Thursday, January 21, 2016

Broke Man's Winter Warmup 7 Miler

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.

Late in the race I got hot and was able to take my mittens off.  I glanced at my watch and saw I was running a very even pace, although not as quickly as I had hoped.  It was surprising to me, then, that in the 6th mile I was caught by at least four women.  But here's where things got weird.  At one point there was a hard right turn.  At that turn there were two signs - one said first loop, the other said second loop with two arrows, one for the 7 miler and one for the half marathon.  The half marathon was to go straight to the spur and the 7 miler was to turn right back to the start/finish line.  I had already hit 6 miles on my garmin.  It made sense to me to turn right and finish the race.  So I was shocked to see so many people go straight who I knew were in the 7 miler.  The girl who was right in front of me turned to me and said, "you're doing the 7 miler, right" and I said yes and we both took the turn.  Personally, I didn't think it was confusing but after reading all the comments on Facebook this week, I guess it was.  Frankly, a volunteer costs nothing.  There should have been a volunteer there.

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.


everythingswaiting said...

The thing that has kept me away from Broke Man's is that there is no timing. It may be cheap, but why would I pay to run and just use my Garmin? I'm all for no tshirts, but quite honestly I'd prefer timing over a homemade medal. One organizer tried to convince me to do it in the fall because it was two weeks before the marathon and "most people have a 12 mile run that day anyway so they can just do the half." Umm 1) Why would I race a half 2 weeks before a full? and 2) If I'm not going to race it, why would I pay for a run I have to do anyway? I do think this race program is beneficial to first-time racers or racers that maybe get a bit of race anxiety since it's much more small-scale, but I don't see myself dropping cash on this anytime soon.

Carina said...

Were there water stops? I'd be in for a no-frills race just to have water stops and some organization, but like you, I'd prefer timing and results.

Sucks about the course confusion. I totally understand that it is the runner's responsibility to know the route, and I think that's very important if you're planning to be up front, but for a mid-packer like me, I count on being able to follow people for the most part, so confusing signs like that kind of suck. A volunteer there would be a simple solution indeed.