Finish Line

finish lineIt has been ten days since I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon! Yesterday morning I went out for a two-mile run. This was the first time I have run since completing the half. It was an amazing feeling to run because I “wanted” to, not because I had to for training.

What a mind shift. When I started this journey on January 9, 2016 I couldn’t (or didn’t think I could) even run a mile, and now I am a 13.1 mile finisher, and I am running for enjoyment and exercise.

My head has been flooded with different thoughts, feelings and emotions that it has taken some time to sort it all out and share my race weekend experience.

Friday: I signed up for the race weekend experience and well worth the extra money. Friday night there was a cocktail party sponsored by Fellow Flowers. You got a sweet swag bag, free drink ticket, lovely display of appetizers and desserts + a badass dj, that cranked the tunes and kept the dance floor packed all night.  I was a good girl all week, and didn’t have any alcohol and drinking extra water to stay hydrated, but I couldn’t resist a free cocktail so I did have the “flowertini”. I was on my feet all day at work, so I was not your typical dance machine, but it was so much fun to absorb the positive energy and excitement of 500 ladies.  Check out this cool video of the party & see if you can spot me! 🙂

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A few of my Foundations Training Run ladies. We clean up nicely!

Saturday:  You could start the day with a “shake-out” run, but there would be no more running for me until the big day on Sunday.  I did take part in the yoga yogaclass led by Kula Yoga and Wellness. That is exactly want I needed to get ready. It was the perfect amount of stretch and relaxation. After yoga is was time to pick up my packet and visit the expo full of running goodies. I splurged on a bracelet and a 13.1 charm. I then met up with one of my fellow Foundations training partners, Lori, and we walked around the farmers market and then rolled out our yoga mats on the grass outside the Capitol Square and bib pick upenjoyed the beautiful sun, blue sky and trees.  We had time to kill before the guest speaker series at DreamBank. The day ended by listening to two inspiration women in their own way talk about their adventures in life and in running.

After an amazing day, I went home, put my feet up and kept drinking my water.  I was actually in bed by 10pm and slept!

Sunday:  I got up at 5pm. I made myself breakfast consisting of a veggie omelet, toast and coffee. This is what I had the last two long training runs and it seemed to give me the fuel I needed and helped me “take care of business” before I left the house.

I got to Hilldale Shopping Center at 6:45am. I wanted to cheer on the 7:00am 13.1 walkers. Thank goodness the main storms passed by 6:30am and the set up crew scrambled to get everything in place. Thanks to Race Director, Jen Anderson and her crew, the walkers were only delayed by 15 minutes. Now it was our turn! Coach Flo had us gather for our traditional Foundations Training Run picture. On the way I ran into my friends from Green Bay, Brian, Kate and her boyfriend!

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Brian, me and Kate!

I was so excited to see these friendly faces on the morning of my first half! It was a weird déjà vu feeling that I was the one running and they were cheering me on, versus the other way around.

Ten minutes to the start.  It was a weird feeling….. I thought I would be more nervous but I wasn’t. I was ready to do this! I was not excited about the temps and humidity, but it was weather similar to my 12 mile training run, and if I had to walk, to make it, then I had to walk.

at the start8:00am – I line up with the pacing group at the 3 hour mark. My goal was to come in at 3.5 hours, so I thought if I stayed with the 3 hour group for most of it, if I have to walk some, I could still come in with the time I was shooting for.

The horn sounds, and I start running.  It was amazing to see as I rounded the first corner, joining Brian was Marla, Stosh and Sarah. They made it for the start! I was all thumbs up and smiling.

blood signWe are starting out uphill and we run past the Red Cross building.  There is Megan with the best sign ever! Before I know it I have made it to mile 1 – only 12.1 to go!

On Saturday, at the expo, I attended Jen’s race day course talk.  She said there will be ice on the course and if you feel yourself overheating, to put ice in your sports bra and over your heart to cool your blood. Rookie mistake….. I forgot to ask WHAT “AID STATIONS the ice will be at.

We get to the first aid station, and I was starting to feel pretty warm… “Do you have ice?” Awesome volunteer, “no”.  Get to the second aid station, “Do you have ice?” again a no…. this is happens again at mile 6 – still no ice.  By this time, I can feel my face getting beet red. My saviors and amazing “Route Rockers” were there for me to cheer me on just past mile 6, and I go to them (could have been in a demonic voice at this point) “GET ME ICE”.

