QYRC Girls Run ING Hartford 1/2 Marathon

The girls and their coach after the ING Half Marathon!Hi Team,
This past weekend marked an incredible achievement for a few members of our team!  Jordyn Woodland, Leah Randolph, Hannah Matsis, Eden Law and Sophia Randolph successfully completed the Hartford Half Marathon alongside 6,000 other runners!! These girls achieved something many adults work would love to say they achieved, and they did it so easily!!!

It was a very special day for me as a coach. I have run many half marathons and marathons, but this one was very special. It was special because I KNOW that these girls will be lifelong runners, and that they will run many more races throughout the course of their lives. However, they will always remember their first half marathon, what it felt like to stand at the starting line with all those people, listening to the music, hearing the encouragement from the crowds and how it felt to run under the arch at Bushnell Park towards the finish line. My gift was that I was fortunate enough to be part of that with them. When they think back on that day, they will always remember who was there with them. Their parents, friends, Coach (Mr. Ywarsky,) came to cheer them on, and me.  From my experience, being able to share these experiences with people are what make it all the more special. Thank you so much to  the parents and friends who came to cheer us on, it meant so much to us.

The girls had made the decision prior to the race to stay together, and to work together to reach their goal. Jordyn, Leah and Hannah had set their goal for the race to finish in under 2 hours, which is an ambitious time even for experienced runners.  We worked really hard together, keeping them on pace, and when I looked at my watch and knew that they were going to achieve their time, I cannot tell you how happy I was for them–it was a bit emotional for me!!

All five team runners did an amazing job!! In the 10-14 age group, Jordyn came in 2nd, Leah 3rd, Hannah 4th, Eden 10th and Sophia 13th. They all finished strong, sprinting to the finish line and were incredibly happy when they received their medals and realized what they had accomplished.

As we were running the race, several older runners were amazed at how young the girls were and how strong they looked. The reason they were so successful was that they love to run, and they were committed to their training all summer and that made all the difference. They believed in themselves and stuck to their training plan and dug deep on the day.  I am so proud of them!!!

I hope that these girls, and many of you, will continue to dream big and never be afraid to try something new. It is when we step out of our comfort zone that we grow. 🙂



Greetings from London Olympics

Greetings from London!!!!,
I am writing to you while I am still on my  trip as I wanted to give you all a heads up on what I am planning for the coming week.
First of all, I have to tell all of you how fantastic my trip has been! Being at the Olympics has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life. Funny enough, the best event for me was the one that was actually free to go to, the Olympic Marathon. We got up really early that day and made our way up to what is called the Embankment, it is right on the River  Thames. We got a front row place right along the side of the route and we stood with another American guy and a few Irish people and we cheered our heads off as my favorite runners, Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan ran past us 6 times!! The course was set up to be very spectator friendly, it was a 3 loop course .We were so close to them you wouldn’t believe it!! At one point, I shouted to Kara “Come on Kara, you’ve got this ” and she looked at me!!! I was coaching Kara Goucher !!!! 🙂  It was amazing.  The whole trip was totally fabulous and I have many photos to share when I am back.   I am still in at the moment England at my in-laws house having a bit of a rest before I head back home on Sunday.

I can’t wait to see all of you!!!!

Coach Sue

Our Team’s First Triathlon!!

We did it! Look at those medals!

We did it!

