Monday, May 18, 2015

Why You Should Run the Smaller Races (plus, a half marathon recap)

There are so many well-branded, big named running events out there. Think Run Disney, Rock 'n Roll, Zooma...even shorter races like The Color Run. And if you live near a big city, I'm sure you can list a few signature events. Don't get me wrong, I love these races and the aforementioned are all on my bucket list (except for The Color Run, which I've done twice and will do again this year). The vibe they create is fabulous and can't be helped since you're gathering thousands of excellent runners behind one starting line. They're not just races... They're events, shows, spectacles of fun surrounding a run. But, what about the little races?

What about the races that lack hullabaloo?
What about the races that don't give you medals?
What about the races in towns that don't boast huge populations?
What about the races that only attract a few hundred at best?

Don't forget about these races. 
I ran one this weekend in a small beach town just south of me. 

The Michigan Shores Mini and 5K. Maybe 300 people, at best?
I ended up getting a new half marathon PR:

half marathon, puremichigan, running, tara sabo
Going into it, I wasn't sure what to expect because this was the first year for the race. I assumed the worst, especially since communication lacked on their Facebook page. But race day was great. It was a no frills, bare minimum thing and it worked. Sure, there are things they could do better, but as a whole, I think it's a race that I'll definitely look into next year.

The route was out-and-back down a road filled with beautiful homes which made for some great distraction. I think I picked out ten dream homes that I'll never, ever be able to afford. There were a total of eight water tables, some of which offered Gatorade, too. The field was small, so we all fit comfortably down the two-lane road, although we did have to dodge some potholes. 

I felt great the entire time I was running. I held a steady 9:00/mile (give or take) for the entirety of the first ten miles. My back started to weaken a bit after that, so I slowed down just enough to combat the soreness. At the 9-mile marker, I realized that I could probably PR, so I did everything I could to stay below the 10-minute/mile mark, and I somehow managed that. 

half marathon, puremichigan, run michigan, running, race recap, finish line
I didn't care how much time was on the clock, I just wanted to be below two hours—and I was.

But all that aside, I see a lot more local, smaller races in my future.

Why you should run the smaller races:
1) They're often cheaper. Registration for this half marathon was $25 when I signed up.
2) The crowds are minimal, which means you have room to run (and park).
3) It's easier to meet people, and it feels like you're running with a big group of friends.
4) With a smaller field, you just might place in your age group (which is always fun).
5) Profits often support the community in some way.

Just don't, at races big or small, run with your iPhone in the back of your FlipBelt if it's a humid day because #sweat. I'm pretty particular about my iPhone, especially if I know there's a chance it might get wet. But for some reason, I didn't even think to put it inside a bag on Sunday just in case. 

Long story short, condensation developed behind the camera lens. Panic ensued, but hope was gained when I remembered the whole rice/bag trick.

iphone, rice in bag

Seriously, it worked. If your phone gets wet, put it in a bag full of rice and let it sit for a few hours. 

I may not have very many pictures from race day, but I have a working camera on my iPhone. Trust me, you wouldn't want to know me if this fail had been permanent.

Now, what's next? Not sure yet. Plenty of options on the horizon, all of which I'll be mulling over this week. I'd like to map things out for another race...definitely want to keep up the miles (and the speed) 

I have a question, though. 
Compression gear. 

I received this pair from TIUX last Friday.

pink compression socks, pink, pink socks, compression, fitgear
I want to know how you incorporate it, if at all, into your fit life. When do you wear it? Why? For how long? If you don't like compression gear, I want to know why. 

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