So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Comfortably Numb

This weekend is what I would call "Anaerobilooza" in most civilized areas. Two events in the course of 10.5 hours. My original plan was to NOT participate in the morning's 10K race because I was going to participate in the 5K that night.

Reason for my choice?

A 10K road race in the morning on the first weekend of May in N. Florida is NEARLY GUARANTEED to be warm & humid. No matter what the conditions are in the two weeks leading up to the event it's going to happen. In fact, the thermostat in my house the afternoon prior to the race was in the 80-degree range; high time to fire up the A.C. Shucks. At that point you know it's going to be UGLY.

I had my goal split times with the (suicidal) hope of running sub-40 written down on a strip of pull tab. However, everything went to hell-in-a-handbasket at the first mile split (16 seconds off from the word go). At that point, I should have tossed the strip, relaxed and had fun. However, I did continue to push the issue for what it was worth...finishing a solid minute slower than my Crescent City performance weeks earlier. I was disappointed for a good 30 minutes, then took a pragmatic look at everything:

1. Too warm/humid.
2. Too little base training in the early year.
3. Tough course.

So you go on from there. Since there are no major races for months around here it's back to base-building. Nice, comfortable long(er) runs.

So, home to relax on the couch, talking to the dog & fold up the abundance of clothes piled up in the clean clothes very good reason to not have more than a single beer after the race. Well, two or three beers after a 10K on a Saturday is fine if you have nothing better to do for the rest of the day, however...

I almost shut down the idea of running the 5K in the evening...while running an easy warm-up over the first mile of the (out/back) course. The shut-down then almost happened at the first two strides off the starting line...but I talked myself into it. Hit the first mile at the pace I should have run in the morning's race. Probably top 15 to top 20.

As a course measurer, it's difficult if not impossible for me to go to local races. If I go to a race the first question I receive is: 'Hey, Mike...did you measure this course?' If I don't go to a race I get asked: 'Hey, accurate was that course?' Once I get through with measuring a course it's up to the race director to communicate to the race organization (volunteer workers) exactly where the start, finish, turn-around & split points need to be. I've been at races where volunteers placed splits & turn points at locations where they always had been rather than at the correct location, without knowing the course had been changed/re-measured. The measurement & certification process, done for the benefit of the individual athlete, at the cost of several hundred dollars to the race, is derailed by something so simple as ignorance & lack of communication.

Turn off to the secondary road and I see cones in the middle of the street. Since I measured the course I knew exactly how the course should have been set up. No worries, it only made the course a tad longer than the certified length.

As I was running up the road I knew we were approaching the turn-around point, but it looked like the cones were going on for another 200-300 yards. At that point the ethical dilemma comes to pass: do you run the incorrect course because everyone else did, or do you turn in?

I ran a 10K earlier in the day. I was beat up. I saw the turn point & turned. I'm certain everyone freaked out when I was at the front of the field...going from 15th to first in a matter of moments is NOT NORMAL.

I ran the course I measured. I didn't do the course the RD laid out. It was the wrong decision for the right reason. I won't go into the end of the story in detail, but the RD & I had a chat after the race, & I told him to go ahead & scratch my performance. Better to have one or two people upset than 300.

Of course, then I have persons coming up & telling me I measured the course incorrectly. Damned if I do. Damned if I don't. Guess that happens when you're a guy doing your job.

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