"Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about."

-PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

mercoledì 28 dicembre 2011

Best and Worst of 2011

At the end of year it is time to revisit what happened and to reflect...
Here I am with the list of best and the worst of my 2011 running season.

Note: This assessment is completely subjective and more than once I found myself in trouble trying to determine whether a particular race could end up or not in the standings.

… enough said, here the results:

Top 3 Races:
- Baltimore Grand Prix 5k (Baltimore MD, September 2) - Running at night, on a street circuit used by race cars, at the end of a practice day was exciting! Outstanding.
- George Washington's Birthday Mile (Alexandria VA, February 21) - In the heart of Old Town Alexandria along the parade route to celebrate the birthday of G. Washington, huge crowd cheering and impeccable organization by Pacers Events.
- Runway 10k Manassas (Manassas VA, May 7) - Fast course along the runways and the taxiways of an airport during the Open-Day. Something different.

Worst 3 Races:
- Running Festival Half Marathon Alexandria (Alexandria VA, May 29) - The course consisted of 3 laps (of approx 2.5 miles each) on narrow sidewalks and driveways; with more than a thousand runners there’s no way to avoid problems …. It was a nightmare to slalom between walker, joggers and strollers. In addition more than 3 hours waiting for the awards ceremony … that never took place.
- High Cloud Snapple Half Marathon (Carderock MD, January 29) – I understand that it snowed the previous day … but it would have being a wise call to press down the few inches of snow and to remove the branches along the path.  Moreover, the awards ceremony was held in a pub / restaurant about 4 miles away (thus forcing you to eat there) a couple of hours after the arrival of the last runner ... and by the way the prizes were ridiculous. Registration fee was quite expensive ($ 40) considering that on the same course (and with the same support) DCRRC puts together a similar half marathon for $ 5 (Free for members).
- Go Forth 8K (VA Bluemont Park, July 4) - It was supposed to be 8 km, it turned out  9 km or something like that ... the "turnaround cone" was not placed and the water stop was ... the volunteers went to a different place ... where, no one knows.

In fairness, although this race enters the top 3 it fell far away from the other two ...

Note: I know the organizers of the mentioned events and I’m aware that they tried hard to avoid issues and problems, let's hope next year it will work better.

Top 3 wins:
In this case the ranking is not based on "time", on fastest,  on number of participants or on spectators. These are the ones that I like to remember the most.
- Crystal City 5K Friday (Arlington VA, September 30). My first (and only) win at home. It feels nice to finish in front of everyone.
- Baltimore Grand Prix 5k (Baltimore MD, 02 September) - Too bad it was less than 5km but it was great to run and win on a race car circuit.
- Kensington 8K (Kensington MD, September 24) - September was a magic month and this race was perfect. I ran it well and I won it after making selection on the uphill at mile six. A beautiful day, with a lot of people cheering.

Top 3 "difficult" races:
There are no objective metrics that define the ranking, it’s just me remembering how “suffered” during the races.
- Friend of W & OD 10K (Vienna, VA, July 30) - It was truly painful to run at 6:30 PM in summer with more than 90F… I had to stop and walk twice.
- Go Forth 8K (VA Bluemont Park, July 4) – an additional mile to run and the lack of water stops (… it was July…) made this one of more difficult races of the year.
- Seneca Slopes Cross Country (Gaithersburg MD, 18 December) - After a period of inactivity I started out this 8km too fast ... as a results I fell twice and I struggled till the end.

The best series of events (with final awards):
- Race Packet Series. Fun, competitive, and with a rich prize money.
- PR Series Event. Very well organized series of races, and very competitive. Great prizes during the various "stages".

The best series of events (without final awards):
- Crystal City 5K Friday (April). A “MUST DO” in April. Course tested more than once, and flawless organization, an event not to be missed.
- Lost Dogs 5k (August). Brand new event in 2011 for Pacers and new success. Several categories for "human beings" (based on age ') and dogs (depending on size).

Last but not least, a special mention goes to all the low-key races organized by DC Road Runner Club and Montgomery County Road Runner Club, they’re relatively cheap and they offer abundant refreshment, well-measured courses, and accurate timings.

Happy 2012.

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento