Racing to Register

November 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

Registration opens today for the 2012 Cellcom Green Bay Marathon & Half Marathon, which I am not running for a  record 11th straight year.

Not that I have anything against this race, in fact I would have signed up for the half today if it weren’t for the fact that the route will not go through Lambeau Field this year.  Last year, I considered running the half primarily for that reason but by the time I wanted to (Mid February), the race was closed.  And while Green Bay is one marathon that allows numbers to be transferred, I wanted to set my schedule in stone and not hope I could find a second-hand number.

But this raises an increasingly common issue–races that fill up to capacity.

I understand races need to limit the field of races because of logistical, planning, and safety reasons–overbooking a race is worse than limiting the field.  But, for the runner, it’s a pain in the gluteus maximus.

It seems that to get into some of the more popular races, you first have to win the registration race just to get into it–and as a race becomes known for filling up, the registration race gets more competitive.  Which really sucks for a marathon or even half-marathon because they can fill up months before the actual race and if life gets in the way of your training, you end up donating your registration fee to the race unless they let you transfer or roll-over your registration although that isn’t the standard.

Some races–Garry Bjorklund 13.1, my Goal Race for the first half of 2011–require you enter a lottery for registration.  And while I got in, going through the lottery process isn’t fun either as it makes planning difficult.  In most cases, I think you find out fairly quickly but there still is usually a period where you end up training without knowing whether or not you’re actually going to get into the race.

Generally, it is a good thing that more runners are out there doing more races but it has added a dynamic to some races that takes away a bit of the fun.  As I’m thinking about my 2012 racing plans, the ability to actually get into the race is another factor to take into consideration.

Running smaller, less likely to fill up races is an option with a different set of pro’s and con’s and I enjoy doing that for training races but would be a little bummed if that decision gets forced onto me because of race capacity restrictions.

I do have an idea of what I want to do next spring & there haven’t been registration problems the last couple years so, if my training goes well this winter, I might not have to worry about getting in but if things fall through, my backup plan could definitely be effected by registration caps.

Has anyone been burnt by training for a race they couldn’t get into?

Have you “discovered” a great  race that you ended up running because you couldn’t get into a different race?

Race Report: ALARC Legends 10k

June 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

Serendipity:  making fortunate discoveries by accident. (Dictionary.Com)

Considering that next weekend is Race Weekend, I probably should not have raced today.  Especially with my aging body already unhappy about spending Thursday and Friday “on vacation” at home abusing it with such methods like installing the ceiling and a window in our bedroom, and re-locating our washer & dryer. My runner’s body isn’t use to lifting plywood above my head, hauling carpeting or getting gently electrocuted–late Friday, my left hip and knee decided enough was enough and bit back and I was slightly hobbled.

But I had a free entry to the ALARC Legends 10k today so I figured I would give it a try–I’m a sucker for “Free”.

I am glad I did.

The race went extremely smooth for me.  Got there in time, weather was ideal–low 50s, found a wonderful, private warm-up area with my own port-a-potty, worked out my hip pain, and nailed my goal splits–I was hoping to run even 7:00 pace.  My actual splits were: 6:52, 6:57, 6:58, 6:58, 7:07, 7:00, (6:31 pace for last segment) for a total time of 42:44.  For the 6 miles, I only had a total deviation of 22 seconds from my target pace. I am very pleased with the race I ran, combined with a 7 mile tempo run at 7:30 pace last weekend, I’m confidant that I’ll run well next weekend.

But more important than how my race went, I found a gem of a race.

ALARC (American Lung Association Running Club) was started in 1981 by Bill Wenmark to help first-time marathoners train for a marathon. I had seen ALARC singlets at Grandma’s Marathon but never really knew what the origination was about. It appears that their mission has grown over the years and now serves a greater purpose of promoting fitness and friendships.

Course: Good.  The 10k course was a meandering route along the streets and bike trail of Deephaven. Deephaven is along the shores of Lake Minnetonka and, from appearances, lacks any straight streets. The couple chunks of bike trail were knee-friendly crushed limestone.  The residential streets we ran on lacked sidewalks but also had minimal traffic.  There was a small downhill at the start and a small climb at the end.  Otherwise, the course was flat.  Out of necessity the 10k course layout was confusing–but looking at maps before the race, I knew that I would be depending on a well-marked course to navigate.

Organization:  Excellent. There was a minor snafu in my registration–apparently my information got lost between the contest I won and the race directors but they ironed it out without too much effort. As I said already, the course could have been a nightmare to follow except it was well-marked and there was someone posted everywhere they were needed so I never once wondered which way to turn. The race results were posted very quickly and accurately.

I also have to note that the race had new directors this year and I spoke with Mark for a bit and he seemed like a nice guy.

SWAG: Excellent.   Start with a Headsweats Visor (anything but a T is awesome) AND a pair of FitSok and you’ve already got Top-Notch Swag. Throw in some SportBeans (from Scheels), a toiletry bag, and some coupons and you have Great Swag for a small race.  But add in a pancake breakfast, especially one after the health department shut down the kitchen, and you’ve got Totally Awesome Swag.

Headsweat.Com Visor

Intangibles: Off-The-Charts.  The “Legends” part of the name, ALARC Legends 10k come from the fact that ALARC uses this race to recognize local running legends.  As Bill Wenmark said (and hopefully I am accurately para-phrasing him here), there are ordinary people all around us that do extra-ordinary things and we could walk right pass them in the grocery store without ever knowing it.  The Legends program hopes to give some of these extra-ordinary people some of the recognition they deserve.

The first runner recognized this year is Carrie Tollefson, who I am learning, is basically a rock-star in the Minnesota running community.   Tollefson is an Olympian and 3-time national champion.  She was unable to attend but did deliver a video message.

But the second Legend left a greater impression.

Let me preface this by saying that before introducing the Legends, Mr. Wenmark  introduced the other Legends in attendance and also his father-in-law, who is a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The second Legend was Bob Powers earned the Navy Cross and two Purple Hearts in WW II during his service in Okinawa, Japan.  The White Bear Press wrote:

According to Powers’ Navy Cross citation: On May 20, 1945, the corporal assumed the duties of platoon sergeant after all other senior non-commissioned officers were killed. He “continually exposed himself to intense hostile fire to encourage his men” and fire on enemy forces. During the peak of fighting, Powers “courageously leaped from his foxhole and moved up and down the line, annihilating the enemy soldiers and reorganizing his own men.”

I honestly started to cry as Wenmark, who broke down himself at one point, read Bob’s citation.

And what did Bob have to say about that, “I was doing what I was suppose to do”.   Wenmark alsolisted the many volunteer efforts Bob has been involved with over the years.

Oh yeah, and Bob is an All-American Triathlete.

Overall:  The race itself was solid but given the Legends aspect, I think it is a race worth making an effort to take part in. The timing, at least this year, is a little iffy for those running Grandma’s–but if you felt uncomfortable doing a 10k the week before a marathon, you could always volunteer.

Chris Solinsky, 10K, 26:59.6

May 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’m expressively NOT a running FAN.  I respect the heck out of world-class athletes–anyone performing at that level is obviously busting their butts as well as very gifted.  However, Chris Solinsky (a Badger), recently set that American Record (also the non-African born AND the over 6 foot record) for the 10k by an astonishing 14+ seconds (old record, Meb Keflezighi in 27:13.98).  If you haven’t seen the video, check it out here.

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