If you have been reading my blog for any amout of time, you know that Esprit de She has a special place in my heart. This weekend at Esprit de She Lakeville, I was reminded over and over again why I have that special place in my heart for the series.
I went into this weekend filled with a lot of emotion about Esprit de She Lakeville. At the beginning of the year when I created my race schedule I made this race a goal race and I was so excited to do another triathlon but more importantly an Esprit de She triathlon. However, that was all foiled when I went on my first training run for this race. You see, when I slipped and fell and sustained my traumatic brain injury, I was on my first training run for this race. So not being able to participate as a athlete was hard. However, I was given the opportunity to still participate by volunteering my time. And I felt participating anyway was better than not getting to be part of the event.
On Saturday, I spent the afternoon volunteering at the duathlon transition. I got to help ladies get their bikes to their rack, get their body marking done, and answer questions about the race. It was fun to see the full battery of participants. There were first timers, veterans, best friends, sisters, moms and daughters, and so many other ladies so excited (and nervous) to take on the event. I left on Saturday night excited to see those ladies out on the course.
On Sunday, it was an early morning! I got there at 5:20 am and I ran until I left at 11:40 am. I helped Jessie, the Volunteer Director and Marketing Coordinator for Esprit de She Lakeville. She was a busy woman orchestrating all the volunteers so I was happy to help her where ever I could. I spent a lot of my time helping other volunteers get to the spot they were stationed at. And there were a few other odds and ends Jessie had me help out with.
It was amazing to experience a race from a different perspective. I have always been a runner or a duathlete or a triathlete but never volunteer. I can honestly say that I have always thanked volunteers when I am at a race but I had no idea what hard work volunteering can be. I can also honestly say, it was probably harder work than actually participating in the race. I also have a whole new appreciation for the people who organize and put on these events. I knew there was a lot of work that went into getting a race set up, have the runners complete it, and to tear it down.
Jessie told me she was good and I could go out and enjoy my time at the Lifestyle Market and Bubbly Bar. I met a few friends to cheer on the athletes as well as a friend who had participated in the duathlon. We all enjoyed our time and at 10:15ish I made my way over to the stage for awards and an ambassador picture. They started the awards ceremony letting everyone know there was still on runner out on the course and that they would stop the ceremony to celebrate her accomplishment. How awesome is that? Just one of the reasons I love Esprit de She. One of the amazing coordinators, Quinn, came over to me to let me know that it was a fellow ambassador who was out on the course. Quinn and I headed out to meet up with Sharma and run with her back in.
Let me start by saying, I specifically asked Sharma if I could write about her and she agreed to it! Sharma was a rock star! She was very nervous because this was her first duathlon and way outside her comfort zone yet she approach the race with excitement. When I met up with Sharma on the course she was in great spirits! So many people would have focused on that they were going to be last or some other thing as opposed to seeing the awesome things that were happening. As we headed to the finish line Quinn, Sharma, and I discussed racing, goals, and how awesome Sharma was doing. When we rounded the corner behind the club we had a few athletes pass us on their way to get their bikes and they cheer Sharma on. Then a quarter mile from the finish several other athletes came out on the course to run with Sharma to the finish.
As we got close to the finish I asked Sharma how she wanted to finish and she said she wanted to cross the finish line and her mom and myself. I cannot tell you what an honor it was to be a part of her journey. When she crossed the finish line it was like she was the first person to cross the line. There were so many people there to cheer her on! It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had the honor to be a part of. This women inspired me on so many levels today! I am so excited that she made the decision to start and finish this race!
I saw Esprit de She at its finest at the Esprit de She Lakeville event today! I saw all the hard work that the volunteers and race team have to do to get an amazing event for the athletes. I saw all those other first timers, veterans, best friends, sisters, moms and daughters, and every other athlete participate in a great event, and finally I got to be a little part of Sharma’s amazing journey. Esprit de She continues to amaze me! And Esprit de She Lakeville will forever be one of the most amazing experiences I have had since picking up running!