Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Race that Never Happened

Have you ever run a free race?

Well, I haven't either! But let me tell about the one I signed up for...

The Twin Cities area Lululemons posted a link on their Facebook, and handed information out in their stores about a a race they were going to host, and it was going to be FREE!! Now, we all know that Lululemon never gives anything away for free, so my sister and I were pretty excited about the idea!

Right away the only info that was given, was a link to register, that the race was 13k and it would be in St. Paul. They only had 1000 spots for runners so my sister and I signed up as soon as we heard about it! It fit perfectly into our training plans, and it was FREE! So, why not, right?

Let me tell you WHY NOT!!

First, when scouting races to run, make sure that the company hosting the race has a clear idea of what the race is going to look like. My sister attended a special "informational" event hosted at the Lululemon store. She had many questions about the race itself, such as: what is the course, would there be water stops, and/or porta-potties along the course, would the race be timed? None of her questions could be answered by the Lululemon staff. They were however, very helpful in helping her pick out the perfect outfit for the occasion!!

Second, when registering for a race, make sure that that the critical information is given to you! Packet pick-up is a great time for race directors to hand out maps, and give information to the racers. The Lululemon packet pick-up was simply ridiculous! My sister just walked in the store, got her bib (and mine!) without being asked for an ID, asked a few questions (that again, no one could answer) and was pointed in the direction of the clothing!!

The main question you need to have answered when running a race is: where is the starting line!

No address was ever given, and this was probably the most frustrating part of this "race that never happened"! We seriously drove around St. Paul for an hour and a half looking for the starting line!! It was a beautiful fall morning, and we did get a nice tour of our state capitol, including the Capitol Building, the St. Paul Cathedral, the beautiful homes on Summit Ave, and just about ever college campus in the St. Paul area! I also was subjected to my sister's road rage, as she became frustrated with my map reading skills and tried to give me whiplash!!! I can tell you that it was an really "fun" time!!

About 30 minutes before the start of the "race", we finally found the starting line, only to be further discouraged by the fact that the only parking available in a 3-mile radius was "permit parking only"!

Translation: BIG FINES!!

There was simply no where to park! And we did not think that paying a fine, or having the car towed would be a great way to end this race!! Let alone, having to walk "X" amount of extra miles to the actual starting line!

We drove around the neighborhood for about 10 more minutes, trying to find a parking spot, and watching the all the Lululemon clade ladies (in full make-up!!) head to the starting line!

Not once did we see a porta-potty or a water stop! We were beyond frustrated, and didn't have a great feel for this "race" as we made one more loop to find a parking spot!

Coming up empty-handed, we decided to just give up and head home! Race Fail!

Our blood pressure was the only thing that got a workout today!

I guess you get what you pay for!! From here on out, I'm never going to complain about race fees!! :)

Have you ever had a RACE FAIL??

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Women Rock 10k Race Recap

The past couple of weeks have gotten away from me! With school starting this week, and teacher workshop last week, I have felt very out of touch with my social media friends, and with my training!!

Summer came to Minnesota a little late! Last week we suffered with temps in the upper 90's and humidity levels in the upper 70's! It was brutal, and what made it even harder to bear, was the start of teacher workshop week, which meant I would be working at a school building that had no air conditioning! It was my own personal hell!! I was so exhausted from fighting the heat, that I did not run even once!!

Not running was really strange, after coming off of a 30 mile week, just the week before! As much as I wanted to get out there and actually run, the heat and the humidity was just too much for me! I wasn't worried too much because on Saturday I ran the Team Ortho Women Rock 10k, and I was okay with doing some tapering, but the heat scared me, and I could not drink enough water to keep hydrated!

I ended the week feeling really nervous about the race, it was going to be hot and humid, and I was beyond sick of the heat!!

I didn't have to work on Friday, and so Ryan and I took the day to head up to Minneapolis to do some shopping, and go to packet pick up!

The venue where packet pick up was held, was not air conditioned and it was terrible!! I was dripping with sweat from the minute I stepped inside the expo! Yuck!

We quickly picked up my packet, and took a spin around the expo. I probably would have stayed longer, had it not been so hot, but I just couldn't take it, and we left after picking up my bib, timing chip and post-party wristband, without buying anything. :(

We spent the rest of the afternoon just cruising around MSP, and ended with a simple dinner at Outback Steakhouse (not my choice).

It was an early morning wake-up call that had us spend the night at our favorite MSP hotel: the Westin. My sister, who was running her very first race, picked us up before 6am, and we were off to St. Paul for the race!

Parking was a breeze, thanks to our early departure, and we arrived at the racer's village about an hour before gun time.

That was good, because it was CROWDED!!! And we had to figure out how to get Ryan his spectator pass for the post-race party. My sister had purchased it online, with her registration, and had not received the pass when she picked up her packet. We talked to about 5 volunteers, and walked back and forth between different areas of the racer's village before getting a 1/2 assed answer: Pick it up when you enter the party.

