Race Report : Run Drenched Columbus

A few of you on Facebook and Twitter saw my comments about how disappointed I was with the Drenched 5K in Columbus, OH last weekend. I’d like to take this time to give a few details on what happened….or more accurately, what DIDN’T happen. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the fact I was able to attend the event for free thanks to agreeing to promote it, it would have been a complete waste of time and I would have been angry, not just disappointed. I supposed this will be one of those posts to prove I don’t “love” everything I receive for free, so you can trust my reviews.

My Mom and I spent the few days before the race filling water balloons. With your registration you’re supposed to receive 25 balloons which you MUST fill on your own and bring on race morning. Or you are not allowed to take part in the final water fight. I guess this is one of the issues with attending a race out of the area, because we had to go and buy our own balloons. This turned out fine tough since it allowed us to bring 150+ balloons, but I noticed our packs on race day didn’t have any balloons. I know it was too late to fill, but it would have been fun to bring them home. If I were someone with a paid registration I would want everything promised to me for that money.

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Speaking of what came with registration. Runners were also given shirts and sunglasses. The sunglasses were cheap giveaway quality with blue accents with “Drenched” written on the side. VERY small and actually hurt my head to wear, which is odd because I wear a children’s frame for glasses since I have smaller head. I don’t know how other adults comfortably wore them.  The shirts were nothing to write home about. Mine was white with “Drenched 5K” written in blue across the chest. The “5K” part was a blue water drop. I honestly found the shirts a little dull and made people look like they work for the water company. Some had shirts with a big blue water splash across the front and “Drenched 5K” written in white inside the splash. Those were much nicer IMO.

So, when Mom and my sister and I arrived, we pushed/dragged/scooted the cooler full of balloons from the COSI parking lot to the the check-in.

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Something very cool? In the street by COSI is a giant scaled (for buses to stop on and kids can be entertained) we pushed our cooler onto one and noticed it weighed over 100 lbs! I was super impressed with myself for being able to help. Getting stronger!

Along the way we posed for an “official” picture.

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This brings up another issue. Obviously it wasn’t safe or smart to bring a camera around the race. Unless you have a decked out water proof version or trust plastic baggies (which is what I did). For this reason, I thought it was WONDERFUL they had photographers there! OK NOT when it costs a minimum of $12 to get a copy of the picture. Are you kidding me? 100% of those picture profits better go to the same charity the race was a benefit for and not any less with those prices. This was not a marathon or other big time event.

Some of you may be asking, what do you wear to a water fight run? Well, I wore my swim trunks (I bought a pair years ago in the men’s department and they are quite the investment. Very practical for this event as well as time spent at amusement parks when you want a pocket or to ride rides and your typical short girl bottoms aren’t public friendly). Along with my trunks I wore a sports bra and a tech shirt. Then socks and old shoes I didn’t mind getting messed up. I planned to walk most of it with the family anyway.

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Before the race started people were squirting each other with guns and hanging out along the water fountains. Becky and I took one of our balloons and played toss until it broke. Others did their own version seeing how much fun we had. There was a low turn out which was probably due to the recent rain and the fact it only barely stopped before the event.

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Once we took off I know the three of us were SO EXCITED. We thought we had read about sprinkler zones, foam zones, spectator zones, fire hoses and slip n slides! Looking at the website now, I see they have changed it to be VERY CLEAR those are only OPTIONS and not promised at every venue. I wish I had checked the map, because Columbus was a sad state of affairs.

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We ran past a hydrant or a hose at the first corner then down along the water front where we encountered a ton of geese poop. I know that isn’t exactly their fault, but hello you’re a water race, you couldn’t have hosed it down a little but before be started? Super gross. This was also where the spectator zone was located making it hard to be safe as everyone avoided poop and slamming into each other. I think the spectator zone should have been further into the course where people were spread out and in a grove.

After this nearly nothing happened. We ran along the water front and the only excitement was the goose poop and listening to small children complain about the heat or the adults complain about lack of water (both for drinking and for refilling), poor course and poor living up to advertisements. Along the 3 miles there was 1 sprinkler zone and 1 foam zone. The sprinkler zone I think was 1 or 2 very small sprinklers set off to the side. At least this is what it seemed to me when I went past.

Around the half way point we were given small cups of drinking water and saw the foam zone. When my group went through it seemed to be about 5 feet of muddy grass with some type of dirty foam fading on either side. Looking at pictures from the front runners I could tell earlier the entire zone was flooded with foam/bubbles. I don’t know if they ran out of mixture or what, but we were far from the end of the line, and I felt so sorry for the kids who would come to the foam zone and be greeted with mud and fading filthy popping messes.

