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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Race Recap: Broke Man's Winter Warm Up Weekend

The starting line after set up
The Broke Man's Winter Warm Up took place 9am Sunday, January 17 in Columbus, Ohio. The race included three distances: 3.5, 7, and 13.1. [Race Information]

Being an Ambassador 
I am an ambassador for this race. The October Broke Man's Half Marathon has been around for a few years and I've always wanted to run it, but couldn't fit it into my schedule. When Katie (the race director) put out a call for ambassadors and posted an application, I filled it out immediately. I was really excited to see she'd added three new events to the lineup.

Things I love about Broke Man's:
  1. Local and low key: a trail race atmosphere 
  2. Cup free racing: encouraging runners to bring their own water bottle or carry a collapsible cup, which means no waste 
  3. Great handmade wooden medals and quality handmade shirts, buffs, etc 
  4. Low cost and à la carte merchandise: race fee only includes the race. I had a free entry, but registration started at $10!
  5. Opportunity for ambassadors to truly help: on top of normal volunteer duties we were able to brainstorm design ideas, meetup with other ambassadors, engage with participants on social media, and write blog posts (mine was about multiclavas)  
Shake out fun (Alex and I are in green and yellow)
Saturday: Shake out run and volunteering
On Saturday morning the race hosted an official shake out run starting at Land Grant Brewing. Our 1.5 mile route wound through downtown and provided a chance to talk to other runners. Packet pickup began after we returned to the brewery. Alex and I volunteered for the first shift (10-1) and ended up stuffing packets (a great reusable tote bag) and checking in some of the runners. The line was epic. During our 3 hour shift the line died down only once. After we were relieved of our duties, RD Katie gave us a few Broke Man's buffs (amazing) and we relaxed with a beer.

Outfit: I ended up adding a vest
Sunday: Pre race
We arrived at 7:15am Sunday morning to help set up. There were official volunteers, so we didn't have to do much besides unpack some boxes and put out trashcans. It was hella cold, but everyone was in good spirits. Despite two pairs of gloves, my hands were toast. I was so thankful for the indoor bathrooms and ability to go inside to warm up.

Around 8am a ton of people showed up to pick up their packets. The online system used for check in was very slow and there were only two tablets, so despite the volunteers, the line moved slowly. I think this was the only downside of the race: not enough lines to support day of packet pickup. They eventually found a way to cut corners and get everyone checked in before the race, but it was a struggle. But on the bright side: 900 people registered for this inaugural run!

As I mentioned in my weekly review, I came into the race with a mileage deficit for the week. My training plan called for 7 miles and I was signed up for the 7 miler. Perfect. I felt really great after the shake out and dreamt about running the 13.1. In my mind, 13.1 in the cold would be easier to PR than my half in Florida next month. Haha.

My Ridiculous Plans
A. Change to 13.1 at mile 5.7 (where the course breaks off). If this happens: run a conservative training pace or PR if you're feeling it
B. Stick with the 7 miler and PR a 10k in the middle.
C. Ignore everything and stop at 3.5

Hey I'm running!
As you can see, I was all over the place. I started out at a quick pace and my first mile was 8:27. Whoops. If I wanted a 10k PR I knew I needed to stay under 8:50 mi/mi, so this was a little excessive. The whole time I felt like I was going pretty slow, but my pace didn't dip into the 9s until mile 2.

A few things I know about myself: I hate courses with loops and in order to finish the 7 or 13.1 you had to run the first 3.5 mile loop twice. I ran a very similar course last year and cut out my third lap. I also hate baby hills. For some reason repetitive elevation changes get on my nerves. I'd rather have one giant hill than several 20 foot rollers in rapid succession. (Don't worry, I know it's stupid.) Also, I usually don't "feel it" until mile 4 or 5 of a run, which would have been in the middle of loop 2. And finally, if given the opportunity to stop, I will stop. Had this been an out and back course I probably would have kept going.

So, as you can tell somewhere around mile 2 I'd already decided I'd probably stop after one loop. I think it was shortly after a 6% incline and right as my legs began to feel unsteady on a bridge. My knee also felt stiff (and not the knee that was feeling weird last week.) I came up to the final decision point: go straight and do a second lap or turn right towards the finish? I turned towards the finish and by golly I'm glad I did! It was a steep grade to the finish and I was dunzo.

Official photos were only $4! (Alex, me, Angie)

Post Race
I finished, collected my medal, and went back to the fork to find my friend Angie. I decided if she continued on for the 7 miler I'd go with her. (This race was not chip timed.) As soon as I saw her she made it clear she was not going to continue. So I ran up the finish hill with her and crossed the line again. The finish line was dead. The 3.5 mile option was added a few weeks ago, so either not many people took advantage of it or mostly walkers signed up.

Alex appeared after getting his stuff from the car and told us he'd won the 3.5 miler! (He got an Altra Running hat and a $100 giftcard!) He said he ran a pretty brisk pace and was in a pack of guys, but all of those fasties continued on to the 7 or 13.1 Someday I'll convince him to run farther... Angie, Alex, and I sat around for a while and had free bagels and hot coffee, then went inside to get warm. It was lovely. We parted ways when Angie headed home and we went to the brewery after party (with drink specials). All-in-all a great day, even if I was feeling blah about running.

Does anyone say bling anymore?
Thoughts and Stats
If I would have continued on I might have PRd the 10k, but it wouldn't have felt good. When I have a crappy run, it's hard for me to believe I can run 13.1 miles. I wasn't feeling it on Sunday. What was I feeling? The community atmosphere and helping out. I really enjoyed myself at this event and wish I would have slowed down and treated it as a fun run.

Distance: 3.69 mi (RD confirmed the loop is long)
Time: 31:48
Mile Splits: 8:27, 8:48, 8:48

Up next: The big one. Paradise Coast Half Marathon on February 14. After two crappy training weeks, I'm ready to get back to nailing my runs. It's only a month away so why not suck it up and give it my all (she says while eating pizza at her desk). We'll see how it goes!


  1. This sounds like a really cool race! I love that there were options and you could decide mid-race. I'm also all about cheap race fees and cute merchandise. Congrats on finishing strong!

    1. I love cheap, local races! Some of those corporate runs feel so impersonal!


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