Let's start this post on a happy note. This wonderful picture came from one of my students. It really made me smile, especially since he told me that he made it at home.
Though it doesn't make a lick of sense (I will mustache you a question), it is so adorable and I love that he created the letters into little men with mustaches!
Now, onto my day:
It started out as a happy Saturday for me. That changed quickly... I am being very dramatic...I know. It really isn't cause for such dramatics. My day has since gotten better, and this day will not go down in history as particularly bad. But this race will!
I was SO excited for this 5K. This was the first official one of the year. As you may recall, one of my New Years Resolutions was to run a race every month for the year. I had to settle for virtual 5Ks for the months of January and February. So you can imagine my excitement for this one; the real deal. I have run many, MANY races before, especially 5ks, so it really wasn't that big a deal that I was running one this weekend. But, I like to look at all of my races as personal accomplishments, no matter how slow r fast I complete them. It's about proving to myself what my body can handle. It's about the atmosphere, the cheers, the excitement. It's not really about the course, the winnings, the free loot. But that certainly doesn't hurt!
Today's race was a real bummer. While I still proved what I am capable of to myself, I did not find the "experience" to be enjoyable.
I was so optimistic when I woke up this morning! I woke up with enough time to eat a good, hearty, race-appropriate breakfast (my go-to breakfast? steel-cut oats, blueberries, and flax seed. Mmmmm...), allowed myself time to check my email, and ensure I knew where to park, and got myself dressed in my racing best. It was a windy day, but not too cold for an outdoor run (40 degrees). I wore a long sleeved technical-tee, shorts, and my Newtons! Even though I really shouldn't care about the loot I receive at the finish, I was eager to see the running gloves, hat, and long-sleeved tech-tee promoting the race. I knew the race was going to be small -- it's a local race, just down the street from my house. Last year the race topped out at 300 runners, so I wasn't expecting a huge expo, or even really any freebies from sponsors.
I was pleased to find that, when I arrived, there were a couple of booths offering some freebies (VitaCoco and a MuscleMilk type beverage). I made a mental note to stop there after the race to refuel. I arrived inside the school cafeteria, where the race sign up and registration was taking place. I already registered on Active, so I walked right through to the pre-registered table. The whole registration space was pretty disorganized, but I didn't look at that as a major fault. I was a little late, so I chocked it up to less helpers being present due to the diminished crowd. After not being able to find my last name for a couple of minutes, I was found on a separate page for those who registered on Active (with only 3 other names on this list, I wondered: there is another place to sign up for races?). No big deal. I retrieved my race bib, without further discussion from the race helpers (note: remember this later on) and headed on my way.
|A nice woman at the VitaCoco booth agreed to take a picture of a lone runner.|
At this point, I remembered, that since I pre-registered, I was to receive that loot I was talking about earlier. There were no signs posted and no one looked out of the ordinary, in terms of uniformed workers, so I just kind of meandered around, searching for a sign. I wanted to proudly display my race T-shirt, and use those gloves and hat for my Tough Mudder in June! Because I am no novice to New England races, I spotted the bright yellow Marathon Sports bags - a sign of a sponsor! I don't know how many times I have received a race T in one of those bags :)
There were a couple of young girls sitting on a cafeteria table, surrounded by these bags. I asked if these were the bags for the pre-registered runners. They looked at each other, said something I couldn't understand, and handed me a bag. This was not an unpleasant experience, just a confusing one. I opened the bag for a quick glimpse and saw the runner's gloves and a white T, along with some coupons. I happily jogged it back to my car before the race start. As I was headed down the street, I saw a group of runners heading up the start. I had a mild freak out (But, it's only 11:40!), and asked one of the other runners, who was NOT standing at the start, if this was the 10k start. He assured me that it was (even though they were supposed to have started at 11), and that I had time. A race official spoke about the race briefly into a microphone, explaining the route, and after-race lunch. It seemed more official than I had anticipated, so I was excited. They counted down from 30, and at 1, they were off!
