Gateway to the Gorge - T-Shirt

7 down 45 to go.

Don’t drink and sign up for races!

One night about 4 years ago, me and Tim were drinking and talking about running. After running a race in Dove Mt. we realized that our biggest weakness was uphill running. To motivate us to work on our uphill running skills we decided to signup for the Mt. Lemmon Marathon. On our first practice run we made it about a mile before having to walk. Tim said something like, “No problem, now that we know we can run a mile we just have to do it 25 more times.” Luckily, we knew the race director, Ott and after laughing at us, he let us switch to the half marathon. We did become stronger uphill runners.

I don’t think the wine was as much of a factor in our  Gateway to the Gorge mistake. We were tired and we had had a couple of glasses of wine while signing up for races but it was after midnight. We had already signed up for 6 races. One more and we were going to bed. This race was cheaper and flatter then the others that weekend. They said scenic waterfalls. We signed up without reading the small print. The race turned out to be a fundraiser for a pro life group raising money for an ultrasound bus. We figured this out about a week before the race when we were looking at the race details. Tim and I are both vehemently pro choice. I’m sorry if this offends anyone but if you don’t think abortion is ethical then don’t have one. Write or talk about why you think it is wrong but don’t try to pass laws that force your beliefs on other people. I can think of few things more obscene than forcing a woman (or girl) to bring an unwanted baby into  an already overpopulated world. And if you are pro life stop voting against welfare and social programs that help needy children. Pro life groups are about controlling women not helping them. If you are pro life why don’t you find a cause to help the living? And why are so many pro lifers gung ho about war and guns? Be consistent. End of rant.

Gateway to the Gorge - T-Shirt back side

Goodwill here I come

On to the race. My favorite part about this race was shopping at Road Runner Sports during out packet pickup. I think running stores sponsoring races is brilliant. If you can get a runner into your store to pick up their packet they will most likely buy something. We were only going to buy Bodyglide but the store was really smart and gave us a 10% off the store coupon. Hey, I’m only 25 miles away from needing new running shoes. It turns out that they had the brand I have been wanting to try (Adidas Boost) and in a color that matches my butterfly costume. I am wearing my butterfly costume for the Enchanted Wine Run, 2 weeks from now, and for the pumpkin race. So we got glide, I got new shoes and Tim got a foam roller. Ironically on the drive up we were talking about ways to save money. We were going to eat out less, start a budget, watch what we spend, etc. Look honey we just saved 10% on shoes and stuff. I hope we don’t save out way into debt.

Adidas Boost

Could you find a better color shoe for a steampunk monarch butterfly

The goody bag was pretty bare bones. They did have a tech shirt. It also had a package of corn cakes (like rice cakes but corn), coupons and a book called Heaven. How the hell (sorry) could someone write a book about what heaven will be like? A couple of sample chapter titles for you, “Won’t heaven be boring?” and “Will we have our own home in Heaven?” I think this is a good point to reiterate how important it is to read the fine print when signing up for a race. When we realized what we had actually signed up for, we considered not running at all but decided that would just be giving a donation to a cause we were against. We joked about wearing pro choice buttons but decided against that because it was our own fault we had not paid closer attention to the race details. In the end we decided to just go run.

Heaven

Oh the Hubris

I thought the race was pretty awful in many ways. And I’m not just saying that because of my love for the cause. This was one of the most unorganized, cheaply executed races I have ever run.

The race did not go well for me from the start. They did not have enough pot-a-pots so we were still walking to the start as the race began. There was still a long line behind me. After fiddling with our watches while trying to run I realized that I forgot to use my inhaler. I have exercised induced asthma. I’m not sure how long (not long) it was after Tim handed me back my water bottle that I noticed my lucky hanky was no longer attached. It had the name Elsie embroidered on it. Elsie was my great grandmother’s name. She was the only person that I felt loved and cared for me, when growing up. I was always running to her house. In truth, the handkerchief was almost worn out and I would have had to get rid of it soon anyways. Still, it didn’t seem like a very auspicious way to start a run. I feel kind of silly admitting that I had an emotional attachment to a handkerchief. After a short flat section the course turned a corner and we had a long, steep hill. It seemed kind of lame to start walking in the first mile of a race but I walk uphills almost as fast as I run them, so I walked. I told myself that I was saving myself for later. Tim just told me later, he wasn’t walking before he even started running. That was the last I saw of him until the finish line. The website said the course was “scenic” but the first half of the race was boring residential streets run on bad roads with cars to dodge and speed bumps to trip over. We finally turned onto a shady  road with a river view. Unfortunately, the traffic was awful. Most of the scenic highway did have nice views to the left but I was busy trying not to get run over by a semi on my right. Running in the diesel farts of large trucks made my eyes water. This is not a place I would ever voluntarily run. Tim saw a couple of small waterfalls off to the side but I didn’t see any. We were soon out of the shade and it was hot. We did run over two nice bridges.

