Hello everyone! Happy Hump Day!
After spending all of Saturday in the cold, miserable rain during the Half, I am now down with a cold. I think my body just burned out over the weekend and it has finally caught up to me. I will have to say it was totally worth it! Despite the weather, the Psyching Team was definitely a fun time and I can’t wait for the chance to volunteer again. Here’s how it all went down.
I left from work early on Friday so I could head home and pack. I LOATHE packing and had yet to get anything together. We already knew the weather was going to be bad, so I felt like I needed to pack extra clothes for changing. So after stuffing my suitcase full of 267things I probably won’t wear, I was ready to go! I hadn’t had time to grab lunch, so I quickly made a green smoothie for the road and also snacked on a Coconut Cream Pie Larabar.
My destination was about an 1 hour away, so halfway there I decided to make a
pee pit stop for a much needed Starbucks. I wanted to try the Americano. I got it black which I usually never do. It was…okay, but I much prefer my Vanilla syrup and cream!
And then not 10 minutes later back on the road I had to pee again…
After arriving at the Half and spotting the team, before I went and introduced myself I made a beeline to the bathroom… again. I then approached the team and introduced myself to everyone. There was a wide variety of professionals which included a Sport Psychologist, recent Ph. D. grad and former dietician, three graduate students, and a couple of others who worked in community health. I was relieved to know I wasn’t the only one working in a different field other than Sport Psychology. Here we all are at the expo!
We spent the day at the expo introducing ourselves to a lot of the runners and informing them the purpose of the team. We discussed with several racers different techniques they could use throughout the race to stay focused and positive. One of the tips I loved involved thinking of 13 different reasons or people you were running the race for and focusing on one for each mile of the race. We made sure to inform the runners we would be available before the race the next day, and several of us would be stationed throughout the course to provide assistance and support.
The Bluegrass Half often boast it is the “prettiest half marathon.” It is located at Keeneland, which is home of some of Kentucky’s most prestigious horse farms and horse racing. With views like these, I could easily see why.
After the expo, we headed out to grab a bite to eat. We ended up at a local spot called The Village Idiot. The Kentucky Wildcat game was also on, so there was a nice crowd gathered there to watch the game. It was such a fun atmosphere! I ordered the Salmon Spinach salad which had grapefruit and avocado. It was delicious, but I forgot to snap a photo (#fail). I did snap a photo of my delicious drink for the night. So good!
The race wasn’t scheduled to start until 9 a.m. the next morning, but we had plans to be on site at 7:30 a.m. to mingle and talk with nervous racers beforehand. I chatted with my roommate for the night while we finished watching the Kentucky game (they won!) It was finally lights out at 12:30 a.m.
The next morning I was up at 6 a.m. for a quick shower to wake me up. I quickly stuffed my face at the continental breakfast with an English muffin paired with an egg and cheese omelet. I grabbed a banana from the fruit bowl for a quick snack later on. After fueling up with coffee, we were out the door by 7:15 a.m.!
While the day started off at about 45 degrees, it didn’t last long. The wind picked up and the rain started in just as the racers were getting ready to start. We did our best to speak to the racers and try to keep nerves down and morale up! Temps were supposed to fall to the 30’s!
I had to admire these two! At this point it was already so cold and rainy and they were in full dress beach gear! The woman actually had an injured leg and was planning to walk/scoot her way to the finish. So inspiring!
After several hours of standing in the rain and encouraging runners, we decided to head in after the start of the race. It was just too dang cold! I found myself wishing I was the one running because I’m sure I would have been warmer!
When the racers were in sight of the Finish Line, we gathered around to cheer on all the runners coming into the finish. I was amazed and so inspired at all of the runners who withstood the harsh, wintery conditions and crossed the finish. As cold and miserable as I was, I could only imagine how tired and cold they must be. It was truly an amazing experience and I would absolutely love to be a part of the Psyching Team again.
If you have a race in which you would like to have knowledgeable and professional counselors/psychologists to provide on site counseling and support, please checkout the Psyching Teams website. This movement is definitely in it’s infancy stage and they are in desperate need for sponsorship and support. That said, if you have any ideas or ways you or your organization would like to contribute, please use the website contact page to reach out to someone.