Race Report: Jackson Night Glow 5K 2011

Friday June 17, 2011 I attended the Jackson Night Glow 5K.

This has always been one of my top three 5K events, and I have never missed one in the 5 years now that I’ve been running. In case you’re wondering how many times I can say something was a top event…here are my top 3.

Morgana Run!
Jackson Nightglow
Jack-o-Lantern Jog

So now more “top” speech until the fall. I have to sadly admit though; this race is headed out of the standings. In the past it was full of life and energy.

1) The shirt was beautifully done
2) The course was lit with luminaries and bodies covered in glow sticks and blinky lights
3) The course wasn’t overly challenging
4) The ending wrapped through the local carnival
5) Everyone was given lots of wonderful recovery food.

Several of these are no longer true. When I first started running this event it was partnered with Wadsworth’s Matchstick 4 miler. Matchstick was in the earlier afternoon, and then everyone would rush to Jackson for the 9:30pm 5K. Since splitting with this event more and more people have signed up. I do not know the reasoning behind the shift, only that last year there were 1000+ runners and last night they announced a pool for 1200+ with at least 1111 showing up on the results sheets today. I point this out, because obviously people are attending this event.

Now, I walk into the high school to get my stuff. I have been pre-reg for over a month. I am handed my shirt and bib, the bib BTW was very very cool.
I start to walk away and hear someone complaining about not having their size shirt left. This is something I find totally unacceptable. Especially when “day of” and pre-reg” are two different tables. Pre-reg = you know how many people will be there, you know what size shirt they wrote down. If they want to switch they can come back later for a swap or deal with it. VERY unfair to people to punish them for not getting there at the open of distribution when they registered in advance! Not everyone can get to a race 3 hours early, which is why many of us sign up in advance because we know we’d be cutting it close with arriving on time. I will never think it’s fair not to have the shirt they asked for set aside.

Luckily, I did get a shirt. This luck was soon dismissed when I saw how horrible of a design it was. How a race in its 12th yr with 1200+ people signed up can’t come up with a decent design and color scheme I do not know. I was about to ask for my glow stick when I heard someone tell another girl they were out. WHAT? Again with the signed up in advance = you know how many people are coming. DO NOT say on the flyer “free glow stick” if it’s all first come first serve only 500. Not off to a good start race, not off to a good start.

Part of me wanted to forgive them when I looked around and saw very few people decked out in their own glows or blinks. What happened to the spirit of this event? You could tell me it’s the economy, heck I couldn’t afford extra stuff. Yet, again 1200 people, I think even if you raised the price 5 bucks you could afford better arrangements for the event, right? May you would lose 100 or 200 people. Not that I’m being mean, but the thing is OVER CROWDED now as it is! Seriously. With each step I was either almost being pushed or kicked or trying not to push or kick those near me. They need to cap the amount of people, truly they do.

Now the race itself….

It started to rain slightly as the fireworks went off inviting us to begin. Out of no where I took off and felt like if I didn’t run as fast and as hard as I could I was going to just sit down in the middle of the course and cry. Not sure why I’m so stressed lately, but I am. I didn’t recall so many downhill at the start and was convinced I was going to run a new PR first mile. Nope, 8:50. Still, nothing to worry about.

Up the one massive hill past mile one and I started to not feel well. Maybe I was pushing too hard? I couldn’t stop though and kept it as hard as I could. Through the neighborhoods, past the kids trying to high five us and collect unwanted glow sticks. People sitting in chairs were cheering for us and waving sparklers or playing music. The first water station was near mile one and down hill, I skipped it for safety reasons.

Gravity + sudden downhill stopping of running = ouchies.

I knew once we hit the street we would go into another complex and be at mile 2. Well the other complex was blocked off. WHAT? So I wasn’t sure what was going on. I tried not to slow too much, not sure of what lie ahead. I smiled at the police slights flickering on the dark streets and against the runners. Finally, mile 2. I can’t see Garmin in the dark, however I heard someone say 19-something and I was pleased. Later I found it was a 9:50-ish mile. Much slower then mile 1, but still under 10! I also heard Garmin go off long before mile 2 marker. Mile 1 was right on.

After a slight detour we were back where I knew the course. I noticed the bike path entrance into the fairground area and knew we were on the home stretch! I felt like puking.

I pushed and pushed and tried to sprint on that track course. It was humid and it was crowded. I looked at the mileage once and saw I had .2 remaining. I pushed more and a woman came up behind me and stopped right in front of me. I almost body checked her. Then people were flying up my sides toward to finish chute. NO NO NO that’s my kick, my sprint finish.

I started to cough as my stomach was trying to make me sick. SHUT UP YOU. I thought I saw 28 on the clock and my eyes teared up thinking it was a PR. I DID it! Then as I ran under the inflated arch the clock flipped to 30. It was 29 I saw ) ; I stopped my Garmin and saw 30:06, which I was displeased with slightly, but not as much as the 3.2 I saw. WHAT? I was convinced it the course wasn’t long and crowded I would have PR’ed. Then again, that’s part of racing right? Working with the conditions handed to you on the actual day?

Of course all the teens just stop dead at the finish line so you almost kill them with your weight trying to finish and then get out the way of the other 500+ runners behind you.

Another “issue”. 1200 runners and only ONE LINE for food. They need to at least allow people on both sides of a table. What is WRONG with these directors?

Over all I was pleased with myself yet DEEPLY DEEPLY disappointed in this event as a whole. There is a very good chance I might not attend again…that is how annoyed I am with them.

Saturday’s posts revealed I chip timed at 29:45, I was happy with that…and figured I hit my Garmin button at the wrong time and it wasn’t too long of a course. This also means it wasn’t and wouldn’t be a PR. I landed 29/69 in my age group. Top 50% was a nice boost. 642/1111 total. Almost top 50…I’m getting there.

2 thoughts on “Race Report: Jackson Night Glow 5K 2011

  1. Pingback: ROJ Running Recap of 2011ROJ Running

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