Sarah pouring ice down my pants and sports bra!

Sarah pouring ice down my pants and sports bra!

Mile 7, I see my angels and Sarah has a cup with ice, and I let her dump it right down my shirt and sports bra.  I also had them dump ice down each leg. Instantly, I could feel my core temp starting to lower. This went on for every mile.  My team was there with a cup of ice to dump down my sports bra.  I did finally see ice at the aid station, but it was not until mile 10.  I would have over heated by then and left to the buzzards. This course was a tough one.  Observatory Hill, some additional hill beasts and some full sun areas that made you want to melt. I did have to walk the last mile.  It was mostly up hill, full sun and I was starting to feel a little dizzy.  Slow and steady has been my motto and I really channeled that mantra in

Finish Line with high Fives!

Finish Line with high Fives!

the final stretch.  I passed the Red Cross building again, and after that I knew it was all downhill (literally). I started to run again. I get to the final stretch and I see the finish line, I see about 20 women lined up on both sides and I picked up the pace, running through their dance party,  giving high fives and finally crossing the finish line and this little girl handing me my medal!

Now I know why people do this crazy shit! After all the training, hard work and sacrifices, crossing the finish was AMAZING.

WE DID IT!

WE DID IT! My official time: 3:42:07

Amazing Route Rockers and Ice Team!

Amazing Route Rockers and Ice Team!

After I crossed the finish line my “ice angels” where there, and some of my Foundations running teammates. No matter how tired and hot I was, I was so excited and proud of myself. I finished the day with a beer at Great Dane with my Route Rockers, then I went home, showered, slept two hours, and had a smile on my face for the rest of the day!

BEER!!!

BEER!!!

 

MY FINAL COMMENTS! I wrote this a few hours after I finished and still holds true.

blingIt is hard to put into words how amazing today was. My “word” going into today was “Believe” my word after finishing my first Half Marathon is “Grateful”. Grateful for all the messages & cards of support, Grateful for my training run teammates, grateful for my Route Rockers who saved me by being my own personal ice delivery crew & provided needed words of encouragement on the course, finally grateful for my legs & health that allowed me to be a Half Marathon Finisher!!!!!

I Hit A Wall!

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January 9th is when I started my 13.1 running journey. On March 13, I did the 10K Shamrock Shuffle in Madison and then in week two of the Summer Foundations program, I joined my fellow Foundation friends and did the MadCity 50K relay on April 9. Two 10K’s in a little over 3 months of running, I felt awesome….. and then I hit a wall.

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Our MadCity 50K relay teams!

That week, I went out on Monday to run, and I was .5 miles into my run, and I just couldn’t do it. I stopped and walked the rest of my 2 mile run that day. Wednesday, April 13 was our Foundations training run program night and we had 3 miles to run. Again, I felt tired, in my head I was saying I hate this, and I ended up doing 2.5. A very tough 2.5. Saturday, April 16 – 5 mile run on the schedule. Instead, I did 4. Ok, I thought, one bad week, is ok.

Then comes the week of April 18. Monday, went out for a 2 mile run. I did it, but again, it felt so hard. I am thinking what is going on? I did a 10K, no problem less than two weeks ago.

Thursday, April 21st I left for vacation with a good friend to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM. (GREAT VACATION SPOT BY THE WAY). I did not run on vacation but I did do a lot of walking, if that counts for anything.

Albuquerque, NM

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Camel Rock, Sante Fe, NM

I am sitting in the Denver airport right now, and Monday will start a new day and a new week. I have to follow the advice of Taylor Swift and “Shake it Off”. I have to put the bad two weeks behind me, and focus on getting back to my training. I guess with anything in life, there are ups and downs. Here’s to going back up!

First Training Run Week

Snapchat-4294874620298920929It is Monday, January 12 and 8 degrees outside. I have to run for 21 minutes. I put on my gear, head out the door, and get hit with that first blast of cold and I think, what the hell am I doing?  I keep going. I do my warm up walk, set my timer for 21 minutes and I run. Now I am thinking I am just crazy because when I got done I thought, “That was not that bad or cold.”  What is happening to me??

