I think an important part of my philosophy of trying to run as cheaply and as cost effective as possible, this idea of finding value in race/run experiences. These means 2 things. Firstly, carefully spend your money on your racing experiences so that have maximum value to you as a person and a runner. Secondly, look for that added value by being positive about your racing experience. I think I do a good job with the first, but maybe not as good a job as a good with the second as I would like. This Friday was one of those times where I started to see progress with that element of the run cheap experience.
I ran the Crazy Sombrero 5k on Friday and it was not the most well organized and most well executed race. It was cheap ($15), and done wit a good spirit though so I found added value in it all over. I had a great racing time for little cost.
Here is where I found added value:
1. Personal Time– The race took place close to where I work, very close. It also went off at Friday at 7:15 at night. This meant a lot of time at work after school had ended, all to myself. A school clears out of students and teachers quickly on Friday. Quickly is actually an understatement. By 3:30 the building was desolate. It left me lots of quiet time to take care of some necessary emailing, clean out garbage from my car, listen to the radio, clear some school paperwork, and not be in a rush to get to my race. The added value was in the personal relaxing alone time, and the lack of rush. I got to sit there and enjoy my dinner in peace and quiet
2. Longleaf Gazebo– The race took place in a small New Port Richey Community of Longleaf. They have an open space with a Gazebo, there that they use for Farmers Markets and other small events. It is very pleasant spot. I got my bib and packet by 5:20 or so, so these left 2 free hours until race time with nothing to do. I just relaxed in the Gazebo and people watched. The added value was in the mental space of the moment, and the ability to slow down my day even before I sped it up.
3. The Race– They had to have the most ridiculous system ever for this race. Firstly, the 5k course was a 4 loop x 1250m route. Seriously? Talk about neighborhood small. It was almost like a cross country type course as far as design. Secondly, in order for the race organizers to follow what lap you were on, runners had to grab a tiny sticker on their way past each loop and place it on their bib. The organizer promised us that it would not be difficult or slow down our times. It was both. I missed the sticker the first time entirely, causing me to go the wrong way on the turnaround and a few seconds of my time. The second time, I got the sticker, but they had failed to block off the back road connecting the turnaround and I almost got hit by a uhaul turning onto the street. Not joking, true story. The third time through, I grabbed the tiny sticker but got distracted and almost ran over a wheelchair/handicapped participant. Colliding with people nearly occurred a 100 times during the race. Faster runners and slower runners had to occupy the same space so constantly you were lapping and passing the same people. They were for the most part not listening to “on your lefts” or “space” calls. It was hectic. Several people who I passed whispered out loud angirly at me that “This was a fun run”. Like I needed to feel badly for running fast or something. I finished 8th overall and with a good time. Despite everything I said before, THIS RACE WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE. The added value comes from the small time hilarity of the race. That because it was legitimately crazy, you just have to laugh it off and do the best you can. You have to embrace the small time nature of the run, and just celebrate that you now have some interesting racing stories to tell. You just have to relax and take the experience for what is worth.
4. Small but growing– This race has the potential to be a great race. It is only the 2nd or 3rd time they have run it. They got a decent size of people for it, and the packet pickup was well organized and the race bag was fairly cool. They had tents, events, bounce house for kids, water slide, and a little dance party for children after. All excellent ideas. I dont believe in pulling the wings of flies. Meaning, I dont believe in carping on something which was done with good intentions. Cutting something off before it grows. In this case, I expect that a few years from now this will be a much more signficant race. For now, it was a cheap but clearly getting bigger. I wish this race well and find signficant added value in talking about it and contributing to a growing race.
5. Getting Cheered– I sometimes run or hangout with a running group based out of New Port Richey called the Suncaost Striders. The Striders run this route quiete frequently and one of them even lived along the race course. There was a whole crowd of them running and a bunch not running. The non-runners in their group cheer everybody on loudly. Those who knew me, even cheered for me. I have never really had that experience before. Seeing someone you know during a race and have them urge you on positively. I count that as a race highlight and all kinds of added value.
6. Party on The Porch– The Striders hosted a post race party following the race that I had the good fortune to be invited to. It was right along the race course, so I was thrilled to attend. The party exceeded my already positive expectations. I got to talk with other runners and joke/laugh about the ridiculousness of the race set up. I got to chat and hang out with my only close running friend, RD. I got to meet new people and talk about running and racing in general. I also got to grub down on some delicious home made goodies. Im no really sure what half of the food I consumed precisely was (most of it had a Mexican theme to it) but it was all yummy. To sum up, it was as good of a time as I have had at a party in a while, in every way imaginable. Added value to the maximum
Added value is everywhere, you just have to be positive and look for the best in your experiences when you can. Thats true about running especially. Try to make the best out of a run. Try to make the best out of every race.
Enjoy your run. Enjoy Your day :0