Saturday, January 04, 2014

DC Soup Run 5 miler and 5K Race Report

The old adage about, "If you can't say anything nice," was clearly never said by a blogger.

Let me first state, however, that I'm glad there is a DC Running Club.  They're new(ish), they're trying, and they're obviously not in control of the weather.  But, there were some screwups on their part for this race.  I'm out nearly $50, and am kicking myself for even signing up for this thing, when EVERY instinct I possess told me it was a bad idea to sign up for it.  I'd previously stated that I'm feeling very flat as a runner.  But, I'd hoped a New Year's kickoff race would get me jump started.

Here's why I my instincts were alerting:

First, there was virtually no race communication, and even less explanation about the race itself on their website.  Some brave soul actually asked about what the details were on their FB page, and in response, there they were -- actual race instructions!  Nothing in e-mail, nothing on their Twitter feed, but, if you checked the correct post on FB, and read the replies, you'd find out details.


Next, I had some concerns about the course.  With the recent snow/ice we'd had, I wasn't sure what kind of terrain we'd have:

Beware of snow, ice, and Bumbles.
Because I am, you know, aware of what life is like in DC, last night I actually drove out to Hains Point, the site of the race.  I found very sketchy conditions.  Untreated roads, and black ice as of 7:30pm the night before the race:

This is JUST past the starting gate.
Close up of the terrain.

So, based on some earlier advice on Twitter (from some very kind Tweeps), I ran out to REI and bought some YakTrax.

Saturday morning (today, as I write this) came, and it was 18F (11F w/wind), and I bundled up, putting on basically everything I own:

And I drove off to the race . . .

So how'd the race go, Tai??

I had one of these moments when I drove up. Before I could even park, someone stopped me, and basically said this:



Yes, he explained that the Park Service told them the roads were clear as of last night, but that this morning, they cancelled the race due to icy conditions.  You know, the conditions I DROVE OUT TO PERSONALLY INSPECT THE NIGHT BEFORE?! 

Nobody thought to come take a look at the course??

I parked, and sat in my car.

I checked their Twitter feed. Nothing.

I checked their FB page. Nothing.

I checked my e-mail. Nothing.

So their notification system was (almost literally!) at the last possible moment they could announce it.

I asked about a refund, or applying the race fees to another race.  Instead, they asked us to come together and contact the Park Police to complain on Monday.  Why?

It suddenly clicked with me -- THEY had likely paid the Park Service.  They likely don't HAVE our race fees anymore:

The conclusion for all of this is that I just bought myself a $48 t-shirt, then went on a training run.



Courtesy of DCShowGirl, on Instagram, who went out running at Hains Point around the 11:00 hour, here's a daylight shot of the course:

Photo used with permission of DCShowGirl!  Thanks much!

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