Wednesday, January 14 is our first Wednesday group run. It is so nice to see these familiar faces going through this journey together. We split up by running/walking goal and are lead by one of the Foundations Mentors in stretching and warm up before we head off for our run. I am not a fast runner, in fact, of my 10K run group, I am the slowest — and I am ok with that. Slow and steady, may not win the race, but it will get you to the finish line!  I ran for 25 minutes tonight.

Our Spring Foundations Training Group!

Our Spring Foundations Training  Group!

belly dancing 1Saturday, January 17 group training run. We met at Dance Life Studio & Fitness to first work on our core. To do this we participated in a belly dancing basics class. Yes, I said belly dancing.  Some of us put on the fancy coin belts to get in the mood as we danced. It was fascinating and I think I am definitely going to sign up for additional classes.

We did our training run and it was 2 miles or 20-32 minutes depending on your pace. I have decided, I don’t like to say the miles part of it, I just like to say “today I will run for 32 minutes”.  It could or could not be 2 miles. I do have to get a watch to track my pace/miles/time but for now I want to enjoy the act of running versus making it so technical.

digmanPost run or walk as a group we met next door at Digman Fitness. Corey Digman, owner, taught us some preventative strength and conditioning exercises and stretches along with how and why to we should use a foam roller post work out.

As I am going into week number two of the program, I am starting to feel stronger, more confident and learning to take the “hate” out of running.

My First Training Run!

 

Saturday, January 9, 8:00 am, at Endurance House was my first training run. I was 20160109_080315-1_resizedthankful the temperature was in the 30’s and there was just a light dusting of snow that made everything very pretty instead of gray and gloomy.

Before we got started, Coach Flo and the other program mentors had us play “Icebreaker Bingo” so we could get to know the 25+ members in the spring program.

Flo then talked about “The Four Agreements”, a book by Don Miquel Ruiz. I put this book on my “must read” list.

The principals include:

4agreements

The Four Agreements are a great life lesson to practice in your entire life, not just within our group.

Then it was time to run! We went outside and did some warm up exercises as a group and then depending on what you are training for 5K walk or run or 10K walk or run we did our distance for that day. I ran for 16 minutes and did not stop or walk! I was proud of myself. When we got back at our own pace we paired up and worked on planks for our core and stretching.

I am realizing from this first week of learning and trying to be a runner, that it is mind over matter. I can honestly say, my mind has never wanted to do this before now and I think I picked the right group to help me reach my goal.

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Forever Online

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I am in the process of consolidating multiple social platforms due to a restructuring of our service area.  As I am going through this process I am learning, you are forever on the internet once you sign up for any social site.

I am trying to delete a blog site because we will no longer be updating it. I can’t! I can make it private, but I can’t delete due to something about domain name. I am still trying to figure out how to delete a You Tube site. When I try to change the name of a Facebook Page (ps. Get it right because you can only change it once) I get this!

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What I am trying to say is, think carefully and into the future when you are setting up your social sites. Make sure you keep some type of log with all your usernames and passwords.  Yes, I know they say never write it down….but for nonprofits DO IT!  Make sure someone besides yourself has access to that paper (online document). Trust me, trying to consolidate three area social sites to one regional one, and the people who set them up are no longer employed at my work place – I would kill for a password list from those areas.  I am still waiting for a reply from Facebook in regards to a very outdated site, that I have NO IDEA who set it up or what the username/password is.  Forever online that site will be.

Finding that Right Fit

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Finding the right volunteer opportunity is like dating, and trust me, I have lots of experience in that field. We sometimes have to try out a lot of opportunities before we find the right fit.

Some of us never find that right fit, but we like to try on a variety of opportunities because we learn something new from each one.

Sometimes we find that perfect match and it becomes our passion and focus.

Other times, an opportunity is great for a long time, and then you change, circumstances in your life change, and what you thought was the perfect fit is no longer. You begin to explore new opportunities to give you the fulfillment you are looking for.

 How do you find the right fit for you — long or short term?

