Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Top Ten Things That Annoy Me About RACES

Okay folks...  This one kind of goes hand-in-hand with my previous blog (Top 10 Things I Hate About Jogging).  Again - my standard disclaimer.  I'm not out to offend or anger anyone, but just wanted to express my opinions.  Some of you might agree with them, others not.  It's just all in good fun, right?  So here we go...

10)  Traffic.  Both pre-race and post-race.  Sad to say, I schedule most of my races based on traffic.  I do the Baltimore 10-miler (not this past year, though) because it takes me next to no time to park, and maybe about 10 minutes to leave after the race.  No need to explain the Disney races.  But I am hesitant to do Marine Corps again because the only time I did it I got lost looking for the parking deck, and I wound up waiting over an hour to board a shuttle bus after the race.

9)  Walking an obscene distance from the finish line to my car after a half or full marathon.  I am going to pick on the Williamsburg half for this one.  It was a couple hundreds' yard walk to the post-race celebration from the finish line.  No big deal.  It was another quarter-mile or so to the shuttle buses, which happened to be the same shuttle buses used to transport the regular tourists from stop-to-stop.  Again, I can deal with it if the tourists can deal with my sweaty behind.  But being told I have to WALK back to where I parked my car by the bus driver - after being told by THREE race volunteers between the finish line and the shuttle bus that the shuttle bus WILL drop me off where I parked my car - ridiculous.  Especially since the walk back was close to a mile from the shuttle bus stop.

8)  Water stops running out of Gatorade and/or water.  This happened to me in a race a couple years ago.  They had water, but was out of Gatorade towards the end of the race.  I usually drink water the first two-thirds of a race, and switch to Gatorade (or whatever "-ade" is being offered) for the last stops.

7)  Trying to be conversational during races - especially the longer ones.  Maybe it's because I'm butting in and people don't appreciate it or whatever.  I'll hear someone talking about something, and every now and than I'll comment or put in my two cents if it's something interesting.  Most people are really polite and cool about this.  But there's always a few that look at me like I have three heads.  Makes me want to crawl under the tables at the next water stop.  Just trying to be friendly and make the miles go by quicker, folks.

6)  And this is why I don't do that many 5K races...  Every time I do one, I always seem to get stuck around the kid who always sprints ahead when you catch him/her, and then starts walking.  And turns around and looks at you.  And when you catch that same kid, he/she sprints ahead AGAIN and starts walking.  And turns around and looks at you.  And when you catch that same kid, he/she sprints ahead YET AGAIN and starts walking until you catch them...  I think you can all see where I'm going with this. 

5)  Playing host to runners from out-of-town for a race.  I won't get into this here.  All I'll say is I guess I give off a bad first impression.

4)  Having no one to hang out with before a race.  This is pretty much every race except for Disney.  I get bored, and lonely...  But at the same time I'm the guy who always gets asked to take pictures of groups of people beforehand, and this can be pretty fun.

3)  Is it me, or are goody bags starting to become more and more basic over the past few years?  I remember the first couple races I did back in 2007 and 2008 the goody bags had TONS of freebies in them.  Head bands, wrist bands, candy, gloves, magnets, pens, candy, can/bottle holders, bracelets, cool stuff that lit up, socks, bottle openers, candy, band aid holders, little first aid kids, etc, etc, etc...  Did I mention candy?  Now, it seems like you get a free sample of some sort of lotion and a whole bunch of lapcards.  Plus a boatload of coupons for that respective town that the race is being held in, which would be cool if I was actually local.

2)  Getting up waaaay too early for a Saturday or a Sunday.  I am NOT a morning person.  But the atmosphere and races make it worthwhile.

And I actually have two number 1's...

1)  Walkers who insist on walking four or five abreast blocking pretty much the entire road.  Hey, I'm all about the walkers and the run-walkers.  I've done the majority of my races with the run-walk method.  I don't have an issue with people walking two abreast, or even three abreast.  But when it gets beyond that, you're holding people up.  I'm all about supporting your friends or fellow fund-raisers, but please have some consideration for the other runners around you.

1a)  Runners disrespecting other runners.  This is the only negative experience I've ever had with a Disney running event.  It was a couple years ago at the Disney Marathon week-end.  A couple guys who were obviously Goofy finishers were ragging on a lady who was wearing a marathon finisher medal behind her back.  This one still gets me fired up to this date.  This is a lady who just ran 26.2 miles!!!  You have no frigging idea of what she's been through or what her journey was like.  Maybe this was a lady who just lost 50 pounds and had completed her first marathon.  Maybe this was a lady who was running for a cause.  Maybe this was a lady who was running in honor of someone.  Again, you have no idea what this person (or any person) has been through.  Lay off, and show some respect.  It doesn't matter if you run the 5K, the half marathon, the full marathon, or a combination of the races.  EVERYONE deserves the same amount of respect!  So unless you've been in their shoes, back off.  Everyone who competes in one of the races over the marathon week-end is doing a heck of a lot more than what most other people are doing.  Okay, rant over.

And my tip for the day...  Don't forget your chafing cream.  If you're a big-time sweater like me, you'll regret it on your longer runs...

Until next time...

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