Month: May 2011 - Blog
At Team RWB, we use running events, triathlons, golf tournaments, and other athletic events to build awareness for our cause, but it also builds a passion in our athletes. I am a runner, and have been for about the last 20 years, since about fifth grade track. I know the ups and downs of a runner’s motivation. But running for a cause, especially Team RWB, builds morale in more than one way.
On April 29-30, Team RWB had 16 teams compete in the American Odyssey Relay Run Adventure. Each team was made up of 12 runners, 2 vans, and 200 miles from Gettysburg to Washington DC. We started running Friday morning and didn’t stop until Saturday afternoon. And believe me, the runner’s motivation had it’s ups (running through the monuments at Gettysburg, the Battle of Antietam, and the monuments of Washington DC) and it’s downs (missing a sign and running 8 miles in the wrong direction, through the woods, at 2 in the morning)! But when a runner would doubt why on earth they decided this would be fun, they look around at the 11 sweaty, crusty teammates in their van and laugh! And if that didn’t turn their sorrows around, thinking about the wounded veterans their run was dedicated to, definitely did.
One of our runner’s, Shawn, wrote the following about his experience at American Odyssey Relay:
The American Odyssey Relay Race (AOR) was such a unique experience that it’s hard to encompass writing about it even a little over 24 hours after it ended. In fact, it’s hard to say it ended, because of the connections made through the race and Team Red, White, and Blue. For me personally, this was my first race of this kind and I’m grateful I took time during my leave (I am Active Duty Army) to experience this event. When I began, I only knew 2 people on my 12 person relay team. When it was over, I had made 10 new friends, and then some. Spending about 27 and a half hours in the same van with a group of sweaty, tired people builds bonds that wouldn’t form otherwise. While the expected would be for stresses to form and tempers to flare, the exact opposite happened; bonds were strengthened and encouragement was given to each other. The AOR is unique in its logistics and time period where there are 36 individual legs (which includes driving to each of those transition points and figuring out when runners will finish) and over 27-30 hours where only 2 of those may go to sleep for any individual runner. While AOR made it unique, running for Team Red, White, and Blue made it all worthwhile. Several times on my runs, sucking wind going uphill, I remembered that a lot of my friends aren’t so lucky to be able to do the same, and I found myself humbled yet energized. I was lucky enough to see a wounded war vet run with 2 legs that were artificial yet with inspiration that couldn’t be more genuine; it was even more humbling and rewarding than I expected. Knowing that I was running with a team dedicated to the same goal was just awesome. Being able to run through our nation’s capital was not only great sightseeing, but symbolized and crystalized what it was all for, yet words can’t explain the feeling of running, seeing the monuments of freedom, and then knowing it’s for a good cause. I am grateful to have been part of such an experience and look forward to the next Team Red, White, and Blue event.
Team Run 2 DC made this video documenting their experience running for Team Red, White, and Blue.
Team RWB has been selected as an official charity for the 2012 American Odyssey Relay Run Adventure. This year we had 16 teams compete, and we’re hoping to pass 20 in 2012! If you are interested in forming a team, check out the American Odyssey Relay Run Adventure!
Now that everyone has seen the triathlon light and signed up for a race, what can you expect on race day? Triathlons require a little more planning and gear compared to running, and race morning is typically more involved.
The night before the race: Set out your gear! I stress this with running as well, but it is vital with triathlon! With 3 events, it is easy to forget something important, like goggles or running shoes. I like to make a list and mark things off as they go into my bag. Goggles, bike shoes, gloves, and helmet, socks, sunglasses, running shoes, a visor or hat, sunscreen, water bottles and nutrition, an extra tube, and a towel are the main things you will need. Most triathlons supply a swim cap for racers (each age group will wear the same color), but bring one just in case, if you require one to swim.
The morning of the race: You are well-rested, perfectly trained, and had a balanced breakfast. Now, it is time to head to the race site!
-First is packet pick-up. To participate in triathlons, a membership to USA Triathlon (USAT) is required. You can purchase a one day pass for $10, usually with race registration, or an annual membership for $39. Go to www.usatriathlon.org for more information. You will need to bring your annual member card and a photo ID to packet pick-up. You will receive 3 numbers in your packet – a sticker for your helmet, a number for your bike, and a bib to wear during the run.
-Next is body marking. Take your number to the nice people holding Sharpies. They will write your race number on both thighs and arms, and your age at the end of the calendar year on your calf (I had a 31 on my leg at my last race, despite it being a couple of weeks before my birthday). Tip: Fast Orange is a great product for removing permanent marker or bike grease. It’s found in the automotive section at stores like Walmart.
-After you are all marked up, take your numbers for chip pick-up. You will wear your chip on a band around your ankle for the whole race. They sell dry fit bands for roughly $5 or races will provide disposable bands for you to use that day.
-Set up your transition area. This is very important! You want to have everything you need, arranged in a manner that makes sense to you. You will have all of your required gear, like shoes, helmet, etc. Anything else you want to bring is based on preference. I cannot run without gum and Chapstick, so I leave those out at my transition area. I bring 2 towels, one to briefly dry off with and another to set all of my gear on. Just remember – be mindful of those around you. There is a limited amount of space for hundreds of triathletes, so use as little space as possible.
-Remember where your transition area is located! It sounds silly, but when you are running through the transition area after the swim and bike, it is very easy to pass your transition and have to backtrack. Some people will bring balloons or old swim caps to put on the end of the rack to make their location easy to spot. Whatever works for you!
-Now, it’s time to start! If you are doing an open water swim, be mentally prepared to hit and be hit. With that many people in the water at once, it is just going to happen. On the bike, drafting isn’t legal in the triathlon world, so either pass or stay back.
Triathlons are a great way for runners to try something new, get some awesome cross-training, and most importantly, have fun!