I had a crappy race. My first really crappy race.
It wasn't even goal induced (My aim was to "Not get last in my age" and I came in 8th out of 14). I started when I sensed their disorganization at early packet pickup and it came to a head when they announced they'd pushed back start time 35 minutes. I did not enjoy myself - it's a shame, because the course was beautiful.
I race because I love the excitement in the air; because being in the presence of superior athletes inspires me to push myself harder. I like checking out other people's tricks and hearing their stories. I like sipping out of little cups of water and pretending to pump myself up to cliche classic rock. I like waking up obscenely early and accomplishing something before my husband has even walked the dog. I like hanging my shiny new medal on my three year old when I get home and trading race stats with my friends.
What I don't like is paying for the beta race version. It was the inaugural race, so there were kinks to work out, but everything just seemed to rub me the wrong way...including the $90 entrance fee.
Early packet pickup - I arrived a half hour after it was supposed to be open. Son in tow, I drove 30 minutes to get there (pushing his nap time back so I could run in and grab the packet.) The packet folks arrived an hour after me...but they didn't bring the ankle chips. "Pick that up at the Expo" they said. (uh, what's the point of early pick up if I have to go to the expo anyway?) At Friday's Expo, they were going to charge me $5 to park (thankfully I knew the parking volunteer) then expected us to walk through abandoned area with broken glass everywhere. They advertised "Kids activities like face painting and bounce house" - nothing, just broken glass on the sandy shore. They excluded instructions explaining where all the numbers, etc go. I had to ask friend. Not much of a big deal, all this, but just slightly inconvenient. I skipped the Pasta Dinner because I just had a bad feeling it wasn't going to be worth the effort.
Race Morning - They switched parking lots from expo (okay, a little confusing, since part of the expo is casing out your "Race Morning Plan"), we had to park far away and pay $5 for it (school parking lot - not even a public/private parking lot - WTF? why not just put it on my race price of a gazillion dollars?). I'm glad I got there early since I hadn't expected the extra 10 minute pitch black walk.
I get to transition area at 6:15 am (first race at 7, my race schedule for 7:32,), I'm told I have 3 minutes to set my stuff and get out. Wha? The paper said transition area closes at 6:45! I have to rush to set up everything, get out and stand around in a jagged parking lot littered with broken glass for 45 minutes in just my suit? Not happy. I begged them to let me at least go back in and get my flip flops.
So then I realize there is no water ANYWHERE in waiting area - thank god I brought my own....oh, too bad it's locked up in transition area. Man, I'm getting thirsty. Maybe I'll just go wait in line to use the restroom to take my mind off of it. A girl comes out and says there is NO toilet paper in ANY of the 10 toilets we're waiting in front of....this is at 6:30. Okay, now I'm getting angry. Maybe I'll check out the ocean, get a few strokes in away from the start/finish. "GET OUT OF THE WATER." Alright, jerks.
I didn't eat that morning because I had it all timed out. Drink coffee pre-race, swim at 7:30, have first gu right after. It's what I do. 7am they announce my race has been pushed back to 8:05am...after the hot hot Florida sun has come up. Damn, I'm thirsty now. And I'll be hungry by 8, but my SNACKS ARE LOCKED UP IN TRANSITION AREA!!!!!!!
I'm done with the race before I even started. I was so dizzy and angry that I couldn't focus. Yes, I did better than expected, but I aimed way low. About as low as the Race Director.