Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tales From the Back of the Pack

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rose Bowl Race Disaster

Sep 25, 2010 11:50 PM

Today was my half marathon at the Rose Bowl. Woke up at 5am, and BD was already at my house to pick up the Puff (thanks BD!) so I could run my race. Nice! I dressed, ate a quick breakfast and drove 28 miles to Pasadena.

The scenery was great around the Bowl with the sun just coming up over the hills. Laker girls were on hand for the pre-race warm-up. Hooray.

  Once the race got started it went pretty well for the first 4 miles or so looping around the Bowl on the running trail. As we got into miles 6, 7, 8, 9 the flat fast asphalt suddenly turned into a very difficult trail of dirt, sand and loose rocks, which I don't recall there being any mention of beforehand:

Besides this trail being very steep and difficult to run, the elites started to pass us right about here and at some points there was no room for us to both be on the trail together. We literally had to step off the trail and into the bushes every time we heard a volunteer shout RUNNER COMING DOWN so that the elites could get past us on their loop back. I always hate to lose my momentum, slow as it is.

I really started to get a bad attitude about this race here. It was increasingly feeling like we were being punished for choosing to participate in this race. We'd paid a fee of $75 to run this little event, and what did our $75 buy us? The race t-shirt was a crappy white cotton men's shirt. Strike one. There were no road closures. We were having to weave through the regular "civillian" traffic that runs daily in this area including walkers, strollers, bikers, dogs, rollerbladers. At some points I couldn't see any other racers around me and was seriously wondering if I was even still in the race. Strike two. The water stations ran out of water before our last loop. Out of water in this heat?? Steeeriike threeeee!! And the icing on the cake is that there were no electronic timing chips. Really, where was the money spent?

After the weird off-road gravelly sandy trail part, the route took us around the Rose Bowl twice more before heading into the finish line chutes. There hadn't been anything very interesting to see the first time around, the third loop was just agonizing. And by now the temperature had gone from 59 to almost 90 degrees.

Afterwards, I indulged in the "free" pancake breakfast and inhaled a Jamba Juice smoothie. Nice!

That helped adjust my mood during the drive home. And I needed the fuel because immediately after running a half marathon I had to attend a funeral, then had to rush over to meet the Puff at her cousin's birthday party and after THAT I had a church function/dinner. Shouldn't my world stop when I run a half mary?

Does your world stop when you do a long run?

My time was 2:24. I was hoping to do much better than this, but I'll take it. It was one of those races where I felt I could have done better if only it hadn't been such an odd route or such a hot day, but that goes with the territory.

Is there ever a perfect course, perfect day, perfect race?

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