Jul 18, 2013

The Biggest Loser RunWalk 10K Washington, DC - Race Recap

So I am just going to come out and say it. The Biggest Loser RunWalk 10K is the only bad race experience I have had so far in my racing life. I ran the 10K last Sunday, the day before my 33rd birthday. I thought it would be a fitting way to end my 32nd year, but it was a miserable race and I was very unhappy afterwards. 

If you read my previous post, you know that I was SUPER excited for this race. I love The Biggest Loser! But there were many problems with this race, and it left me so disappointed. Saturday was the only day for packet pick-up, so I had to schlep into the city to take care of that. The Expo was held in the downstairs area of a bar called Penn Social. From there, I began to see a pattern that repeated itself over and over again throughout the weekend. There were not enough volunteers! 

There were three people distributing packets for the 5K, two people distributing for the 10K and one person for the Kids Race. I overheard someone ask how many people were in the Kids Race, and the volunteer said 50. Hello! You have one person distributing packets for 50 people? The event managers were clearly unprepared for this race, but I am grateful for the volunteers who did put in their time and energy into helping out. 

That being said, the Expo was a disaster. There was definitely not enough space to move around and not enough volunteers. For my line, the poor volunteer was in charge of all of the last names from L to Z in the 10K. When I got to the front of the line, she was digging through a box with all of the bibs from that part of the alphabet to find mine. 

After I got my bib, I had to go to the other side of the bar to get my T-shirt, which was fine because the line was relatively short and in a rather uncrowded area. It was just getting across the room that was the problem.

There were a number of booths around that added to the crowdedness plus there was a stage and an area where they were trying to lead some stretching when there was pretty much no room to do such a thing. 

I really just wanted to leave at that point, but I did get to catch a glimpse of Michael Dorsey from Season 14. 

I also did get to pick up some goodies, like this nice tech tee in my size!

The Biggest Loser RunWalk Swag

I laid out my gear for the race on Saturday night to make sure I didn't need to do gear check. I try to never do gear check because I don't really need to. Everything fits into my Nathan belt! 

On race day, I woke up at 6:45 to get dressed and eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich. I took the Metro to RFK Stadium and had to make a bit of a walk to Parking Lot 8, which was where the start would be. I arrived at around 8:40 am, so that gave me enough time to go to the bathroom and walk over to the starting line.

Dan and Jackie Evans from Season 5 were the MCs, and they said there would be a wave start. Runners were told to stand in the front, run/walkers in the middle and walkers in the back. But that was the extent to the direction we received. Lining up by pace would have been better, but this was a minor issue compared to everything else that would happen.

Here I am at the starting line with a smile on my face. Little did I know what was about to transpire.

 Geared up and ready to go!

The race started at 9 am. As races go, this is a really late start time, especially for the middle of July. Add to that the heat and humidity and it was a hot day!

Not only that, but it turned out that we were running through the parking lot of RFK Stadium on hot asphalt and with no shade whatsoever. Oh except for that overpass you see below.

Look at this beautiful route! I will never again complain that running Hains Point is boring. This was awful!

So once I accepted that this would be my running route for the next 6 miles, I realized that I was running past mile marker 2 when it had only been a little over 9 minutes. That can't be right. Then I passed mile marker 1 at around the 20 minute mark. What? The mile markers were either in the wrong place or we were misdirected in the beginning.

Mile marker 1 - 20 minutes in

At this point, I was pissed and my mental state was all out of whack. What is going on here? I gave up on trying to PR. I was hot and miserable. I made it to the end of 5K, and since both the 5K and 10K runners had been running the same route this whole time, they got to cross the finish line while we were directed around the finish line to run the whole route a second time! Yes, that's right. We had to run through the parking lot AGAIN! Too cruel!

I made it past mile marker 5 around the hour mark so I knew I for sure wasn't going to PR. But then, the lady on the mic said that we only had another half a mile to go. What? That can't be right. Oh but it was. I crossed the finish line and my GPS said I had run 5.6 miles!

If I was pissed before, I was super pissed now! I just wanted to get out of there, but I couldn't because the finish line was crammed and we couldn't move. I just wanted a bottle of water.

After all that, I got this medal, but I wasn't sure I earned it since I didn't run a 10K.

I was sad, upset and angry! Oh yeah and sweaty!

I went home trying to figure out what happened. Then I went on Twitter and saw that other people also ran less than a 10K and realized that I wasn't crazy. I also looked at the race map on the website and yup, we were definitely misdirected somehow in the beginning, which is weird because my 5K distance was spot on. It was the second 5K that was short. 

From the race's chip timing: 
5K Split: 34:16
Finish time: 1:07:26

And splits from my Nike running app:
Mile 1: 9:48 *fastest mile*
Mile 2: 11:26
Mile 3: 12:51 
Mile 4: 13:15
Mile 5: 12:33
Mile 6: What mile 6?

Average pace: 11:59

I still don't know what happened but now, I feel better about the medal. I think I definitely earned it. 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary race entry from The Biggest Loser RunWalk. As you can probably tell, all opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure here

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