RAM 5K Race Report

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A few weeks ago, I signed my family up for a 5K to be held the day before my daughter's birthday. Two years ago we did a 5K on my son's bday and had signed-up to do one on my birthday, but it was delayed 2 weeks due to torrential downpours.

The day before was when we held our family party for my daughter. I didn't eat awful, but I wasn't sure that I was fueling properly for a pre-5K run. My son, daughter, and my aunt registered to walk the 5K and my husband and I were registered as runners. This was to be our first 5K of the 2010 season, my aunt's first 5K ever.

The plan was to get up at 7:30 so we could leave between 8:00 & 8:15 to get to the registration area by 8:45am. I had a hard time falling & staying asleep on the night of the 15th into the morning of the 16th. So, I took myself up to the 3rd floor of our house at 4:30am hoping to get at least 3 hours of decent sleep. Apparently, my husband's alarm didn't go off, so he woke up at 8:10. He didn't see me in bed and thought I was awake already. At 8:30, he finds me up on the 3rd floor and wakes me up. Somehow we manage to get to the registration area by 9:00am and get our bibs to pin on. My husband goes ahead to line up with the runners while I hang back to help my aunt and my kids get all the bibs attached. By the time I get to the start line, 40 seconds have already elapsed, the runners are way ahead of me, and I'm bobbing and weaving my way through walkers, toddlers, and strollers.

I hopped up on to the curb and made my way past the first cluster of walkers. I eventually got past a group of parents and kids who were running/walking. By the time I got to the 1-mile split, I caught sight of what looked to be the last of the registered runners. At the 2-mile turn-around, I past a final cluster of run/walkers. There was a path leading the way back to the parking lot that several of the walkers I had already past were taking as a short-cut because they didn't want to continue up to the 2-mile point & turn around. So, I had to pass a bunch of people I had already passed. I came in through the parking lot and eventually made my way on to the track. My husband had already finished and called out to me through the fence to "Keep up the good job; it looks like you're going to have your fastest finish yet." I didn't believe him until I came around the bend of the track to see the digital timer head-on reading 37:28 and counting. I kept my legs under me and came across the line at 38:45.

I couldn't believe that I came in under 40 minutes! It was my first sub-40 finish. Being the first 5K of 2010 for me, I was just hoping for a sub-45 minute time. There were no split times given at any of the mile markers (or water stations, for that matter), and I forgot to wear my stopwatch, so I had no basis for how fast I was running. I was convinced that I was running sluggish and was certain I was at a 13-14 minute/mile pace. Then, I realized that I started 40 seconds after the majority of the runners, which would give me an adjusted time of 38:05.

Hubby handed me a bottle of water and we backtracked the course to find my aunt and our kids. They skipped the 2-mile turnaround because my daughter had to use the potty & the only POJ was at the 1-mile point. She toughed it out and came across the finish line at 55 minutes; my husband then whisked her off to find a potty to use. My son came in a little bit ahead of her at 53 minutes and change. My aunt didn't realize that she was supposed to go around the track and was diverted by the siren song of the post-run/walk snacks. I coaxed her on to the track, where she finally did a light jog at the very end to cross at 59:50.

Would I have preferred to start with all the runners? Yes. Was it frustrating to feel like I was battling my way through walkers & playing catch-up for most of my run? Yes. Am I thrilled with my finish time anyway? You bet.

Distance: 3.11 miles Finish time: 38:45 Average pace: 12:45

When we came across the line, we ripped our bib tags off and handed them to the race volunteers. I had been under the impression that my time & placing was recorded. So imagine my surprise & disappointment when I logged on to the race results site and found that they only recorded the top 81 finishers out of 170 participants! The last finish time was 37:30, which was 1:15 before I came across the line. Only the runners times were recorded, so none of the walkers were given a placing result either. When I wrote to the event sponsors expressing my concern, I was informed that since there was manual timing, Lisa (the timer) finished when she thought the last runner was in and wasn't collecting the walkers times because she needed to manually go through and figure out the winners for each age group for the awards. If she waited too long to do that, then she was afraid the winners would leave and miss the awards. The event coordiantor totally understood my frustration and disappointment and is glad I brought it to her attention. They will look into chip timing next year which of course is all automatic (but more expensive), but of course avoids this issue. Or they can just pay for more timers and have someone do the winners while the other finishes timing the rest of the runners and walkers.

Inspired by KARVY09's post about RWC (Running While Chubby- which I am, by the way), I took it upon myself to register my disappointment with the company responsible for the timing. My e-mail reads a little something like this:

"As someone who is not an "Elite Runner," I find it rather disheartening that my efforts weren't considered "fast enough" to merit the recognition on the results board. My finish time was 38:45, not exactly speedy, but far faster than my first 5K 2 years ago when I finished in just under 50 minutes. Even then, my time was recognized on the results boards. There were runners who ran slower than I did. I know this because I saw them as I walked back to find my son & daughter so I could encourage them on finishing the 5K. This does a disservice to all the runners who don't run fast, but at least made the effort to run the entire distance and should therefore see this accomplishment recognized on the results board. Even the person who came in last. (In many past events, that had been me.)

I was informed that the recorder decided to cut her finish times off at 37:30, when she thought the last "runners" had finished. She did this because she didn't want the runners who ran fast enough to place for awards to leave before they were announced. This only places emphasis on the winners and not the participants as a whole. Since my aunt and children participated in the walk (among many others), it would also have been courteous to record the walkers as they came in so that their accomplishments could have been recognized, as well. Frankly, if the "winners" are true runners, they are willing to stick around to congratulate everyone on their efforts. If not, then they aren't really "winners" to me.

I'm not just writing this e-mail for me. I am writing it for the other people who finished after I did. The woman who did a light jog the entire way. The overweight woman who was running her first 5K with her husband jogging at her side, encouraging her the whole time. Just a few examples of people who may never break land-speed records, but put their heart & soul into this mile-stone distance (for some), and deserve to see the end result.

It is my hope that RtD has better success in recording EVERYONE'S finish times in future events.

Darlene Beecham
Bib #163"

Next 5K is scheduled for June 16th- Summer Solstice, also being timed by RtD, but with chip-timers at this event. After that is June 23rd- Tex Mex. Hubby and I are both doing the Summer Solstice, but only I will be doing the Tex Mex as a runner. He's going to walk that event with our daughter and run the Cedars House 5K on June 25th while I'm at work.

I think we are going to work on gradually increasing our distance so that we can participate in the Run the Bridge 10K in the fall. We'll see.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    aww, I can understand your frustration, but you did a great job!
    3737 days ago
    Cookie611: This was the Run Against Melanoma 5K held in Horsham, PA

    Toronto_Grrl_79: Thanks! I was thrilled to have run as well as it turns out that I had. It's always hard gauging that on a run. I've been working on not comparing myself to other runners (my hubby included) and just trying to build up speed & endurance. Hubby finished in 34:11. He used to come in a good 10-12 minutes ahead of me in previous 5K's. He's getting faster in his finsh times, but I guess I am, too!
    3740 days ago
  • COOKIE611
    What a great story! Sorry your time wasn't recorded, but you finished and you finished strong!! Congrats!!
    Which 5k was this?
    3740 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6372002
    Awww, I hear you! I would be so disappointed if my time wasn't recorded just because the timer didn't think I was fast enough! On the positive, though, you did AMAZING!!! Congrats on your great time and great finish ... and to your hubby, aunt and kids who did very well too!
    3740 days ago
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