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What’s my job like?

So I get a ton of emails about my job. I posted a while back, when I first started about my new position with a race management company and what I thought my job would entail. Now, I seriously love, love, love my job and I know it’s perfect for me and who I am and where I am in my life at the moment. So with that being said, my job is also a lot different than I expected. I get a lot of emails about it so I thought it would be an interesting blog post.

I also want to be honest with everyone. I work A LOT. Many people don’t really realize how much goes into an putting on event of any magnitude and when you throw a few up our alley, there’s a lot that goes into each event. We don’t only do the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon, but also manage the OC Marathon, the Dana Point Turkey Trot and the LA County Half Marathon. We also do other events like the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade, the Pacific Open Water Challenges, and the OC Fair 5ks as well. There are always a million things to take care of and the marketing of all these events take up most of my time.

I do everything involved with graphic design and marketing. That means all ads, start finish line banners, t-shirt designs and medal designs, bib designs, map designs, scaffolding covers, flags, finish line tape, official program design and development. I totally didn’t realize that ALL this stuff needed to be designed and that there was someone who did this all. There’s always SO much to do. Recently we launched our new website which was taking up a huge part of my life as I changed out all the content to our new system. I love the new look and the compliments that we’ve gotten on it thus far make me glow daily.

Also, we get a lot of great feedback, but at the same time, when you run a race where there is a 1,000 people it’s a lot different than planning for 25,000. You can’t offer them the same stuff for 25,000 because it’s SO much stuff. The street closures, the fencing, the gates, the openings and closing of the fencing, the sheer amount of Portapotties! I used to show up at races at 6:30 am and complain about how early it was. Now I’m the one up at 3 am putting all said stuff together so that it’s ready at 6:30 am when people start arriving. It’s those moments though when the gun goes off and everyone is off and running, literally that make that 3 am wake up call worth it. I loved working the OC Fair 5k and being in charge of handing out the medals and seeing how happy everyone was!

I never though that real people had to do that for some reason. I also didn’t realize that the people at the expos promoting different races are actually part of the race. I work a ton of expos now, which isn’t bad but that means I don’t get a weekend which is another reason why I think my running has taken a back seat. The one good thing about expos is that I get to meet a lot of new cool readers and friends! The bad part is I can’t just hang out and I have to work and answer questions as well.

One of the hardest parts of my job that I realized is that I have really struggled with running once I started working here. Running used to be something where I could almost ‘step out of my every day life’ and run to clear my head and enjoy my time. Now when I’m running I think about work and how to implement all these different things. I also think that since we talk about running 99% of the time at the office, it’s different when I think about running now. It’s still something I love to do but sometimes it’s more tiring than before!

I work roughly about 60 hours a week. I also work in an office environment 40 hours a week. Out of the 30 weekends I’ve worked here, I’ve worked 20 of them. That means I will work 15-17 days in a row sometimes. The event management business is a very small world and it’s very easy to make people upset without realizing it. I do all the marketing and advertising, so I know I see a different side since I’m not a ‘race director,’ but I do work closely with them and see their jobs as well. Now as Long Beach comes closer and closer though and starting to see our efforts paying off it’s getting more and more exciting! Once I get ads and hear feedback it’s interesting to know that people are excited about the race.

Sometimes it’s hard because you work so hard to make an awesome design or ad or race or event and then people just tear it to shreds. We get complaints constantly about the beach path in our race, the hills we have, the last half of our course, when in reality, there is no where else to go for the first part of the race that would make it scenic and pretty, the highest elevation change we have are 82 and 190 feet and the last half of our course really can’t go other places. Sometimes it’s hard to hear so much criticism to something that you’ve poured your heart into. I have realized that I can’t take these things personal and am working on that a lot to not get offended by the emails and how people react to different things. I know that’s something I have to work on personally since I do take things personal, it’s getting better though.

Dealing with the ‘masses’ as many call it is interesting too. There’s a lot of people to please and that takes money, if you don’t have sponsorships, you don’t have money. Its hard to please so many people with so many different tastes sometimes. Sometimes I think it’s because it’s all via email so people don’t have to talk to us face to face, or maybe don’t realize that it’s a person on the other side of the email. It’s a tough business when it comes down to it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. It’s just a lot going on all at once. I also think that the compliments we receive really stick with me more than the complaints. The people who compliment us really go out of their way to do so and we ALL appreciate it those.

There are awesome moments that really make me so happy that I work here, like the day I got our medal proofs and I still look at them every day and love them more and more, but there is a ton of paperwork, office work and just sitting behind a desk answering a billion emails too. I love the fast paced, crazy hours and tons of work that it is, and that’s my personality. Those awesome moments overshadow the complaints we get and when I find someone who BQ’ed at our race or has a great story, I love the feeling it gives me. It does have SO many perks, which I love.

