Sunday, April 22, 2012

Driving Jacks 5K Fun Run Recap

This recap is a behind the scenes recap of the Driving Jacks 5K.  My usual race recaps are from me running in events, but this is my first 5K to plan and execute so the recap is a bit different.  Enjoy!

The 5K was MONTHS of planning, WEEKS of gathering things together, DAYS of stressing ;), HOURS of enjoying, only MINUTES of running, and SECONDS between the first and second place winners!  We hope that everyone had a fantastic time and can't wait to do it all again in 2013. I loved it all (even the stressful parts...not as they were  happening, but as I am looking back on it) and I am glad that everything came together to make the event a success.

Friday:  I got up around 5:15 with a looooong list of things to accomplish before I set out for Nacogdoches at 8:00.  I tried to get as much stuff packed and ready to go before I had to leave, but I was still scrambling at the last minute.  True to myself I was running late and left around 8:20 am. :/ 

At this point in the day, after expenses we were projecting around $2,000 raised.  Little did we know there would be more blessings in store!
I had to pick up Carberry on the way (btw, Carberry is the funniest road trip companion ever!) and made it to Humble around 9:15.  I stopped to get gas and Starbucks before I got there (Starbucks gave me a free drink-go me!) so we could go straight there.  We stopped in Lufkin to pick up the Best Buy gift cards that were donated (Thank you Best Buy for being a DJ5K sponsor!) but little did we know that they were already picked up.  We made it to Nacogdoches at 11:40 and Matt had just enough time to make it to his lunch meeting.

I called the Nacogdoches DJ5K chair Courtney to see if she wanted to have lunch to finalize last minute details about the 5K.  She said yes and we went to another DJ5K sponsor: Auntie Pasta’s (we choose them because they had bread and I was starving!) for our lunch.  Yummy.  After lunch was a frenzy of last minute details and picking things up.  We headed to the grocery store to pick up the award (cookie cake) that would be given to A.C. S.P.E.A.K. for the DJ5K registration contest winner.  Afterwards we headed to the stadium to make sure we had power outlets to plug things in and see some more logistical information.  We ran into some of the committee picking up water jugs and we helped them transport them to the office.  Back at the office we finalized the details on where all of the volunteers would be assigned (on race day morning at 5:30 am I realized that I had lost this paper!) and also registered some last minute people.
That afternoon was really stormy but we needed to head to the route and finalize some details.  Matt, Chris, Courtney, and I all started in the field and walked the entire course.  We needed to know where to put the signs (which Chris had done awhile ago, but we needed to verify) and also where to have volunteers be standing for additional directions.  The rain was a light rain, but it still wasn’t fun to walk in the rain (if I would have danced I would have been able to mark something off my 30 under 30 list! Darn it! Haha). 
Around dinnertime the alumni started to get in town and as we were finalizing details and making signs we were all telling funny Driving Jacks stories.  Some of the new Driving Jacks members were listening to us and had no idea what we went through to get Driving Jacks where it was today.  It is completely different from the small organization of my time. Haha.  Oh the stories we kept to ourselves. LOL.  At 9:30 the Alumni committee was supposed to meet to talk about things and take an inventory of the things each of us were supposed to bring (Robby-bibs and safety pins, Hector-signs, gift cards, black bags, Spencer-water and bananas, me-timing chips, shirts, trophies, cupcakes, serving spoons, and more!) plus Courtney was there with last minute stuff also.  We put all of the timing chips on the bibs and about 7 of us took a trip down to the football field to make sure we knew exactly what to do in the morning.  The start line was to be at the 20 yard line on the home side of the stadium and the runners would run around the track, through the tunnel, and out to the rest of the course back to the finish line that would be at the 20 yard line on the visitor side.  Afterwards we went back to the office to finalize the timing chip system.  Some people I knew would not be able to come (but they wanted to donate to Driving Jacks anyway) so we took the off the list of people who were needed a timing chip.

