I ran a race. Finally. Remember back in the day when I used to run 12-18 races a year? Me too. I miss that. I asked Coach a while ago if I could run a race and she agreed. Yahoo!!! So I signed up for the Broke Man's Winter Warmup. Broke Man's is a new racing company in town that touts no-frills races - no shirt, no timing chips, and a cheap price. Dude, I'm down for that.
This is only the second race put on by this group and there are certainly some organizational things that need sorted out. I got there a good 40-45 minutes before the start of the race and was surprised to find a very long line for packet pickup. I was confused. If this is a no-frills race why is there even a packet? Shouldn't I just be picking up a number. Once I got closer to the start of the line I figured it out. There were no numbers. You were given a wristband with a number on it and then you had to sign in with your number. Are those wristbands any cheaper than non-race-specific numbers? I'll come back to this in a bit.
The race started at COSI (center of science and industry), which allowed us to have indoor bathrooms. Problem is, the line was literally like 70 people deep for those toilets. I sacrificed my hiney in the 25 degree temperatures and used the port-a-johns outside. A short warmup was done and we were lined up to start.
The race had three different distances - 3.5 miles, 7 miles, and half marathon. I opted for the 7 miler. I'm not quite where I want to be for a "sprint" like a 3.5 miler and it was too cold to get moving that fast. The course was a 3.5 mile loop. We did the loop twice. The half marathoners also did the loop twice with a spur on the second loop (more on that in a bit too).
I started off a bit quick and immediately my chest was burning with reflux (there's been a lot of stress in my world - more on that in a few days). I wasn't feeling good but I was right behind some high school girls so I felt like I was doing okay. I got a new Garmin - the 225 - which has wrist-based heart rate, so my Garmin was buried under a layer of clothes. I was running this race by feel; exactly what I'd prefer. At one point I got a little ahead of the high school girls but they quickly took over going up a hill and I never got hold of them again. For the first few miles I was not enjoying myself. My head even told me, "self, just stop at the end of the first loop". But when I got to the end of the first loop I was feeling good and confident. I kept going. I had some people to chase and I could feel my competition behind me catching me.
The last part of the race had two 180 degree turns up a hill to the last sprint. I was able to catch one of the girls who had passed me late in the race, but go smoked by another one.
But it really didn't matter. Remember how I said we had no numbers. At the finish they gave you a homemade medal (that's okay with me) and then nothing. There were no timing chips and no one took your name and number so therefore, there was no placement. I don't know if I won, finished last, or what my age group looked like. Frankly, this was a paid training run.
I have two things I'd like to see improved with this race. One, I'd like to see placement. That's what makes it a RACE! Even if we only have wristbands for numbers, get our number and name at the finish line and actually put together a document with finish results. You already have the website; it's not costing you anything to add a document to it. Secondly, I know to keep costs down this is not a certified course. And I'm cool with that. However, from my own race and others' accounts on Facebook, the distance was off, WAY off. I got 7.39 miles and I didn't screw up the turn. The trail wasn't that wide; I could not have screwed up the tangents that badly.
The price was right but it wasn't a race. I was pleased with my performance, but I hope to get a lot faster in the next couple of months.