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After half way/foam there wasn’t another thing on the course. It was simply 1.5-ish miles of walking along a sidewalk, seeing some trees and maybe talking to a few other people on the course who were just as disappointed. When we made it to the end, a lone man stood with a fire hose and occasionally splashed people turning the corner to the finish arch. Running under the arch some people had buckets of water thrown on them, we were not any of these people.

Back at the main section, you could hear the announcer telling people it wasn’t time for the balloon fight. No one listened and before they could even attempt to protect the row of supplies, kids were running over and breaking into bags and totes. I will say the water balloon fight was fun. IT HURT LIKE CRAZY THOUGH! Haha.

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I could tell the younger kids loved getting wet and the older ones did too, most of the younger ones did not do as well on the course. Lots of complaining and being carried.

The whole time I wondered why such a scenic and boring route was chosen, but I assumed it would have been better with a larger turn out. Not as many road closures or chances to become lost. Finding an article on the race recently, I came across notes at the bottom how local residents and businesses complain about the road closures for events such as Drenched, so I may be right in my assumption.

After the race was super lame too. On the webpage it seemed there would be almost a festival like feel with fun and laughter and the 3 story free fall onto the blow up base or whatever. Mom and Becky were super bummed about not having a slip-n-slide finish (I was too), but I was REALLY upset about not having the free fall. That is 100% the ONLY reason I wanted to do this event. Haha.

Oh and another thing, I wish I had saved a screen shot, because I swear when I created it team the site originally said there was an incentive for simply making a team and a Facebook page. Then as you gain more people there were incentives. At the race I was told it was only for bringing at least 10 people. When I checked at home I see there have been updates and it indeed says at least 10. It also says the incentive for the shirt is for the team captain only, when before it said everyone would get a custom team shirt. Lots of behind the scenes changes.

I guess it wasn’t “false” advertising because they have disclaimers about not everything being at every event, but it was certainly misleading. There wasn’t NEARLY the things in Columbus as other events portrayed and I know a number of people who will not be back next year. Me, my mom and my sister are 3 of them.

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Have you ever had a disappointing experience with a race? Do you like the theme or adventure races? Which has been your favorite race for 2013 or the one you’re looking forward to doing in the coming months?

Race Report : Foam Fest 5K

Happy Hump Day all! Today I have a very special guest post, it is a race report from my younger sister! While I was away in Portland she went to the Foam Fest 5K in Hocking Hills, Ohio with my Mom. They had a BLAST and are STILL talking about it nearly 2 weeks later, which totally says something about an event. Not only was this a great event, but this was the first time they went to an event without me, makes me feel like I’ve done my job well! So, please show her some love and learn about a fun new event!

Foam Fest was overall an enjoyable and challenging race.  The locations nearest me was in Hocking Hills, Ohio which is southeast of Columbus.  The race was set off in multiple waves, there were 50-100 in each so luckily the lines for each obstacle were not very long but just enough time to catch your breath.  It had rained the day before and there was a quarter-mile, up hill, muddy drag that brought the heartbeat to your ears!  The course was pretty muddy, it seemed to be more of a mud race than a foam race at some points.

Two obstacles were out of order during the wave I was running.  First was the Death Drop which was quite disappointing because that is the biggest advertised event of the race.  Someone wore cleats, which are not allowed at the event because multiple obstacles involve inflated equipment.  So that obstacle was closed because someone cleated the inflatable slide.  There was another obstacle that was closed, I couldn’t quite tell what it was- maybe the Moon Walk?  It was also deflated.

It’s hard to chose the best event; each was really fun.  The Barbed Wire Crawl had electric wires above a mud pit one had to crawl through to get to the other side.  I didn’t believe the sign when it said, “if you touch the wires, you will get shocked” and I lifted myself a little too high.  It stung for sure!  Tube Crossing was also great:  crawling through tubes to get to the other side of the river.

The least safe obstacle were the walls.  A 5-foot and 8-foot wall.  The gaps were just enough to fit the tops of your toes between and and both were extremely muddy.  There have been reported injuries from this obstacle, so a lot of people went around.  I did it but it wasn’t safe and I took my time.  Even if a volunteer could wipe/hose it down after each wave I think more people would be willing to use it.

The best is saved for last though!  There is a free Mike’s Hard Lemonade (and Shandy to chosen from too!) to help cancel out all that hard, enduring work waiting for you at the end of the giant slip and slide ending!  There was also a free bag of RealFoods Corn Thins and bananas.  Overall, a good time.  Multiple people have mentioned they want invited next year!

