POST 2: A Team of Many!
Since Teamwork is such an important part of Girls on the Run, I wanted to tell you about the teamwork that goes into my training for my 100 Mile Race. Even though I am just one runner, I will have many teammates – from my crew to my pacers, to race volunteers and supporters. Each person has a significant impact on a runner’s experience during the race. One of my favorite parts about GOTR is that the program teaches girls to understand the value of relationships and teamwork. I would not be able to complete this race without both.
Starting with my amazing crew! I have two women that have volunteered to help “crew” me for my race. A runner’s crew is critical because they will be responsible for making sure I stay on pace, help me to address any medical issues (like blisters, etc.), make sure I have the necessary equipment for the course (like a headlamp for the nighttime and early morning), have the necessary food and hydration, and keep my pacers on deck and ready to go. I will have 32 hours to complete the Croomzoom 100. 32 hours is a loooooooong time to be on my feet. As you can imagine after a while I will get sleepy, tired, forgetful, behind pace, grumpy, etc. To date, the longest I have been on my feet was for 19 hours and 40 minutes. There was one point where my head was falling asleep but my body was still running. It was crazy! My crew will keep me on task and make sure I keep moving forward (another important lesson from GOTR, just keeping moving forward!). The Croomzoom 100 course is a 10 mile loop that I will complete 10 times. I will see my crew every 10 miles. I am excited that I have 2 women that are my close friends to guide me on this journey.
Next up on the team: Pacers! A Pacer actually runs next to me on the course. Their primary role is to keep me moving and to help me stay on pace (by “pace” I mean the speed I need to maintain to make sure I finish the race before the race cutoff of time). This race requires that I run the first 50 miles of the race by myself. There will be other racers on the course so I won’t be totally by myself, but it is likely that many of those miles will be alone in the woods. Trail races are much smaller than road races and runners tend to get spread out. After 50 miles, my pacer can jump in with me. I have several friends that will pace me. I have spent countless hours running with each of them and they know me well. It is important for a pacer to know what works for me because what works for me may not work for someone else. For example, when I start to feel tired, down, or grumpy I like to hear stories about ladybugs. It is so random but it always works for me!
Another key part of the team are the race volunteers. I served as a volunteer at races (including every single GOTR 5k in Tampa!) and understand firsthand how critical volunteers are at supporting runners physically and mentally. In my first blog post, I mentioned there have been times in races where I have had to stop in a race and how humbling it made me feel. Recently, I was running a 50k trail race on a course that is challenging. I had to stop at Mile 22 because of heat exhaustion. It was very difficult and emotional to sit and watch other runners go by. I wanted to get up and run with them, but my body was saying “no.” The race volunteers helped me to understand that I needed to take my body’s reaction seriously and call it a day.
They gave me water and watched over me to make sure that I drank it. They also gave me my pickles – a favorite treat of ultrarunners! I love the Boar’s Head Garlic Dill pickles at Publix. I drink the pickle juice and eat the pickles throughout my races. During this particular race, I shared my pickles with other runners as they came into the aid station. It was at least something I could do to help when I couldn’t run anymore. The volunteers helped me understand that I could no longer run, they did their job by keeping me safe! They were amazing!
Rounding out the team are the supports! Last but definitely not least, I love having my friends and family come out to support me at my races. Seeing someone I know feels so good and gives me a huge burst of energy; knowing that someone is waiting for me to get to that finish line motivates me to keep going! There are times where it is not fun and my feet hurt and I am tired. Seeing a friendly face, hearing a friendly voice or just having a buddy out on the course with me helps me so much. I am so grateful for the friends I have and value the support they give me in my running adventures!
As you can see, there are so many people on my team! I am running this race as SoleMate, and hope to have you join me on my team as well. Join my team by donating any amount – I am trying to get a donor for each mile (100 donors/te