Monday, July 16, 2007

Don't run the Jungle Run

That's what I told myself after I finished last year's Jungle Run Half Marathon. I also told myself that after finishing the race in 2005 but somehow managed to ignore it when it came time to register again. I liked the race well enough after the inaugural year (2002) to run it the next year, although I didn't run it in 2004 because I was busy trying to run 5 marathons and 5 half marathons in one year for the first time. So I've run the race four out of five years since it was offered.

You'd think that after last year, when they ran out of medals and shirts, that they'd plan better this year. You'd think wrong. When I dragged myself across that finish line at the sad finishing time of 2:53 they approached me with a list, not a medal. They wrote down my bib number and name and said they'd mail the medal to me (again). Oh big whoop, another medal arriving weeks after the race is finished and done, what a marvelous treat. To me the medal is only good for the afternoon and evening of the day of the race, otherwise it becomes just another piece of history.

Even up until yesterday the organizers were trumpeting on their website that there was still room in the race:

100 Spots Still Available! We still have places for a few more runners for Sunday’s race. You can register during packet pick-up on Saturday at the Runner’s Factory or before the race Sunday morning – but register as soon as you can. We only have 100 spots left, and when they’re gone, they’re gone!

This morning before the race began they announced to latecomers that sorry, the race was full but thanks for coming out! So how did they manage to not order enough medals? It's not like this race is full of amenities for the $50+ entry fee. There were 3 water stops, one of which we approached twice. They had water and some electrolyte drink. The tee shirt is cheap white cotton with a blue and black picture on the front and sponsors names on the back. The goodie bag had a donated chapstick, sample of Propel mix, a gel and a small energy bar. It was supposed to be handed out with the bibs but nobody informed the volunteers of that and most people got theirs when they got the shirt when they finished. After the race they had iced water and some food.

Since a good part of this race is on a trail they didn't even have to hire tons of off-duty officers for traffic control. This year at the last minute they excitedly announced they would have chip timing. Not quite; the only timing mat was at the end, so all they did was save themselves or the timing company some work in collecting and posting tear tags from the bibs. There wasn't even a volunteer or timing mat at the end of a long out-and-back section and I'm certain a few people, later in the race, just turned around early.

I wasn't the last finisher either. On my way back I counted at least 30 people behind me. That was 30 other finishers who wouldn't get a medal for their hard efforts - and I saw how hard they were working when I passed them going the other direction.

So where'd all the money go? Obviously not towards getting the correct number of medals! Nor in differentiating between the half and the 10k on the shirt or medal. Once again I'm left saying to myself (and all my friends): Don't Run the Jungle Run Again!

[Deep breath] I didn't get much sleep last night and it might have made me just a little bit cranky since I had to get up at 4:00 am to get to the race on time. My race went ok, not great, not awful. It was pretty warm (hot) by the time I finished, mid-70's with full sun. That out-and-back section is my nemesis. Oops, was my nemesis, since I won't be facing it again. From about mile 10 to mile 12.5 is a dirt/gravel road, almost completely lacking in shade. It's uphill or upgrade almost the entire way to the turnaround. Located right next to a freeway soundwall, with a ditch creek on the other side, it might be vaguely scenic if not for the great clouds of dust being raised by all the cyclists speeding past. Despite the sign specifying "race in progress." I'm not good on rocky roads and the long uphill at that point of the race is very tiring and discouraging.

I'm having trouble with my pacing. I used to run a 12:30 mile, consistently. And that's "consistent" in the true meaning of reliable, steady, able to be reproduced. As opposed to our team's definition as "slow." Although it's that too. I could throw out 12:30's in my sleep. When I got faster I was running about a 12 even but the walk would give me a mile of about 12:15. I was pretty consistent there too.

After last year, the year I'm dubbing the great asthma debacle, I'm no longer able to pace myself. My legs would be happy running 11 minute miles all day long but my lungs and heart want something more like a 12:30-45. My pace is all over the place; here's a 11:15, there's a 12:50, there's a 12:00, here's a 13:00. Huh? The more I try to even that out the worse it gets. The result has been that I start a run (or race) too fast and then I'm gasping after a few miles. I think I'll have to work harder on pacing, maybe even getting on a treadmill (eww) or going to a track (double eww) to straighten it out. Because right now I'm not going to enjoy those three marathons I have scheduled in the fall!

I ran with Mr. Garmin on my left wrist and my regular running watch on my right wrist. Yes as a matter of fact it was dumb looking. And uncomfortable. But I wanted my countdown timers for run/walk and I wasn't sure if I trusted the GPS in the areas that were woody. I'm glad since there was a period in the woods where Garmin missed about a quarter mile. And made it up later, since my final mileage was 13:05, pretty darn close. But I didn't know for the last few miles just how far I was (the race didn't post a 13 mile marker) because I didn't think it was reliable. And I was too focused on watching my current speed, average, etc. on the Garmin. I'll definitely continue using it in training but for any race that will have either big buildings or lots of trees (which I think is most of them) I'll just wear my regular watch.

Stupid race.

Note: I wrote all that Sunday afternoon, after my nap. I'm surprised how much that race took out of me. I ran it harder than expected and the results of pushing the run were soreness and lethargy the rest of the day. Today I'm just tired and my shoulders/neck and arms are sore. Huh? Not sure why, although it could have been tension running that dirt road.

I got lots of knitting/knit related work done this weekend and I'll report on it, with pictures, tomorrow.


  1. sorry that the race sucked. :o(

  2. Waaah waah waah! You ran a half marathon in 2:53:00+ and you're complaining about not getting a medal? You're lucky they recorded your time at all. Why don't you spend less time complaining and more time training...then maybe you can finish at a respectable time and get a medal that you so cherish.

    From my vantage point, it was a sterling race, extremely well organized. Hats off to the production team and here's to next year.