Tag Archives: #SARC

Fill your cup.

Let me let you in on a little secret……my life lately has been HECTIC. That happens when you are an entrepreneur and active in organizations outside of your business….things just tend to compound and before you know it you don’t have time to do the things you love.

About a month ago I sat down and really put some thought into where my focus and energy was directed. It was long overdue. I kept thinking to myself….I need to slow things down….and because of this, I knew I had to step away from something I had been a part of for the past few years and truly loved with all my heart.

The Summit Athletic Running Club.

I joined SARC several years back when I moved to the Akron area with the hope of finding some new friends to run with and the skinny on local running trails. I loved the club immediately and after some time joined the Board of Directors as Membership Director. It was a role I was very proud to have….and a role that led me to many great friendship and runs with incredible athletes.

However, serving on the Board the last year was rough on me. Once my father passed away I had a difficult time making myself go running, and it was challenging to talk about running in a positive light. It took awhile, but I finally got right in the mind with running….but when I started to think about what needed to go in my life, my up and down relationship with running was at the top of the list.

So…..I submitted my resignation to SARC as a Board member and also as the Race Director for my beloved Shamrock 5k and 15k race. I knew it was the right thing to do.

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Interested in a great run club? Join SARC!

I got to thinking that I know many others who load their plate and try to be superwoman. You may be one of those ladies. There’s no shame in trying to do it all….but what’s the sense in doing it all if you are sacrificing things you love….or doing all those things half assed?

Here are some ways to prioritize if your plate is loaded up higher than one at a Golden Corral buffet…..

1. Make lists. People who know me know that I love lists, but this really does help. Make a list of the things you spend the bulk of your time doing. Also make a list of the top priorities in your life, numbering them from most important to least.

2. Delegate when able. We all think we can do everything, right? However, some of the items on our plate can be delegated to those in our family, our coworkers, etc. Don’t be afraid to give up control….it will help you…trust me!

3. Have a tribe! I talk about my tribe a lot….those on my team and the incredible coaches I work with every day within the community. By having a tribe and sharing challenges I face, I am allowing others to potentially help or offer solutions.

4. Always have ME time. This could include reading a book, taking a bath, going for the run…..but make sure you have some time to enjoy something you love. Ever hear the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup?” You have to take care of yourself, too.

5. Know the difference between importance and urgency. Assign deadlines to complete tasks based on their overall importance. Some tasks on your plate may not be needing as much focus as others, which can help lessen your task load.

It’s never easy to start this process, but if you feel overwhelmed like I did, it is important. Am I sad to leave the Board of Directors for SARC? Absolutely. However, I know I can still remain involved by volunteering when I’m able and running with the club as a member. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that it’s okay to be involved in a lesser capacity.

Listen to Dolly Parton…..never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

Thanks for the memories, SARC!

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With Boston marathon great Dick Beardsley

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O’Kramer for a Day

I’ve always been a fan of St. Patty’s Day.

Back in the day it was all about drinking…..I would hit up every St. Patty’s parade, spend the day at the bar enjoying green beer, and acted like a complete foolish leprechaun. I’m not Irish….not one bit….but I was on March 17th!

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The Old St Patty’s Day Katie

These days St. Patty’s Day is totally different, and I couldn’t be happier! The holiday for me is all about one big event that I am in charge of, the Shamrock 5k and 15k race, which is put on by my running club, Summit Athletic Running Club. I still get to rock green and put an “O” before my last name so others think I have a little Irish in my blood….so I am a happy camper.

This year the race was a little bit earlier in the month of March and took place this past weekend. Thank heavens! Originally it was scheduled to take place when I was scheduled to be in Jamaica, so I was happy we could move the date around and I could be there.

I’ve talked about my running club before, and I can guarantee I will talk about it again. It is a club that I am very proud to be a part of, not only as a runner, but as their Membership Director. Of course I think everyone should join us! We are fabulous! If you ever want to come to a meeting, let me know….I’d love for you to be my guest! (P.S. We serve pizza at the meetings…..we all know how I feel about that).

The Shamrock 5k and 15k is a race that has a very special place in my heart, so I was thrilled when I was asked to take over it prior to it taking place last year. Back in January 2013 I attended my very first SARC meeting, attending with major nerves since I knew absolutely no one and did not know what to expect from the club. All I knew is that I was relatively new to the area and wanted to find some people who shared my love of running. I also had a very lofty goal that year to run 31 races (you can read about that here ), and I was hell bent on achieving it.

