Friday, August 2, 2013

Race #222 - Grizzlies 5k - Gastonia, NC - 07/26/13

It's kinda weird, but after pulling my right hamstring yet again (that's the fourth time, but the first time this year) and thinking I might be slowed down for two or three months, after just two weeks I ran this race and finished 10th overall in 21:34, which was about the same speed I'd been running before my injury.

Let me back up just a bit since I haven't posted anything on my blog about the injury until now. The Peach Festival 10k a couple weeks ago was to have been my 222nd race. I felt fine at the start of that race but about 2 miles in I started feeling some pain in my right hamstring. I was a little concerned but figured I could finish the race (6.2 miles) and then maybe take it easy for a few days and I'd be okay. Then, all of a sudden in the 4th mile I felt the same "pop" that I felt on those three previous occasions where I pulled my hammy, and I was reduced to limping through the last couple miles of the race. I thought I'd finish the race -- with a much slower time than I had planned, of course -- but about 5 miles into the race I could see the finish line straight ahead about 100 yards away. The course turned left at that point but a DNF (Did Not Finish) for me seemed like a good option so I went straight to the finish and told the timer that I had dropped out. It was the first time I had ever dropped out of a race because of an injury.

After the hamstring pull I took a couple days off then started back to running a few easy miles on most days. I completely skipped The Scream Half Marathon last week, which I had been looking forward to, but I didn't want to make things worse. The hammy was feeling a little better each day (I'm sure it was a Grade 1 pull, which is the least serious) and I decided to run the Grizzlies 5k since it was a new race and sounded like fun.

The Gastonia Grizzlies are part of the Coastal Plain League, a collegiate summer league that features top-notched college players from throughout the United States. The CPL features 14 teams located throughout the Carolinas and Virginia.

The race preceded the double header "Midnight Madness" baseball games, with the games starting at about 8:30 and 11:30. It was the first time we've ever attended a Grizzlies game and we really had a great time and talked about attending more games in the future (although it's almost the end of the season now).

Besides a potentially dangerous bottleneck at the beginning of the race (which I'll explain in the photos below) there was only one beef that many of the runners had: the awards were 2-deep in 10-year age groups. The people in charge of organizing the races in Gaston County are getting it wrong when it comes to age groups, and I'm hoping they'll change it before they lose many of the regular runners who come from surrounding areas to run road races. They would do well to follow the example of most of the other race organizers in the area (Queen City Timing, Run for Your Life, Lee Timing, Vac & Dash, etc.) whose races are almost always 3-deep in 5-year age groups. Generally the regular road racers aren't concerned about the monetary value of the awards, but if they finish in the top 3 of their 5-year age group they would like to be acknowledged for it regardless of how many people were in that age group. I personally talked to several friends who drove more than 20 miles to get to the race and would have finished in the top 3 of their 5-year age group but were shut out of the awards because of the 10-year groups. At the very least they were left with an unfavorable impression of the race just because of that, and there's a good chance they won't come back next year, which is sad, because the entry fee of just one runner would pay for the difference in some small token awards.





The race started in right field and took a left turn out of the gate less than 100 yards from the start.
Some of the runners were concerned about it being too crowded as we were heading towards the gate.


A runner ahead of me got tangled up in the crowd of runners and found himself belly-up with a couple hundred runners coming up behind him.


Most of the race was out-and-back on the Gastonia Greenway.
I like out-and-back courses because it gives me a chance to see where everybody is, but it did get a little crowded.


When we returned to the stadium we were directed to run around the outfield and finish at home plate.


There was plenty of elbow room on the trip around the field before finishing.
Possibly a better option to help with the bottleneck at the beginning of the race would be to
run a lap around the field to begin the race so everybody wouldn't be trying to get out of the stadium at the same time.


My granddaughter Marley loved and experience -- race, baseball game (we just stayed for the first game), and fireworks.
She missed her 7:30 bedtime by a few hours but she was fine with that.


The Grizzlies won the first game but were shut out in the second game.
Kinda glad we just stayed for the first one.


Between almost every inning there was something special -- dancing, bed races, eating contest, etc. Never a dull moment

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Official Race Photos

My Stats:

Time:  21:34
Pace:  6:57
Age Group:  1 of  10
Overall:  10 of  212  (4.7%)
Average Heart Rate:  172
Maximum Heart Race:  181
Age Graded Equivalent Time:   17:12  (75.03%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 - Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
5 - Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)spectacular!
0 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
1 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
0 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
0 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
0 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
0 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
0 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
2 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
5 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
9 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
2 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
5 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
5 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

WEBSITE
0 - Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER
2 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes


TOTAL:  80