As you saw in my previous post, I am injured and can’t run so I had to scrap the half-marathon and 5K I had on my race calendar for this past weekend; instead, I did something I never get to do- I served as a one-woman runner support crew…twice…in the same weekend. (Runner friends: if you have never been a part of a race day support crew before, you need to do it immediately, it’s so incredibly exciting and rewarding.) Eight runners from my beginner’s 5K running program signed up for a couple of races over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  I had planned to run with them before…well, you know.  These ladies had worked so hard over the past weeks in my training program and there was simply no way I was going to let any injury stop me from being there to support and hug them when they crossed that finish line.  So this post will include two race reports, neither of which I actually ran in…

Rock & Roll USA Race Report– My weekend began at 4:00AM on Saturday morning when I got up, readied myself and packed a bag full of race day essentials for my runners. I had three 5K runners and one half-marathoner (not a beginner but I’ll get into Lauren later) to support and I planned to take the role of coach and race day support crew very seriously.  I even made a sign.

My very first race sign-making experience!
I helped my runners get focused in the corral, pinned on their race numbers, made sure they had water, held their belongings, and gave them each a pre-race hug to wish them good luck.  I found a place at the finish line and camped out with my camera where I waited with anticipation. When my first runner, Alissa, crossed the line, I teared up.  She came in so fast and strong.  It was a VERY emotional moment for me when I looked up and saw the clock as she crossed the finish line.  But then the next two, Emily and Dodi, came in with the same gusto only minutes behind Alissa.  I was absolutely overjoyed.  When I saw these ladies post-race, I hugged them so hard. I was so proud of what they’d done and how far they’d come.

 Not even two “bad” runs leading into race day and a calf cramp at the start could stop Dodi (on the left).
Baltimore Shamrock 5K– at 10:45AM on Sunday, this crew of four 5K runners and I met up and drove Baltimore.  I revised my sign from the day before to include this group of runners…

…even adding some St. Patty’s Day flair.
I walked to the start with my runners, got some pre-race photos, hugged them all, wished them luck and walked back to the finish area to await their arrival.  I found a spot right at the finish line and before I knew it the first of my runners, Jessica, was cruising in WAY faster than anticipated- three minutes faster!! The race is 3.1 miles so, doing quick math in my head, she took almost an entire minute per mile off her goal time- totally incredible!! That made me get emotional again (I’m such a sap, I know). The rest of my runners, Lauren, Beth and Sasha, came in with amazing times too and each time one crossed that line, I felt a tremendous sense of pride in them and for them. Each one looked so strong at the finish, Beth was even throwing elbows on her way in- that’s my girl 🙂 I was totally blown away by this group, they made it look easy.

Too much pre-race hydration and free post-race beer plus horrible Baltimore parade/race traffic equals emergency bathroom stops at random hotels and hospital emergency rooms.  Adventures in Baltimore…but that’s another story for another day.
It was a truly unique experience for me to have the opportunity to support so many awesome runners in one weekend. I expected to feel pretty bummed that I couldn’t run these races with them but all I felt was overwhelming pride and joy. The memories made at these two races will be with me for years to come.  

So, back to Lauren (in the left picture above she is furthest to the right and in the right picture she is behind me with the green t-shirt).  Although she is not anywhere close to being a beginner (she was a pacer for the participants and served as my program support), she also had some accomplishments as well that I have to highlight and share.  This gal didn’t just run (for the first time ever) back-to-back races, she ran a half marathon PR (by an astonishing 5 minutes) on Saturday and then a sub-30 minute 5K on Sunday! A truly awesome and inspiring athlete! I hope that she got a glimpse of just how tremendous her true potential is (I see it regularly during our 5:30AM workouts- it’s undeniable). Congratulations, Lauren, on your amazing back-to-back finishes and thank you for your efforts which helped to make this 5K program a success!!
As I shared with my runners recently in a program wrap-up email, I am blown away by the progress they’ve made and the transformations that have occurred. It was only eight short weeks ago that this group began the process, many were convinced that they couldn’t run 1.5 miles without stopping, and they smashed all expectations!  I couldn’t be prouder of this group and I’m so incredibly grateful that they have allowed me to be a part of their journey. What an awesome honor to have been their coach.  

12 Responses

  1. I didn’t know you’re a fellow blogger 😉

    I totally teared up reading this and seeing the pictures again. It was such an amazing day and I can’t stop thinking about it. Thank YOU for being there and coaching us all through 8 weeks – I couldn’t have done it without your guidance and can’t wait to start the run group again. But first, happy hour! 😉


  2. Ok you got me all teary eyed too 🙂 THANK YOU!! What a great weekend it was, not much better than the feeling of a PR!!

    You are such an inspirational coach! Thank you for everything you do, you constantly push me to perform better. I truly look up to you in every way, and I’m so happy to have met you!!! -Lauren

  3. I didn’t get to participate much in the running club, however your thorough and thoughtful recap is a sentiment of who you are. You push me everyday… no matter what the venue you always ” show up and show out” which is a good thing! One of things I love about you most is your ability to read my body language and know just what to say, to encourage me to overcome… either to run further, increase my weight or my pace.
    I guess you have to be my workout partner forever! Thanks for a you do for me and so many others!

  4. Wow!! I thought I need a bucket on Saturday but I need one today for the teary eyes! Alison you are an incredible human being with so much heart and inspiration for others! You make everyone want to do better and see that they can! I too am very glad to have met you and strive to be an inspiration to others like you are. Can’t wait for more runs and fun to come!
    Thank You!

  5. Wow! I thought I needed a bucket on Saturday..boy do I need one now for all of the teary eyes! Alison you are an incredible human being with a huge heart and tons of encouragement and inspiration for others. You have that gift to rally everyone, make them want to do better and show them that they can! Thank You for a great start to 2014 running season…I can’t wait for more runs and fun to come! You rock as a coach and I am better for knowing you.

  6. You totally rocked that back-to-back!! You can do anything. If you didn’t know it before, you certainly should now. You just keep getting better and I absolutely love working out along side of you!

  7. I absolutely LOVE you, Sasha. Truly one of the best people I’ve ever met and you’re such a powerhouse! You have such a great heart and your determination is inspiring. You brighten the room (yes, even at 5:30AM) and it’s such a pleasure to be around you. Forever it is!!

    Warning- be careful what you wish for 😉

  8. I have to say that you really impressed me. The first time I talked to you I was struck by your determination and I expected great things from you as a result. But you did better than great, YOU DID AWESOME!! You had the odds stacked against you and you could have easily not shown up on Saturday or quit when the calf cramped up, but you chose to fight. Never underestimate the strength in you. You are a superstar!!

  9. Ali – the blog obviously highlights your more recent accomplishments and awesomeness, but everyone needs to know that you have ALWAYS been this awesome! There is a lot of really cool stuff about you that has not made it in the blog. I am so proud of you and everything you have accomplished (whether it is in your blog or not)!

  10. Well said, Chris…and I must add that Alison has NEVER been someone to be told that “You can’t do that”!!!! She will prove you wrong EVERY time!!! She has unmatched determination and has lived that way since the day she was born!! And I am so very honored and blessed to have her as my daughter!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.