The very first race I ran that year was the Shamrock 5k and 15k. Not only was it my first race of the year, but my first race as a SARC member and my first SARC race. Of course I rocked a tiny hat and some green! Since I was just returning to the world of running, I knew that I would be slow and was worried about the cold weather, and I was happy when one of my BFFs, Whitney, agreed to run with me. Fortunately for us, my two biggest cheerleaders, my mom and dad, drove up to brave the cold and support us, even making signs. It meant the world to me.

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During my red hair days

Fast forward to this year, which was my first year running the race completely by myself (Last year I Co-Directed with a fellow SARC member who was retiring, which helped me get my feet wet with directing a running event.) I had a lot of emotions with the race this year, mostly because I knew my dad would not be there physically to support me. Anything involving running gets me emotional…that was our thing. He is so missed.

Race directing is so much more involved than a lot of people think. Last week I felt like I was living, breathing, and eating Shamrock, and my friends and family can attest to that….I was MIA! Following up on permits, police officers, porta potties, food sponsorship, bobble heads for the award winners, volunteers…….there is a lot involved to make sure the day goes off without a hitch!

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Our bagpiper was phenomenal!

I decided to bypass my complete leprechaun costume this year (yes, I have one) to pay homage to my original Shamrock getup, a tiny hat and faux leprechaun tuxedo. Something about doing so just made me feel a little bit better, which may sound a little weird, but it’s true. I found an amazing faux leprechaun tuxedo that was perfect for the day….several people actually thought it was a real tuxedo! I also contacted my favorite hat maker, ChikiBird, who has made several custom hats for me in the past, and purchased a special little St. Patty’s Day leprechaun hat. Look how cute it was……..

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Our crowd this year was awesome! We had 665+ runners join us at Woodridge High School in Cuyahoga Falls to run the 5k or 15k, and I’d like to give a shout out to the weather for being so kind to us….it was perfect running weather! I couldn’t have been happier with how the event with, and I think everyone had a great time! I was super proud of Whitney for running her first 5k since having Baby L….she did great!

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Whit and I before the race

These events could not be the success they are without the many amazing volunteers who help behind the scenes. Many were up before the sun came up to help get things set up on the course, and some were with me until the very end of the day, which was about 5pm…..a long, long, long day. I had two very special volunteers assist me this year….my mother in law, Diane, and my incredible mother, Sherrin. It was wonderful having them both there to see the behind the scenes activity, and I was so happy my mom could be with me to help me if I had an emotional moment or struggled.

Thank you to everyone who ran, volunteered, donated and supported not only me in this event, but SARC. Your kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm for running is so greatly appreciated! I have to give a special shout out to Earthfare, who donated food for the event (and happens to be one of my go-to favorite grocery stores), Eat N Park…who provided their signature Shamrock cookies and coupons for the runners, Acme Fresh Market, who hooked us up with water for the runners, Giant Eagle for the bananas, Winking Lizard for their delicious soup, and Bumble Bar, who provided their gluten free bars for those who aren’t fans of the gluten. Our event couldn’t have been possible without you!

I know my dad was with us in spirit Sunday….. I like thinking that….it definitely helps me get though the difficult moments. Dad, I hope you had fun cracking jokes about my outfit….because I know you had them.

Mark your calendars now….next March you have a date with me to run the Shamrock 5k and 15k!

I’m off to get ready for Jamaica! Keep sparkling, my friends.

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Yes, I’m just really tall. 

 

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The Domino Effect of Life

Life is a crazy thing.

You wake up, you go places, you do things, you meet people, you eat, you exercise, you go to bed, then you wake up and do it all over again. Every day you have the opportunity to start over and do something new. Every action, every decision, every person has the ability to set forth a change of events that can forever alter your life.

Have you ever sat down to think about how actions and choices have the ability to lead you into other directions that perhaps you would never consider? How certain people may not have come into your life had it not been for certain events?  I really started to think about this last night after our Summit Athletic Running Club meeting and almost reverse engineered my involvement with the club. Let me break down to you how running led me to an awesome evening last night:

Many of you know that my father is an avid runner and a real life Benjamin Buttons, as his racing times get faster the older he gets. Because of him and his love for running, a domino effect of choices and decisions took place to bring me into the running world.

