Thursday, April 02, 2015

2014 Year End Best & Worst Lists

All the cool kid bloggers seem to be doing "Year End List" posts.  

So I thought, as a #RunBlahgger, that I'd do a 2014 Year End post as well. 

A what kind of post?
Yes, I own a calendar.

No, I'm not kidding.
I mean, I KNOW -- it's 2015 already.  Actually, it's freaking APRIL as I write this.

Hey . . . I'm a RunBLAHGGER. Who the hell cares WHEN I post something?

Screw it.  So first thing's first . . . I (mostly) stand by my December 2013 year-end gear endorsement.  There's just a couple of notable exceptions and things I've changed up.

For instance, I wrote this in December 2013:

Wrist:  Based on a recommendation from the must-read-all-the-time DCRainmaker, I went with a Garmin 610 a couple of years ago.  It's my everyday watch.  I wear it to Court, and leave it on for races.  I've gotten quite adept at charging it at night, so I never worry about having a paperweight on my wrist.  The 610 is an epic watch.  I don't use a bunch of the bells/whistles it has, so I probably could have gotten away with a Garmin 210, but the touchscreen of the 610, wireless data transfer, and everyday wearability of it makes it a real must-have for me.

Then, of course, my Garmin 610 Watchband broke over (and over) again.  It actually had snapped at least once even when I'd endorsed it.  After the debacle of the JFK 50-Miler pre-race breakage, enough was effing enough.  


I sold it on eBay.

I've since bought a Garmin 220, and so far, so good.  Unfortunately, I'm injured right now (that's another blog entry), so I haven't logged a lot of miles on it.  I realize I could/should have switched companies, but I just can't quit Garmin.

Aw, Garmin Connect, c'mere you big lug. 

SO.  Let's talk about some specific best/worsts of 2014:

Best/Worst Training Locales of 2014

Best place for a long run:  I still think the Mount Vernon Trail is my favorite, because you've got port-a-potties, water fountains, and for much of the way, a lovely view of DC.  You can run along the trail, enjoy the views, and know that just across the river are some of the most corrupt people in this nation, and other people who'd LIKE to be!

Worst place for a long run:  I'm going to annoy people with this, but I think the C&O Canal Towpath is bore-you-to-tears depressing.  

Maybe I've just had rough runs there (they're all very slow, and typically long distances, if I'm there).  It's just a lot of woods to one side, green water to another, and the notion that a bug, bird, or bear will jump out on you at some point.

Best-run, Worst-run Races of 2014: 

Best race organization (company):  Potomac River Running.  I ran 3 PRR races this year, and they were all models of efficiency, friendliness, and cheer.  I'm a fan.  But let's turn to some specific races for the best/worst organized:

WinnerMarine Corps Marathon -- yes, the race itself (for me) was an epic dumpster fire.  But the Marines are unparallelled in handling so many people so efficiently.  They win.

Runner-upJFK 50-Miler.  Incredible organization for a race covering so much ground, and attracting so much attention as the Nation's oldest ultramarathon.  Grass roots meets skilled, caring folks.  How they organize as many volunteers as they do is staggering.  The Marines win this one on sheer numbers, but the JFK folks are worth noting due to sheer ability.

Worst raceLawyers Have Heart 10K.  Just a little too much focus on fundraising, and packing as many Type-As into Georgetown as possible.  I know I ripped them a new one in my race report, but when you run out of safety pins and resort to packing tape to attach bibs, you're going to get deservedly mocked.

Best-performance, Worst-performance Races of 2014:

This is almost a mirror image from how well the races were organized:

Best performance at a race:  Lawyers Have Heart(!).  I ran exactly what my race strategy was, kept myself under 8:00/mile, and hit a milestone goal of a sub-50 minute 10K.

Worst performance at a race:  Marine Corps Marathon.  An utter disaster.  Surprised I kept myself under 5 hours, based on how badly things went after the Half.

Best Gear of 2014:

Best fuelTailwind.  In 2013, I was openly skeptical.  2014 made me a True Believer.  Why aren't you buying some NOW?!

Worst fuel:  Gu.  I just don't see it.  The little gel packs don't do it for me.  Some people swear by just good ol' candy instead of Gu, and I think candy might be just as effective.  I feel like every time I tried Gu packs while on training runs, I just wasn't being sufficiently fueled.  It just doesn't work for me.

Best gear CHANGE I made:  I switched from "Feetures" footie socks to Balega Hidden Comfort.  They are AMAZEBALLS.  I like wearing them almost as slippers.  SO comfortable.

No, I don't EAT the socks.  But they make me as happy as Snuffles.

Worst gear I used this year

I bought compression socks.  I used a ubiquitous ProCompression 40% off code (really, does anybody pay full price for those things?), and got my first pair.  I don't get it.  I don't see the benefits.  I just don't even LIKE them that much.  So they collect dust in my sock drawer.  I realize this puts me in the minority, because runners LOVE them some compression socks.

I even know that people think wearing them in a race helps, but there's been no showing of their efficacy for use DURING a race.  Yet people still claim they are of benefit.

I don't deny that there appears to be some utility for recovery if you wear them post-run/race.  I just don't feel it.  I kinda feel like I blew money when I bought them this year.  Plus, as I've established on my Instagram account, I look ridiculous in them.

Best Digital Peeps of 2014

Best Social Media Outreach:  Disclosure:  The Credit Union Cherry Blossom has turned me down two years in a row to be a "Social Runner" for their race, and to add injury, I've gotten these "Hey! You made the finals!" e-mails from them, only to THEN be told, ". . . but we didn't pick you!"  They also took multiple people this year even APART from the social runners, and had them blog about the race, so I'm not exactly sure I really was THAT final-ish.  But, you can't deny this -- the CUCB does the best social media outreach of any DC-area race.  They're fun, clever, involved, and also (this is important) actually informative about the race.  There are a lot of small, large, and even national races that could learn a thing or three from their efforts.  These folks are top-notch.

Also, based on them turning me down, maybe they're actually pretty smart(!).  I've decided that I'm done applying for these things, not just with them, but with ANY race.  I operate better outside the confines and niceties of an "official" social person.

Also, I doubt "Racebassadors" (barf) make a lot of dick and jizz jokes on the internets. 


Worst Social Media Outreach:  I'm not telling.  Why isn't the worst listed here?  Oh, I have some examples in mind, I really do.  Actually, I know the WORST race for social media outreach.  They're quite local to DC, and they are the worst sort of clique-y, "in crowd" types.  But I'll save the flaming for another day when I am in a bad enough mood to edit this post and add the section into here.  For now, I'll go with "if you don't have anything nice to say . . . "  The Worst race --organization-- for 2014 should already be known, since I've dinged them enough already.  No sense in more flaming.

Ok.  My 2014 Bests and Worsts are done. Unless I remember what other categories I was going to put in this post, in which case I'll update it. You can do that, by the way. You don't even have to put it out there that you did. Just update, and don't tell anybody.

Be naughty.  At least sometimes.

1 comment:

  1. Great list! You know I'll be sending you a DM to find out who has the worst social media outreach. And for the record, I like compression socks for recovery. Not running. I use 2XU. You could do an experiment where you wear a compression sock on one leg and not the other after a hard run and see if you notice a difference in recovery.