Dear Team,

Someone recently gave me a card that said, “There are two ways to journey through life, you can march or you can dance.” Today our team danced. All of you stepped out of your comfort zones and completed something that many of you weren’t sure you could do, and now you are triathletes!!!
As a coach there many reasons we are proud of our team. Sometimes it is because they get a great result and sometimes it is for other reasons even bigger than that. Today my daughter Erin witnessed our team for the first time. Erin is not very athletic, but she wanted to come to cheer her brother on in his first triathlon (he is so proud of himself, I told him he has to wear his medal all week!). When we got back in the car she asked me if I thought she could do a triathlon. I was so shocked by that because she never before ever wanted to do anything like this. I asked her why she asked that, what made her want to do one? Her response was that she loved the way the team cheered for each other and supported each other, it didn’t matter who won or did better than the others, they just had fun. I explained to her that this is what sport brings to our lives, this is what I have been trying to tell her and that I have hopefully shared with my team. Sport brings people together. Unless you are fortunate enough to be an elite athlete in your life, this is the most important thing you will gain from sport other than a healthy body–you will receive friendship and fun. I’m not sure if many of you would have tried to accomplish what you did today if it wasn’t for the fact that you did it together. One of the most amazing things about going to the Olympics in London in a few weeks is that I will be part of a sporting event that brings the entire world together. How amazing is that?????
Today you all represented your little corner of Connecticut in an awesome way and I couldn’t be prouder. What I noticed today is that there were no other teams there from what I could see, only individual athletes.  I think we are pioneers in the youth triathlon groups in CT!!!! A great representation of the spirit of our team is a story that happened today at the triathlon. Katie Boshka, a.ka. Baby Boshka, was riding her bike in the bike segment when her shoelace got stuck in the chain of her bike. She had to stop, and when she did she noticed that there wasn’t an adult around to help her. Instead of giving up and not finishing the race she laid down in the road and untied the lace, got it out of the chain and laced it back up and got on her bike and finished the race. That is what we are about! Katie didn’t care that her time wasn’t going to be as good, she just wanted to finish the race. Great job Katie!!!
If you would like to check out the results they should be posted on coolrunning.com tonight. I am so impressed with everyone’s performance, I don’t want to single anyone out, you all performed beyond my expectations. Now you must take the experience today and learn from it and you will know how to better prepare for the next triathlon or race you do. I look forward to continuing on that journey with you. 🙂
Enjoy a bit of relaxing time now. In the next day or so I am going to forward everyone a running schedule to follow to keep you conditioned until I am back from the Olympics when we will start our cross country prep camp on August 14th. Please try to follow it the best you can so that you are able to maintain your level of conditioning during my time away from you. Get together and train together, help each other to stay committed to it.
I never imagined back in November when I began this journey with all of you where it would take us or how much fun we would have. Thank you so much to all of you for making this such an amazing team of athletes and parents.
When I am doing my own triathlon next weekend in Nantucket, I will be thinking of all of you when I am doing the ocean swim (which I don’t like) and I will dig deep. Thank you for inspiring me!!!
Love to you all,
Coach Sue

About Coach Sue

A picture with the girls and their coach at the track!

A picture of Coach and her girls!

My name is Coach Sue McDowell. Why is it that we sometimes don’t discover what our true passion is in life until we are so much older?  Although I was an elementary school teacher for 15 years in London, England, coaching is my true passion–it is what I really love.  I gained my love of running in high school cross country.  I was a decent runner…not anything spectacular, but I LOVED it.  I didn’t run in college other than recreationally, but I still entered races for fun and ran with friends when I could.  When I graduated from college I went to live in London, England, where I began my teaching career.  Running was not as popular in England as it was here in the States at the time, so my running was a bit inconsistent. When I had my daughter Erin I came home to the States for my baby shower and brought back to England my first baby jogger stroller!! People in England had never seen one of these, and I was an instant celebrity often mistaken for Madonna and others.  It was only eight years ago when I returned to the States that I really started training seriously again.  As my running improved and I trained with other women, I realized that one of my strengths was my ability to motivate others. I’ve always had a lot of discipline and when I decide to do something, I just do it. This has helped me tremendously in my coaching. I expect the same level of commitment from my runners as I do myself.  After taking part in many races from marathons to half marathons and triathlons, I decided that I enjoyed seeing other people reach their goals as much as I enjoyed reaching my own goals. This is when I decided to take a coaching course and start coaching kids. I began by starting “Girl Power”, a girl’s program at Woodstock Middle School that combined running with training in empowerment and self-actualization. I ran that program for three years before deciding to try my hand at creating my own running club.  I found that although there were many running clubs for adults, there were not any for young runners in our area.  I had been thinking about doing something like this for some time and decided to give it a go.  I’m so glad I did because it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.  The joy I get from working with my team is greater than any job I have ever had.  I hope to be able to enjoy many more years with them watching them grow as young people and lifelong runners .The most important thing I tell my runners all the time is that running is one of the few sports that truly anyone can become good at.  It is a pure and direct correlation between how much effort you put in and the results you get out. Isn’t that a good life lesson as well?