This last weekend brought an end to my finishers streak at almost 2 years. The last time I was unable to finish the required distance was at a Choc-O-Holic Frolic 10k race. (No Dark Mark, this does not count the swim workout at tri camp, I had a calf cramp) Unfortunately, I just melted in the heat and started getting sick about 2 miles into the run at the Cutting Edge Classic 70.3. Not a shocking development, after all almost 40% of the events competitors took the dreaded DNF. Still, it has left a bad taste in my mouth because I was already a little annoyed with the event. It’s not their fault. The organizers put on a fine day of racing and of course they can’t help it that the heat index was 102. You know what really annoyed me about this race. Everything was 2 loops!!! I mean EVERYTHING!!! All three disciplines!!! Now to some of you this isn’t a big deal, maybe it’s even preferred, but for me nothing bums me out like getting super close to transition only to head back out for one more trip around a loop that I really didn’t enjoy that much the first time.
So here is my question for you, my loyal TRS Triathlon reader, what kind of course do you look for before deciding to sign up for a race?
Last Sunday after swimming the first loop and then running down the beach screaming my number at some dude with a clipboard, I spent the second swim loop thinking about why I sign up for certain races. I only have so many free weekends a year and I shouldn’t mess around with signing up for a race if it doesn’t really inspire me to race.
Up until now, I really hadn’t put much thought into this. Usually I choose a race based on how many of my friends are competing. I mean it’s just more fun when you have a bigger group hanging out at a race venue. I’ve also been guilty of choosing a race because of it’s location, like Louisville this October. I wanted to do another 140.6 this year and didn’t want to travel very far. Well Louisville fits the bill at just under 2 hours away. I’ve chosen races because of currency considerations. Seriously, Mont Tremblant was super cheap last year because of the US/Canadian currency exchange rate. I’ve chosen races because of friends recommendations. However, I officially will warn you that if your friend says a course is “flat and fast” please for the love of Webstey, please don’t sign up for that race. The only thing that will be flat for a “flat and fast” race will be the swim. It’s a trick, RUN AWAY!!!
From now on, I really plan on putting more time into researching a race courses pro’s and con’s. Some reasonable considerations for me are probably a one loop swim. I also like bike courses that are one loop. Preferably with decent scenery and closed to local vehicle traffic. Not every road can be perfect asphalt, but I would like to stay away from chip n seal or tons of potholes. After all, I don’t like changing flats. I’m not sure why I even carry a flat kit, I certainly don’t want to use it. How about the run course, maybe two loops is ok, but I once again prefer a closed course. Paths or trail system races always seem to make me happy. Wow, way to go Clay, way to follow up Ian King’s article about off road tri with this whine fest! Gosh I’m a delicate little flower aren’t I? Seriously, vote on the poll and go to the forum! Rant and rave about certain races you love, or ones you hate. Tell me to HTFU and sign up for an Xterra race. Tell me which race you think I should sign up for. Hell tell me a recipe for your favorite cookies, just make some posts and make me feel better for being a quitter. TRS Triathlon wants to know!!!
When signing up for a race, i’m looking for this kind of course.