#RaceDirectorBlog: Mommy Race Director

Feb 2017 8828

How you will find amelia before 7am at any race!

As I sit here finishing off my breakfast, I can’t help but notice my little mini is not present.  Normally on a Thursday morning I’m yelling at her to brush her teeth, get up, get dressed, leave the dogs alone, wash her hands, stop whining about anything…etc etc.  But today we are on week 2 of summer schedule and I hate it more than anything! Sure, its great when shes at home, right where she needs to be with her momma.  But when she is on the week away, I don’t feel the same or complete.

Now if you’ve been to any of the races I’ve timed or directed or assisted or competed in, you’ve seen a miniature version of myself running around.  Usually she is hanging out with the unsuspecting sponsors at booths.  They love her.  She is just soaking in information about what they’re trying to get people to buy.  For example, in Jeckyll Island she became besties with the $1 a minute massage lady.  The woman gave her a huge bag of candy at the end of the weekend and taught her how to do chair massages.

This is where that balance comes in to play though.  I know why there aren’t a lot of moms of young kids directing a lot of races.  My girl made a comment not so long ago that she wished I would not always be on my computer.  So I put it down and waited for her to fall asleep.   When there is a race that I am responsible for a lot of stuff, I tend to take her ability to self entertain for granted.  The attention she seeks sometimes is not always positive.  Boo Boos hurt worse when mommy’s busy, and oh the need for mommy’s attention when there is a busy finish line mommy is working!

I love when she tries to help.  Its a whole 5 minutes after I give her a job to do that she decides she wants to do the job I’m doing.  This is where I feel like I am teaching her a lesson, Lol.  You have to do the job your given well in order to get the job you want!

She’s not buying it.  So she quits altogether and goes to the playground, or sand pile, or the nearest dog on a leash.

I try to keep reminding myself that I do this job for her.  That she is around some of the best influences and some of the nicest people (mind you there are jerks, but they don’t hang out at registration or the timing table or the finish line).  My goal is to keep her so busy she doesn’t have time to think about boys or her body not being the way the magazines are or drugs or any negative influences that pop up for teenagers.  NO she’s not a teenager, but she will be, like a freight train she will be!

So Double Dip this weekend was a success.  We had an awesome hotel sponsor that gave us a sweet deal at a sweet hotel with some pretty awesome staff.  We asked for a late check out.  So after hanging out with mom at the race, Amelia and her cousin Ella got to hang out at the lazy river/pool for the rest of the day.  This made me feel good as a momma because instead of going to an awesome venue and not getting to enjoy it, she got to do something she loved and didn’t even complain when it was time to go home.  #mommywin

During the race, because she knew we were hanging out afterwards, I don’t think I saw her but only to open her drinks and give her permission to do something when she asked.  It was like a dream to know that Amelia was busy playing with a friend and safe.  When I am directing a local race, even though she has her watch on, I am blessed to have all my vols and friends and staff helping to keep her safe.  There was an incident a few weeks ago that made me even more aware.

We were in Goose Pond and had a volunteer group no show.  That left the staff to pull double and triple duty, including myself.  I was timing, finish line, awards, and post race food.  I had help, but he was in charge of transition too, so it was a bit hectic.  Amelia was running around the parking lot and back and forth to the make shift beach.  I never have to worry about her going in the water, but I worry that she will get taken (mainly because she is so stinkin beautiful).  When I’m at a home race I don’t worry so much.  Everyone is eyeballing her and someone knows where she is at a moments notice.  Not there, I didn’t know hardly anyone.  So I spot checked her every few minutes by putting my eyes on her. And at every break I would go where she was at and hug her and ask her if she was having a good day.  It was a great system.  During a run across the parking lot, i found myself scanning the lot for her and saw her walking to a womans car, with a woman that I didn’t recognize! I sprinted across the parking lot yelling AMELIA! AMELIA GRACE! AMELIA!

Just then the woman opened her car door with Amelia next to it.  I sprinted faster than I ever have.  Ever.  The woman finally heard me and looked up.  When she did she got this horrified look on her face because she knew what she caused.  She ran up to me and apologized. She said that she knew me and was just letting my daughter play with her daughters toys, but she didn’t even think about how it looked.  I couldn’t breath for a second, but when I did, I asked her to introduce herself so I would know from now on.

Geesh.

Its a learning process like everything else.  But she loves it and it amazes me when she talks the lingo and other kids look at her like she’s weird.  When her response to a question about problems in life was about a triathlon and the rest of the kids were about tying shoes, cleaning their room, etc….well I don’t think that’s weird at all!

If you see my mini at a race, make sure she isn’t getting into trouble, a mudpile, or someones car! Also, if you need your kid to hang out while you race, Amelia is great at entertaining other kiddos!

