My First Time As A Race Director

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If you would have told me five years ago that I would be a race director, I would have laughed in your face. Heck, even a year ago, I would have scoffed at you.

It’s not that I didn’t want to be a race director, I absolutely love running and races, it’s just that five years ago I didn’t have any idea how to get involved with a running company. I started my blog and was running all the races I could, never knowing that there was a possibility I could be in charge of those races.  Fast forward a few years and I became an ambassador for a local running company, 3W Races.  Another year after that, I was offered a job in marketing for the same running company and another year after that I was transitioning into the race production side of things.

I don’t know if I ever had “race directing” on my list of possible jobs, but now it seems like a perfect fit. I love running. I love races where people can socially share their love of running and, quite frankly, I love being in charge of that! During all the smaller race-production tasks, I have loved being a part of the background, doing things people don’t know go on to make a race successful.  Then hearing people compliment the race, I feel pride, knowing I had a big part in that success.

While being on the marketing team, my transition to the production side of things started out as a volunteer coordinator, organizing the race day volunteers and making sure the course marshals and water stations were set up properly. Add in setting up the race, then mix in some website tasks, fold in packet pick up and swag ordering and you’ve got the recipe for race directing.

See me there in the back ground???

See me there in the background??? Think about all the races you have run and the people in background helping make it happen!

I was taught race director tasks little by little and my first solo race as race director was a couple of weekends ago, the Heart Throb Run 5k in Longmont. I have been an assistant race director, registration captain, and many other things, but without my mentor there, I was a little nervous to be THE Race Director. I wasn’t completely alone, the other 3W owner was there to set up the course, but it was me running the show – so to speak.

Sometimes race directors have weird tasks, like hold back the flag at the start so it doesn't hit people in the face!

Sometimes race directors have weird tasks, like hold back the flag at the start so it doesn’t hit people in the face on a very windy day!

And….. It went well! Not a snag, complaint or conundrum to be had! (Knock on wood). The day after the race, I was constantly checking my email, worried someone was going to email in a complaint, but all I saw were words of gratitude and compliments! To top it off, my mom and my boyfriend came out to run as well! Ben even took first in his age group!

I was nervous at first to be in charge of a race because sometimes, no offense, runners can be needy, crazy, and hard to please, but now that I have one under my belt, I am super excited to do more!


Check out 3W Races in Colorado! Run any race and chances are you find me there!

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Patriot Day 5k – Post Race Recap and Unexpected PR

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Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve done a “post-race recap.” I’ve been running a few races this year but haven’t really taken the time to review them. Since this blog is partly about running, it’s about time that I recap a race of mine.

This past weekend was a “holiday” of sorts to remember and honor those that served our country on that awful day 15 years ago. I was a freshman in high school sitting at my desk in earth science watching the news as the two towers fell down.

I will never forget that day and our country will always remember those that had fallen with the towers. The company I work for, 3W Races, holds a race every year to honor those first responders and military that were there that day and that continue to serve our country. The Patriot Day race started out as a 10k and 5k but this year we only did the 5k. Not being responsible for the production of this race, I decided to run it! Talk about perks of the job!

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This race is in Denver and around a beautiful park in the city, Sloans Lake. Being a super flat course (the most flat of any of 3W’s courses), I wanted to see what my current fitness level is by racing as hard as I could. I didn’t want to wear a watch, I just wanted to go off of feel. After getting this time, I plan on picking some running goals and deciding what I actually want to do with the sport.

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I showed up to the park pretty early, getting plenty of time to talk with friends and get a warm up in. One friend in particular told me he wanted to PR which would be a sub 25 minute 5k for him. He told me he wanted run with me, or at least keep me in his sights. I figured we could run together since my time would be somewhere around 25 minutes anyway. That’s what I’ve been running in recent races.

The whistle was blown and off we went. My friend and I ran pretty hard from the start line. I have a bad habit of starting off too fast, and even though I tried not to this time, I knew we were running pretty quickly! I don’t know even remember what the time was, but we were both shocked when his watch beeped at the first mile marker. I told my friend that it’s okay, we can still get that PR as long as we hold where we’re at.

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By mile two, he was still on my shoulder; I knew he was set up for a PR. I waved my hand up, holding a “one” on my fingers telling him we only had one more mile left. I pushed it a little harder, still feeling great.

Then, with three-quarters of a mile left, I looked down and saw my shoe untied! I swear I doubled knotted that thing and ironically, I was even thinking about shoes untying while running.  UUURRRGGG. Not stopping, I just became very aware of where I was putting my feet down at.

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I passed a group and they reminded me of the mishap but I still kept going. I passed my friend’s wife on the course and told her he was right behind me. Looking up, the finish line was in sight and I pushed even harder.

Noticing that I was finishing around 23 minutes, my friend was definitely in for PR. I looked back and there he was, flying in for a minute and a half PR! So excited, we high-fived and he thanked “Coach Vestal.”

 

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Feeling pretty good, I started thinking about my PR. I honestly couldn’t remember it, but had my phone with me. Checking my blog, where I record such things, I found that I had beaten my PR as well. I couldn’t believe it. I had not goal of a PR, just a fast race. I have been feeling super slow lately, and not as fit as I used to be, but I had indeed ran my fastest ever 5k! The best part, is I still feel room for improvement!

