6.05.2012

See Jane Run: Pros and Cons

This post could have also been named: What Was I Thinking?

I prefer smaller races. There, I said it. By smaller, sometimes I mean less people and mostly I mean less commercialism. I don't mind not getting a t-shirt if it means I can feel like a person instead of a number. I don't mind the results being handwritten on a post it note if it means I feel a connection with the other racers, the race director or the volunteers. Not saying that this doesn't happen to a certain extent with larger ones, but sometimes you just feel like you are lost in the shuffle.

Also, and people are probably going to get mad at me for this one, I'm starting to dislike races where it's geared towards the fun runners. I am NOT saying we can't have fun when we run and I am definitely not trying to discourage people who are running (or walking) their first 5k. However, I think next time, I would rather volunteer or spectate when that is the case (the 5k people, NOT the fun part!) It's just TOO big. There are too many people and some of them are lollygagging around, which is FUN, but I don't want to lollygag; I am here to run.

I signed up for this race last minute, because I needed a "fast and flat" race so I could analyze my fitness level and speed for the upcoming marathon. I have been running trails a lot and so have not been worrying as much about time. The original price for this race was $105. I normally do not pay that much for a race. But when I saw it on Google Offers for $57, I thought why the heck not. It was right in my backyard, and most of the other races this summer are trail races (and I need to continue the 12 in 2012 challenge!)

So. I ran it.

PROS: 

- The weather. It could not have been more perfect. 55 degrees and a bit overcast for the most part. Perfect running weather. If you are looking for a cool run in the summer, get thee to thy Bay Area.

- The course. It WAS fast and flat.

- After you run, you get champagne. And why not? Also you get chocolate. Two big wins in my book. Surprisingly the champagne line wasn't even too long. Another plus. I even went for a refill.


- There were a ton of vendors at the park afterward. Free samples/treats included: water, bananas, muffins, Luna bars, Zyco coconut water, Pop Chips, FRS and Ocho. Other vendors (not free) were Newton, iFitness, Jamba Juice and several others.

- Port-a-potties aplenty. Thank goodness (see: all women race). 

- The t-shirt is cute. It's red and it says: I run for champagne and chocolate. And it's moisture wicking!

CONS: 

- Besides the ones I mentioned above, which are mostly personal opinion (lollygagging, commercialism, impersonal feeling)...

- All women race PLUS strollers are allowed. Sorry moms, I am not against you, but next time I will try to research my races better! This is my own fault, not the race director's or the other runners! (I have a friend who runs with a stroller and I have been trying to find a race for her -- maybe she should run this one next year and I will cheer for her!)

- The lines. To get most items at the expo and after the race, there were a TON of people. And since they were all lollygagging around and having fun (not like me. I don't like to have fun) they were in no hurry to get the photo and get out of there. Maybe I should take a page out of their book and slow down and enjoy it more, but for now, that is a con.

- Last but not least, is the price. I know that many of the larger races have to close down streets and hire police etc but I guess I am irked by the fact that running used to be a fun, cheap thing you could do anywhere and now people are capitalizing on it. I guess it was bound to happen, but I don't like it. It's like the Mardi Gras Marathon. I ran it in 2007 when the New Orleans Track Club was putting it on and I think I paid around $50 (which was still a lot to me at the time!) Now that it's an RnR race, I think the price is over $100. Shameful.

Now, I am off my ranting, complaining soapbox. I apologize for using you as a psychologist. Race recap to come soon!

Did you run or race last weekend? How do you feel about big crowds? How much is too much to pay for a race?

14 comments:

  1. For me, the race entry depends on the race... I paid $65 for my Des Moines marathon, which I feel is really reasonable. I would pay over $100 to run one of my bucket list marathons, like Chicago, NYC, or Big Sur... I read an article about the cost of putting on a marathon once, which was eye opening, so I will pay a bit more for marathons. But not for half marathons. If it's over $50, I am not interested (unless it's a destination race, I am guessing i paid more than $50 for Victoria, but can't remember).

    I feel so so about big crowds. At a race, I can handle it for the first 2 miles, but it needes to clear out after that. But in general, I do not like large crowds. They kind of make me anxious, honestly!

