May 16, 2011

Really REALLY?

I was certain my knees would hurt after everything I put into yesterday’s race. Thankfully, that is not the case. My hips ache in a “you really used me hard yesterday!” sort of way. My feet are tender and one toe (with no indication as to why) hurts. I spent a lot of the time I was out there focusing on relaxing my hips and lower back. Apparently that and the stretching on Saturday worked! I’m quite excited about this, as knee pain has been a constant for the past 6 months or more.

I have other thoughts about yesterday’s race, and they are not all happy. I understand it is a huge undertaking to put on a race of that size. I get that there are a lot of details to consider, and it’s not surprising some fell through the cracks. I’m a bit disappointed though, enough to consider not running it next year.
  • The price has gone up to $40 for EARLY registration, $65 to register by January 6, 2012, and up to $95 for last minute registration (if the race isn’t sold out). Maybe I’m a cheapskate, but $40 is about my limit for a half marathon, and even that seems expensive.

  • I’ve already told you about the shirt swap fiasco. I still don’t have a shirt that fits, though luckily the person I’m in contact with didn’t come in from out of town for the race. Hopefully we will both be happy come next Saturday afternoon.

  • The timing chips apparently failed for some people (me included). This wouldn’t have been SUCH a big deal, if there weren’t such a crush at the start. I probably crossed the start line more than 5 minutes after the first runners left the gate.

    I asked about official times on the Cleveland Marathon Facebook page, but go no response. Several people commented though that their were times approximately 10 minutes more than their Garmin or GPS times. These 10-minute-off times were posted on Facebook pages and texted in, for the people who chose those options.

    UPDATE: This has been fixed. My official time is 2:54:11. Not a PR, but certainly a PB…

  • The medal is sweet, with a rotating guitar (for those of you who like those things). The ribbon has very 1970’s tie-dye and hippy writing. It also has last year’s date on the logo. That made me sad.
  • This is the part I simply do not get, no way no how. They know how many people will be able to register for the marathon. They know the marathon and half marathon sold out several weeks before the race. How hard is it to make sure there are enough foil wraps for all marathoners? They had separate chutes for marathoners and half marathoners, so it’s not like they gave them to the wrong people. The temperature dropped and it was raining by 10:30. I know most of the marathoners ran at least part of the way in that rain. I also know I was shivering on my way back to the car. Apparently this is the 2nd year in a row there weren't enough wraps. How does that happen?
I have 2 weeks to decide if I’m going to register for next year, as the price goes up $5 at the end of the month (and then $10 August 2). I’m still debating. This was my inaugural race, and there were several things they did right:
  • The course change from last year to this was an improvement. While the course this year was predominantly uphill, it did not end with a sharp uphill climb, leaving no energy for a final kick. Being able to speed up at the end, down that same hill, gave a mental boost that carried into the finish line chute.

  • The expo was the biggest and best I’ve seen in my (admittedly non-copious) racing career.
  • Using the stadium bathrooms made that part of the experience better than any other race, ever. No porta-potties. PLENTY of toilets meant almost no waiting. A warm and dry area to use the facilities, with hot water to clean up after.

  • The volunteers were out in abundance, and stayed even after it started raining. There were easily 10 to 15 people manning each stop. I have been to races where they started closing up shop by the time I got there. This was not the case.

  • There was plenty of water, Gatorade, and Gu at the water stops, as well as bananas, chocolate milk, popsicles, water, and chips at the finish.

  • The community came out in force, with signs, to cheer, play music, offer orange juice and fruit. I saw a gorilla and a hot dog out dancing in the rain as well.
I’ll probably end up doing it, if I can make the proper financial arrangements. Overall the experience was more positive than negative. I hope they keep the same course and starting area next year…

ps: Barefoot Neil, if you’re reading this, you’ve gained another convert. I’m now posting with MS Live Writer.

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