As for getting a job, just apply wherever you can doing event management or work in the event management field. It is about event management, and so that background is mostly where we pull participants from. I know there are a lot of different companies out there and be open to change. I actually got my job through working and writing in my blog and my background in marketing and social media for a year and a half, so that was really helpful when I started.

Anyways, I hope this wasn’t a downer and I hope everyone does know that I love my job and all the crazy stuff that goes along with it.


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  • Reply Naomi

    i work on the corporate side of marketing and event manage so i know how many little details there that need to be attended to. its hard work and extremely stressful, but you have the right attitude and from what i’ve seen, do an amazing job!

    September 15, 2010 at 12:03 pm
  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair

    I think your job sounds great! I work in marketing/communications/social media right now but not so much the event management side. I can see how that would be super stressful though. We did a little bit of event management back in June/July and it was CRAZY stressful and busy!

    Very cool that you work for a running company but I can totally see how that would make it hard to focus on your OWN running and training goals!

    Thanks for sharing :-)

    September 15, 2010 at 12:09 pm
  • Reply Jess

    This was such a cool post to read. I love hearing about how race organization works from the organizer’s side of things. It’s weird to think the medal I wear around my neck probably went through various stages of proofs and approvals.

    I’m in communications/social media/marketing too and I’ve helped plan some events, but nothing to the scale of what you’re talking about. That is a lot of hours!

    September 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm
  • Reply Bill

    Reading this, it didn’t sound like a “downer,” so don’t apologize. It sounds like you love your job and you’re just sharing all that goes into it. Hopefully, people read it and think twice before complaining about something THEY want, or at least say/write it in a better tone. Glad you love your job!

    September 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm
  • Reply Madison

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been wondering about your new job as well but did not want to intrude into your life. It sounds crazy to me to work a 60 hour week but you are managing it very well. I just wanted to compliment you on all your hard work. Ever since you came on board with ICR, I’ve noticed so many dramatic changes and those changes do not work themselves. Long Beach Marathon must be the most tweet about race ever. I love that you share so much info about the design of stuff on twitter. It is really refreshing for a race to be so interactive and solicit opinions. Sorry for the long comment but I think you are doing a fab job. Not everyone is ever going to be happy with everything. I think people just don’t realize all the work that goes into putting these events together. If they knew, perhaps they would not bitch so much. You are very good at what you do and it shows! Keep it up!

    September 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm
  • Reply Nobel4Lit (A Case of the Runs)

    That was actually really interesting to read about! For a short time, I thought about starting a running event in my hometown but nearly passed out when I saw how much work it woulld be.

    And geez, why are people complaining about Long Beach? I’ve run that race a few times and think it’s one of the better ones. I mean, it’s Long-Beach-y, and if people don’t like it, they can choose another destination. The only reason I’ve taken a break from the race is because I did it 3x in a row and don’t like to run races that I “know” too well.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm
  • Reply Carolina Girl

    My job is similar and certain times of the year the WORK is INSANE but the end result is always worth it.

    Your job sounds awesome! And you are a perfect fit for it.

    September 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm
  • Reply RunNes

    Gr8 post!! I know you are very ambitious , very determined and somehow perfectionist…be careful that your job wont take over your life…you end up with a burnout…take care of yourself and keep up the good work ;)

    September 15, 2010 at 1:25 pm
  • Reply Morgan

    After helping put together a Ragnar supported event back in June I now have a whole new respect for Race Directors and what it takes to put on any event whether its a 5k Fun Run, Marathon or beyond. Thanks for doing what you do and putting your heart into something we all love!

    September 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm
  • Reply Alisa

    I’ve done a few events for my job too, nothing on your scale but it’s stressful and way too easy to make someone unhappy.

    I really liked this post. I was super curious about your new job. Sounds like the perfect fit for you right now.

    September 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm
  • Reply The Laminator

    Hey! Sorry, I’ve been outta touch lately but this was a very insightful post!

    I know you’ve been busy and know that you love your job very very much and your passion for both running and advertising is very evident to me at least. My point is just not to get so overwhelmed with what you do that you forget or neglect what is important to YOU!

    Workaholics need a life too! Haha! Take care D!

    September 15, 2010 at 2:45 pm
  • Reply Aj

    …I got my internet back! Yay! Your job sounds awesome and stressful and fun and tiring all at once. But your heart is in it, and as someone who works in a job that is not all glamor and I had to work my tail off to get here but is what I love, I know how rewarding it can be.

