Monday, August 19, 2013

Amy's Rules for Selecting Races (because I know you are curious)

There are lots of races out there so as much as I want to I can't just go around picking races willy nilly. But I do love to race.

So these are my rules or guidelines for selecting races. I've come up with this eclectic list all on my own over the years. I will admit that while I follow them I also break these rules all the time. These are just races after all so I don't have to be too rigid about the guidelines.
  1. No inaugural races. I figure I'll let somebody else work out the first year operational kinks. I should say I break this rule most often out of all of my rules.
  2. Cannot conflict with family events (this should be number one). There was one year where it seemed like every race conflicted with a kid or family event. I wasted a lot of money on registration fees. Lesson learned.
  3. If my brother can race with me that's a plus. I love to race with my brother. He kicks my butt but it's fun and his family is the best cheering squad around.
  4. The race should be someplace I like to be. I love to race on the beach but I'm not going to sign up for a race in a crappy location (like when the KB half-marathon was moved to Dolphin Stadium ... thanks, I'll pass).
  5. There should not be too many participant inconveniences. I am not a fan of lots of separate trips to pick up packets and early check in and most of all having to get early busses to the start to stand around for hours and hours (like Disney and NYC). Give me simplicity to and from the race and I'm happy.  I break this rule all the time but I reserve the right to complain about it.
  6. The race should have good reviews. Participants talk and if somebody says a race is badly done I have no need to try it myself. I was going to do the Palm Beach Marathon but two people told me that they have run out of water in the past. No thanks. In fact running out of water anywhere at any time is almost a lifetime ban for me I think it's crazy that race directors let that happen when it seems so simple to avoid.
  7. I love challenging courses but I don't need a known temperature sufferfest. It's hot in Florida but racing long in super hot conditions can be a total drag which is why Florida 70.3 (the heat index was 100 on the run) is currently on my no-thanks list.
  8. I'm all about gimmicks. I love the Escape to Miami race long course because I just think it's great fun jumping off the boat and getting to Escape Island. 
  9. No mud or obstacles for me thanks. I know others love these races. It's just not my thing.
  10. Small is okay but not too small and big is fun but not too big ... it needs to be just right. I did Hits Ocala and that was too small for me because the small size on a long race sometimes means not enough volunteers and things. But a race can be too big like the NYMarathon which I loved but the sheer size of it makes it logistically a pain and less fun at the start and finish. So, I'm like Goldilocks not to small and not too big but just right.
  11. Always go long ... except when it's better to go short. For Marathons I don't like to run past the half finish line and keep going so I choose marathons where the only offering is a full. Same thing for half-irons and Full Irons. I didn't choose Vineman full in part because it's got a half happening on the same day. I want everyone suffering with me plus I'm in the back of the pack and it can get lonely. But in short course I'm the opposite. For both Nautica South Beach and Escape for Miami I sign up for the long course totally because I like to start first. I hate sitting around waiting.
  12. I like to know others racing. In fact, this is the reason I will sometimes ignore all the other rules.  For example the Miami Marathon (I only run the half) is a huge pain, getting to the start is a mess, the start is a disaster, the course is too crowded, the finish area is a nightmare. But I probably know 100 people out there running every year. So it's fun and I do it almost every year. And of course, I raced IM France and barely knew a soul out there so I break this rule all the time too.

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