|A pic of the race officials above the runners|
|A pic of the start (though it says Finish) of the 10k racers!|
I stayed a cheered while the wave of 10k-ers (I want to estimate about 100), ran past. After this, I quickly returned to my car to drop off my wallet, keys, and goodie bag. I jogged back to the start just as people were moving AWAY from the start! I ran faster, hoping I wasn't too late (But, it's only 11:45!). Someone who clearly recognized the "panic face" told me they were moving to the 5k start, which I didn't realize was different. No matter. I joined the group of walkers to the 5k start. We poked around for about 7 minutes, waiting for the start. This time, there was no microphone, no platform for the official, and no countdown (that I could hear). All of a sudden, I heard the word "go" and the mob started moving. Overall, the run was fine. It was windy, but not too hilly. In fact, it was pretty flat. However, the race course was very confusing. Since the 10k-ers started at a different spot, and was obviously running twice what we were, their course was a little different. Understandable. However, mid-race, some of the 10k-ers joined our course, then left, then rejoined. Whatever, as long as I knew where I was going, it was going to be fine. Until I saw runners splitting into two different directions - some taking a right, and others taking a left. There was another kid (not a "kid" maybe like 19) at the corner of these streets, pointing runners in different directions. Because I had my headphones in I couldn't hear who should go where. I pulled out my headphones and asked him to repeat. I was able to keep myself on pace and join my rightful group, but thought to myself - there has got to be a better system for managing that!
At the first mile, there was a sign indicating it as such, and a water station. I always grab water at these stations, as I don't run with a hydration pack. Plus, it's only a 5k, so I know I will survive! I continued on my way, keeping track of my pace, time, and distance on my Nike+ app. At around the 2 mile marker (according to my app), there was no sign, no station, no nothing. Oh well, I bet there will be one at the 3rd mile. Nope. I only had my Nike+ to guide me on when I should pick up the pace, but even that wasn't super helpful because at 3.16 miles, I was STILL not at the finish. I ended up just taking a screen shot of my app at 3.16 so I could at least gauge for myself my pace, if the app wasn't calibrated to the race course!
|Andrew W.K. pumps me up!|
As the finish line approach, I hauled rear! I sprinted past many runners (is that mean?) to the finish chute. I was so in the moment that I forgot to look at my time. Oh well - they will post the race results. As I filed through the chute, there were 2 young women guiding 10k-ers and 5k-ers in different lines. I got yelled at for not being in a single-file line (oops!), and was then prompted to give them my chip timer.
"Your chip timer. It was attached to the bottom of your bib."
Well, as you may have guessed, I didn't have it. That flap at the bottom of the race bib was supposed to stay on my person. I have NEVER had a race that actually requires that. There is always a bar code on the actual race bib itself that registers my run at the finish. So, out of habit, I tore the sucker off and put it in my goodie bag. Some swears were uttered to myself. I got REAL grumpy. I stormed off to get some free drinks. I tried a yucky one, that put me in an even grumpier mood (can you see I don't handle disappointment well), and stormed into the cafeteria in search of some water I could grab. THERE WAS NONE! I had to drink from a grimy middle-school water fountain! I'm not a diva - I actually didn't care that much, but it certainly added to my frustration. I walked back to the race in search of one of the racers I sprinted past. I found one and asked her for her time so I could at the very least, keep track of it myself. She didn't know, because she was too in it as well to check, but told her name so I could look online at the results to figure out where I fall in the runnings. I thanked her and jogged back to my car. I didn't feel like being around for the post-race lunch (which wasn't free anyway). I was certainly not being a very good sport, but I mean c'mon. I paid money for this event! I would have at least liked to have had my name on a list of results. It's like I didn't even run!
|I guess technically it is on the tag, but it always says that on race bibs and it never means anything!|
When I got to my car, I remembered my free loot. At least it wasn't all in vain! I opened the bag and looked at the gloves. They'll do. I searched the bag for the cap. There was none. Ugh. Then I pulled out my usually favorite piece of loot - the technical T. You can never have enough technical Ts, especially long sleeved if you are an outdoor winter runner! I put it up to my body and saw how ENORMOUS it was. I remember putting down small on the registration form. Hmm...? I looked at the tag and saw that it said XL. le sigh...
All in all, my race experience was less than enjoyable. I was really looking forward to this one. Needless to say, I will not be signing up for this one again. Or maybe I will...and this time I will at least be prepared for disappointment.
At least one good thing came from this race - as I am writing this negative review, I have a little friend hanging out with me, making me smile. Fred always knows how to cheer me up :)
On a more positive note, check out these fabulous giveaways, courtesy of some amazing bloggers!
Rachel at A-B-Seymour is hosting a great Blogiversary Giveaway! Check it out now and wish your a happy one!
Tori from Tori's Teacher Tips is hosting a HUGE 600 Follower Giveaway in honor of her HUGE accomplishment!
And now I am off to enjoy the rest of my Saturday. The fiancé and I are going to dinner with his high-school friend and his fiancé! Planning on turning this day around :)