5 Things I do NOT miss about running races

July 2010A couple weekends ago, I saw a lot of posts from friends who ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon I've run this race before in its various earlier incarnations and I can tell you, most of the time it was too F-ing hot to run. One particular year added insult to heat because the Saturday we went to pick up our gear was perfect running weather but the Sunday was sweatyballs hot.

I miss running. I miss being able to throw on my running shoes and being 3 miles into a 5 mile run without even realizing it. I use to average 100 miles a month; now I'm luck if I can get that much done in a year. It's a vicious cycle: I don't have the endurance I use to have so it takes longer to run any decent* mileage. Since I am getting exhausted sooner, I don't bang out the mileage like I use to in my marathon training days. Since I'm discouraged about running, I don't run as much which means my endurance suffers. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

* Decent Mileage was always defined as worth the effort of changing into your running clothes!

On the other hand, there are some things I don't miss. Here are 5 of them:

1) COST: It costs a lot of money to put a race together, especially if there are street closures involved. You have to pay the city because you are usurping public streets and or resources. There are also sometimes police involved. Someone has to pay for all of that and most of the costs get passed on to you, the runner.

multiple race costs

Note: this is for multiple races for two people!

2) WEATHER: the only constant is that you cannot predict what kind of day you will have. Thunderstorm the morning of a 5K, no big deal. Heatwave for the marathon, there goes 18 weeks of training down the drain.

2a) EXTREME HEAT: The 2007 marathon anyone? extreme heat can not only ruin your race but give you heat stroke. In hindsight I wish I had just skipped that one. In fact, I wish they had canceled the race before the gun went off. I realize there was a lot of money involved and elites were vying for world records, and it would not have been possible to reschedule but so what.

2b) EXTREME COLD: Now that winter running is more of a thing, race organization have jumped on the bandwagon.  It's not just a chilly Turkey Trot or freshly fallen snowy Jingle Bell 5K.  Now we have races like the Polar Dash half marathon which mean you might just be training for a half marathon in the icy cold of winter.

3) EARLY HOURS:  in order to beat the heat, and release the race course back to society, these races have to start early. Which means you have to get up at the buttcrack of dawn (or earlier) to get to them.

4) STRESS: stress of getting there in time and not missing the start. I've never missed a race because I was late getting to the start line. I did start a race a little late because I was in the port-o-potty, but this was okay because it was a chip timed event and I was close enough to the start line that it didn't matter.

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5)POORLY PLANNED RACES:  This happens a lot, especially with new races or when a new entity takes over an established race.  It seems like no one ever asks the previous group what worked and what didn't and they end up re-inventing the wheel.  Sure, they'll get it right eventually, but at the cost of the runners.  You can deal with a 5K running out of water at a water station or not having enough goodies at the finish line.  But a half marathon that has the mile markers completely off or a poorly marked course will infuriate your customer base.

 

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