Are we sacrificing Safety for Medals?

Last weekend there was a race here in our area called the Weeki Wachee Springs Mermaid Race.  They actually had three races, a 1mile, a 5K, and a half marathon, I believe.  This was the inaugural race for the company organizing the event but I had heard a lot about it through many of the runners that I know and it sounded like a cute event.

Mermaid Race

But then Hurricane Irma happened and I wondered if they still planned on hosting the event because last year when we were expecting a bad storm at the time of the Clearwater distance classic, they cancelled it, and that was just a storm.

I didn’t hear anything else about the race so I assumed they cancelled it and then a few days later I started to hear from people who had indeed ran it.  It hadn’t been cancelled but it had been a disaster.  I assumed that the complaints were due to the fact that it was a new race and the organizers were unprepared for all of the entrants and with the hurricane they probably had a lot of support that didn’t show up, and that’s the excuse they used, but that’s not the full story.

What disturbed me the most was hearing that the runners had to run across one of the most dangerous roads in the area at crosswalks across 8 lanes of traffic!  This was not a closed course at all.  If you aren’t familiar with our roadways, that stretch of highway, US19, is part of the same stretch that was included in the Dateline NBC Study which named it the most deadliest road in America, because of the number of pedestrian related deaths, making it the worst road to walk on, bar none.

When the kid was younger, if he ever took the bus to school, he was never allowed to walk anywhere near US19, ever. Period.  It was a rule he was familiar with he would use it to his advantage by getting off the bus way before it ever arrived at US19 and calling me to pick him up, at the mall or somewhere else he wanted to go, but I digress, the point is US19 is not a road to walk, or run on, unless it’s closed.

I wasn’t surprised that the people who ran that race were pissed and I was thinking to myself there’s going to be some backlash over this.  There was.  Runners World actually caught wind of it and published this article.

Funny running sign

Here are my thoughts and keep in mind, I didn’t run this race but I have run many inaugural races and a lot of them have had some issues with not enough food at the finish or not enough volunteers on the course and so on.  Fortunately the race directors have always been more than willing to listen to the criticism and try to improve the race for the next year and in most cases they made it even better in the following years.

However, in the case of this race it seems to me that the race directors completely disregarded the safety of the runners.  To allow runners to run along a major highway like US19 without support from the sheriff’s department is insane.  In my mind, they’re just lucky that no one was injured and I’m serious about that.  To have no water along a course, especially a half marathon, or to provide water and no cups is unconscionable.  You sold out a race so you are fully aware of the amount of runners that you have, there is no reason for you not to have an ample amount of cups.  This is Florida and it’s humid and hot and when you are running in those conditions you are sweating and you need to hydrate.  Water should always be provided during a race.

I am also concerned about the rumors of the lack of any medical support.  If that was the case, that is unacceptable.  In at least 10 of the half marathons that I’ve run I’ve seen someone carted off in an ambulance.  Granted, I’ve run races where no one was injured but preparation is key and any good race director knows that.  And as if all of the support wasn’t bad enough, the timing wasn’t correct for most of the course so a lot of people had no idea what their finish times were.

But the reason I felt so compelled to write this, the reason that I got so mad when I heard about it and when I read about the experience that some of the runners had was that I wondered if it isn’t because of our quest for the bling that determines why we run a race.  Have we become so enamored by the medals that the allure of them determines whether or not we run a race?  Whether or not we run a challenge and take on all three distances?  Do some race directors put on races focusing on the medal rather than the safety of the runners as a priority?  Was this the case with the mermaid race?

I’ve read a lot of reviews where people talked a lot about the online course support and the after party and medals but not the actual course and maybe I’m old school but that’s one of the first things I look at.   I want to know about the elevation, the exposure, the terrain, whether it’s an out and back or if we’ll be taking buses and most importantly, is it a closed course.  I study the course, and sometimes I go run it beforehand.  If I would have read that this race was to be run alongside US19 and even across it, I would have never run it and I’m really surprised that it was sold out.  I mean, granted, I love me some mermaids and I love Weeki Wachee but I would have never run any of the three races based solely on the course.   I just wonder how many people actually ran it and didn’t know about the course or maybe they were from out of the area and weren’t familiar with US19 or how many people ran because they really, really wanted the medals?

Have you ever ran a race because you just really wanted the medal?  Be honest, there’s no judgement here.

 

 

WTF Wed, Getting lost for 12 hours running your first half marathon!

Last night MacGyver and I went to Costco to pick up the essentials and by essentials I mean a 30 pound bag of dog food because really, what else could two people actually need from Costco?

snack city bitch

Besides eating all the snacks, while we were there we walked around checking out all the holiday gift items and I noticed they were all the same as last year.  Unfortunately MacGyver did not.  Well, not until I pointed it out to him AFTER he suggested he get a few of them for me as Christmas presents.  That’s when I reminded him that he already did, LAST YEAR!

He asked me if I was sure

uh duh

And then he asked me what I did with them?  I assured him we no  longer had them.  At first he asked me if we used them or if they broke and then he thought about it.  I mean seriously how would you use a yonana frozen treat maker so much that you’d actually break it?  Or a fancy super-sized dish drainer?  Then he said, ‘those were not very good gifts and you returned them huh?’

duh

Let’s not last minute shop at Costco this year sweetie, okay?