    I have to share that OC was our first half and it was absolutely hands down the best race we have ever run. I know you probably weren’t working there yet, but major major props to your company. I had a HUGE grin on my face the entire time I was running…and I’m usually totally histrionic at races. I soooo want to run it 2011 but I don’t think we would have the funds for a hotel (see above about not having a glamorous job). Otherwise, we’d have to get up at 3 AM with you to get there in time. Bah long comment!

    September 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm
  • Reply The Waspy Redhead

    Thanks for sharing a little bit about your job! It sounds like a lot of work, and its true that most people don’t really realize the amount of work that goes into executing special events. Logistics are a mofo. I’ve worked in event planning in the past, and I quickly learned that I can’t do it forever. I just get too worn down.

    Now I’m working in social media marketing, and the occasional event is thrown in there. Loving it.

    I’m so happy you enjoy what you do – I think that if you like what you do, you are willing to work 300% harder and longer.

    September 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm
  • Reply Nicole

    Sounds like the best job in the whole wide world! Working weekends or not, it sounds fun and sometimes fun is what you need!!! Love and miss you! Cant WAIT for LB…. i will drop compliments like its HOT! :)

    September 15, 2010 at 4:26 pm
  • Reply Page

    Everybody’s working for the weeeeeekend! No, no, I kid. I can’t imagine the feeling you’ll have once the race is complete! Ahhh, the smell of sweet success!!

    September 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm
  • Reply ilovesteaks

    26.2 miles is 26.2 miles. Scenic or ugly, hilly or flat, I love them all! Even though I’ve ran some of my worse marathons at LB, it is still one of my favorite races. I’ve seen the makeover you’ve done with the race and I really wish I was running LB this year. Keep up the great work! I’ll be back!

    September 15, 2010 at 9:57 pm
  • Reply jenelle hatzung

    thanks for sharing! do you have a formal training in advertising/marketing? Do you have formal training in graphic design? I am looking to get into that as I do the marketing for my current job, but I want to get info about formal training in graphic desgin.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm
  • Reply Mae

    I didn’t think it was a downer. I thought it was realistic and interesting to hear how the other end of the things were.

    I think it’s pretty cool that your employer let you continue your blog and online presence. Some employers are very old school out there and wouldn’t let their employees continue with such activities.

    September 16, 2010 at 1:32 am
  • Reply Jena

    Great post! I don’t think you were a downer at all, just very honest about your position!

    I also take things very personally- I work in the medical field and when peopel are sick, they get mean. It took me a while to realize it is not “me” they are angry with. They are just mad about the situation they are in, or whatever the case may be. It took many tears, and talks from my previous boss to learn that it wasn’t “me”, and that I have to learn to not take things personally – Otherwise, I will just shrivel up and die inside.

    Good luck with the upcoming races!

    September 16, 2010 at 6:49 am
  • Reply Vera

    Thanks for sharing all of this Danica. I know there is so much “behind the scenes” work that goes into these races and I’m glad to know you’re in there!!

    September 16, 2010 at 9:07 am
  • Reply joerunfordom

    Danica – this is such a great snapshot into your amazingly busy life – you truly are remarkable. Sounds like even though the hours are tough and they can get in the way of things you really enjoy doing – you are very happy. So great to hear.

    Very well timed as we are taking our first steps in organizing a small Memorial 5K for Dom next summer in Pittsburgh – (I hope someday it is not so small!).

    Thanks for all you do and a special thanks from Landry – those shoes you sent along are awesome!

    Best from Austin, J

    September 16, 2010 at 9:46 am
  • Reply Missy

    Your job actually sounds pretty cool! I’m envious, I like my job but I’m not sure it’s something I’d dedicate more than 40 hours a week on lol Hopefully one day I will find a job that I love as much as you love your job.

    September 17, 2010 at 8:10 am
  • Reply Lauren

    Your job sounds amazing! I work in event planning, so I empathize with how demanding the schedules and hours are.

    I would LOVE to get your feedback on how to get into running, and stick with it. I ran 3 miles per day throughout high school and the beginning of college (late 20s now) but a severe case on mono pretty much ruined me freshman year. I have tried to get back into it a few times with Couch to 5K, but I always quit at week 2. Any tips would be appreciated!

    September 17, 2010 at 7:54 pm
  • Reply Katie D from Run Little Legs

    This was really great to hear about your job! Thank you for giving your readers some insight into everything! I, too, didn’t realize that there were people behind the event. As a runner, you don’t always think about how the course was set up, who did it, where the signs came from, how the streets got closed, etc. It really is a lot of work! I’m glad you love what you do.

    September 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm
  • Reply One YEAR! | Chic Runner

    […] emails I get much more laughable. If you want to know more about my job, you can find another post here that I did on […]

    February 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm
  • Reply Katherine: Unemploeyed

    omg this sounds like the best job ever; are you hiring?

    April 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm
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