Sunday, November 11, 2012

Water Stops

I woke up bright dark and early this morning. Today was the big day: 13.1 Ft. Lauderdale. I ran it last year and set a new PR. This year I was incredibly stressed out as race day approached. How early do I need to leave the house? How early do I need to get up? What if things don't go according to plans? What if the other volunteers don't show up? Oh, yeah, this year I didn't run the 13.1. This year I volunteered to run a water stop.

Let me just say, I thought NOTHING was more stressful than running a race. Until this past week. Then I discovered that volunteering to man a water stop is more stressful. I was in charge of not just a water stop, but the first water stop on the course. For a perfectionist planner like me, this little venture was growing to nightmare proportions in the last week. I was having trouble getting people to commit to show up at 5 in the morning. Go figure! When Casey, an FCA director at the FAU campus called and said he was bringing some people, I was ecstatic! And then the 13.1 volunteer coordinator called me and asked could we man not one, but TWO water stops to cover for a group that backed out. I said we could (what is wrong with me?).

I will spare you all the long boring details about the last minute scrambling (a volunteer's car breaking down, parking issues caused by roads being closed on race morning, the 2 miles I and my awesome son, Justin, had to run between our 2 water stops on race morning, etc)... and will just offer a few words on behalf of all water stop and race volunteers:

1. We want you to have your best race ever!
2. We may have awakened even earlier than you on race day.
3. We probably have lost sleep, hoping and praying that the water stop would run smoothly for you.
4. We are trying our best NOT to interfere with your race in any way.
5. We totally understand that you are in a hurry and have a goal in mind.

So, please... forgive us if we do anything to slow you down. And we understand if you don't have breath enough to say "thank you," but throwing down your cup of Gatorade and saying, "I WANT WATER!" isn't really necessary. (This only happened a handful of times out of hundreds--a thousand?-- racers, but was totally worth mentioning.)
And despite my whining above, I highly recommend that you volunteer at a race, especially if you do several a year. It provides wonderful perspective and is a great way to encourage and give back to your fellow racers. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Inspiring Words

"These woods are lovely, dark and deep,
but I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
-Robert Frost from "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

I thought I'd add a blog for when life is hard and your workout is too. So, here are some of my favorite motivational quotes.
I have the following on my bricks that I will be carrying for the GORUCK Challenge in January:

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace." Acts 20:24

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

"Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
Therefore have I set my face like flint,   

    I will not be disgraced.

 and I know I will not be put to shame." 
Isaiah 50:7

"It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." 
Psalm 18:32
Here are some shorter quotes that lend themselves well to a mantra (a short word or phrase that is repeated during a long run or race when your body and/or brain wants desperately to quit):
The above is good, or try my modified version created on a cold, drowsy, pre-dawn speed work session:
Hard work beats talent when talent sleeps in.
Then there's my latest favorite from Talladega Nights:
"If you ain't first, you're last!"

To help me remember to relax:
"Make it look easy"

And for those really hard days, I go with a shorter mantra:
"Run Strong"

The important thing is to find some thing that inspires, motivates, and/or takes your mind off the pain.  Dean Karnazes (the Ultra marathon man) says that if you're doing it (running) right, it hurts. 

*Photo credits-- Pinterest boards.