#ironmom #ironmuna #samething #mymini #shessoawesome

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#RaceDirectorBlog Double Dipped brains!

As I sit here in the Newark airport coming off an amazing weekend in Quassy, I am slowly waking up from my 3:30am abrupt wake up to catch a flight and shifting my thoughts to the next weekend again.  The Double Dip Triathlon is my first sprint tri to direct of the season.

This will be my first year with this triathlon.  Last year when I started directing ESM tris, I was already committed to the Ozone Endurance as Assistant Race Director. I have raced DDT a few times, and in 2011 it was my second ever triathlon when it was King of the Mountain.  For this year, Kevin and I decided to move it back a week so that I could take it off his plate and it not interfere with Ozone.  As life would have it, I ended up not being asked to be Assistant Race Director for Ozone, but instead took a position with the 4 Rev3 races starting with Quassy, CT for the same weekend as Ozone.  So all worked out beautifully, and I love it when that happens too! People joke about how many jobs I have, and how much I have going on, but mannnn do I love them all! I may be a little crazy at times, and my #racedayhair may look rough, but hopefully all things work out great!

As with all events, sometimes you need to change things up to make an impact and keep registrations flowing.  People don’t always like change, if I’ve learned nothing else in my short 29 years on this earth (hopefully a few things anyway), they will tell you right away if they don’t! Most of the time, change is good though….and this year I’m hoping it will work out that way.

Getting this race together was slightly challenging….starting with the application for the city.  Holy moly.  I am the type of person that wants to learn and do and be efficient i.e. control freak.  So I told Kevin I would take care of all the city business and venue business.  First order of business, filling out the city application and getting it approved.  Perfect, I can handle this.  I got in touch with the proper person who guided me through it.  Submitted application and even drove to Pigeon Forge to attend the meeting that I was told one of ESM staff HAD to be there (and they really didn’t, I looked slightly foolish but lesson learned).

And then after all that I got my approval! Yay! I was all set up for an event on June 4th…..wait….

CRAP!  I put the wrong dates on the application!  They were expecting an event on June 4th, not the 11th.  So I called the community center to request the change. “No dice Muna, we can’t do it on the weekend of the 11th.  It’s a really bad weekend for us as we are opening up the outdoor pool that weekend.”

Ok, its time to get desperate.

Jacob, the coordinator I was working with, seemed super nice and very willing to work with me.  He was excited that I was excited and we were all just excited together, but that doesn’t help me one bit.  So I do what I do best: asked why.  Why couldn’t we have this event on the 11th if we are out of the whole parking lot by 11am?

The answer I was given was the bathroom would be a mess and they may not have lifeguards on staff.  Oh I got this one! I’ll have my staff and vols clean the restrooms, no probs.  Oh, and we  have a lifeguard on staff (Thanks Danielle!).

YES….he said YES….

This kids is why you ask why when you don’t like an answer….unless its my answer and it that case my reason is because I said.

So I went back through the application process and got it approved….Whew! And next was logistics, planning, staff, volunteers, etc.  For the shirts, I wanted to do this year what I did last year for the sprints I directed and have the same style with different colors.  I feel like I sampled a million different tanks and shirts.  I finally found one I like! I hope it works out cause they’ll be at my house today! Edited to add: They just arrived!

The kicker to all of these events, is that life is going on around them.  As some of you know these past few months have been a whirlwind of emotions; bringing my handicapped niece home to live with us, starting a new job in a corporate office as a trainer, traveling a lot more with ESM and Rev3, and anything else you could think of may have happened. I wanted to take my RD career to the next level, and this year can certainly take that turn.  It feels like the biggest challenge is doing everything I have in my mind to do.  So I didn’t feel like I was able to do all the things with the sprints that I wanted to.  I really wanted to make it a fantasmic experience for all.

So when a friend messaged me that he really wanted to get in as a sponsor, I thought, Holy Cow of course! I had been calling a few businesses, but nothing like I wanted.  This friend helped me to get into a few other businesses as well and BAM, we have a whole sponsorship package.  What’s so great about it is that he told me the City of Pigeon Forge really wants to be a part of our event….and as it turns out, I really want them to be a part of our event! I haven’t said this out loud to but only a few people, but my goal is to make the Double Dip Triathlon a “destination race”.  This means that people will plan their getaway in Pigeon Forge and making my triathlon a part of it.  This can’t happen without the city being involved, so I think we are well on our way to the first step.  If you are doing the tri this weekend, you will be pleasantly surprised by some of your bonus swag!

