Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Race Report: Ladybug Run 2012

It has taken three tries to get this blog post done. I don't know why this one is so hard. Maybe because there is just so much to cover and I am having a hard time organizing my thoughts.. So if this seems a bit all over the place - forgive me.

 I was up late Saturday going over last minute lists after having marked up the course at Champoeg with my friend Stacy who I will forever be indebted to. As it was getting dark, and the creepy bats were flying around - I was so very thankful she volunteered to help me. That evening might be another blog post all by itself. It was fun running the course and writing messages for the runners- but perhaps you shouldn't leave this important task to that last minute, in the dark, and we won't even talk about the math required and my sleep deprived brain....

4:45 am, the alarm beeped and I jumped out of bed, showered, and started loading the car. I got the kids up. Had a little cuddle time with Finley.

I left the house to finish some last minute errands and would meet J and the girls at the park. Stopped at 7-11 to buy 20 bags of ice. Hit Dutch Bros to pick up the coffee.. As I was talking with the girl about the reason for the race everything about this day hit me again, the long road here - both with Finley and Ladybug Run and I started crying. I got a little worried that I was going to be a mess all day.  I prayed that God would help me be strong and in charge of my emotions the rest of the day...

Coffee successfully acquired and loaded. I drove (quickly) to Champoeg State Park to arrive by 6:50 to a  line of trusty volunteers/good friends there already waiting and unloading. One of the most important jobs to get done quickly was setting up the signs along the course so the runners/walkers would know mileage and that they were going the right way. I set out one volunteer on his bike to get that done, hoping my chalk markings were clear enough. Simultaneously, we were all unloading the cars and trucks filled with water (we had 40 flats - we ended up only going through half, but I did not want to run out of water), food, registration items, prizes, awards, T-shirts, and of course the 400 cookies. The next hour passed in a blur. Somehow we were all ready to go by 8:00 when people started showing up to register and do the day of packet pick up.

My volunteers were amazing!! We had so many friends who wanted to help out, some even with their kids in tow and I am just so thankful for each person that came and helped us. We ended up having 30 adult registrants day of (bringing us to 237 registered 5K/10K adults) and 50+ kids. We needed every body we had. I can never thank each person enough.

Somehow I was mostly calm all day, which is so unlike me when under pressure.  I usually turn into a  stressed out crazy person on event days. God just gave me a peace. I was able to speak in front of everyone and didn't turn into a blubbering mess. Some things did go wrong. Lots of things did not go as planned. I will not list them all. Lots of people have told us how great the event was, how well organized it was and I don't want to lift the curtain all the way!

I had a few kids help us with the Ladybug release and two of them were the children of a friend who lost her first daughter to CDH.

With my beautiful friend Cody who is 36 weeks!

After introductions, Cody opened the race in prayer. She picked the perfect verse and it was such a beautiful prayer. I wasn't sure how this would be received, but actually got lots of comments in support afterwards. Cody is a Chaplain and one more than one occasion when I couldn't pray or was struggling- she was the one I turned to to speak the words for me. I knew early on that I wanted the race to open with a prayer from her. I just love her dearly. She is also an amazing runner.

And with that the races began...

Random thoughts and lessons learned....
I ran across the finish line with the girls who got to do the 5K with a friend.

1. I had a magic 5k course and everyone PRd. Yep...wheeling the course late at night, somehow I shorted the 5K about .3 miles. The 5K was really 2.8 miles.. Ugh. Luckily we got lots of grace from everyone. So far from my survey- out of 30 people who replied, only 1 person was unhappy with the event. Next year the 5K WILL be a 5K!!!

2. Beer garden/Food were too far from finish line/awards ceremony. This will be an easy fix next year - We will get the Pavilion and will be able to start/end the race closer to where all the finishing festivities will be.

3. Stagger 5K and 10K start.

4. Assign prizes beforehand. I had this free for all- choose your prize for the Overall 1-3 and Masters 1-3 and it was kinda messy.

