Thursday, September 15, 2011

three things thursday

1. Yes, yes, the very exciting news was that we removed the puppy gates.  We have crate-trained both of our dogs, so most of the time while we are not here, Molly is crated, but when we're home, they are now allowed to go everywhere!  Terrifying.


2. I keep forgetting that I'm running the Philadelphia Half Marathon this weekend.  It is the lone survivor of my race schedule massacre, and I'm really looking forward to it.  That said, I'm using it as a training run so I'm not setting a time goal.  I'll be practicing the walk/run schedule I plan to use at Poconos to stay out of the death marching pain cave.  I'm not expecting to PR because I have to keep it on the easy side, but I'm also not counting it out completely.  Most of CAR is heading up to run this race as well, and I'm excited to spend some time with my teammates, especially cheering for them as they fade away into the distance.  Hopefully they will hang around for an hour or so at the finish line to wave as I chug in.


3. That said, I've been fretting over Poconos for the past few weeks.  There has been a lot of negative chatter all summer about this race.  Until June, there was no official bike course.  Once the bike course was posted, several local cyclists went out to ride the course and were surprised to discover that the vast majority of the course was on roads that needed repair to the point of being dangerous to ride.  One road in particular is not even paved, but is instead a gravel road that requires walking your bike.  The race organizers have been quiet except to pipe up every once in a while and promise that the roads will be re-paved by race day, but we're now two weeks out and updates from riders that were on the course last weekend report that the roads continue to be very unsafe.  I've been trying to ignore all of this chatter and have faith that it would all be done by race day, but every day that goes by provides more unsatisfactory reports of the course.  On top of all that, with all the rain that the area has had over the past two weeks, the swim course is currently closed due to extremely high water levels, high speed of the water, and debris in the river.  According to pictures posted from last weekend, the dock and parking lot are completely under water.  And several other roads on the bike course have been damaged and are currently closed from the recent hurricanes/tropical storms.
I emailed the race director late last week, and again yesterday to ask about contingency plans based on the current conditions of the swim and bike course, and have currently received no response.  The reason I chose this race was because it's fairly close to my parents, and I had planned on spending several weekends up there riding and running the course. I don't always have the chance to train on the course I am planning on racing, but in this case I did - or I should have.  I'm pretty disappointed to have missed that opportunity due to poor planning on the race organizers - this is the first year for this event, and I know the area well enough to know that there are a lot of options as far as bike course is concerned, and to choose a course that needs this much repair in such a short amount of time, I think, was foolish.  But now I'm more concerned about safety on race day.  I've been training my ass off the past two months, and if the swim is canceled and/or the bike course is re-routed into a 4-mile loop that we ride 14 times, I'm going to feel like it's all gone to waste.  And if I spend the entire bike course clamped down on my brakes because of the unsafe conditions of the road, I'm definitely going to be pretty pissed that I spent all the time out at Skyline for nothing.  I don't blame the race organizers for what the weather has done to the course, but I'm disappointed to have received no response to my inquiry.  


My coach has already picked out a back-up 70.3 in case portions of or the entire race is canceled on race day, but having that un-certainity in my training plan is making me nuts.  So these are my questions.  Do I still do the race?  Do I pull out now and just eat the registration ($225 is worth keeping my collarbones intact)?  Do I bag it on race day if they cancel the swim and do my backup race the next weekend?  What would you do?

24 comments:

  1. hhhmmmm, whats the backup race?

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  2. Goodness, girl, what a mess. I'm so out of the loop, this is all news to me. We'll talk over piles of lasagna :)

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  3. What is your back up race??

    The bike course seems like a big mess and I would be scared to ride on it, let along race on it! Gravel ... really?!?!?! And I hope they would let you know about the swim course soon enough to make a decision.

    200 dollars is 200 dollars and your safety is more important. If you are already feeling uneasy about the course I would just go ahead and do the back up race since it's only a week after.

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  4. Rain falls into the "act of god" category but paving roads doesn't...that's just terrible decisionmaking. They can't dictate when public roads will be paved. What if they start construction the day before the event? I'd be super-tempted to start a rebellion among those you know are doing the event. Do they accept deferrals?

    I suppose with a backup race to look toward, you're "only" losing the money, but $225 isn't chump change. That would buy dinner for 2 from Whole Foods! So I guess my advice would be - act like you're doing Poconos, defer if you can, cancel last minute if needed.