  1. Self assessment

I recently sat down with a friend who is going through empty nest syndrome and she was looking to volunteer now that she had free time. I asked her, is there a cause near and dear to your heart that you might want to get involved with.  She said no. Then I asked her is your goal to meet new people your own age, or with your kids out of the house, do you want to be a mentor for other kids, or are you looking to learn a new skill?

She was blown away by all the questions I was asking her, and at the end of our conversation, she told me that she had to think, what did she really want?

  1. Research

Once you figure out what it is you are looking for then it is time do the research. Look at an agencies website to view their volunteer opportunities, call the agency to ask questions, or go visit the office to see the culture of it.  Again, like dating, you need to build up a comfort level to see if you want to make the next move.

  1. Jump in

You know what you want, you think you found the right fit, now it is time to make your move. Go ahead fill out that application (go out on that first date) and see what type of amazing adventures are next to come.

ps…. I am still trying to find my right fit!  🙂

CVA – What is it?

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What is the CVA you ask?  The CVA is a credited certificate in the field of Volunteer Administration. From my research this is the only credited program for the field of Volunteer Management.

I first became certified in 2009. I came across the information in an e-newsletter from Engergize Inc. and thought, this would be an excellent training to help elevate my knowledge and skills within the field.

I signed up to complete the certificate and a few weeks later the books I had to read and the class information came in the mail.

I had to read The Volunteer Management Handbook by Tracy Connors and From the Top Down: The Executive Role in Volunteer Program Success by Susan J. Ellis along with some other articles. These books and articles talked about the principles and best practices related to the field of volunteer management.  In May of 2009 I had to complete a multiple choice test on the theories and principles of the books.  I thought the test was challenging because of the way they had the multiple choice questions.

  • A
  • A and B
  • A, B & C
  • all of the above
  • none of the above

I found out a few weeks later I passed, and I was so excited!  Next I had to finish up my two papers I had to write. I had to do a philosophy statement and a case study.

My philosophy was on “Volunteering Keeps You Young – Mind, Body and Soul” and my case statement was on failing to get a youth program launched and what I learned from it.

I wrote my papers, sent in the information and a few week later I learned I passed – all parts!

It was so exciting to receive that package in the mail with my certificate, a CVA pin, and best part was being able to put the letters – CVA behind my name, on my business cards and e-mail signature line.

For me, going through this process helped solidify for me Volunteer Management is the perfect profession for me. This process also fueled my passion to teach others that Volunteer Management is a profession, training is needed, it takes a certain skill set and continuing education to stay current in the field.

I am currently in the process of renewing my CVA certificate. The purpose of the CVA renewal process is to enhance continued competence of certificants by requiring documentation of learning, reflection and participation in activities related to volunteer engagement and leadership.

I have a stack of articles I have written, documents of presentations I have made and other supporting documents on my engagement and leadership over the past five years.  Going through this material, I can see the growth in my practice and leadership and I am excited to see where the next five years takes me.

Anyone in the field of volunteer management, I would highly recommend going through the CVA certification process. For more information on the process check out their website:  http://www.cvacert.org/

Jody Weyers, CVA

We Shall Never Forget

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September 11, 2001 is a day that none of us will forget. I still remember exactly where I was when I heard the news about a plane crashing into the Twin Towers. I was with the American Red Cross for six months and I was in my boss’s office, all of us glued to the television and trying to comprehend what was happening…..

A few hours later, and for many days, months and years after, when bad things happen, things we can’t imagine, I actually get to see good. I get to be that vessel of providing people opportunities to help — from giving of time, money or their blood.

That day on September 11, within a few hours, we had people out the door waiting to donate blood, giving money and wanting to volunteer because people wanted to help in any way they could.

That day started my passion for wanting to connect people with opportunities to serve in their community and that is why I am starting this blog. I have been in the field of volunteer management for over 13 years and the number one question I hear from people is “How can I Help?” Hopefully my blog can help connect people with their passion. I can help guide you to an opportunity or agency that you feel will be the best fit for you.

I also hope this blog will provide leadership for people in the profession of Volunteer Management.  Yes, this is a real profession and I want to be able to share valuable life lessons that I have learned to create stronger volunteer programs within our nonprofit sectors.

I think back to that day and that time period and I am proud of the way people gave and continued to give. Thirteen years later, we must never forget and we must continue to give back. I hope I can inspire and be your community time guider.