First up, workouts from last week’s Brooklyn Half “training:”
Selecting a Race
With a good chunk of races occurring in the fall (especially here in the Northeast), it’s about that time of year to pick a goal race if you haven’t already done so (like myself, whoops – I’ll get to it). Even if you’re not looking for a goal race but just a race in general, there are a few things to consider.
For me, the biggest factors affecting my race experience are:
- Family/friends/spectators along the course
- Course route
- Organization (before, during, and after the race)
It’s these 3 main things that have made my past race experiences either positive or negative.
Best Race Experiences
- So much about this race felt EASY (not including the running, although, I did have a good day and the running felt great too).
- Getting to the start line was EASY, finding my family along the course was EASY, it was EASY for my family to see me in THREE(!) different spots and barely travel a few blocks, getting my medal/food/foil was EASY, finding my family after the finish line was EASY. Chicago, you are doing it right.
- I’m not even going to point out a specific race here because all of my race experiences in Walt Disney World have been incredible (2013 WDW Half, 2014 WDW Half, 2015 Dopey Challenge, 2016 Dopey Challenge, 2016 Glass Slipper Challenge).
- It’s no surprise that Disney puts on great races. Everything is so well organized and free race day transportation makes getting to and from the race simple. While the routes do travel on local highways, they also include multiple character stops and the chance to run through Disney parks before they open. Also, it’s very easy to convince people to go to Disney World so you’ll either have a running buddy or a gang of spectators just for you.
- This race is obviously near and dear to my heart but, I promise, this race is incredible no matter where you are from.
- It’s my local race so whenever I’m running, I have people to look for throughout all 5 boroughs. I’ve learned as a New Yorker and a 4x NYCM veteran that choosing the ferry for race day transportation is the best option if you enjoy sleeping and not being cold on Staten Island all morning. The course offers amazing views of the city and runs through so many different types of neighborhoods and let’s not forget the spectators who are ABSOLUTELY OUT OF THIS WORLD. Seriously, be prepared to get choked up multiple times during these 26.2 miles.
Worst Race Experiences
- I ran this the first year it became a nighttime race and it was a fiasco from start to finish (and beyond). I’ve since heard that Rock ‘n Roll has improved upon the issues from that first year but my experience was enough to make it so I’ve never run another Rock ‘n Roll race.
- The corrals were not managed properly, the course was not well lit in certain areas, there was a WAIT to cross the finish line (yes, you read that correctly), there were no signs in the finish area, I couldn’t find my family or the buses for a significant amount of time post-race, and I later heard that they ran out of water and medals for those finishing later. Eek.
- The only reason I was calm during the security line nightmare at the Philly Marathon was because it wasn’t a goal race and I knew I had Nicole with me for the entire 26.2 no matter when I crossed the start line.
linestory short, the security line for runners barely moved, many runners missed their start time, and when the race started, it seemed security “gave up” and just started eyeballing and patting down runners as they walkedran through to try and get to the start line.
- Are you confused? Wasn’t this on my list of best race experiences? Well, yes… and I want to put it out there that I truly believe that the NYC Marathon is
one ofthe greatest marathon in the world (I’m only slightly biased, right?), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that can’t be improved.
- NYRR has done a lot to try and improve the finish line/post-race experience but the truth is, it’s still a bit of a mess. You can help yourself out by electing to not check a bag but even then, it’s one of the worst ways to end such an overwhelmingly incredible marathon. The walk out of the park is extremely long and the ponchos aren’t handed out until the very end. In 2014, I was freezing and on the verge of tears by the time I had my poncho and was able to make my way to my family.
I’m still in the process of finding a goal race for this year (and also mulling the idea of not having a goal race). At this stage in my running game, I find myself getting pickier when it comes to which events I choose to spend my money (and time) on. I see an intense search in my near future.
What have been your best/worst race experiences?
Any race suggestions for me?
Happy running 🙂