A PR kind of day, about half a dozen of us gotten PRs! It was awesome! We all got to take turns re-setting the time clock to our times, and took some celebratory pictures then headed to a local brewery for celebratory beers.

1st in my Age Group!

I was also 1st in my Age Group!

July 23rd, Castle Rock Prairie Dog Half/10k/5k – Review/Discount Code

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Many of you know I work for a running company in Colorado called 3W Races. This is a dream job that I started almost two years ago now!

I mainly do marketing for them (emails, local event promotions, acquiring sponsors and social media) but I have been transitioning into more race production and race day tasks. For our big races, our half marathons, after set up, I am the volunteer coordinator and organize all the water stations and course marshals. This means recruitment, mapping  out where they go, communication with volunteers and making sure they get to the right location and do the right thing.

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The next one that I have been working on is coming up on July 23rd. We have the Summer Splash Prairie Dog Half, 10k and 5k in Castle Rock. This race in particular I got to run two years ago! It’s a beautiful course that is just hard enough to give you a workout and feel accomplished without being too hard.

The year I did it, I placed second in my age group for the half marathon! I remember that day pretty well because I showed up early to help set up, ran the race, then stayed after to help clean up. I also remember my knee hurting really badly for that race after doing a double race weekend. You can read all about it HERE.

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Anyway, let’s just cut to the chase. I’m writing this post to invite all you (Colorado) runners to run with us!  As you can see from the picture below, I am offering 18% off any of the distances (which is probably the biggest discount we, as staff, are ever allowed to offer). *Cough, cough* we may be having a friendly office competition to see who can get the most people to register. Cough*

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This year’s race has awesome swag: a gender specific t-shirt, souvenir race bib, wooden finisher’s plaque, and a SPINNING medal for half marathon participants! If you place overall, you get a unique wooden carved trophy (pictured below) and if you place in your age group, you get a wooden, carved plaque (not pictured).

So, if you’re interested, check out the website HERE, sign up HERE and don’t forget to use you 18% off discount code ( 3WWHIT18 )!

Ragnar Trail Relay – Unique to Everyone

 

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For the past three years, I have gotten the opportunity to run the Ragnar Trail Relay in Snowmass, CO. All three years have been with 3W Races. The first year as an ambassador, the second year and both an ambassador and employee, and this year as an employee. 

I am a BIG fan of Ragnar Relays. I have loved and enjoyed every year in different ways. This race is a great event, well put together and good way to combine all the reasons I enjoy running! 

Below is my take on the relay, in a general sense. I plan on following up with this year’s post race recap.

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What is Ragnar Trail Relay?

It all ends when I finally get home, I examine myself, taking note of what I’ve done to my body and mind.

I am very tried, about to fall asleep.

I’m dirty, literally covered, head to toe with dirt.

I smell like a high school locker room.

My muscles are sore.

I have a few blisters spread out on my feet.

There’s chafing in places only my boyfriend sees.

I’m sunburnt in various spots, showing where I can’t reach.

My hair is coated in grease, staying in a pony-tail without a hair-tie.

My eyes are dry, my head hurts, and my ears are plugged.

But I feel accomplished.

It all started at 4am the morning before. In about 28 hours, I ran close to 15 miles between three separate runs. I climbed a total of 2,295 feet up a mountain, only to come back down, three different times. I slept less than 8 hours in total and tried to remember to eat when I needed to.

If you read the fine print, I tortured myself for almost two days straight and I called it FUN.

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I have made new friends and strengthened current ones. I watched the sun set then come back up again, all while sitting besides a giant bonfire. I ran 3.5 miles catching up with a friend of mine, four miles with just the light of my headlamp and the stars above, and 6.8 miles in the heat of the day, all while being distracted by tall, snow-capped peaks.

That is what my Ragnar Trail Relay was.

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Running is different to everyone. Some enjoy the roads and others like the trails. Some get thrills from the long run and others just run a few miles each time. Some appreciate company on the journey while others prefer to chase the miles alone. Most of us are a mix of all of these. No matter what type of runner you are, you can find your place at a Ragnar Relay.

My experience with Ragnar Relay has been three years in the making. Every time I join a team and start hitting the trails with seven other team members, I have a new experience. That’s what makes this race series unique. It may be the same three trails every year, but each year you can create new memories and experiences.

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The first year, I was chased by a sage grouse that I coined “The Velociraptor.” In year two, I desperately searched for some dry clothes to warm up in between runs. This year, my third year, I chased the sun and got to finally see the views from the red loop. I was also the last runner and was joined by my team to run through the arch at the end of my last leg. Each year has been made more and more memories.

The brilliant thing about Ragnar Trail Relay is they provide you with the essentials: Trails, music, good vibes, nutritious food, games, good products, a great host, and a campground. From that, each individual experience is unique; from person to person, team to team and year to year.

So I ask you….

What will your Ragnar Trail Relay be?

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Quote on the back of the medals when you put all eight together:

“We believe that being a Ragnarian is about more than being a runner, that misery loves company, that happiness is “only real when it’s shared”, that there is a badass inside all of us, that everyone deserves to be cheered at the finish line, that dirt in your teeth boosts the immune system, that what happens in the village, stays in the village, that adventure can only be found if you are looking for it, and that a little sleep deprivation is a small price to pay to watch the sun rise with our friends. Together we ran Ragnar trail. Together we can accomplish anything. We are Ragnarians.”

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Ragnar Relays

3W Races