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  2. Seems there was lots of lollygagging at this - both at the expo and the race! I completely understand how you feel. The price seems to be what is the most shocking to me at the larger events. You pay a ton and then it's no fun for someone like me who isn't really there for the party. I'm all about having fun during a race...but not the kind of fun that goes on at some of these! :)

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  3. I agree with your "controversial" statement above - I'm kind of over races geared just for fun-running. I understand that they lure participants who would normally be sedentary, but it makes it tough for the competitors. I'm generally not really in competition for anything great (maybe an AG if I'm having a good day and no else is), but it still can be frustrating to weave around walkers, joggers, and strollers. I'm glad these fun runs exist, to get more people moving, but I just need to make sure I'm not going for a PR attempt at them!
    A note along these lines: Publix Marathon in Atlanta did this right. The first corral was elitess; the second corral was seeded runners ((you had to meet a certain qualifying time). These two corrals were completely separated from the rest and had to be accessed by a different road, and entry was monitored and bibs checked. It kept the fun-run types having fun and the competing types competing!!

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  4. I agree that big huge races tend to overwhelm me. However, champagne and chocolate....how could they go wrong! All seriousness though I do like the feel of small local races. I have run just two races while pushing Em and I make sure I stay out of people's way off to the side since I know how competitive I am and how they sometime trip me up! That is a steep price for the race though! My friend Jill and I were reminiscing about a time when 5k races were $15 tops!

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  5. I think the champagne would have been worth it for me to put up with the other crap. I don't drink beer so I'm always annoyed when that's the big post-race beverage. You already know how I feel about the large races. Bring on the small, local races where walkers start in the back and slower runners wouldn't dare toe the start line with the speed demons.

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  6. I like smaller races better because it increases my chances of an age group placement. Under 100 runners and I'm golden. Screw the 50,000 runner races, that's too many people to get in my way.

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  7. if you ever feel like coming to michigan, my town does a huge 5k (not what you want cuz it is huuuuuge and everyone does it) but they started the weekend of races and this year they had a 10k and a half-marathon. i heard great things about the longer races. ;)

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  8. I feel like I have written this blog post a bunch of times before. :)

    I ran a small race in West Virginia this past weekend that was priced right with no swag and it brought out the RACERS! I had a HUGE race and still finished 6th in my age group. What was interesting at a $45 price tag (half marathon) I thought it was cheap, however, the locals thought it was really expensive. At home in Columbus, OH, I pay that much for a 10K. I really wish Columbus would start doing some cheaper, non commercial, not tied into anything races and price them accordingly.

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  9. See Jane Run came to Seattle for the first time last year, it was underwhelming. With that said as a slower runner I like races that cater to the general public....and yes lollygaggers. Because this means when I cross the finish line not everything is packed up. My first half was small and local, but when I crossed there was hardly anyone or anything left. Was a little disappointing.

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  10. I used to run 5K races, but really haven't run them in years. I think they're great for beginning runners to get a sense of what the racing atmosphere is like. But, once I started running longer distances, I found it took more effort to sign up, get to the race start and get home than it did to run the race ... and that's like driving 5 days for a 2 day vacation - no thanks. =)

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  11. I just ran the Steamboat Half Marathon because I got a schwaggle deal for $26 - couldn't pass that up. Of course - with the tank of gas and hotel room -the total was $161. ;)

    I'm a newish runner and I've only raced one *big* race (the brooklyn half) I was placed in the #4 corral - it was crowded but there weren't too many "lollygaggers", so I can't speak to what it was like behind me.

    I do think the runners should respect themselves and the race promoter enough to have a good chance to make a reasonable cut-off time. I read a blog post where a woman had never ran more than 12 miles in prep for a marathon and then complained that she didn't make the marathon cut-off. It's my responsibility to be fast enough to meet the cutoff - otherwise I have to accept a DNF. With that said...I missed the cutoff on a 50 mile mtn bike race last year - i wasn't fast enough so I had to take a DNF. Just more motivation to get faster for next time!

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  12. One of my biggest worries about Dam to Dam was the crowd and having to run in a huge crowd. I knew it would thin it, but I had no idea when and in big crowds I can get anxiety really easily. The only race I have done besides D2D was Race for the Cure and the crowds were just WAY TOO MUCH, I will do that one again, but I would never dream of trying to run it.

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  13. They had champagne and you were able to get a refill...sounds good to me!

    Just kidding....I hear you. When you want to race, you do not want to be wending your way around strollers. And who wants to pay those prices??? The one perk of bigger races that I'm starting to really depend on is chip timing. But some smaller races have that too....

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  14. I ran this race in Seattle last year and they actually had too few potties and that was one of my biggest rants. I had to pee by the lake 2 minutes before the race because the line was so long. Also, I ran it with my friend so we went pretty slow and by the time we got to the finish they were out of water bottles and some people after us didn't get medals. Not a fan of strollers and dogs on the race course either. Too dangerous and in the way. Oh wow I just did a free rant Friday right there! Anyways, I did race this past weekend and it rocked! Best race ever:) Glad you were able to get a refill:)

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Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!