    But you shouldn't feel like you wasted time training. You had to train to get to the event regardless of how poorly their organizational skills were going to turn out to be. So don't spend emotional energy worrying about something that was out of your control.

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  5. That sucks! Can you still go to visit your parents and suss out the course for yourself ahead of time? Then, go to your plan B race if portions if it looks dodgy. good luck . . .

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  6. Good luck this weekend girl! Just go in to the race with a "I'm going to have fun" attitude and write your plan on your hand.

    As for Poconos, I personally would play it safe and go with the back up plan but I'm not you so maybe you should show up and see what race day has in store, if you're not feeling it or the course is that terrible, bag it and go with the contingency plan.

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  7. Good luck this weekend!

    Bummer about the race, but as a bike crash survivor, $225 is worth eating to save your collarbones.

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  8. Good luck on the 1/2!!! I totally know how you feel, when I had a triathlon cancelled earlier this season it was the not knowing and the date for the lake to re-open kept getting pushed back until finally the whole thing was cancelled!!! Maybe we just need to quit being such control freaks and go with the flow :-)

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  9. I'd head up there to do the race as planned, scope out the course conditions the night before and make your decision based on that (or, pull out the morning of if the swim is canceled. No reason to do a Du when you have a backup race).

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  10. That Poconos sounds like a guaranteed F-up. Honestly, if you're not going to do a goal race, I think it's better to make that decision early than late.

    If it were me, I'd decide to skip it now.

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  11. Did you say that other people have gotten refunds? I'd pull out and keep pushing for your $ back, or at least part it. Then you can focus your training on another race/date.

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  12. This decision would definitely put my need to be frugal and safe in conflict. I know I'd hate to lose $225, but I don't think I could do a race with so many obvious safety issues.

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  13. Enjoy the 'race' this weekend! There are a lot of DC-ers I know heading up for that.

    Crate-trained puppies > craptastic roads for a 70.3 race. Race-directors, step up! Do your job.

    What's the back-up?

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  14. Your training and sanity is more important than the $225. I think you should bag it (just based on what you've said in this blog) and do a different one. Good luck this weekend- I am jealous of all that quality CAR time.

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  15. to answer your last question: shit my pants.

    seriously though, why can't they just email you back??? that's crap. i hope they let you know soon cause i would seriously be panicking too.

    have fun at your half!

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  16. That sounds like horrible race organizing..even for a first time course. If it looks like they aren't getting their act together in the next week, i would switch to back-up. You've trained too hard to have crappy roads mess your sh*t up.

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  17. Wow that sounds really stressful. I think I'd bail on the race; it seems like it would just NOT be fun, and you wouldn't really get an opportunity to shine. You've been working too hard to participate in a race that wouldn't showcase that! I'd say do the backup race! Watermans?

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  18. It seems to me that if the race directors can't be bothered to reply to your emails and/or post an update or contigency plan, that they likely don't have one. I can't imagine the stress of not knowing if you are going to be able to run the race you've been training for. I always find it's better to take our decisions out of others hands- by that I mean, can you get through the next couple of weeks wondering what race day is going to or not going to provide? If not with alot of extra stress, I'd say pull out. Though I don't think I'd give up the $225 without a fight. Their poor planning, disregard for safety and lack of communication would make me argue with them for my dollars back. Good luck whatever you choose!

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  19. Damn 225 is a lot for a half! ouch. See if you can get a refund (even partial is better than nothing) or transfer to next year's event and do the backup half.

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  20. I would be determined to race the full 70.3 miles so if that means I eat the $225 then I do so. It is not as if the $225 came out yesterday and then another $225 tomorrow. That money is lost and gone is how I look at it and I'm going to race since I have been training and putting in all that time and effort.

    That's me!

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  21. Have fun this weekend. How frustrating the next race is. Good luck figuring out what to do.

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  22. Personally, I'd complain to organisers about the state of the course, expressing concerns about your safety and everyone else's, and ask for a refund. Politely but firmly, maybe while expressing if they organised a different course on the myriad routes the area has to offer, you'll be on it like stink on poopy.

    Yes, I said poopy. Not shit.

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  23. Enjoy the half this weekend. The weather should be nice and cool with low humidity!
    Good luck with your decision about Poconos. I know you've been looking forward to that race for some time now.

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  24. Um, that road looks scary. But it also looks like most of the roads in my neighborhood. You'll make the right decision, whatever that ends up being. It will be the right choice for YOU.

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