Team Challenge – 2011 Napa to Sonoma #8

Team Challenge Group Practice #8
7 miles on the schedule
Start time: 7:00 AM

Mid-point of our training season! Recommitment paperwork is being completed, travel arrangements are starting to be made and our official team numbers are dwindling. We started the season with 85 people and we’ll be lucky if we end up with 30 who have recommitted by Monday. That’s okay though, we had a team full of people in interesting situations. Several young college students, several without jobs and a solid majority with no personal connections to the cause. And there were 30 people that never even started fundraising. That’s never a sign of success!

But the people that we do have are so good! We’ve got a solid core group that shows up all the time, they bring a good energy to each training and they are all eager to do the fundraising and the mileage. And the mileage was certainly up… 7 miles on the schedule for today, our longest training so far this season.

The day was clear and there wasn’t any wind during our training. I’m always grateful when we don’t have the super strong Vegas winds blasting, but a little bit of a breeze would have been nice. It was in the high 70’s when we started and got into the 80’s quickly. The tough thing about this season is that one day it’s cold, the next it’s very warm so it’s hard to get heat adapted. Once the heat settles in for real, then it actually gets easier.

Our course was a 3.5 mile out-and-back and then repeat. They were supposed to run a certain spot under a bridge to the Team Challenge water jug, that was the water stop and visual cue to know where to turn around. Well, someone stole our water jug. In the 20-30 minutes from when we dropped it off to when the first runners got to the spot, someone had picked up the jug (full of ice & water) and walked off with it! Who does that?! Now we need to find the budget to buy a new water jug (or see if someone will donate new jugs to us!) We also need to buy bike locks or something to keep them anchored in place. Sometimes people are just amazingly dense.

The missing water definitely made it hard on my group, they had to rely on the water jug that was at the start/finish point. Fortunately that hit that once in the middle of the training, but it was still too warm and too far between for a lot of people. Some of them are carrying their own fluids, but not everyone.

Each of them pushed through and made it through the full distance. We had one gal that I encouraged to cut through the soccer fields and eliminate the last 1/2 mile because she was getting dizzy. I felt that by eliminating that last 1/2 mile and going to get some food in her she’d be better off than pushing.

And get some food… that’s certainly what we did after training!

We had a recommitment party after finishing our miles. Capriotti’s provided subs (yep, we ate sandwiches at 9:00 AM) and team members brought chips, veggies, fruit, drinks and cookies. We had a raffle and we played a relay game that we do each season during recommitment. The team is usually divided into 5 person teams that have to do a relay that consists of strange tasks like: putting on a bunch of Team Challenge gear and yell out our team cheer, then pass over to someone who has to chug a can of soda, to someone who has to move 5 M&M’s from one bowl to another using a straw, etc. Each season there is one new element added to the relay in place of some other one, but we always do the relay. The winning team usually gets some kind of prize.

We’ll have our final recommitment numbers on Tuesday. There are a few people who are recommitting but they are also very scared. One gal is just 21 or 22 and she has been to every training. You can visibly see in her face how much she is enjoying the training and the experience, but she is scared because she lives in Vegas on her own with all of her family in the east. She is trying to fundraise but it’s hard when you’re in a new city. So I’m just asking people if they have a few dollars, could you donate to her fundraising… just to help boost her spirits and confidence? It can be an anonymous donation, I just would really like to see her succeed with this, it seems like it could be life-changing for her.

I am coaching a group of runners for the organization Team Challenge. They are fundraising for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America while training to run the 2011 Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon in July.

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