6. I loved the family friendly, laid back vibe of the the morning. I want to keep that as we grow. Next year I hope to have some face painters, and more activities for the kids. Maybe even some babysitters so parents can have the option of having someone watch their kids while they run... How cool would that be?

7. It was so moving to me to look around and see all these people wearing costumes and Ladybug Run shirts... the reality of a dream realized. Even now looking through the hundreds of photos online, I still can't believe that we really made it happen.

We had such a positive response from 99% of the people there. I was amazed considering we were a first year race, and definitely made our share of goofs. There were a lot of CDH families there and that was awesome.

It was so much fun jumping in and doing all sorts of jobs on race day - I spent some time at registration, announcing names, cheering at the finish line, announcing awards... I really felt like I got to be a part of the day and also enjoy it. I wish I would have gotten to talk to some of the CDH families more- but I guess this just means I'll have to plan a picnic for the Spring!

Here is something I wrote on Finley's blog that seems a fitting conclusion;

I just get chills over and over when I think about how God made this happen. I know God planted this seed in my heart, and to have followed him and listened has only blessed me so. I didn’t know anything about creating a race. But that didn’t matter. God broke down EVERY barrier. Brought me people with wisdom and expertise, friends with contacts and heart to serve, donations, sponsors – everything fell into place. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What I did on my first summer vacation....

So this will have to be fast since I have 1000 things to do before Ladybug Run on Sunday! It looks like we will definitely hit our goal of 200 adults and I am so excited for this event. Lots of last minute things to do, but I wanted to get this post written before I forgot everything I wanted to write.

We drove straight through 10 hours from Portland to Sonoma on Saturday. My coach wanted me too take it easy on my first run after a long drive, he says you are more likely to get injured. Since it was about 86 degrees around 3:00pm on Sunday during nap time when I was able to get away to run, I pretty much just walked 4 miles. Each time I attempted to run, my heart rate jacked up to the 180s, so I decided it was a good day for a fast walk.

Monday morning I went for a run first thing and it was magical. I loved running down the Bike path in Sonoma and through some vineyards and neighborhoods. It was so gorgeous!

 This is the bike/running path through some vineyards.

So beautiful!

My Tuesday run was a neighborhood run starting in Noe Valley where we were renting a townhouse. I ran about 5 miles and got in some nice hill work. 

 So fun exploring a city by foot.

 This was one serious hill.. I ended up walking since I could walk faster up this incline than I could run...

Love SF.

Wednesday we were planning on taking the bus to Golden Gate park and run in the park. But we ended up getting on the wrong bus and it took us over 90 minutes to get to the park. We wanted to take the girls to the Arts and Sciences Museum before nap time, so we ended up scrapping the run and heading straight to the Museum. But since our townhouse was only 4.5 miles from the park, and we didn't want to risk the bus again, we decided to run home - which only took 45 minutes and was a fun run through NoPa and some fun hilly streets. Jon and I took turns pushing the Double BOB up some serious hills. 

 Friday: my goodbye Noe Valley run....

 Very thankful for Mapmyrun. I used it a lot to determine which make some loops/rough guides to follow on my runs. Sometimes I would miss a turn, but other people's courses at least helped me figure out a good starting point. 

Saturday morning run started at Nob Hill, went down Powell and headed to Fisherman's Wharf, past the Marina, and through Fort Mason. Got a easy 5 miler in with of course, some hills. I wanted to run all the way to the Golden Gate bridge base and hit the hands - but time didn't allow for that long of a run.. next time!! I was pretty proud of myself for logging 26 miles while on vacation and I saw parts of the city I wouldn't have, had I left my running shoes at home...

Awesome views

My girls walking the streets of Nob Hill...

I did more than just run on this trip.... we took a boat tour of the Bay, went to Santa Cruz, and went to the wedding of some dear friends. It was a phenomenal trip and I am looking forward to one more vacation with the family to Hawaii before school starts!!

Jon and I at the wedding reception.