Race Recap: Block the Sun 5k, smug asses & giant hands

Posted: 05/16/2013 in 5k, Race Recaps
Tags: ,

I mentioned 2 weeks ago that I had signed on to do a 5k as part of trying to get me focused on my running goals.  This was that one.  It’s hard to write about – not because the run went horribly or anything – but because I’m feeling kind of ‘meh’ about it. I needed to give myself a couple of days to decide whether to write about it at all and if so, how I wanted to write about it. Ugh.  But writing race recaps is one of those things I do, so…

Going into this race, I knew VERY LITTLE about it. I found it on a racing calendar website and everything I could extract from it I got from a flyer. It was through Glendale – which is a very pretty area of town – packet pickup was outside my regular running store – there would be an after-party at a nearby golf course – and I knew who would be timing/organizing it.

In the interest of full disclosure – I have done several races now with the company in charge of organizing/timing the race. Color me VERY unimpressed.  I could itemize issues I have seen/experienced, but in the interest of not being sued, I’ll keep them to myself.  So yeah,  I’m at the point with them that just seeing that company listed as the organizer makes me second-guess whether I want to do the run.  I have a bias here, and it’s not a good one. So you should probably take this recap with a grain of salt.

I decided to do this one because the time worked, there was an after-party, and looking at 2012 results – Maine & I both had a chance at age-group top 3 if we ran well. Maine would have a good shot at winning her age-group if she ran the way she has been lately. Of course, that depends on current registrations too, but it was something to look at. I’m a data girl. Registered.

Here’s what I know:

The registration was $30, which $25-30 is average around here these days for a 5k. When we got there, this fee included a string bag & a tiny tube of an SPF that it is unlikely I will use because I’m picky about sunscreens.  That is very little swag compared to most of the $30-5k’s around here.

There was very little accessible off-street parking and even less that wouldn’t get trapped in by the race. We ended up parking about half-a-mile away even getting there reasonably early.

There was a tiny race-map on the flyer copied from a Map-My-Run shot, but no link to it. To get the elevation profile, I had to recreate the map from the tiny little picture in my own Map-My-Run account. I don’t understand why they couldn’t link that on the website or make a bigger picture available w/an elevation profile. If they did, I couldn’t locate it easily.

The route itself was a good route. A couple decent hills. It looped back on itself in a wild figure-8 so they were able to be efficient using one water stop that you passed twice – without making you go over duplicate territory. I respect efficiency, so I liked that a lot. I do feel the water stop was under-manned with only 2 guys there – while other areas seemed to have more than enough volunteers wandering without task. But all in all, I was excited about the route. Also, I didn’t stop for water – I don’t for 5ks anymore unless I’m overheating.

Most of the volunteers along the course were not cheering. Some were. But most were not. This energy permeated a lot of the event for me. I’m sure they were very enthusiastic about this event the first 2 times they put it on, but the energy for this time was a bit lackluster.  As I was struggling with my race a bit, this lackluster energy was not helpful.

For my own race, when I finished I told Eric that this run just felt a lot harder than it should have for the prep work I did & the course. I never got into a zone with it and felt a lot of pressure in my chest/abs for a good bit of it. When I got into the final stretch, I had very little kick to give.  I’m attributing this to the fact that I came down with a sore throat Sunday evening – I was probably already getting sick on Saturday night. That being said, I shaved 26 seconds off of the 5k I did 3 weeks before. No PR, but closer. Also…

I ALWAYS make it a habit of starting my Garmin before I cross the first mat and stopping it after I cross the last mat. My Garmin isn’t a fancy version, so I have no problems with satellite delays. It acts as a stopwatch & interval timer for me.  Results are usually (this race being the one that makes me say usually, rather than always) over whatever the actual chip time is because I’m conscientious about making sure it’s always a little over. The last time I ran with this race company, my Garmin was dead-on the chip time they gave me.  Okay. This time, my Garmin was 7 seconds under the chip time they gave me. My Garmin gave me a better time.  Not sure how I feel about that.

There was a girl I was playing leap-frog with by 7-10 ft distances throughout most of the race. At the last significant hill (probably .5 miles from finish), she was in front of me by 10-ft. I decided her ass looked smug.

Yes, an ass can look smug.

Whether she meant it to look smug or not, I don’t know, but it was mocking me that she had passed me yet again. She had a mocking, smug, passing ass. I’m sure she’s a very nice person when you take in more than just her ass.

Hills being my thing, I put some energy into passing her and decided from that point forward that she was NOT passing me again. She didn’t. I kept up the passing effort through to the finish and on the last 10-15 ft to the finish, I checked over both of my shoulders to be sure that she wasn’t going to sprint past me and she was not in my sight anywhere near me.  Her chip time has her 2-seconds behind me. At 2-seconds behind me, I would’ve seen her.  She wasn’t there. Not sure what that means either.

When I crossed the finish line, I was handed a water bottle that had been sitting on a table in the sun. I reached into a nearby cooler – all the water bottles were on top of the ice, not in it. Reaching to the lowest point, my water was barely colder than warm. There were bananas.

At the last race we did with this organizer, the awards were given at the after-party. So, we moved our little band over to the after-party to see if Maine had taken her age group. They never announced the winners there. I guess they did it back at the race a mile away – no one told us how that was going to work.  However, they did announce the winners of the golf classic that had combined their after-party with this one.

There were no free drink or food tickets with the registration. Beers were $5 for 12oz, or $20 for an ‘unlimited’ wrist band.  Silent auction – got outbid on a Reds basket. 2 bands  –  both of which were pretty good.  A food truck with burgers & such that was affordably priced. All told, I think we put out another $40-45 at the after-party, which totals that up to a $70-75 night.  That seems a bit pricey for a 5k to me – I think at least 1 beer ticket should’ve been included with registration. Other races in the area do a $30-40 registration and include 2-4 drink tickets at the party.

Highlight of my night was getting to play soccer & catch with Maine’s little boy for a good part of the night.  Also, there was a volunteer from Boston that was a complete hoot to talk to at the silent auction area. She was an absolute riot! And any night out with my husband is a good night. Got a video of a giant dancing hand (see previous post).

Without a few changes, such as a swagged-up registration & greater clarity around the festivities, pretty sure I wouldn’t do this one again even if the route is pretty.  It was just a little too pricey for the experience and if the volunteers aren’t even into it…gotta wonder why they don’t find another fundraising activity that excites them more.  The point is to raise money for a cause (melanoma), not to put on a race, but if you’re going to put on a race to raise money – make it worth doing. Swag it up. Attract attention and the following will grow to raise the hell out of those funds.

Upcoming weekend is yoga teacher training, so no races then. I have a free entry to a race on the 25th if I want it, and considering another race for the morning of the 27th.


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