And in proper true race director fashion, sitting down typing this blog took me a few days.  So here we are on Tuesday and the ball seems to be rolling….whether I want it to roll so fast or not! There was only one detail I didn’t have nailed down….Port o Potties! Did we need them? Crap I couldn’t remember.  So what does a girl do? Email Kevin! Duh! And the good news is, we have bathrooms there, and we can use them! My only request is that you leave them the way you found them when you have your morning pre race constitution.  Please;o)

This weekend is sure to be a load of fun, and I hope to see my friends come out.  They are the reason I do this fo sho.  I mean, giving people an exhilarating experience, an experience to write about, and experience to keep coming back to, to bring your family to, to take selfies with a finishline behind you or a group of friends! Hanging around Rev3 people has been inspirational to me from the first time I raced with them in Knoxville 2013 Oly, to the first time I worked as the Local Volunteer Coordinator, to this past weekend as registration & finish line person number 2.  Kevin has also helped me to see how to bring the business side to the table and make it fair to the vendors and participants.  There is a lot of wheels going around and the RD’s are supposed to bring it together.  That is my biggest challenge.  No longer only thinking as an athlete or as a volunteer or as a worker or coordinator.  I have to think as all of them put together.  Now that my friends is the toughest challenge!

So before the week gets away from me, let me close this out and call another potential sponsor!

#RaceDirectorBlog #RaceESM #DoubleDipTri2017 #PigeonForge

#RaceDirectorBlog: Making it work

I thought it might be fun to have a blog about race directing.  I mean, people blog about being a mom, being a fitness instructor, being a teacher, being an athlete, etc etc….so why not add to the mix?  I am a minority in the field of race directing as a women in a male dominated world, and the struggle is absolutely real.  This is not a very easy job to have.  When I turned in my notice to Medic as their financial accountant, CEO Jim Decker asked me if my new job would be full time or part time.  My answer couldn’t be any more accurate: All the time.  But I make it work.

This is my second year as a Race Director and my 1st year as a USAT Certified Race Director.  I work for Endurance Sports Management primarily, but also do timing for Knoxville Track Club and am staff for Rev3 Triathlon.  I have assisted directed The Pistol Ultra this year and the Ozone Endurance last year.  This year I have taken on 6 sprint triathlons with ESM: The Double Dip Tri, Secret City Tri, Sweetwater Tri, Wild Rose Womens Tri, Redskin Romp, and North Knox Tri.  I am also directing 2 kids triathlons and my own addition, the Gulf Park Tri N Spike.  In addition to the tri’s I am directing a few 5k’s and an 8k.

It seems like a lot, and it is for a rookie like me! I find that its a feast or famine work load.  I also personal train, teach group fitness, and coach.  Group Fitness is my true love, but as I get older and my races that I participate in as an athlete get more serious, I can’t do as many.  I specialize in group training, which makes a lot of sense.  I also do corporate training for TeamHealth.  This is a new gig that I found back in early January.  I was extremely excited about what they were doing for their staff, just had to be a part of it.

So thats me, for now.  My life is pretty dynamic and not for the faint of heart.  This year my career in Race Directing is beginning to take off.  Its exciting to say the least, and somewhat overwhelming at certain times.  The good news is that I have great mentors.

Kevin Mahan, the owner and Race Director with ESM has let me follow him around for going on 4 years now.  When I first started working with him, most people told me he was an ass.  I believed them at first, but over the years I have seen that he is one of the most compassionate people under his tough Pennsylvania exterior. I joke, but wouldn’t know half as much as I do now had it not been for him!  Plus he knows a whole bunch and is very willing to share it with me. On race day, its tough to be personable when so much is going on around you.  Last year I found out I had a hater because they used a few moments of my personality on a race day when I was getting yelled at by Kevin during a heated moment.  Hey, it happens, but that’s why I’m writing this blog, to help you know what goes on!

Today we just got back from a re-launched triathlon in Goose Pond Colony, Alabama.  That will have to be a different post, because that was a very interesting weekend.  In 3 days I am heading to Quassy, CT for REV3 Quassy.  Since 2014 I have been the Local Volunteer Coordinator for the Knoxville race.  They were not able to come back to Ktown this year, which was disappointing although I understood.  I was super ecstatic when Jay Peluso, the National Race Director, asked me to come to 4 of the races to work.  I am anticipating having another busy but awesome weekend with people that love what they do.

I’ll close this one for now, but will come back soon! I want to keep it real for you and keep it in perspective.  I truly love what I do, even when people are rude, things don’t go right, or the weather doesn’t cooperate.  I am lucky to have a husband and daughter that understand; as well as friends that understand my lifestyle.  I can’t imagine my life being any different now.  Stay tuned for the next #RaceDirectorBlog! It will be all things Double Dip!