Nice Bridge

Nice Bridge

The worst part of the course was the parking lot that lead to the trail loop. It was confusing and no one was there to give directions or make sure runners even did the trail loop. I saw a couple runners get to the parking lot and turn around without doing the trail section. There was an attempt at chalk arrows but all the traffic had smudged them to the point that they were useless. Once the parking lot was navigated and I was on the trail the directions were even more vague. I managed to take a wrong turn (I’m not the only one) and got lost. Most of the time when I get lost (and I get lost a lot) I end up doing extra mileage. Not this time. I took a trail back to the parking lot cutting off almost half a mile. I hate it when people cut the course and I just became one of them. At lease it wasn’t on purpose. I didn’t know until I looked at my watch data. I can’t imagine why they didn’t have someone at the parking lot. The only person I talked to that wasn’t confused about the parking lot/trail section had run the race last year. By this time it was really hot. I’m glad I had my own water because the race didn’t have enough water stations for the half marathon. As far as I could tell they had the same water stations for the 8 mile race as for the half marathon. I’m also glad I brought my own Gu. I always bring a gel because I have only found one brand and flavor that works for my delicate tummy but most people expect any race over a 10K to have gels. This is the first one we have been to that didn’t. I though the after race food was pretty lame. No cold chocolate milk here. They had banana slices, melted Lara bars, and bread with peanut butter. It was adequate. Tim likes bread and peanut butter after a race. I don’t understand how anyone can eat peanut butter after running. I do like Lara bars. After eating a Lara bar and sitting in the shade I thought this stupid race was done pissing me off. I was wrong. They started the awards ceremony at the finish line. The same guy who was announcing the names of the runners as they crossed the finish line was now announcing the age group winners then overall winners. The problem was that the runners coming through the finish line were completely ignored. And there were a lot of slow, first time half marathoners, who cared about what they had accomplished. I felt awful for them. To work that hard, for that long, in the heat (I don’t blame the race for the heat) and then not even be acknowledged at the finish line is one of the most insensitive things I have ever seen at a race. Maybe they only had one microphone, maybe they only had one announcer available, whatever, fucking get it together and have your awards ceremony away from the finish line like every other race.

On a positive note – after the race I met a rep from Nathan, who make WrightSocks, my favorite running socks. If you think it’s weird to have a favorite brand of running socks you are probably not a runner. Tim got to talking to him about what we were doing. He gave Tim his contact info and offered to hook us up with a free pair of socks. Awesome. At some point I plan to do a cool running gear review. Stay tuned.

Remember I love comments! Shelby, how are those Hokas working out? See – I love comments so much I am trying to coerce some.

Sharon and Tim after the Gateway to the Gorge

Cons

  • Lame goodie bag
  • Over half the course on residential streets
  • “Scenic Highway” was run in a cloud of semi exhaust
  • I didn’t see any waterfalls
  • Parking lot transition from road to trail section was a complete mess
  • Unclear trail markings (this is where I got lost)
  • Not enough water stations
  • No gels
  • Energy events who organized the race clearly hated being there
  • Slower runners were not acknowledged at the finish line due to poorly placed award ceremony

Pros

  • Great shopping at the packet pickup
  • Some nice scenery. I love running over bridges
  • The nice guy at the Nathan booth who let me sit in their shade. I don’t deal well with heat

We would not recommend this race even if we didn’t hate the cause. I understand that fundraiser races want to put as much money as possible towards their cause but toilets and water are not places to skimp. The only reason I can think of that anyone would want to do this race is that they are passionate about the cause and don’t really care about the logistics of the run. This race has some major hills and was really hot. If you choose to run this race study the course map carefully and bring your own water. But really – don’t do it.

pasta lunch

You’re supposed to carb load before and after a race, right?

 

I’m sorry for such a blog of negativity but we knew that all races wouldn’t go smoothly. So here is a recipe for the best watermelon salad ever. I thought feta and watermelon would be weird together but they are great.

Watermelon Salad
Ingredients:

  • 1 small watermelon, diced (about 4cups)
  • 12 or so basil leaves, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 cup of chopped feta

Optional:

  • Sesame and/or poppy seeds

Mix it all in a bowel and serve. Optionally sprinkle some poppy and and/or sesame seeds on top.

YUM!

4 Comments

  1. Don’t toss the shirt Sharon! You never know when you need a throw-away top for painting, hair dying, easter egg coloring, etc.

    And remember, you have to spend money to save money, right? :O)

  2. I was looking for recaps of races I’ve done and I found this blog — I’ve chatted with your hubby a couple of times and I am enjoying reading about your journey. When he told me you guys were doing this race I kept my mouth shut about the fact that there might be a picture of a holy fetus on the medal ’cause I didn’t want to cause offense, now I am sorry I didn’t warn you ahead of time! Take care and keep running (but don’t drink while signing up…) — Jeanie S.

  3. YAY, may I say it again? YAY! I am now officially on your blog – going to be notified when you or someone else posts. YAY!

  4. Gee, I hope you’re both not burned out on HMs…..but this one sounded awful! Are you really going to give the T-shirt to the Goodwill? Why don’t you donate it to the sponsors of the race? Don’t wash it first. Seriously, if you’re going to get rid of the T-shirt, you need to replace it with something. I’m going to put my thinking cap on, and come up with an idea. I’m sure after a couple of glasses of wine tonight, I can come up with something creative!! Meanwhile, I’m off to yoga and today’s errands. Be good to your bad self, you two! Love you.

You must be logged in to leave a reply.