I have run a lot of Team Ortho Races, and this was by far the least organized race! It felt to me, like they needed a couple of more hours to get things set up before the runners arrived. Nothing seemed to be ready! When we got to the start line, they were still building the finish line, there was no music or announcer (which they usually have at Team Ortho Races!). It was really weird.

My sister and I jumped into the 9 minute/mile corral and waited for the start. It was a sea of pinks and purples! Women of all shapes and sizes were getting ready to run, what was going to be a very sweaty race! The humidity was already in the 70's and the temp was climbing ... it was only 7am!!

About 3 minutes before the start of the race, the announcer arrived (he was sick?!), and we were all told to move toward the starting line. Anne and I ended up about 10 people from the actual starting line! Closest to the front I have ever been! Most of the women had lined up in the 12-15 minute mile pacing areas, so we were out front!

The gun went off and so did my sister!! She looked back at me and yelled, "Have a great race!!" and she was off!! Um.....?!?!

The first mile proved that this was going to be a hilly race!! We headed uphill pretty much for the entire first mile!! At about .75 miles, my stomach acted up!! Grrr! Luckily there were some potties at mile 1 and I made a pitstop (10 minutes!?!?!). I had been suffering from stomach issues all week, all of those terrible stomach problems that I suffered from two years ago had come back, full force!! Still this week, I am suffering, and barely eating, because I cant keep anything down. So, I knew it may happen during the race, I was just really hoping it wouldn't!! At very least, it was a fresh potty and I was the first person to use it!!

So, there went 10 minutes of my race --- no PR for me!!

Mile 2 was again hills, up and down and up again!! I was getting frustrated, because, I knew I would have to see these hills again after the turn around!!

Close to mile 3, I saw Anne on the other side of the road, she had made it to the turn around and was headed back! My side of the road was climbing another grueling hill (seriously!!! It was a long one!!), and my sister went CRAZY!!!! She started shouting at me, "Make that hill your bitch!! You got this!! Kill that hill!!" People around me were laughing, and looking around at who she was shouting at..... I just put my head down and kept going!!

The heat was really getting to me, I was upset about my stomach and the loss of 10 minutes, I needed water, and was hoping that at the turn around there would be a water stop. No luck!! (I need to think about carrying my own water!).

It wasn't until mile 4 that I got some water, and some power-ade (something I NEVER drink because it makes my stomach crawl!!), and finally felt like I could finish the race.

The hills hit again, and mile 5 was a crazy uphill climb!! I was fading fast! It was so freaking hot and humid!!

I took a few walk breaks, calmed myself down, and reminded myself that I had run way further than this just a week before and it was great! At this point the 5k course joined the 10k course and it got crowded! Something that it really had not been since the start of the race! This was actually the first (BIG) race that everyone was very considerate on the course and walkers actually stayed to the right!! It was very pleasant!!

I powered to the end, where Ryan and my sister were waiting for me. My sister thought I was injured, because of the pained look on my face! Luckily for me she did not take a picture!! They both were covered in sweat and ready to move from the finish line!

I was so happy to be done! I wasn't however happy with my time : 1 hour 19 minutes!!! Not terrible considering how hot it was, how many hills there were and how sick I felt, but I would have been much happier with 1 hour 9 minutes.....or less?!?

My sister actually finished in 1 hour 6 minutes. So, had it not been for the potty stop, I could have been close to her!!

The finish line was a complete mess!! It was over crowded! First they had runners pick up their necklaces from the shirtless firemen, then get some water. It took me about 8 minutes to get to the water! I thought I was going to die!! Then they had food bags, and Kind Bars, and the lines were awful!!

I finally made it to a clearing and got out of the finish corral, I was dripping wet, and overheated!

We made our way to the after party, to drink some bubbly, and pick up my series medal. It was total madness!! No one had any idea what was going on, where we were supposed to enter, or where to pick up Ryan's spectator pass. After standing in a couple more lines (which are not fun after a run!!), we got in, picked up my medal, got our champagne flutes of ginger ale (the line for champagne was too long!!) we turned around and left!!

On our way out, we noticed that they were selling medals to the non-series finishers, and my sister, who is anti-medal ("I don't need a medal to know I finished!!") went crazy!! She needed a medal!!!! I just laughed and we stood in yet another line to get her medal!

She was so proud!! :)

I think I have created a monster!! -- she wants to run ALL the races now!!!

Overall this was my least favorite Team Ortho Race, as it just seemed unorganized from beginning to start. The heat, humidity and hills did not help me to enjoy this race.

Team Ortho said this race would have cheer squads, fun signage, and music on the course, none of this did I see. It was a disappointment. Not that I need these things for a race, but when promised, why not deliver?!?

I did, as always, love the women only race format, I think it is so great to have a course w/o men, it completely changes the feel of the race!

Next up for me, the Twin K 13k sponsored by Lululemon!!

What is your next race??