Saturday, December 3, 2011

Race re-cap...of the WORST race EVER

Let me start by saying Erica and I left her place at 6:00 for what normally takes 20 minutes to get to National Harbor for the official start time of 7:30.  We sat on on the bridge from VA to MD (1.5 miles) for a good 90 minutes.  At 8:00 we pulled into our parking space.  Then we had to hike to the start line (that no one was really sure where it was or could tell us how to get there.)  We tried to follow some people we saw walking only to be told to get off the path….with no word of another option to get to the start except go up.  Up where???

We hoof it up the hill and before I had time to let my heart rate drop down and breathe normally again, we stepped into the first spot in an open corral we could find and down the hill we went.  No more than 5 minutes in and I was slammed into from behind because the race came to a walk (this happened in 3 separate locations).  We didn’t have the whole road to ourselves and the GRAVEL trail around the harbor was crazy small - too many people on too small of a surface.  Not only was it frustrating, it was dangerous.
From what I have been told, the race was changed from the race map some people received.   I can tell you I was told there was 1 hill and there were in fact 3 very large, 1 long, 1 steep hill.  I ran the first 13 minutes of the race (I’m including the forced walking b/c that wasn’t my fault), walked 2 and then tried to start the next 13 but after hoofing it up the hill and not having a chance to catch my breath, I knew I couldn’t make it 13 so I adjusted to run 5 walk 2.  Then we hit the first hill and I ran as much as I could and walked the rest of the way, come to a little bit of a flat area and started running only to meet the 2nd hill (long hill) about 45 seconds later.  I had to walk it.  Granted, I then tried to run 15 seconds, walk 15, run 30 seconds, walk 30 and then it was run to the sign.  Finally a downhill came and unfortunately we passed another runner that had fallen and people were around here screaming for help.  It took a little bit but then a policeman ran over.  Um, where was the medic they were yelling for?  I actually never saw an ambulance but Erica said she saw a few.  So I kept running to then come to the 3rd and final hill (steep hill…also the hill we had to hoof it up to start).  Please tell me - why the crap would you finish a race on an UP hill?????

After that we had to walk at least 1/2 mile up yet another hill to get to the chocolate.  We were promised fondue and hot chocolate.  In case you were wondering, yes, that means no other food after the race.  I ran the 5k and the rich chocolate didn’t sit well with me.  If I had run a 15k, I would have probably puked.  Also they made it seem like it was unlimited fondue (read: unlimited food) but that wasn’t the case.  I didn’t even have half my chocolate nor did I finish all my food (which btw, the banana was brown, slimy and disgusting - looking like they had cut it in half yesterday).  There were unlimited porta potties up there but leading up the 3/4+ mile trek to the start of the race?  Two.  Yes, 2 porta potties.  From what I was told, around 20,000 people signed up for the race?  I checked the numbers and 15,443 finished the race.  Imagine if the other 4557 runners showed up.

I understand this was their first race in DC but they teamed up with a DC store that does/coordinates many races that flow seamlessly.  I just don’t understand how they could have screwed this up so royally.  It seems like they were only in it for the money - it was a hefty entry fee but deemed worth it because of all that was supposed to be included and the race was supposed to be run.  I don’t see me doing this race again in the future.

I checked the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k facebook page and people are PISSED and laying into them about the poor organization and so much more.  If you want a chuckle, check it out.  One thing I found interesting is they seem to blame the traffic on an accident that took longer to clear than they were told.  Funny, no one saw an accident…even the people who got to the race early/on time.
  • I feel bad for the people who made it in time for the race start who had to wait 45 minutes past the original start time to the adjusted 8:15 start time due to “traffic”.
  • I heard a girl say that she trained so hard for the race so she could run the whole thing but that chance was taken away from her due to the course and forced walking.
  • I feel bad for the 15k people who had to wait over an hour for their race to start.
  • It was also freezing at the top where the food was but there were no heaters.
  • After reading the races facebook page, for those who chose the shuttle bus option, apparently the drivers weren’t told where to go or where to drop off the racers.  Some had to walk 2 miles to the start line.
  • This was also some racers first race and some mentioned they never wanted to race again because they assume all races are like that.  Which kind of breaks my heart.
That said, it was a race.  I went out there and did it.  So there’s a plus.

Pardon my rant but that’s my recap.

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