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Visit http://5kfoamfest.com/ for more details for next years event!

Race Report : Slavic Village Pierogi Dash 5K

This weekend I continued my new found joy of the run streak when I participated in the 2nd Annual Slavic Village Pierogi Dash 5K!

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Last year I faced the sad reality my favorite race has undergone a name change. Previously known as the Morgana Run! It was one of the first events I ran in 2007. As the only one in my age group in 2007, I took first place. Over the years I also took 2nd or 3rd and I think another 1st? It was on this course I broke 30 minutes for a 5K and I always pushed myself to do my best. I still don’t know everything that changed, but with a name change came a new crowd. This race ballooned over night and while I am very happy for the organizers and the community, there’s a piece of me still wanting to hold onto the feeling this was a special event only a select few knew about and enjoyed.

If you go to the page for the event on HermesCleveland.com the results tab lists everything from 2007 to current, but the banner reads “2nd Annual”. This year also brought another change…a course change. Can an event with a new name and a new course really be linked to the previous results? I don’t know…

Moving on to the actual race….

I arrived on site around 8:30 for the 9:00 start. I quickly gathered my shirt and “goodie” bag and made my way to the bathroom. I won’t lie, I’m not crazy about the shirt design or color this year, but hey lots of people think they’re cute so they’re winning the hearts of someone. I did LOVE the color last year! A beautiful teal, this year they’re a golden yellow. Here they are in a picture I borrowed from their FB page.

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As I mentioned above, I think the crowd grows larger and larger each year, apparently 650 runners & walkers participated and 1200 pierogies along with 60 lbs. of smokies were served! While getting ready for the event I ran into Kristen, Kelli, and John. After the race I also was able to catch up with Heidi. Kristen will be doing her first triathlon soon so I gave her the Women’s Triathlon insert from my Women’s Running magazine to help her prep.

Amazingly close to on time everyone began to wonder over to the starting line. This was the same, but I had no idea what to expect once the starting gun went off.

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We began to run down the road and before I knew it we were taking a right turn. I don’t think we even passed the gas station. At least I remember it as a gas station. The first year we ran people stood there staring at us in awe and asking what was happening. My friends and I laughed and answered “we’re running a race”. This is one of my favorite memories of running ever. Now, we don’t even pass by it.

The next mile was a series of neighborhood streets and taking various turns. I believe we went by a school. I clocked my first mile in 9:30 which was strange because I felt like I was running very slowly. I also felt like I was running through rain. Sometimes I’m slow and it wasn’t until talking to John later, I realized what I was feeling was humidity.

Not long after this I found myself entering the Morgana Trail and I will say this was a great change. Previously I believe less than half the race was on the trail (the race’s namesake). Now it was about 2/3 of the race, and this lead to slightly improved scenery. Instead of local houses, we were looking at trees and other “bike trail” sights.

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I powered through the next two miles, but the 3.5 hours of Zumba, running and outsideness (yep, it’s a word) from Saturday were catching up to me. I ran mile 2 near 10:40, then gave up the idea of breaking 30 minutes, but still tried to do my best. I played leap frog with a few other runners and a nice lady would come up to me after the race and tell me I was her pacer. ( ;

My left foot began to hurt, but I know it was from tight muscles and tight shoe laces. The last portion of the race was downhill (or so it seemed) and I went as all out as I could at that point. I crossed the finish line just over 32 minutes. 32:08 per Garmin, 32:12 according to the race. Good enough to land me 16/35 for my age group and 241/436 over all. I was psyched to see I made it into the top 50% for my age! Woot woot!

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It took me a long time to walk it out after this race. While it hurt, I knew I had given it my all and quite honestly a 10-ish minute pace is still something to be proud of in my book.

After the race I passed out samples of Aquaphor, meaning I made many new friends. And spent time with some of my other friends. I also played photo-shoot with the food people were enjoying, because let’s be real, you can’t have the “Pierogi Dash” and not serve pierogies!

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I’ll leave you with these final impressions. Change is inevitable. I change as a runner and races change too. I’ll always have my memories of Morgana and it will always be special for me, but there’s room for a new course, a new name, and a new shirt design too. So many events have fallen apart over the years, it is nice to see one thriving. If you’re in the area next June, think about marking it on your calendar as a “must do”. Besides, there’s a costume contest now, and how can you have a bad run when you have ladies like these wearing pierogi head bands!

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