So beginning of last week, I saw the ENT doctor who told me I indeed needed sinus surgery. My sinuses are completely inflamed and closed up and we had tried a strong cocktail of antibiotics and steroids, 5 times a day, for the last month to see if any of it could be fixed or if surgery was the only option. It didn't work. And I'd run two 50Ks through these medical issues too.
The part that sucks, but it's reality, is that I couldn't have surgery immediately because there is no one to take my place as a race director for the New Years Double. There are too many details to pass along and there's too much work to do if I'm sidelined for a short time. And that's if the surgery went well - what would happen if the surgery didn't go that well for my recovery time?
So January 5th I'll have sinus surgery, putting it off a whole month because of this race. I'd like to say the decision was easy - but I'll be honest, it wasn't. In the meantime, more drugs to manage it until we can get me in the operating room. And now I've come down with a cold - which wouldn't normally knock me on my butt, but when you can't breathe through your face and your sinuses are already full and painful, it's completely sidelined me.
A friend who is a race director says runners don't care. They don't want to know what's behind-the-scenes, they just want to go race. And they don't know or care that there are these moments as a race director where you have to choose... Me or Them. And race directors typically choose THEM. I co-directed a 4,000 person half marathon, and was at a race site for 8 hours, just 2 weeks after my first daughter was born. We want people to have a good experience.
And for all this, most of us are NOT doing this as a business. And it's funny because I'm coming to realize over the years the biggest incorrect assumptions runners have made...
a) Someone is getting rich off of every race that's over 200 people or an entry fee over $20,
b) There's a large race committee behind every race who all feel equally accountable and will give up their sleep and personal health
c) That the standards for all races should be the same
A race director friend had someone come up and tell her I must be making so much money off the New Years Double because they multiplied the half marathon current entry fee times the sold out entries. So first you aren't even taking into account 5Kers in the mix, coupon codes, early registration fees. But the part most runners have no idea is that every little piece of a race costs more than you will every think.
For the New Years Double...
- Those little plastic pieces with your race number on it that you pin to yourself and many throw away after? $600.
- Those silver heat-retaining thin metallic-y blankets a half marathoner or full marathoner will get thrown over them at the finish line? $1000.
- Just two tents at the race site? $3,000.
And why would you expect the same of a small charity event that you expect from a national conglomerate that has a staff of 40 producing a near-similar event in 20 different venues each year? That constantly surprises me.
But these are the days, when I feel awful and sick, that you wonder why you don't raise the entry fee $15 per person, sacrifice quality to make it 4000 runners instead of 2000 on a 12 foot wide trail, and get paid big bucks for the sacrifice. Especially when everyone already thinks you're rolling in dough from working 1,000 hours, and intense hours near race day, working on an event anyway. When 4% of the runners will hate anything you do, because that's just their own unhappiness or them imposing their own expectations on you. When something's going to go wrong behind-the-scenes race week that will stress you to the point that hair falls out - it happens with every single race. But my heart, and my gut, know that's not the intention. I do this because it's my passion, it's my give-back to the sport I love, it's worth every smile at the finish line.
And as I blow my nose and work with the portalet guy this morning on set-up/teardown hours and exact potty locations, it's that visualization of happy runners achieving their goals that keeps me pushing forward.
Update: As someone pointed out, yes, I chose to start volunteering and hten race directing. But as with anything, some days still suck. Why should I talk only about the fun awesome days in this "Dear Diary" that is my blog?