There is Value in Good Music
Selecting music for my running playlist is a surprisingly critical element to my running. The wrong music can make or break my motivation and pace. I’m currently testing out Spotify Premium as my go-to for creating a running playlist. Previously I have used the built-in features of my Android phone to create playlists, but I have found this to be cumbersome. Way before that I used to use an iPod nano, but would often forget to charge it, or add a song I had wanted to add, or sync my new playlist to it, etc… Using Spotify is kind of stupid easy, because I can manage it from anywhere, can add a new song in a second, it automatically downloads new tracks for my offline-available playlists, and, AND, I can use Shazam when I hear a good song somewhere, pull it up in Spotify from Shazam, and then add it to my playlist! But, I digress… When I started my playlist for this run, the first track was fine, but the second track I was 100% certain was NOT in my playlist. I had inadvertently started a Spotify radio station for running instead of my actual running playlist playlist, and the music was not something to run to (which begs the question “how did those songs end up in a running playlist?”). You’re alright T-Swift, but your music was not made for running! I pulled my phone out of my new SpiBelt, switched tracks, put the phone back and… realized I had dropped my dang debit card. Lost a minute or three running back to look for it too. BUT, once I got the correct playlist going, it was on like Donkey Kong. I immediately felt faster. Considering how heavy my body typically feels when running, I actually felt fast! It makes me think that if I hadn’t dropped my debit card (and had actually been going to the gym to build up my endurance) I might have actually had a better time. But back to the music… I use a mix of up-tempo songs, songs with motivating choruses, and songs that I just plain love (Empire State of Mind, I’m looking at you.) The wrong track, wrong tempo, wrong message even, can wreck my pace, so starting off on the wrong playlist was a bummer!
- 20% of at Athleta – I can’t afford anything there even with a coupon (the prices are on par with Lululemon) but if you’re a fan of their workout gear, it’s a pretty good deal.
- There was water close to the start line (of course I thought I didn’t need any since it was SO early in the race, but instead my mouth was immediately dry after I passed it and I regretted having not stopped).
- Even though I was FAR, FAR from the first person to finish, the race volunteers held up the race tape for me to cross through as I pounded toward the finish line – that was pretty awesome.
- I can’t recall many if any runs that had HOT FOOD at the after party, but this one did! And it was good! There was turkey chili and vegetarian chili (I had the turkey chili), and it was EXACTLY what I needed after forgoing dinner before the run so I wouldn’t have a stomach ache. However, I still have not learned my lesson about not pounding down food after pushing it too hard because I had a small stomachache afterward.
- There was live entertainment! And the guitarist who was playing performed The First Single by The Format as we were leaving. Bad ass.
- There were some pretty good vendors; there weren’t a ton, but they were good! Organic sangria company Eppa, free chair massages, arm/hand massages, and some other stuff (hair braiding? weird; nails) by Lifetime Fitness LifeSpa, free flowers (they ran out before I got to them), Wine company Joel Gott Wines with bubbly and mimosas in cute little plastic glasses that looked classy and had little thumb indents to help your sweaty hands hang on…
- Within about 10 minutes after the race (that’s when I checked) I was able to access my race results on the website.
- Running at night it ALWAYS awesome.
- I got to pet a corgi. Made the whole thing worth it, right? 😉
- And last, but certainly not least, I had a great pace time! When I crossed the finish line I looked at the timer and it was 39 minutes and change. I knew immediately my time was bad, and busted out the calculator app to get a general idea on pace time. It was almost 13 minutes and I was bummed. BUT, I forgot about the fact that our race started at 7:05, so when I logged in to see my time, it was actually a pace of 11:11 – Even faster than last year!
- The race website needs a little bit of work, as the available information is not always abundant. For example, we received an email with parking info, etc… but my email wasn’t working most of the day and it was buried, lost or deleted. I tried checking the website, but the information was vague and I had to have Jenn dig through her email to find the info. I would like to see the event website kept better up-to-date.
- While we got there pretty darn early, it would have been nice to both have people directing us to drive past the already full parking lot right in front of the stadium, as well as maybe a cop controlling traffic for people pulling into the parking area so we wouldn’t have had to wait so long at a red light arrow that was only letting about 4 cars through at a time.
- There weren’t enough “cheerleaders” along the route. One of the nice things about these runs is that there are usually people along the way who volunteered just to cheer people on. I know it was a Thursday night, but the only people I saw were at the hydration stations and maybe at the turn around locations, and they were not very cheery or motivating, something I rely on for a pick me up through the race.
- The announcer at the start line had indicated that the mileage would be marked along the way, but none of us saw any mileage markers. Sure, I could have run an app to tell me how far I went, but as a courtesy to runners, especially the many first-time 5kers, it would have been nice to have the distances marked along the way, and not that difficult for them to accomplish since they would have had to measure the distance to ensure it was 5k anyway.
- I have no photos! I’ll admit that my race bib was partially obstructed, but the photos attributed to it on my results page are not only not me, there are multiple people who are not me! I went and checked Jenn’s results too, and her photos were also not of her. Since the only way you can see photos is through your race results page, this sucks pretty hard. I’ll admit that I often don’t care for my photos since I am an ugly runner, but I still expect to be able to see them, and would have been happy to pour through photos to find mine if a full gallery had been provided.
All-in-all, for an event that runs on a weeknight, it wasn’t a bad run. The race location did change months after I had already registered, but the new location wasn’t too bad. I’d like to see the organizers improve a few things as far as communication goes, but we’ll see if I do it again next year. In the meantime, it was a pretty good start to the new running season for me. I’ve got one more fun-run 5k before I run an egregious number of un-prepared miles at the Ragnar McDowell Mountain Trail Relay… my legs are tired just thinking about it.