I made the choice in 2010 to run my first 5k with the hopes of someday beating my father in a race. (I still haven’t)

I then relocated, gained 60 pounds, fell in love with alcohol, and gave up on running because “I was too fat.”

I entered into a sad relationship with my couch, and one day decided to type running clubs into an internet search engine, realizing there was one in my area named the Summit Athletic Running Club.

I decided to get healthier so I could run with my dad again. After losing most of the 60 pounds with at home workouts, I finally reconnected with my inner runner and made the impulse decision to show up at the Summit Athletic Running Club monthly meeting. I was terrified.

I knew no one at the meeting, and chose to sit at a table in the back of the room. Sitting to my right was a gentleman who told me he ran the Naked mile previously. Sitting to my left was the club president. I didn’t know what to think. Over the next three years, I became friends with many club members. I ran countless club races, volunteered at many events, met incredible speakers, and found myself immersed in a wonderful, supportive running community. That naked miler, also known to the world as Steven Sisco, is now one of my dear friends and one of my favorite people to run with (especially with headlamps). The club president, Steve Hailer, is not only a friend, but a mentor. Steve eventually asked me to serve on the SARC Board of Directors, an invitation I greatly accepted.

Throughout this time I remained motivated, not only by my father, but by others in the running community. I loved stories of hope and positivity and would often find myself searching youtube videos for inspiration and reading articles in various running magazines. One night I came across the story of  Rick and Dick Hoyt, and I truly realized what a gift running is. Two years ago I read a story about a local duo also inspired by the Hoyts, Zeke Petrie and Andre Travis, and followed their story. I was fortunate to watch them finish their first marathon together in Akron, cried like a baby with pride for them, and thought to myself, “those are the kind of people I’d like to know.”

Fast forward to a board meeting back in the spring when Steve asked us members to think of some speakers for our upcoming club meetings. I knew I wanted someone inspirational to come and talk, so I got creepy on social media, located Zeke, reached out to him and asked if he and Dre would be willing to come talk to the club. They agreed. I was elated.

Last night was our monthly meeting and the meeting where Zeke and Dre were finally able to speak to our club. It was incredible. I loved hearing more about them and their journey, and I loved their message. Both men came from rough backgrounds….Zeke had been imprisoned in Haiti and later cleared of all wrongdoing; Dre had a difficult life coming through the foster care system with a disability. They came into each other’s lives by happenstance, Dre asked Zeke if he would take him running, and the rest is history. Here’s an awesome video taken after they completed their first marathon together:

I am always looking for inspiration and motivation….it is good for the soul! To hear a young man who is confined to a wheelchair talk about how running makes him feel and how his dream of becoming an athlete came true….it is a feeling words cannot describe. It also puts into perspective that our excuses are only as big as we let them be.

Running really is a neat thing because anyone can do it and truly enhances the lives of those chose to partake in it. It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow, what you wear, what kind of training you have done, how strong you are….anyone can get out there and start!  You just have to be willing to try. I’ve often referenced a quote that sums up running to me. “I don’t run because I like the feeling of running. I run because it makes me love the feeling of living.”  

Zeke and Dre have been able to experience this feeling of living through running together and motivate not only each other, but everyone who sees them as the beacon of inspiration that they are. The two continue to run together and last week actually finished their first half Ironman….such an awesome accomplishment!

Had my dad not inspired me to run, I would’ve never tried it. Had I never started running, I would’ve never known the feeling it brought into my life and the feeling I fought to get back in my life. Had I not surfed the web, I would’ve never found SARC. Had I not attended a meeting, I wouldn’t have gained the friendships and support I have gained through events. Had I not participated in these events, I wouldn’t have formed the relationship that would result in obtaining a position on the Board of Directors. Had I not taken the position, I wouldn’t have thought to reach out to Zeke and Dre. Had I not reached out to them, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to hear more about their story. Had I not learned more about their story, I would never have had the opportunity to have these two badasses as friends. That domino effect…..man, it is crazy.

Zeke and Dre, thank you so much for speaking to our club! I’m proud of you both and am proud to call you my pals!

Me, Zeke, and Dre.

Me, Zeke, and Dre.

Make sure all of you Facebookers are following Team Dre to learn more about their races and accomplishments!

 

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