Friday, August 26, 2016

What Kind of Races Do You Like To Do?

So I do a fair number of races.  I did 11 races last year, not a ton by some people's measures.  However, I would say I did score pretty high on the variety scale with doing running races, a swim meet, bike time trial, a running relay, and of course triathlons.  Everything from a local Turkey Trot fun run to the Ironman World Championships.  Most of these were local or independent races.

So I've experienced many different kinds of event production.  I've always have been interested in the business side of sports.  How things are run.  Sometimes I'm amazed when I find out that someone I know is a race director or has been a race director.  When I find out that someone I know organized an event, I'm impressed.  I thought that it would be a really difficult thing to do.  I'm beginning to change my mind on that, as I think it just has more to do with the person's drive or passion, organization and the help they can get.
I heart Finish Lines. Even Wet Cold Ones.
One thing that can help you get your event organized is Eventbrite helps people with their events. Everything from a Tough Mudder to Beer Fests to Film Fests.  Of course since most events I go to are races, that is what I'm most interested in.  You can organize any type of race you want.  Competitive, or fun. Easy or Hard.  Also, if the event is free, then Eventbrite is free to use as well! The best part is that if you are organizing the race, then you get to choose how it's run.
I think this is a cool idea because smaller, local races are usually more fun.  You get to see people you know.  Hang out with your friends.  You don't have to travel too far as well.  Which can be a bonus if your race doesn't go as planned.  I mean you didn't invest a whole weekend into something that you would rather not remember.
First Ever Triathlon Swim. Look at that Form
Case in point is my second ever triathlon with my first ever open water swim.  Let's call this one a Major Learning Experience.  Swimming in a lake is much different than the pool.  The swim time in a triathlon is the shortest of the three sports.  It's usually about 50% bike, 35% run and 15% swim.  Except for me on July 31st, 2010 at a sprint triathlon in Lake Wylie, South Carolina.  I was such a bad swimmer it took me 21 minutes to swim and 19 minutes to run.
End of My First Tri Bike Leg. Nice Lid.
If only that were the worst part.  After the bike, I was in such a rush in transition that I put on my old gym shoes that I had walked into transition with that morning, and not the running shoes that I had brought with me to use, well you know, during the run.  The coupe de grace was that I also left my run number in transition (it was probably sitting on top of the the shoes I was supposed to wear).  So then I got a 2 minute penalty added to my time because I did not wear my number during the run.  Luckily it was only a 15 minute ride home from there.
First Triathlon Run. I can actually do this.
That's a bad day.  There is no way to sugarcoat it.  The only consolation is that things could only go up from there.  Luckily it did.  Fast Forward roughly 2 years to the Half Iron Triathlon at Ironman Augusta 70.3.  I nailed that race and finished 3rd in my age group, 10th out of almost 3,000 competitors and qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  It was a long way from my doggy paddle in Lake Wylie.
The First Tri Finish
 One of the most important things about racing is to just go with the flow.  Don't give up.  I could have dropped out after that horrific swim at Lake Wylie.  I could have turned my chip in after running with the wrong shoes and forgetting my number, but I didn't.  Even at Augusta, I had a massive panic attack right near the beginning of the swim.  The key is don't give up, there is still time to salvage the day.  It will be hard at times, but that is what makes it worthwhile.  If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Not every race has to be hard.  But some races will be.  Sometimes different things make races "fun" for different people.  Some people love the destination race.  For my wife the location of the race is what draws her. For others it's the mud, color, or obstacle.  Personally for me, a good race includes good organization, good logistics, "fun" swag or finisher's shirts/hats or winner's prizes.
Selfie Stick for the Win
Fun prizes don't have to be expensive.  Just creative.  Local businesses can always come up with unique fun items.  Last year I won a selfie stick at one race, a pie, and a pie server at another race, and even an umbrella at another.  Those things are fun for me. But I digress
Umbrellas on a Sunny Day
If you are not into starting your own race, find one that interests you.  Eventbrite can help you there as well. They have all kinds of events to get you out and moving. Check out their event page and you will discover all kinds of things to do right in your own backyard.  Things you didn't even know existed.  Find some runs, walks, bikes, obstacles, or mud and have some fun (and be healthy) at the same time.  Hope to see you out there this fall!