Around 2 am I headed to my friend Amber’s house to get some sleep.  I set my alarm to 4:30 am so I would have time to be at the stadium by 5 am.  Well, true to my style I woke up around 4:35 since my alarm clock did not go off and was about 5 minutes late.  I am not quite sure what happened to my alarm clock (maybe it was the 2.5 hour sleep time) but I made it so that is the most important time.
Saturday morning:  Race Day!!!  What is up with it being so cold?!
It was about 5:05 am when I got to the stadium and Hector, Courtney, Matt, and Robby were already there an unloading everything.  Being the super control freak planner I am, I had already sent everyone a list of items they were in charge of the day before, morning of, during, after the 5K, items to bring, timeline of events, and a schedule to stay on.  Everyone knew their duties, with a few minor tweaks.  We unloaded the cars, set up tables, water stops, signs, awards, packet pickup, and registration all in the knick of time.  The packet pickup started at 6:30 am.  We handed out walkie talkies to the committee members, but every time I tried to use it, it didn’t work (or I did it wrong?!) so I just said to call my cell phone (it went dead by 9 am from all the calls and texts!).  I did hear that everyone had a fantastic time playing with the walkie talkies though. Haha.  Some strange things were said across those walkie talkie lines. LOL.
We had heard that people were confused as to how to get to us so we sent people up to every parking lot to direct our runners.  The timing chip guy got there around this time also to start setting up.  We needed the water stop captains (Marcus and Thomas) dropped off by 6:45 so they could start filling up the water cups while they were waiting on other volunteers.
At 7 am the other shift of volunteers were set to be arriving so we dropped them off at their various locations.  Thank goodness for Carberry because he walked the route with us and he knew exactly where we needed people to be stationed.  I think he was on North Street somewhere directing people after he dropped off the volunteers. Hector was originally supposed to speak on the mike making announcements, but he was at a water stop (I heard water stop #1 was really fun) so Robby made the 15, 10, and 5 minute countdown announcements. I was also trying to get volunteers where I needed them and was way over by the Forestry building at 5 minutes to start time.  I ran over there (so I technically did run this 5K, haha) and made it just in time to see everyone off.  The lead guy Jose was in the lead the entire time (it kept coming over the walkie talkies where he was) and was the first to finish (he is a junior in high school!).  The rest of the winners started coming in and we were handing out water bottles (donated by Whole Foods), and telling them to get fruit (bananas were donated by Whole Foods, and the fruit trays by Cotton Patch!).  

Finally it was time for door prizes and awards.  We had a list of about 20 trivia question that Spencer asked on Driving Jacks and SFA so we could hand out extra tickets.  The questions ranged from who was the DJ founder (Amy Shields), to what stadium we were in (Homer Bryce).  Mostly I could tell that the Driving Jacks members were whispering the answers into people’s ears.  Haha.  Cheaters!  I’m kidding.  Carberry did a fantastic job as M.C. for the door prizes and awards.  We gave away gift cards to Best Buy, Birraporetti's, and Auntie Pasta’s/Clear Springs.  Macy May donated a Vera Bradley purse, and we also had a $300 photo session donated by a company in Houston (I will get the name); Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers donated a gift basket.  Three SFA ceramic bowls/platters were donated as well.  I hope I mentioned everybody!  (I know that this paragraph and probably the entire blog post is filled with grammar errors, but I don't care and it's my blog!) ;)
We presented A.C.S.P.E.A.K. with the Team Registration Contest award (a cookie cake) for having 25 registrations!!!  A.C.S.P.E.A.K. is a class at Angelina College, each semester their teacher requires them to do a community service project and they chose the Driving Jacks 5K!  When I told their teacher Sabrina about the registration contest she was so excited!  She got all of her students to sign up and even some family members.  25 registrations is awesome!  A.C.S.P.E.A.K. also had a bake sale on Tuesday and Wednesday to raise extra money for Driving Jacks.  They presented us with $200!  I am sooooo proud of them!!  Sabrina and I had been talking for the past month (she is super sweet) and I was very excited to meet her.  I introduced myself to her, but it was in the middle of all of the craziness of getting everything together so I couldn’t talk as long as I would have liked (sorry Sabrina!  Congrats on winning your age group though!).  A huge thank you goes out to them for choosing us as their community service project (we hope you had fun and will do it next year!) J
Enterprise Holdings (Enterprise Rent-A-Car) also presented Driving Jacks with a check for $2,500 to go towards operations.  My friend Amber (same Amber that I stayed at her house that night to take a nap!) is the assistant manager at the Nacogdoches location and had told me they received it and that they wanted to present it to them at the 5K.  I had told the Alumni committee about it, but Garrett (the current DJ pres) didn’t know anything about it except that a surprise was to be announced at the 5K.  When Amber was presenting the award and said the amount, you should have seen Garrett’s face!  He looked so happy and like he was about to cry. LOL.  It was a great surprise.  He had kept bugging me to tell him what the surprise was but I wouldn’t, he told me thank you for keeping it a surprise.  I <3 surprises (except when they are played on me so don’t surprise me!).

