Monday, June 21, 2010

More Coffee & Donuts, Please!

Being a runner for the last seventeen years, I have always been the one wearing the race number on race day. Helping to organize the F.A.B. 5K, gave me insight as to what happens on the other side of race. For starters, we did not have a pre-set ‘Hal Higdon’ training plan to follow in putting this race together. We did muster up a project plan to lay out the major tasks, but it was not as easy as lining up the miles with the days. Thankfully, we did have some race director mentors who provided us with valuable information – a big thanks goes to Running Unlimited in Palatine, Tracy Ronzio (Run for Congo Women in Chicago) and Karl Fruecht (The Dash to Cure Diabetes in Barrington).

Unfortunately, there was no carbo-loading on Friday night for the race directors which is one my favorite parts of running. We did, however, have a license to drink as much coffee and eat as many donuts and bagels before the race on Saturday morning which suited me just fine. It is debatable if race directors wake up earlier than runners on race day. Most of our alarm clocks were set for a shade earlier than 5 a.m. Saturday morning. It was fun being on the race course at sunrise putting out the mile markers and signs, but we missed seeing the course “in action” and have really no idea how many fans and neighbors came out for it. I am pretty sure that I would not trade the anxiety of trying to find parking and the restrooms before a race with the anxiety of setting everything up on time and making sure the gun goes off at the precise start time. Obviously, those at the race saw we were a bit challenged by this :).

One of my favorite parts of being on the other side was being able to look at the whole field of runners and walkers and see all of the determination and excitement at the start line. That is a one of kind experience. My other favorite part was watching and cheering on the runners and walkers at the final turn to the finish line. There is nothing more inspirational than seeing athletes ‘gut it out’ at the finish to meet their goals.

“So what’s the verdict?”, you may ask…is it more fun to run a race or direct a race? For me, I would call it a tie. There are different rewards that come out of both and both require a lot of hard work. “So…will there be a 2nd Annual F.A.B. 5K?” you might ask? Stay tuned….

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


We have received a few questions about the absent blog posts. That's fair. Before the event, we spent many hours preparing the blog for June 12. Now, it's been almost 5 days since the race and...nothing. I'm as surprised as you are. I thought we'd be blogging night and day after Saturday.

Here's the thing: Saturday rendered us speechless. How do we begin to describe Saturday's experience?

Here's a very brief summary:
  • Sarah and her family had a great time and were all smiles!
  • The weather held out until after the run/walk finished.
  • The temperature even fell 8 degrees an hour before the race from a humid 84 to an almost pleasant 76.
  • We had over 60 wonderful and energetic volunteers that showed up and did everything we asked and more. They were rock stars!
  • There were over 275 participants that walked or ran the course.
  • Beautiful pictures were taken by an up and coming photographer - Colleen H. She's already on reserve for next year. We're working on getting those out onto the blog. Keep looking for them!
  • The post-race musicians played long after the event was finished and were kept dry under the tent.
  • There was more than enough food and water. Who needs cases of water for their next charitable event? Look no further!! Just let us know.
  • Everyone showed up on time or early with big smiles on their faces.
  • The '57 Chevy pace car driven by Dave Lavin was a huge hit.
  • We sold out of 50 t-shirts and 22 more were ordered.
  • We laughed, we cried, we cheered, we laughed some more.

It was one of the most wonderful things I have ever experienced and I walked around in pure shock and awe at the beauty of it for several days after.

The most beautiful part of it? The generosity of everyone. The inaugural F.A.B. 5K raised over $15,000! In the process, we made a lot of people smile. We could have planned this event all we wanted, but the volunteers and participants made it successful. It was a community coming together and showing love and support for one another.

My apologies on not getting this post out sooner. Truthfully, I have had a hard time finding a way to put this into words. Thank you isn't enough. I can only say it was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had and I hope we have a chance to do it again - with you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

At least we don’t need to do a seating chart!

