charges - When you shop online, from a big box store, you have to wait to receive your goods, and usually pay for shipping. Not so when you shop local. For someone with the patience of a mosquito this is a good thing for me. I need to wear those shoes that same day, not 3-7 business days from now.

3. When you support a local running store you are also supporting local running events. Most runners do not even know the extent that running stores help out events. From promoting runs to sponsoring races to creating training plans and groups to help people complete a local run to hosting packet pickups and registrations parties, to donating merchandise for prizes, to hosting in-store paper registrations, and everything in between. Super Jock N Jill has committed to displaying nothing but local running races in their windows, year round. They could be promoting their next big sale or the next big shoe coming in but they support local events and that is awesome. West Seattle Runner even hosts their own 5K (which we happen to produce for them) called Float Dodger 5K.

4. Running groups and fun events - most running stores host a once or twice a week run and most of the time there is something free or fun as an added bonus too like a vendor giving away stuff or hot chocolate on a Christmas Eve morning run. There is an instant group of friends all awaiting you every Tuesday night. Its always so much easier to run with people then on your own, especially in the dead of winter. I have received some pretty awesome swag for showing up to running store runs; socks, gear, free race entries, energy products, advice....Many stores have free PT/medical nights as well.

5. Shopping local is just good - good for the environment (assuming you can run to your local store and there are no nasty shipping emissions), good for the economy; you keep the money local to local owners and we all know how good that is and good for the community.

6. I just feel good when I shop at these stores.

The only bad thing? So many good stores and only so many dollars to spend on running gear!

Here are a few of my personal favorites around here:

West Seattle Runner
Super Jock N Jill
Sound Sports
Fleet Feet Seattle
Seven Hills Running
Running Elements
Run 26