Baker Sign Co. donated all of the arrow signs for the event, as well as a big DJ5K banner.  When we announced the winner we had them take a picture next to the sign.  We had 6 age groups and the top two male/female in each age category won a medal and the overall male and female won a trophy. We only had women finishers in the 60+ category so we had extra medals (I took one home and it’s hanging in my medal holder at home!).  My friend Laura (who registered for the race and decided to volunteer instead at the finish line (did ya’ll see her?! She was a great volunteer) her husband won 2nd place in his age group and got a medal!  Sabrina from A.C.S.P.E.A.K. also got a medal (along with a few of her students).My friend Angie’s son Dylan was the 3rd place male in the under 18 age group and he was only 1 minute behind the 2nd place finisher.  I can only imagine what he could do if he was to train hard and go for it at the next race.  Dylan, I can’t wait to see you at next’s years race, we want to give you a medal!!

5 out of 7 past Driving Jacks Presidents took a photo, and then we added the rest of the committee members, then all of the volunteers.  Photo filled day (and I will delete any that I do not look my best) J

After the awards ceremony was over we cleaned everything up, got the tables and signs picked up, and headed to the office.  It was about 9:45 am (it felt sooo much later…from the lack of sleep?!) My friends Erika, Oscar, and Lili were at Chick Fil-A so I stopped by and said hi to them for a few minutes and left.  I stopped at Starbucks to get a latte (Grande Caramel Iced Latte with an extra shot of espresso please) and went up to the office.  Everyone was jealous of my coffee (I didn’t tell them I was going because it would have taken forever to get all of their orders and I wanted coffee, haha!).
Courtney said that we got around 10-15 more registrations on race day and we had a total of around $700 in cash.  We totaled everything up and the preliminary numbers based on expenses we already know about (hopefully there aren’t too many surprises) were projected to be around $3,000!  One of our regular donors (who wants to be anonymous) had spoken with me earlier that morning and had agreed to match however much money we raised.  So we raised $6,000 for Driving Jacks! The $3,000 we raised will go in the endowment fund account, and the matched amount will go to Driving Jacks operations.

Around 11:30 a group of us went to eat at the Fredonia Hotel and talked about any and everything.  I was so sleepy at this point and Carberry offered to drive my car back.  We said goodbye to everyone and headed out (I ended up driving though). I dropped Carberry off and got home around 4 pm.  I fell asleep and did not get out of bed until 8 am the next morning (I need my sleep!).  It was a long, but amazing two days and I wouldn't trade it for the world.  My goal was to raise $5K from the 5k, but God exceeded my imagination and we raised $6K.  To God be the glory. :)
Thank you goes out to all of the DJ5K committee members, volunteers, participants, sponsors, and A.C.SPEAK for making this event a huge success!!!!!!!  We couldn’t have done it without all of you and we will forever be grateful for your support.  See you next year!

Who’s ready to start planning next year? Haha.  Let’s give it a few months. ;)

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