I read a story yesterday about a woman who ran who very first half marathon over the weekend near my vacation house in Venice.  Her very first half marathon.  FIRST.  Remember that.  Now, y’all remember back to how nervous you were the very first time you ever ran a half marathon.  Remember the jitters?  The unknowns?  Remember how unsure you were?

Now, keep that in mind and let me tell you about Melissa Kitcher.

Melissa Kitcher

She ran her very first half marathon this past weekend and she chose the Trail Hog 13.1 which is a trail run at the T. Mabry Carlton Reserve.  This is not an easy race and it is definitely a trail.  There are roots and shrubs and bugs and mosquitoes and there have even been panthers spotted in that reserve.  It’s a beautiful place and I’m sure the course if spectacular but I’m not sure I would have chosen it as a first race but Melissa did.

Somewhere around the third mile Melissa took a wrong turn and that’s when things went downhill.  By her own estimates, Melissa says she probably went about 7 miles off course and then turned around and headed back when she realized she had gone the wrong way but by that time she was lost and realized no one was looking for her.  She had brought along a cell phone but it stopped working before the race even started.   She had no choice but to keep going so that’s what she did.

Melissa’s husband called the race director at 4:30 when she didn’t return and a search party located her 12 hours after the race started!  How’s that for a first half marathon experience?  It hasn’t stopped Melissa, she says she’ll be running the Sarasota Half Marathon in March and Melissa, if you want, I’ll run it with you, I’m directionally challenged myself, probably more so than you, I’ve gotten lost during a regular race on a route in my own neighborhood that I run weekly!

Melissa ended up running over 16 miles in those 12 hours on some pretty bad ass trails so in my opinion she’s one pretty tough runner!

WTF it’s Wednesday and that’s one heck of a first half marathon story!

Tell me about your first half marathon story!

Friday, breast pumping through a marathon.

It’s Friday and you know what that means….fun facts and Photos from my iPhone.   Actually, it doesn’t always mean that, I just made it up but I’m allowed to because it’s my stinkin blog.

First thing, holy tough momma.  Did you see this article?

breast pumping during a marathonI had to do a double take because how in the hell do you do that?  No, really.  I mean, I hate it when I have to adjust my earbuds or my hydration belt when I’m running and this one time, my visor broke and it totally threw me off.  I can’t even imagine pumping my breast while running.  All I can think of is spills.  Seriously.  This momma won my internet this week.

Y’all know I’ve had some stomach issues and if you’re new here you may not know that the last time I went to the gastro doc she barely listened to me, never read my history and then gave me some pills that could have possibly killed me and shooed me out the door.  That wasn’t the worst part though, the worst part is when they ask you about your bowel habits.  That’s why I’ve ordered this shirt for my next appointment.

poop shirt

I think it will be sufficient and save me some serious time.

On second thought, I better order one that says I did not poop today just in case. What do you think?

MacGyver and I had to take the dogs to get their rabbies vaccines and their tags.  It’s a yearly chore unless you take them to the local animal shelter and they offer a 3 year vaccine and tags.  It saves us money and keeps us from having to go every year.  The problem is, they only give the vaccines on Thursdays from 1-4 so every dog and dog owner in town who knows about it is in the parking lot at 12:45.

We were there too until I found out about the mobile vet the county offers.  Coolest thing ever.  They give the three year vaccinations every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at random locations throughout the County.  We went this morning and I am so glad that’s over.  Now I can move on to more important things like Halloween costumes.

Boomer is planning on being a Grumpy Old Man.

Grumpy old man costume

He already has the hat

Hank is planning on being Sheriff of Dog Town because he pretty much already is.

Hank

Do you really question who’s in charge? Pshhhhh, peons!

Charles T. Peacock has a lot of friends.  Now they are my friends.  And they are always hungry.

peacocksAn I am always feeding them…

And I don’t live on a farm but how cute is it that the ducks come swimming up as soon as I call them for dinner.

ducks

Here ducky, ducky, ducky

You know who else comes right up and eats out of my hand?  The turtles.  They insisted on making  a blog appearance.  They’re getting to be such diva’s.

slider turtles

And before I go I thought I should mention one thing.  I was trying to clean some janky shit off my stove last night that somehow managed to get on there when I was cooking quesadillas.  I tried that fancy ceramic stove cleaner that cost me twelve bucks, I tried glass cleaner, dish soap and pretty much every other cleaning product under my sink.  (That’s a lot of cleaners, trust me.)  Do you know what finally worked?

a miracle in a can

Bar Keeper’s Friend, the same one that sells for like a buck fifty at the Wal-mart.  As God is my witness I do believe that shit is made from rainbows and Unicorn dust.  It’s a miracle cleaner.

And that’s it.. that’s all I got.  Have a great weekend y’all!

Have you gotten a Halloween costume yet?

Do you dress up?

Do you dress up your pets?  (Please remember that I do so don’t get judgy)