Mini-Marathon Training Series 10k 2010

Today was the second in a series of three training runs for the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. The weather conditions were good for the most part. The air was really crisp at the start, below 30°F. This is in that funny region between shorts and pants weather. I opted for the latter, and except for standing around waiting for the race to start, I think either would have been fine. I had some lightweight gloves but took them off with a couple miles to go.

The sky was clear, and the sun is rising earlier these days, so the sun was in our eyes a lot. However, I prefer that to dreary cloudy days any time. It seems like we have not seen the sun around here for an entire month. The humidity at the start felt pretty high, and combined with the somewhat chilly temperature, my trachea felt like it was getting lined with frost. I could see the breath of everyone around me.

And let me get something off my chest. I like runners. I like being a runner. I think most runners are neat people. On the whole, they’re cheerful, respectful, and friendly. Of course there has to be the occasional spoiler, and one made himself known today: the starting horn shover.

For the last 15 years, most races of any size have used RFID timing, which times runners based on their actual net time between the start and finish lines. So, it doesn’t matter whether you’re lined up in the front row or halfway back. Each runner’s clock does not start until he reaches the start line. So why the shoving? I would hope for his sake that he planned on winning the race if he was going to shove me out of his way, but he only finished a few seconds ahead of me. It was hard to bite my tongue, but saying something would not have done much good, especially considering how I just said I like runners because they’re friendly!

Speaking of RFID timing, I’m happy to see that the race organizers appear to have dropped the cheap, flimsy, crummy ChronoTrack D‑tag disposable timing tags. D‑tags are too vulnerable to damage. Instead, today’s race bibs had two RFID tags permanently attached. The tags appear to be based on the same UPM Raflatac DogBone UHF tag product as the ChronoTrack product, but away from runners’ feet, where they are prone to get snagged, bent, or lost. Presumably the additional distance from the antennas on the street to the RFID tag on the bib makes them less reliable, so adding a second tag makes up the difference. I wonder what the actual difference in reliability is.

I feel worse and worse about the amount of waste produced during a race. Between four water stations and the finish line, each runner had the opportunity to take five paper cups and a plastic water bottle. Multiply that by 1,700 runners for today’s event, and that’s a lot of waste. The volunteers always do a great job of cleaning up, so it’s not litter that bothers me, it’s the waste. Maybe it’s time that I just use my own water bottle and hydration belt so it doesn’t contribute to the waste. I am not sure why I have resisted in the past, because carrying my own water or Gatorade never bothers me when I run alone. Okay, new resolution, then.

I didn’t quite meet my 45 minute goal time today, but I’m not too disappointed. I was under the weather for a solid two months during the winter, so it’s taking a while to get back up to speed. I am a little concerned about being ready for the IU Mini in just four weeks, but I don’t plan on setting any records there, either. Just to finish, enjoy the ride and have a nice visit with our friends in Bloomington that weekend.

Spring is clearly on its way, and we’re ready.

View in Google Earth (16 kB KML)

Official race results

View in Garmin Connect

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