Tuesday, February 03, 2009


This past Sunday was an all together new experience for me, for this was my first attempt at race directing.

Because of the type of person I am, the majority of the race preparation occurred the evening prior. I had a firm idea of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it, it was just a matter of getting it done. I constructed medals, 'made' Gatorade and PB&Js, marked the turn around with chalk under the cover of night, and acquired a few other materials such as fire wood.

(There! They're done - can I go to bed yet? What to you mean, 'Did I make the PB&Js?')

The next morning my wife and drug our selves out of bed and headed down to Lincoln Park in order to get set up. As we arrived it became apparent that despite what was posted, the parking lots were still locked up (they remained this way until well past the start of the race). Thankfully, there is a relatively good amount of parking available on local side streets and the majority of fellow runners were able to adjust quickly.

My good friend Bob, also greeted us as we pulled up and was quickly to work with me while my wife directed any lost looking runners. Shortly before 7am we were able to have most of the essentials set up. As runners continued to show up and take care of any last minute needs, I scrambled to get myself together (I realized shortly before the start that I was still wearing all my warm over layers).

(trying my best to get set up)

Just a bit past 7am (the planned start time) I called for the runners to gather on the path and gave them a quick briefing as to how the course was laid out (ie: water on the left/road on the right - and be sure to run around the path on the outside of the pool), then said 'without further ado... GO!' and off almost all the runners went. I stuck back for about an extra minute or two to ensure Rachael & Bob had everything under control (of course they did - more so than I ever could) then headed out at the back of the pack.

('...without further ado...GO!')

Less than a mile into the run it occurred to me that through all the hi jinx at the start I had managed to leave behind my water bottle and any sort of energy food. I felt fine at the time, but realized I still had 14+ miles 'til I'd get back to the aid station - of course, I was completely unwilling to turn around - I knew there was water on various points along the course, so I knew I'd be alright.

('Hey, doffus, where's your water bottle? - umm, yeah...')

The first leg felt quick, something I attribute to familiarity of the route, after all, these were my home training (what's that?) grounds. I chatted with a few fellow runners and just generally enjoyed the opportunity to run off my nerves and finally relax a bit. At the turn around I was still feeling good and continued at my pretty standard pace. When I got back to the aid station Bob & Rachael had the fire burning and everything laid out very well, I again chatted with a few runners and generally took my time. I wanted to make sure Bob & Rachael were still content, I wanted to fuel up a bit, and, most of all, I just wanted to hang out. I sat by the fire and just sort of relaxed, after about 5 minutes (which felt like an eternity) I finally got my self going, and headed back out for the second half of the run.

The second half was fairly uneventful for me - I was able to watch the front runners go screaming by on their way back to the finish and had a chance to catch up to and chat with a runner who I had not previously met, which is always nice. I felt as though I was long over my standard time, but due to clumsy fingers, I had hit the 'stop' button on the Garmin when I meant to hit the lap button, so I really had no clue as to how I was doing. When I did finish I was greeted with a 5:22:55, not terrible, but I definitely do better on that course if given different circumstances - but that wasn't the point and I'm glad I was able run this race while attempting to *run* this race :-)
(smiles upon finishing - evident by the fact that this time I have my bottle ;-)

I hope I've already made this clear to everyone at the WSFA50K - both runners and volunteers alike - but if not, let me say once more, thank you all for everything! Runners - thanks for showing up! Volunteers - thanks for all your hard work, it would have literally been impossible with out you! And also, an extra big 'thank you' to participants who donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - the run brought in $115.00!

(#12 of 13 - with help from good friend and aid station extraordinaire, Bob)

MANY more photos from Sunday's race can be seen here : http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLanding.action?c=c0isivfd.1n3i944x&x=0&y=yao87i&localeid=en_US (these photos were taken by Rich Walter, one of our great volunteers!)

and here:
http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLanding.action?c=2u04napl.9feg272p&x=0&y=-sujexn&localeid=en_US (these were taken by Rachael & I at the aid station/finish line)

1 comment:

Jon said...

Hey Nic!

Thumbs up on finishing your 13 in 12!