Sunday, August 13, 2017

#Run4AllWomen California Recap

Earlier in the year, I started seeing posts on social media about #Run4AllWomen and I was intrigued.  One of #Run4AllWomen’s  guiding thoughts is “resist the status quo and work tirelessly to advance the conversation around women's issues.” As a woman and as someone who believes that women’s rights are human rights, this cause spoke to me.  When one of my Instafriends, Whitney, announced that she has been selected as an ambassador for #Run4AllWomen and that there would be a Southern California run, I knew I wanted to be involved.  

The Southern California event would take place on a Saturday, running from Encinitas to Chula Vista or forty miles.  The event was to benefit and raise awareness for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. Whitney and the her partner in the race planning and fellow #R4AW ambassador, Amy, had broken the 40 miles into legs so that runners (and walkers) of all levels could participate.  When registering for the event, I couldn’t decide how many legs I wanted to run.  After some internal debate, I decided to sign up for all the legs—I was going to attempt to run 40 miles.  

Prior to this event, I had never run a distance more than 26.2 miles.  A part of me was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to complete all 40 miles, so I told very few people.  I rationalized that if I didn’t tell people, it would be easier to accept if I didn’t make it.  Since very few people knew, that also meant that very few people knew I was in taper mode the week leading up to the event.  I was definitely cranky—I’m sorry for what I said during taper mode. (If you’ve ever tapered, you know what I’m talking about.)

This recap is going to be a little different than my usual race recaps—I had such an amazing experience and I’m still on my runner’s high, that I can’t quite contain my thoughts.  So I’m just going to talk about all the things I loved about this event.

The Organizers
Amy and Whitney did an amazing job organizing this event.  From planning a route that would be runner friendly and safe for us, to pre-event fundraising events and communication, they were on top of everything.  If you’ve ever planned an event, you know it can be stressful. Although I’m sure there were times they were stressed, they never let it show.  Their enemy was contagious and you couldn’t help but want to be involved.  

We ran 40 miles! Amy and Whitney are amazing!
The Event Volunteers
I can’t express in words how incredible all the volunteers were during this event.  Marc and Mike were with us for all 40 miles, following us in a van making sure we had water, fuel and anything else we could need at each leg stop.  Each leg stop also had other volunteers with signs, supplies and plenty of smiles & encouragement. During the first half of the event, a volunteer named Rachel followed along, holding up signs and honking as she drove by, checking on all the runners, making sure we were okay and didn’t need anything.  I wish I had the names of all the volunteers—there is something about a group of people who will give up their time on a Saturday to support a group of runners.  I am so grateful for everyone who came out to support us.

Mile 17 Aide Station

The Runners
Throughout the day, 50-60 runners made their was from Encinitas to Chula Vista.  Some ran a couple legs, some ran double digit miles and three of us ran all 40 miles.  During that time, we laughed, we cried, we loved and we supported each other, all running with a purpose.  Each milestone was celebrated.  A runner, Lisa, had never run more than 13 miles—she can out and ran 17.  How awesome is that?!  When Amy and I went past 26.2 miles (the furthest either of us had ever run) you can bet we stopped, high fived and celebrated.  When a runner looked like they were struggling, another runner would fall behind to check on them.  When a runner looked tired, another runner would give them a pep talk to keep them going.  I believe that runners are amongst the best types of people and this event just confirmed that for me.  

The first leg runners

The Finish Area
The love bubble and energy continued at the finish area.  There were more volunteers there cheering the runners in as they finished.  There was music and post run snacks.  (And the best ice cold Coke I’ve ever had thanks to Mick from Movin Shoes who also saved me at mile 20 by bringing me some salt) There was post-run yoga led by Mady who did an awesome job in helping us stretch and getting centered.  As tired as everyone was, you could feel the positivity.  

I had such an amazing experience during the #Run4AllWomen California event.  When I started my running journey, I never imagined that I would be participating in something like this.  I ran 40 miles—it’s the next day and I still can’t wrap my head around it.  It’s an amazing feeling to know that you are capable of something like that.  I know without a doubt that I wouldn’t have been able to do it without being surrounded by this amazing group of people (and my virtual race crew who sent me message throughout the day).  This experience reminded me why I fell in love with running and I will forever be grateful for it- my heart is full.  I can’t wait to see what they do next year.  


Have you participated in a run that’s changed your life?

Until next time, happy running.

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