May 09

Race Report: Tulip Time Run

Or, the 10k that wasn’t.

This past weekend was crazy busy for us.  It started out with the Tulip Time Run on Saturday morning.  Jennie picked this one out for her May race even though it was only a week after the last race we did.  The Tulip Time Run corresponds with the Tulip Time Festival in Holland – a celebration of Dutch heritage and culture.  They offered both a 5k and 10k so Jennie decided on the 5k and I picked the 10k so that we could watch each other’s races for a change.

2011-05-07 09.31.17

The morning started with the usual packet pickup and what not.  Jennie was happy that she got an even race number this time.  I, on the other hand, got a super lucky 777 as my race number.  Could this be a good omen?

The 5k started promptly at 8:00.  It was fun to be able to spectate Jennie’s race rather than run myself.  The 5k was one big loop so I was only able to see her at the beginning and then at the finish.

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Off she goes with a smile on her face and a wave.

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She finished strong with the same smile on her face.

After Jennie’s race, we hung around for my race to start at 9:00.  It was a bit delayed because the start and finish line where the same and we had to wait for all the 5k finishers to cross the line.  By about 9:10, they were ready to start us off.

After waiting around for so long between races, I really wasn’t feeling like racing at all.  But, as usual, when the gun went off I kicked it into gear.

2011-05-07 08.28.00

I immediately found myself in the front of the pack.  I counted and there were only 10 people ahead of me.  I couldn’t believe it.  By the first mile, I caught up to the lead female.  We ran together for the next 2 miles.  I kept waiting for the wheels to fall off, but it never really happened.  As we approached mile 4, there was an intersection with a volunteer on the corner.  There was two runners in front us that look confused at the corner.  I was still running with the same women and as we got closer to the corner we realized the volunteer didn’t know which way we were supposed to go – straight or right.  We glanced to the right and could see the police car down the road so we hung a right hoping that it was the right choice.  It wasn’t long, however, before we realized that it was the wrong choice.  Crap.

At this point, I wasn’t sure what to do.  Do I DQ myself and step out at the finish line?  Keep going and worry about it after the race?  If I wasn’t wearing a Garmin, I would have had no idea that the course was incorrect.  So, I decided that I would just finish the race and let the race director know what happened.  For all I knew at that point, everyone behind me cut the course short as well. 

I ended up finishing with 5.67 miles in 37:42 – a half mile short.  Right outside the finishers chute, I joined the other finishers to try and figure out what happened.  We were all pretty disappointed to have been short changed on the course.  I don’t know about the rest of the runners, but I was having the race of my live.  If I had maintained the same pace for the missing half mile, I would have finished around 41:30 which would have been a 4 minute PR.

2011-05-07 09.05.08

It took a while to actually find someone in charge, but once I did, I explained to him what happened on the course.  He said that they already knew there were some problems with marking the course, took down my number, and said that they were still trying to figure out what to do.  The craziest thing about the course was that there was a long straight stretch of road that had absolutely no side streets.  In the middle of the road was a giant “straight ahead” arrow sign.  Straight ahead was the only possible way of running at that point unless we were supposed to turn into someone’s driveway.  I don’t know why they didn’t have that sign in an actual helpful place – like the corner.  Ugh.

After getting everything straightened out with the race director, we headed to the refreshments tent.  After seeing the food Jennie got after her 5k, I was looking forward to this.  Boy was I in for a disappointment.  All of the good food (the bagels, muffins, juice, fresh fruit) was completely gone by the time the 10k finishers started to go through.  What the hell?!?! How freaking hard is it to not put out ALL of the food at once?  I ended up with a carton of chocolate milk and a water.  Not nearly enough – I was starving.

We stuck around for the awards ceremony and I ended up placing 2nd (out of 26) in my age group and 10th (out of 288) overall.  The race director was really apologetic for the shortened course.  Because they didn’t know how many people followed the volunteer’s direction and turned at the wrong corner, they ended up leaving the results as is.  Based on the finishing times, it looks like pretty much everyone probably cut the course short.

Overall, I was really disappointed with this race.  For such an established race (it’s been around since the 80’s), there were a lot of mistakes and poor planning.  Nevertheless, I am really happy with my personal performance.  I still can’t believe I was able to hold a sub 7 pace.  It really sucked to miss out on the full 10k though.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for a recap of the rest of the weekend.  I’m feeling a bit under the weather so I am going to make it an early bedtime tonight in hopes of fighting it off.

