Thursday, October 20, 2011

Get Your $#!^ Together!

This past weekend, Katie and I participated in the Town & Gown 5K run at the Illinois State University Homecoming celebration.  The actual race went well.  I stayed back and ran with Katie, since it was her first run in 2 weeks after twisting her ankle and having surgery.  We finished in 32:49.5, which is a good time for Katie considering her interrupted training.

The slower pace aloud me to really enjoy the run.  I was able to cheer Katie on and get a couple of action photos.  And I really enjoyed the interaction with the participants and spectators.  I saw an 8 year old boy running the race with his father.  I asked his dad how old his son was and how many races he had competed in.  this was his second 5K and I was very impressed.  Plus, it got me excited to train and race with my own son next spring!

The picture at the top of this post would make you think that the slogan for Homecoming was "Get in the Game", and maybe that is the official slogan, but all over town were streetlight banners that read "Spread the Red!"  I got such a kick out of that phrase.  I just kept repeating it over and over.  It still makes me giggle.

While the race itself was entertaining, the organization of the event was terrible.  Katie had complained at length about website and registration process.  And when I checked out the webpage, looking for a map, the confusion was easily recognizable.  The race map also included the parade route and what seemed to be a couple of other notations.  There was a race blog that was filled with people's questions and the organizer's poor responses. 

On race day, when we went to check in, the attendant said that we were not registered.  Katie said that was not possible as she had a confirmation (which we failed to print out) and our credit card had already been charged!  The attendant said something about the site having problems for a couple of days, but that he was sure that all registrants had been accounted for.  Then, I heard a volunteer whisper "Another one?  That makes two."  Obviously, the webmaster had failed to find at least one other registrant!  The guy gave us new bib numbers and did not charge us anything additional, but we did not get goody bags or shirts (until Katie asked one of the nice volunteers if we could have a leftover shirt and they gave us a couple).  There must have been quite a few mistakes because the volunteers had run out of goody bags before the race even started.

It was pretty cold out the morning of the race, so some of us headed into the brand new student fitness center to keep warm.  While initially inviting, as more and more participants came in, looked around, and used the facilities, the staff there became a bit more apprehensive about our presence.  They even announced over the loud speaker that everyone was to stay in the atrium area.  I don't know where anyone else had wondered off to, but the staff must really not have liked it.

The finish of the race was good enough.  They had some water, clif bars, and bagels (with cream cheese!).  they had a table full of medals that Katie and I thought were for participants, especially since they were right at the end of the food line.  We started to grab a couple until we overhear someone say that the medals are for the different winners.  We coolly placed the medals back where we found them and headed off.

The organization of the event was definitely frustrating, but it was also a big eye opener for me.  I have mention on a couple of occasions that I may want to organize a race in my community.  I became very aware that I had better have my shit together, if I want people to have a good experience at any race I am associated with!

Note: I weighed in yesterday for the first week of my 6 weeks to lose 10 pounds before Thanksgiving, 192lbs, down 2 pounds since last week.  Yeah!

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