Don't Forget The Sarcasm

by Veronica on August 9, 2011 It almost didn’t happen.

I set two alarms, both of which were either faulty, or user error. Lets go with the former, shall we?
Long story short, my parents woke me up at 520AM. My shuttle from the fair grounds left at 5AM. I ran down the street to the fair grounds and made it from my bed to the shuttle in 20 minutes. Go me. I made the last shuttle of the morning, found my parents at the starting line, and started racing 3 minutes later.
I tell this story to explain why I now sleep in my full racing attire, minus my shoes. If the above story happens again, at least I can be ready to run in a moments notice.
So luckily, Sunday’s OC Fair 5K didn’t start out like it’s sister race. I got very little sleep, but still woke up at 630AM, enjoyed a champion’s breakfast of double chocolate chip cookies and a banana, and was out the door by 7.
I knew I had to drive to the race in order to put my goodie bag at shirt in my car since packet pick-up was the same day as the race, but I figured I wouldn’t need much time.
Wrong.

This was the worst packet pick-up set-up I’ve ever seen. I walk in the registration area and am greeted by at least 10 volunteers handing out safety pins for the bibs. Why this couldn’t happen at the actual registration table and have these 10 high school students earning community service credit actually checking people in is beyond me. The line for registration wrapped around multiple corners.
The line moved fast enough, but over 1,500 people had registered for the race. By the time I received my bib and T shirt, walked to my car, put on my timing chip and bib, and walked to the starting line, more than 500 people still needed to do the same.
The 8AM start time was moved to 8:20AM.
Normally, this wouldn’t have bothered me so much. But:
I got very little sleep, and was irritable.
The double chocolate chip cookies were beginning to disagree with me, thus making me irritable.
The emcee was incredibly annoying, and… wait for it, wait for it… I was getting irritated.

Oh yeah, I was at the front of the line. Because I'm elite like that.
Luckily, I made friends with a few people in line… kind of. One woman was about my mom’s age and started running 2 years ago. She was very excited, naming off all of her past and future races and based on her projected finish time, I knew she would be my pacer. The other woman was super snotty. She made fun of my Timex watch I use for pacing because I am waiting for my Garmin 305 for Christmas. She also made fun of my projected pace.

The Course

Posted on July 2011

The course was a “fast and flat” loop around the perimeter of the fairgrounds, and inside the actual fair. It was fun running around the rides, expos, and carnival games. We ran around the Pacific Ampitheater, which I had been at only a few days before for the Weezer concert.
The new additions to the race were the fair detours of fun. These were optional pit stops for runners to:
Play a carnival game and win a stuffed animal.
Ride down the giant slide.
Run down the steps of the Amphitheater and strum a guitar a few times.

Though I was tempted to ride down the slide o’ funness, I declined since I was set on my PR. But I thought this was a great idea for families and kids to try. It allowed the “Fun Run” to live up to its name.

Pros

Posted on July 2011

D-Tag timing chips. Usually, 5K runs offer no timing devices, or clumsy tags that are arduous to adhere to the shoe. D-Tags are marathon-caliber chips that slip around the shoe laces and can be put on in seconds.
The course. It was one loop, which provided for new scenery in every step. Miles 2 and 3 were inside the park, which offered a unique location.

web

Cons

Posted on Jun 2011

Packet pick-up. There was one small table with bib numbers displayed, so I could tell the person at the actual registration table what my number was. However, the table wasn’t marked, and the majority of runners had to exit the line after they got to the front, find their number, and then stand in line all over again. There were so many fixable things wrong with the packet pick-up process.
The emcee. I mean, they’re supposed to be annoying. But he was really bad.
Overall, this is a fun, easy race. Great for the whole family. Since I plan on living down the street from the fair grounds for the forseeable future, I would definitely run this next year.
And you should, too. Because I said so.