Monday, July 21, 2008

7/19/08: Too Hot To Handle 15K

I blame myself. I believe that one of the keys to happiness is avoiding unnecessary frustrations and yet I ran Run On's Too Hot To Handle 15K this year anyway. It's the sixth time I've run this race (1997, 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006 being the other years) so I guess I can't claim to have learned from experience and I guess I shouldn't count out doing it again next year. If I do, expect another bitchy post.

The main problem with this race is that it's huge (2500 runners, so I heard, although only 1700 or so show up in the results) and yet they still insist on holding it at Winfrey Point. I didn't even try to park at Winfrey Point; as I was approaching Garland Road coming south on Buckner Boulevard, it looked like traffic turning onto Garland Road was backed up to Poppy Lane. My prefered parking location already being full, I wound up parking at the Stone Tables.

Judging from various t-shirts and tank tops, many Team in Training initiates and running class newbies were running one of the races. They lined up much more appropriately than usual as I wasted much less time, and energy, dodging walkers in the early stages of the race than I'm accustomed to. In fact, they did better than a couple of experienced runners I noticed who didn't let the fact that they were walking alter where they lined up.

A personal note to the girl in the blue tank top - it's not a good idea to come to a complete stop ten seconds into the race because an iPod earbud has come unmoored, lest you inadvertently engage in inappropriate relations with the older gentleman running behind you.

Y'all still need to work on your water stop etiquette. Don't come to a complete stop as soon as someone hands you a cup of water - there's a better than even chance that someone's coming up behind you. Wait until you're clear of the station and move to the side and then you can walk or stop or lie under a tree and drink without impeding other runners.

By the time I got to the water stop near the four-mile mark, they had run out of cups and were encouraging people to reuse the cups that littered the ground. I passed but I was also irritated - it doesn't seem like it's too difficult to identify a cup-shortage problem before the race and to correct it by hauling ass to the nearest convenience store and buying more. Running stores get involved with races partially for the marketing opportunities but that strategy can backfire when people come away from the event thinking it was poorly run.

I eventually finished (1:40:ish, there was a good amount of walking after the first five miles), drank some liquids, and took off. As I cruised down Garland Road, I saw that departures from Winfrey Point were going much more smoothly than they had in the past. The Dallas Police were directing traffic from Emerald Isle to turn right onto Garland Road where they had two lanes blocked off. Of course you still had the random driver who insisted on getting left as quickly as possible so he could make a u-turn, but it was still a vast improvement over having a vast line of cars back up into Winfrey Point while one stylin' dude in a Chevy Behemoth waits for a break in traffic so he can turn left onto Garland Road.

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