The F.A.B. 5K Team has generally likened planning this race to planning a wedding…some parallels are the dependency on the weather, creating time lines, lots of lists, trying to get RSVP’s, etc. Our focus this week is tying up all of the loose ends, though, this does not include nail appointments or dress fittings or creating seating charts! We have been focusing on the following, however:

• Pondering whether Jerry Taft, Tom Skilling, Ginger Zee and Tracy Butler will all agree on the appropriate weather forecast for Saturday.
• Running the race course a few times to check for issues – I was a bit concerned when I noticed a neighbor had placed a few rocks on the roadway – was this a protest to the notification flyer we had sent out? Lesley pointed out that he probably just forgot to put them back after mowing the grass.
• Going on a shopping spree at Meijer for supplies.
• Stocking up on sleep because the Sandman probably won’t come on Friday night – we will be too excited/nervous/anxious.
• Smiling every time we get a pre-registration form!
• Outlining the events of June 12th minute by minute.
• Getting crafty – making signs, writing speeches and drawing maps.
• Coordinating with our awesome volunteers.

I think the F.A.B. 5K Team would agree that it’s all been a lot of fun and we cannot wait to see the results on Saturday! Speaking of Saturday, a few quick updates:
• We will have a limited quantity of F.A.B. 5K t-shirts for sale on race day - $10/shirt.
• If you haven’t done so already, why not pre-register? Just fill out the form at this link and email it back to us:
• We will be running and walking rain or shine! If there is extreme weather, please check back at our blog or Facebook for an update.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Around this time of year, I find myself trying to squeeze in all the "me" time I can. In a few short days, my children will be home for the summer and there will be people with me when I wake up, go grocery shopping, when I'm trying to take a shower, when I want to go running, when I really, really want to go to bed. Something strange happened this year - I've discovered I'm not longing for that "me" time like I usually do. I have had an amazing experience planning this run with my running partners. I want to keep planning, keep meeting people and hearing their stories, watch in awe what can happen when people come together to make something happen.

The support, generosity, encouragement, and excitement of people I've encountered along the way can match no other experience. Watching people come together in the face of something so difficult is a beautiful thing. I've never encountered something like this "up close" before. The four of us spent much of March worried and grieving about loved ones and probably wondering when things would feel "normal" again. I'm pretty sure the definition of normal changes when you are close to someone suffering from breast cancer, or lose someone to breast cancer. But, this process has given us all an opportunity to see some "good" in life.

It's been almost five years ago to the day that I knocked on my running partner's door, introduced myself, and asked her if she would be interested in training for the Chicago Marathon together. I'm pretty sure none of us envisioned this....actually planning a race together that will benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I'm pretty sure that all breast cancer survivors and breast cancer "families" didn't envision their journey, either. This is nothing like breast cancer treatment - this is easy compared to any breast cancer treatment. But, look what happened when those two things came together?

I hope those of you who come on Saturday feel the same support, generosity, encouragement, and excitement that we've experienced these last two and a half months. Then, I hope you continue to share those feelings with those you meet.

"With each mile I learn more about who I am -
with every step I move closer to myself...
this has been serendipitous.
I am comfortable with me, because of this road." --Unknown

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What do I need to know for race day?

QUICK NEWSFLASH - We will have pre-race day registration at Egg Harbor in Arlington Heights this coming Saturday, June 5th from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Come on over, grab a cup of coffee, fill out your registration form and make a donation. It would be great to see you!

For the advance planners out there, we thought we would provide a quick preview on what to expect for race day.

PARKING - Parking at Patton School will be pretty limited, we will be closing the lots by 8:40 a.m. to clear for the race route. The alternative is street parking and we think it is adequate. We encourage you to car pool, run/walk to Patton or ride your bike!

REGISTRATION - Begins at 8:15 a.m. If you preregistered, you need to get in the Pre-Registered line to pick up your race number and get your raffle tickets. Also note, we will not have a bag check.

RACE START - 5k start is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. We ask that walkers file towards the back of the pack. The 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk will start at 9:10 a.m.

RACE COURSE - The course is open (meaning that there will be cars), so runners/walkers should be vigilant and run/walk on the left side of the road. There will be one water stop on the course at about mile 1.8. The 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk turnaround is at Yale Court, the one milers will retrace their route back to Patton after the turnaround.

POST RACE - We will have some live entertainment, water and snacks. Hang out and cheer on the finishing runners/walkers and be social!

RAFFLE - Raffle winners will be drawn during the race and the winners will be posted by 9:45a.m. at the raffle table. Don't forget to check this out after the race!

Stay tuned for more details....if you have any specific questions, email