- great costumes
- free face painting for kids
- nice festival atmosphere all around
- great venue
- great Mix1 protein drink (disappeared fast as they were so tasty!)
- I was in the front of the pier and it wasn't clear to me where the starting line was. Silly, I know, but I kept seeing the finish line which was on the main part of the pier, and it was logical to me that it would start there....so there was no way I could be at the front of the pack. There was also no indicating of pace flags, so those that are faster start near the front...but this wasn't a huge race, so that shouldn't be expected.
- The 5K and the 1-mile fun walk started with the same shotgun...and the first 1/4 mile was surrounding the building at the end of the pier, so there was little room on the road. Now, this would be bad enough with just the 5k'ers (as they did have more than enough if they started the run on the pier roadway (which was 3-4 lanes wide and then it would easily/naturally widdle down to a 1-lane width at the end of the pier to the sidewalk/roads). The problem here is that there were double-wide strollers and lots of small/large dogs as part of the 1-mile fun run. So, I was competing with an unnecessarily crowded 1-lane space against strollers and dogs with dim lighting for the first 1/4 mile. There were a few people that were tripped by leashes; I was fortunately not among them, but it was close more than once!
- Sorry...but I don't think a ton of dogs should be jammed in a small darkened space with tons of strangers running....just asking for trouble there.
- There appeared to be a chip mat at the start of the race, so I unfortunately presumed that my time would be adjusted by my actual start time...not so. I waited until the crowds dissipated a bit, so I was one of the last to cross the start line. This could be clearly a result of my naivete here, I completely admit that. But, if there is a mat that looks like its recording chips, why not use it and adjust the final recorded "official" times with the data? This would have been a PR for me, if it were adjusted...as the first 1/8 mile took me time to cross the line + congested....yeah, 3 minutes to do just that! Live and learn.
- The course was dark for most of the way, which is what is expected...but I rarely heard anyone telling times. I actually saw 8-9 signs indicating where the course marshalls were, but only saw 1 sign indicating my distance. Frustrating since I had no idea how far I had gone or how far I still had to go.
So, will I do this race again? Nope. Next year, I will try the Creaky Bones Sarasota venue (not the St Pete one again), as the initial part of competing with dogs and double-wide strollers in a crowded space makes me uncomfortable and unnecessarily stressed, and my final official time was off by way too much as a result.
My official course time was 32:45. That being said, I absolutely know it took me over 45 seconds to cross that starting line....without a doubt. So, my true time was under 32:00...an unofficial PR for me. Again, my disappointment with my time is my problem as I just assumed the time would be adjusted by the starting time...but just imagine what it would have been if I didn't have to compete with double-wide strollers and dogs AND was at the front of the line!
Now, on a really happy note, I am finally in the top half for my age group (Women 40-44)...and I would have been in the top half for these other age groups as well:
- Women 35-39
- Women 30-34
- Women 25-29
Not bad :)
UPDATE: So, I received an email from athlinks.com, stating that the Creaky Bones race results are now available to link. Lo and behold, I have a chip time of 31:35! Not sure why only shot gun times were (and still are) posted on coolrunning, but that is besides the point. Woohoo.... So, I'm presuming that I had a 32:48 shotgun time and a 31:35 net time. Love to see improvement!