Thursday, December 9, 2010

Turkey Flop & Training

This year I decided not to run the crowded Southpark Turkey Trot and ran the Lake Norman Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day along with Adam. It was the most disorganized race I've ever been part of. I say 'part of' because I've volunteered at a few races. The most unorganized one I ever helped with, was still better organized than the debacle Thanksgiving 2010. For starters, we had to wait in 2 different lines to pick up packets. The first was to get our shirts, bibs, coupons and transponders. This race was timed with 'transponders' versus the usual 'chips.' The transponders where on padded velcro strips that strapped onto your ankle. They had clearly been used many times before and were in pretty nasty shape. The organizers hadn't connected the bibs and transponders together for people who had pre-registered. This meant that we had to wait in a second line to do this.

There are three distances associated with the race: half marathon, 10K and 5K. Adam ran the 5K and I ran the 10K because it matched with my training for the day. After waiting in line for packet pickup, I had to wait in yet another line for the restroom and when I made my way back outside the half marathon was starting and I had 10 minutes to run to Adam's truck, dump my stuff and get back to the start line to start the 10K.

We ran into a couple of our friends who were in a long line to register for the event. We then ran into my friend Julie who had decided to run that morning and had not pre-registered. She told us that they were out of shirts and transponders. So they had let her wait in line and pay even though they knew she wouldn't get a time or a spot in the results. No announcement was made to the people in line about the lack of transponders and time.

We started the 10K on time. The course (all three races shared the same streets with the half repeating sections) consisted of several out-and-back stretches through an apartment complex and a business park. There were very few volunteers on the course and very little signage for the 10K. People were turning around earlier than the turn around points because they were confused as to where the actual turn is. This confusion was partly why many runners finished short of their race distances. The 5K and 10K were off by around 2 tenths of a mile, but the half marathon was a good 2 miles short. The volunteer leading the half marathoners by bike completely missed the first 2 miles of the race leading the runners in the wrong direction.

After finishing, Adam found me and I learned that the 5K start was delayed 10 minutes so that they could finish registering the people in line. The people who WEREN'T GETTING TIMED! He also told me that people were complaining that the courses were short. I only saw 3 mile markers for the 10K: miles 1, 2 & 4. At mile 2 my watch indicated I was running a 6:30 pace. Hahahahahaha! I wish! I've never run that fast. I figured then that it was roughly 1/2 mile short, but after finishing and putting things together, I think the sign was in the wrong place and that the course wasn't that short.

Adam finished 4th overall and took his age group. We went to his truck and put on warmer clothes and went back to wait on the awards. After almost an hour we learned that they would not be giving out the age group awards. The organizer later said it was because they hadn't been able to enter all of the day of registrants into the system.

Thus ends my rant and my reasoning for not running Turkey Trots anymore.

As for training, it's not going too badly. I've chosen a program that I really believe in. It uses speed workouts, tempo runs, long runs and a recovery run to prepare. Some of the long runs are 'Race Simulations' where you run part of your long run near your planned race pace. I'm struggling with the usual issues of fueling and pacing myself so I don't bonk. I also missed a couple of runs due to a sinus infection. Every. race.