Too Hot to Handle 15K Race Recap 2013

My first-ever 15K race is in the books.  I completely surprised myself with my performance.  It helped that it was 72 degrees & overcast outside, strange weather for mid-July in Texas.  I feel certain that I wouldn’t have been able to do so well with “normal” weather.  Also, I hooked up with some girls from my local MRTT chapter, who I had never met before but who run about my pace.  By the end, 2 of us were still together, pushing each other through to the end.  I couldn’t have achieved the finish I did if it wasn’t for C!  When the dust settled, I ran a 1:44.47 (official time), which is an average pace of 11:07/mile – by far my fastest race pace yet.

photoTHTH finish

Race Review

The Good

This is a great course.  Overall, it’s pretty flat – a few small hills, but nothing worth complaining about.  The scenery is beautiful on the 15K route as nearly the whole thing is along the lake.  The water stops were abundant – one every mile or so – and some of them had sprinklers and/or cold towels for the runners.  The sponsor village at the finish was set up nicely, plenty of room to move between tents and it never felt crowded.  There were only about 500 people still on the course when I finished, and all the sponsors still had plenty post-race refreshments left, so I feel pretty confident that most of them didn’t run out.  And have I mentioned how nice the weather was today?  It sprinkled & then rained a bit, which I didn’t mind, there was no direct sunlight, and it was in the low 70s for the duration of the race.  I couldn’t have asked for better weather on a race day in July!  The race organizers were amazing as well, and unofficial results were being posted almost as soon as people crossed the finish line – I was able to see my preliminary time within 30 minutes of finishing, and official results were online within an hour or two of the last finisher crossing the line.  Oh, and the race swag was good too – a nice running hat at packet pick-up, a tech shirt for finishers, and a really cool medal.

photo (1)

(the swag)

The Bad

Although the course was beautiful and flat, it was along a very popular biking/running path which was not shut down for the race.  There were a number of other runners on the course, as well as cyclists.  The cyclists were the problem.  While it’s understood that cyclists have the right of way under normal circumstances, this was a race with over 1500 runners.  Several times, I witnessed cyclists nearly force runners off the path because there just wasn’t enough room.

The Ugly

Only two really bad things to report.  The first was the parking situation.  The race started at 7:30 this morning.  To give us time to get there and get parked, we left our house at 6:00.  The race location is about 30 minutes from our house.  When we approached the park where the start/finish was located at about 6:35, there was already NO parking in the immediate area.  The lot was full, the street parking was full… it was horrible.  We ended up parking the car about 10 minutes later, at least a mile or so up the road, and had a 10-15 minute walk to the starting area.

Slide 1

(This is the parking map provided by the race officials.  The pink X in the upper left corner shows where we parked.)

The second big issue was the finisher tech shirts.  At registration, we had to list our shirt size for the finisher shirts.  Unlike many races, where you can pick up your shirts with packet pick-up, this one holds off on the shirts until after the race.  The problem was, they didn’t print enough shirts.  By the time I finished, they didn’t have any women’s cut shirts left.  We were given the option of taking a men’s shirt (the only difference was the neck, women’s cut had a V-neck) or taking an “order form” of sorts to request a women’s cut that we could then pick up in a few weeks.  I took the men’s small, but it certainly left a bad taste in my mouth.  There must have been a lot of last-minute registrations or something, but it was really irritating to be so “slow” that I couldn’t get the shirt in the size I requested at registration.

Overall Impressions

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(MRTT “Sole Sisters” before the race)

I would definitely run this race again, and would recommend it to others.  Overall, the snags weren’t horrible, just irritating.  I know now to leave my house earlier next year for a better parking spot, and to expect the cyclists along the course.  And hopefully the race organizers will figure out the shirt problems before next year’s race.

What are the best & worst things about races you’ve participated in?  What are the “dealbreakers” that would keep you from repeating an event?

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