And I say 'raced' because... well because I'm not that good. It's hard to describe what I did as racing. I might be more inclined to use 'participating'. Allow me to expound:
In the Duathlon, there was chit chat. But, all of it occurred pre-race. In transition, we chatted about the crappy training season thus far. One guy commented that this was his first ride outside. (I secretly felt proud that I had ridden out 3 times this season.) I helped one dude, who was now in his second multisport event, set up his bike, helmet, glasses, and shoes for efficiency. We even went through a dry-run so he could pop his bike off the bar with ease and understand the process. I thanked the woman in front of me who happened to have a bright pink bag and would serve as my spotter in transition (the bag, not woman). At the starting line, the guys in the first wave shared light comedy.
Once the race started, chatter ended. Focus. Run run run. Hit T1. Bike bike bike. T2. Run run run. All business. There were a couple of pleasantries but none too much longer than 2-6 words (that's all we had breath for). Granted, I was competing in this race and the other guys (and the girl who chicked me) knew the drill.
Once we crossed the finishers arc, chatter resumed. We recalled the fun stuff from the race. We bantered about who passed whom at what point, did you see the guy who _______, or the story about the dancing dragon that crossed the path during run 2 (at least I wasn't the only one who saw it).
That was the Duathlon. I raced. Day 2 brought the Half Marathon. There was the same pre-race chatter. But, from where I was standing, then running, the chatter never ended. The lady yelled go and the only difference was that were were chatting at a faster pace.
|She was neither Frank, Dan, nor Drew.|
That's a shot of me from the race. Stop looking at the lady, she's not the point of this blog. Plus, I don't want to brag, but, check out my awesome quads and mid-foot strike (both of which have taken years to develop).
The point is that, with all of this socializing happening, there was not much time to race. Sure I had a goal time but it's hard to ignore the guy who is in your personal space, sweating, panting, and, at times grunting, for the past 3 miles. Running has no drafting penalty so we all just bunch up on each other. Plus, I'm kind of slow. Even if I wanted to compete, it would have been a fruitless venture. I had no hope of bringing home any of the cash offered to the good guys and gals. I banished myself to somewhere in the middle between awesome and just finishing. Had a great time though.
USATF website, they list the process in excruciatingly painful details. Apparently they use laser sighting, infrared technology and military choppers. (Okay, I didn't read it all but it seemed like they were heading in that direction.) If the USATF guy says the course is 13.1, then you'd better believe it's 13.1.
Then I was ready to blame the Garmin. After a bit more research, I was dumbfounded. Apparently, it is about 99.8% accurate. That extra 0.02% does not account for the additional 0.14 miles posted. This is the tough part. The culprit was me. Crap. I hate admitting that I cannot run in a straight line. I was much happier when it was the USATF or the technology. The legs seem to zig zap along the way. I had to do things like snatch water, dodge a moving bullet, or avoid being stepped on by a minimalist runner. All of the back and forth juking adds up.
None of this was really a problem until I got the official race results back. They list the same time but calculate the pace for 13.1 and not 13.24. According to them, my pace was 7:33. This is completely unacceptable. I had a goal. I do not like missing my goals. Therefore, I prefer to ignore the spreadsheet. If my 99.8% accurate Garmin says I ran 13.24 miles at a 7:27, I am prone to believe it. It ran with me the whole time. The spreadsheet wasn't there when I went up the cobblestone cemetery inclines. The spreadsheet wasn't there when I started to bonk at 11.5 miles. (See the data for yourself. Simply look up a bit.) The spreadsheet wasn't there when I skipped breakfast for the second straight day in a row, pre-race (more evidence that I am not that smart and possibly the reason for bonking). The Garmin held my wrist the entire time. In the Garmin/ Spreadsheet battle, the GPS wins the emotional vote and will be the focus of my goal achievement attention.
|Press right here|
- I was 171st place overall
- I was the 144th boy to cross the line (yes, I was chicked 27 times and it was awesome!)
- Official (ignored) time 1:38.43
- Official (ignored) pace 7:33
- Unofficial (focal) time 1:38.43
- Unofficial (focal) pace 7:27
- Did anyone else notice how the Garmin's time was really close to the Official time?
- Here's a picture of me demonstrating how to accurately stop your watch to match the official time. I am not looking at the clock.
- The race venue, hands down, was the greatest place to host a race (they used the downtown sports center). Indoors. Lots of bathrooms and space. They even had a band playing rock when we finished.
- The course is about as good as it gets. Mostly flat, except for the cemetery portion. Very nice course for goal setting.
- Post-race spread- one of the major sponsors was a pizza parlor that specializes in non-processed ingredients. Plus, they had the usual suspects of fruit and beverages.
- Volunteers- if I've said it once I will say it again and again. They people are possibly the greatest on Earth. I've only volunteered once at a race and that was a fundraiser for my school when I was 14. There were tons of happy, smiling, cheering guys and gals of all ages doing all sorts of crap work that most people wouldn't want to be paid for doing. Thank you all!
- My pre-race preparation- If I'd have eaten breakfast, maybe I wouldn't have had to rationalize the Official Time versus Garmin Time thing
- Post-race cups of water- this is a bit nitpicky here- the water authority brought a truck and handed water in customized cups. As a guy who was tired, it took way too much of my concentration to not spill that water. I was in desperate need of a lid.
- My attitude- I so don't like pure running races. Most anything else would be out of spite.