This is not the blog I was hoping to write this time of year. I had hoped to blog about my wonderful 100 mile race…but alas, it was not meant to be this year. I have been side lined for the past month with an injury. For me, a devastating injury. Not because I had to back out of my race, but because I’ve never had an injury like this before…this bad before. It’s pretty freaky to have a stress fracture. As with all of my injuries, I have learned a whole lot about this injury–causes and prevention for the future–but I wish I hadn’t learned these lessons the hard way.
- Big races are world class events with all the bells and whitsltes.
- Usually the big races are in big cities which can make for an awesome vacation around the event.
- The expos are huge and there is excitement about the event throughout the whole city.
- You will meet runners of all speeds, from every state, and every country. Everyone has a story and it’s fun to get to hear so many runners journeys.
- The lines for porta-pottys are actually not too long because there are so many – even in the corals. At least this is true for NY and Chicago.
- There are pace leaders and organized corral starts so ideally you are running with a group at the same pace you intend to run.
- You can pay more and get more. For example there are heated tents to wait in before the race, with food, for an extra cost. You can get every kind of running apparel, available in a multitude of styles, with the race logo.
- The Crowd support is electrafiying. There is hardly a spot on the race course not supported by cheering people. The energy of the crowd definitly keeps you going.
- If you forget to pack something you need for race day, you will be able to find it at the expo.
- Finishing such a prestigious event and being able to add that medal to your collection is an honor, and a bucket list item you can check off your list.
- It costs a lot of money – not only for race entery, but flights, hotels, travel expenses, merchindise, etc. If there is a major race in your hometown, huge bonus!
- Its hard to get into – most major races require qualification, lottery, or large chartiable donations.
- The journey to the start can take as long as the race itself – I know this to be true for NY and Boston. It took us over 3 hours to get to the start, then once there we waited for another 75 min. Or at Disney you have about a mile walk from the racer waiting area to the start.
- The course is crowded. It’s hard to get into a grove because there are runners all around you all the time. I got elbowed a few times, not on purpose, but when people were going to wipe their face or adjust their hat – thats how close we all were.
- Which leads to the fact that it is difficult to obtain a PR in a big race. Not only because of the crowded course, but the events all around often mean you are not as mentally focused on only the race like you might be at a smaller event. Also the start time of some big races can be very different than times you normally run which can change your nutrition. Boston and NY start after 10, and Disney starts around 5:00 in the monring.
- You really have to strategically plan where to meet people – family watching, meeting up after, etc.
- Very strict rules! For example (and some make a lot of safety sense) all items had to be in clear bags or they were taken. No dark trash bags could be worn. There were security screenings like at the airport, and even dog sniffing bags. Snipers were on roof tops, and corrals were only open for 10 min then closed 50 min before start times (I missed mine!).
- The journey home/back to the hotel can be a long process.
So, in conclusion, I do love big races, but I feel like they are a one time, amazing experience, bucket list item. (Except for Boston – that is worth doing as many times as you can.) While there are just as many pros and cons to smaller races, I think I’ll focus more on doing different events and seeing new places. The key is to treasure each experecience and all that big and small races have to offer.