Grand Haven Coast Guard Fest 10k -- aka Fool me once...

Am I a glutton for punishment? This race was my most miserable last year--thanks mostly to poor race management. So I guess it was wishful thinking that had me register and pay money AGAIN for abuse.

Last year's biggest issue was poor course marking, which had those of us "bringing up the rear" types off course for a section, then back-tracking. This year the course was marked much better...but only 2 aid stations (last year I remember clearly at least 3) for 6.2 miles in warm, humid weather and a 9am start? Par for the course, apparently, as they moved the finish refreshments a couple of blocks away from the finish, then ran out of water and cups (and I finished ahead of over 48% of the field). At some point they found more water and cups, but the lines for water were--no joke--at least 30 deep. Nuts on that business. I went inside the YMCA to buy a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade--maybe I should bill the race organizers....

I heard that the 5k folks (who started at 8am) had to wait in line for water--during a RACE--at the single aid station on their course.

I don't care if racing purists look down upon me, in the future I will do nothing longer than a 5k without my own hydration (I brought my own for the 15k I did last month, which I really didn't need, as that one had aid stations EVERY mile, but thought that would be overkill for this race)...I was so envious of those smart folks who had hand bottles and regretted not grabbing my own. I should have been able to easily clock in at under an hour given my recent training, but by 3 miles I was queasy and chilled and my pace kept dropping...I'm almost always a negative splitter or maintain an almost perfectly consistent pace for the duration of a race, but overheating and inadequate hydration took their toll. As a result I came in at 1:01:48 (start is not chipped, so my actual time was probably closer to 1:01:30). I still beat last year's 1:11:11, but I'm not all that thrilled about it. In April I did a challenging, hilly 10 miler at a faster pace than this race.

There's really no excuse for them to not have perfected this event. DH ran this race 20 years ago, so it's by no means a new race. That 6.2 miles felt SO much longer than the 25k I did in May. The Grand Rapids Marathon was only in its 3rd year last October and it was FAR better organized and executed than this mess.

Now I'm in search of another 10k in the not-too-distant future so that I can get my PR under an hour--as it should be. Last weekend there was a 10k about equidistant from this one...I really wish I had known about that race prior to registering for this one. I don't think I want to pay for an hour of irritation again. The ONLY thing they did better this year (aside from the course marking, which I didn't actually need this time around) was the shirt. But that's not saying much, as last year's shirt looked like it was designed by a trained monkey (not a flying monkey, mind you).

The one highlight was getting to hang out withmy friend Joni and her family after the race and watching her hubby and our boys run up and back down a HUGE and steep sand dune. I think her husband is very brave...and maybe a little nuts to volunteer for that.

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