Overall Results

Total Time: 37:42
Overall Place: 10/288
Gender Place: 9/132
Age Group Place: 2/26
Run Pace: 6:49 min/mile

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2011/05/09/race-report-tulip-time-run


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  1. Morgan

    Oh man what a mess! Sorry buddy but congrats on maintaining such a killer pace! That is awesome! I have no doubt you’d have ended up with a killer PR!!!
    Morgan recently posted..Do you get naked

  2. Matt Smith

    Way to go Jennie! She really does smile a lot, and that last picture looks like she’s jumping, hopping or flying. That sucks about the poor marking on the course and the stupidity with the food. Although chocolate milk is amazing, it sure isn’t enough to satisfy after a 10k. Good work on your run! You were blazing fast for however much of the course you did run. Way to go, Kevin!
    Matt Smith recently posted..Sunburn and Sore Legs

  3. Colleen

    Dude… that totally sucks in more ways than one! You so had that PR in the books too. 🙁

  4. Scott

    First, congrats on the poduim finish

    That does suck, not your fault at all. this post remind me of 2 things in my past. The first, in my first season of tris, I was at a very small local event, on the bike and didnt know where to turn or go straight when I approached a cop and yelled, “straight or turn” 4x’s and the cop totally ignored me, I went straight, I was suppose to turn

    and last year I went on a 95 mile tour, the longest ride option for the tour, pretty tough ride, hilly. We get back from the ride and they only had salad left, the other riders ate all the pizza, subs, and wings and the people who went long was left with salad. HMPF!!!

    Jason from the country of Texas finished his HIM is a kick are 5 hours something and all the pizza was gone when he finished, some people need to realize that the food is for everyone.

  5. Jon

    Ah man! Too bad there was a screw up with the course. Looks like you took it well. You were flying man! And congrats to your wife for finishing another race!
    Jon recently posted..Am I Dreaming Did I just do all of THAT!!!

  6. Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race

    That just sucks but all in all that is a killer pace. Amazing how you expect the worst sometimes and the best happens.

    Jennie did great and you two should be very proud of yourselves.

    Get healthy quick.
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..Aero Helmet Review – Louis Garneau Superleggera

  7. Jeff Irvin

    Damn dude you were flying. I’d have been PO’d as well.

    Good news: You placed, Jennie had a great time, you know now to not do this race next year, and (most important) your fitness is right where it needs to be as you get closer to the IM Build Phase of your training!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..This Should Be Fun

  8. lindsay

    whiny whiny. geeeeeze. have some of this nice spring weather. it’s not like you needed the calories anyway, you didn’t even run a 10k 😉
    lindsay recently posted..swamp rabbit 5k

  9. Elizabeth

    All the same, congrats on an awesome pace.
    Elizabeth recently posted..The Tiger’s Blood is in the Goddess

  10. Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)

    OH NO! What a bummer! That really sucks about your race!
    Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) recently posted..A Perfect Day!

  11. Matt Oravec

    Great job BOTH of you guys! Man Jennie looks airborn at her finish shot haha 🙂 FLYING!

    YOU on the other hand got the shaft. They were a “volunteer” but they might not have listened to ANY directions/instructions that morning and screwed everyone over. Sucks.

    As for the food issue. I HAVE A HUGE PROBLEM WITH THIS! We did a local duathlon last year, and Chick Fil A gave all of the food. The participants families and friends were pigging out on ALL of the food while everyone was racing. When I finished (top 20) there were only a few sandwiches left and only crappy snacks. I grabbed what I could and stashed it so Heather would have something to eat. Honestly its the participants who ruin the experience.

    Sounds like Scott got shafted pretty hard on his 95 mile ride!!!

  12. onelittletrigirl

    First of all- Jennie is TOO cute! She takes a great race photo!

    About the race- that really sucks. And all it does is lead to bad press about a race. Because you know what, it isnt that hard to get COMPETENT volunteers. And it isnt that hard to supply food. And when you don’t your whole race suffers. My first tri was a horribly put together race- it gets only bad press from me. I have a blog and I belong to a team. Imagine how many people don’t do that tri because of my review. I mean, I would never do this one based on yours. RD’s should really strive harder.

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