Week In Review: Recap and 6 Things I Learned While Volunteering!

This past week has been a whirlwind for me.  Looking back, I’m not even sure how I managed to fit so many different things into each day.  Between hitting the lake with the kids, spending time with family, enjoying BBQ’s with friends, working, running, volunteering, and keeping my house in one piece, there hasn’t been much time to reflect on all that has happened.  It was a week full of fun, firsts, and feeling great!

I’ve got about 4 weeks until I start back on an official marathon training schedule for Baystate in the fall.  Since I realized pretty quickly that it’s difficult for me to not have some kind of schedule to follow, I put together my own training plan to cover the next month or so.  My goal in doing so was to make sure I make time for strength workouts again and also cross training, two things that I was diligent about doing when I started training for Sugarloaf, but basically stopped doing about five weeks before race day.  That was a mistake.  Knowing that now, I won’t make the same mistake this time around.  So I’m giving myself a head start before marathon training officially starts to build these important workouts back into my routine.

Here’s a quick recap of the past week.

Monday-  60 minutes of strength training (Felt so good!!!)

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Tuesday-  5 solo miles with no expectations that unexpectedly turned into 5 solo miles with great splits:  9:11, 8:42, 8:44, 8:29, 9:07.  Yes, that last mile wasn’t a negative split, but considering how sore my legs were from Monday, I was pumped with the time!

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Wednesday-  I celebrated National Running Day with an early speed session at the track along with my friend Jillian.  When we got there, the fog was so thick you could barely see beyond the track.  By the time we finished, the sun was shining and it was getting warm.  Perfect weather for my Yasso 800’s!  Started with a 1 mile warm up, 5×800’s with 400 recovery after each, and ended with a 1 mile cool down.  I hadn’t done speed work since before Sugarloaf, so I wasn’t sure how my pace would be.  I was happy to see my 800’s were right about where they were before the marathon, averaging 4:01.

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Thursday-  For cross training, I would love to try barre classes, but that means having to pay for them which I’m just not ready to do quite yet.  Knowing how much I love pilates and yoga, I decided to borrow my friends PIYO DVD and try a PIYO workout for the first time.  It was AWESOME!  I am so glad I tried something new!  I got in some strength, stretching, and definitely a great sweat in 45 minutes.  I will be doing more PIYO for sure!

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Friday-  Rest day

Saturday-  I headed out early with my weekend crew to help support my friend Nicolasa of Shoe Laces and Bibs who is running Grandma’s Marathon in two weeks on her last 20 miler.  I joined her and a great group for just over 11 miles.  It was a tough 11 miles for me.  The first tough run I’ve had in a while.  My body was just fighting me miles 1-5.  Between 5 and 9, I was feeling really good, but then around mile 9 my body just started yelling at me again.  I’m not sure if it was because I got lazy and didn’t get up early enough to eat my oatmeal before the run or if it was just an off day, but it wasn’t my best run.  Regardless, it got done and my friend successfully completed her 20!

Sunday-  Rest day from running but definitely not a rest day from life!  I was up early to volunteer at a local Girls On The Run (GOTR) 5K.  My running group, GMMRTT, manned water stop #1 at the race.

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It was such a cool experience to see so many young girls getting out there and getting after it!  GOTR is an amazing organization that uses running to motivate and inspire young girls, help them build confidence, and help them realize that they have limitless potential.  Everyone definitely had a lot of fun and I definitely learned a new appreciation for volunteers at races.  I always thank the volunteers when I participate in a race, whether it be at the water stops, road crossings, food tables, or wherever I come across them because they’ve taken time out to help make the event happen and I certainly appreciate that.  However, I have never actually volunteered at a race until today.  I quickly realized, there is A LOT that goes into manning a water stop!  Here are 6 things that I learned.

1- Make sure you have PLENTY of water.  At one point, we thought we were going to run out and internally I panicked.  (NO!!! These girls need water and we are the FIRST place they can get it.)  Thankfully, we didn’t.

2- When there are about 1,000 participants, one table at your water stop isn’t going to cut it.  Yes, we had only one table set up.  So around 15 minutes into the race when a sea of people were running toward us, piling up trying to get a cup of water causing a back up at our water stop as far as I could see, there was only one thing I could do…keep my head down and keep pouring!!!  We just couldn’t keep up with demand.  Next year, 2-3 tables at our water stop are a must.

3- Someone has to direct traffic.  We had runners coming from all angles, on both sides of our water table so it was a bit chaotic for a few minutes.  I think if we had stationed someone before our table to inform the runners to stay to the left, for example, we might have been able to create a better flow of people through our station and keep things moving a long a bit easier.

4- Remember the importance of “grab and go”.  Don’t stop and drink AT the water stop.  Grab your cup and keep moving a bit beyond it, then stop or walk if need be.  This way, you avoid a major traffic jam at the actual water stop table which causes chaos.  Next time, we’ll have someone to remind the runners of this.  A sort of “water stop coach” to keep things moving.

5- Make sure you’ve got plenty of people helping out.  We had about 9-10 people at our water stop volunteering which we thought would be plenty.  When you’ve got trash to be picked up, water to be handed out, cups to be put out on the table, water to be poured, and all of that needs to be done very fast when the crowds come, 9-10 people isn’t enough.  Lesson learned!

6-  I will definitely volunteer at more races…and you should too!  It feels great to give back and getting to see a race from a different perspective was very cool.

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Total mileage this week:  22

I’m looking forward to a great week ahead!  I’ve got two awesome races this week that I love running.  I’ll be going for a PR this Thursday at the Hollis Fast 5K and enjoying the Market Square Day 10K while pushing the kids this coming Saturday.

What’s on your race calendar this week?

Do you have any helpful tips for manning a water stop?

I’d love to hear from you!

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