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.

2 comments:

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.