(#38) Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon – Part 1 (Rargh, Rargh, Rargh Rant)

October 27, 2012


I lovingly made fun of my dad in my posts from this past week, and karma got me back. Good one, universe.


This was by far the most miserable half marathon I’ve done. I feel a little weird complaining about it, because I want everyone to know that I love running events. I want people who read my blog to want to do running events, because running events are (generally) awesomely fun.

However, I feel as though I should be honest. Running events are not quite always awesome. You gotta pick the great ones.

I know I’ve light-heartedly complained about a few races before. But this is straight up annoyed, even infuriated at some points. So, if you’re not in the mood for a rant, you’re in for a treat.

Tomorrow I am running Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles, so my strategy today was to jog a little to get a nice head start on the sag wagon, then mainly keep it to the steady 16-minute/mile pace to beat the time limit.

In mile 2, I could see the sag wagon in the distance. It was moving along at the slow pace, and I was daydreaming about how I was going to tell you about walking within view of the wagon, but far enough away not to worry.

THEN – I’m getting mad just thinking about it.

Okay, before I start complaining, let me state for the record that I know that 16-minute miles are quite slow. I know that. But when someone tells you that that’s what you get – that’s what you should get.

Going into mile 3, we started to hear a man over a PA system. “Pick up the pace. You’re not going fast enough.”

I say “we” started to hear it because there were a number of people back there. It wasn’t even close to just being me alone.

The wagon sped way up, pretty much catching up to where I was.

Hey man, I did my first two miles in about 13 and 15. And I am definitely keeping at least a 16-minute-mile pace. You know who needs to get off my back? You do.

At first being chased was a little bit fun, using the frustration to propel me, pretending I had to escape for my life (although I don’t know what’s prete about that). Being chased got progressively got less fun, though.

The race started late. Apparently there was not much wiggle room in the permits, so the rest of the race consisted of the sag wagon bullying the back-of-the-pack walkers.

I had two miles in there between 13 and 14 minutes, and I still felt super rushed.

There were a few people behind me who were struggling hardcore.

Some people got on the sag wagon who I don’t believe would’ve otherwise.

Those of us who were able to continue were infuriated. You can’t push our pace like this! 1 – 3 minutes a mile in a distance race is humongous.

My understanding is that someone went to talk to someone from the caravan of vehicles. Apparently, they totally admitted that because of the late start they were rushing people to 15-minute miles or faster.

The sag wagon, or police officer, or whoever was in charge back there did a horrible job of keeping any kind of steady pace.

They’d settle into something slow. I’d run ahead to try and get them at a comfortable distance. All of a sudden, we’d hear them revving up engines, and they’d speed forward, covering most of any distance we had gained. “Pick up your pace.” “Slow down your pace! Slow your freaking roll, please.”

They finally left us alone around mile 9. I finished the race out mainly with 20-ish minute miles. I was exhausted. It was sweltering. And I was infuriated by the stress they’d put me under, and by the injustice of seeing these people quitting because they couldn’t keep up a 14-minute mile pace. They didn’t train for that!

If you want people to do a 3:00 or 3:15, make that the rule!

Rargh, rargh, rargh.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about everything to do with this race that doesn’t have to do with this horrible horribleness.

2 thoughts on “(#38) Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon – Part 1 (Rargh, Rargh, Rargh Rant)”

  1. I agree that sounds super frustrating! Good luck on your next half!
    Btw I started near you in the Columbus half! I heard you talk about your 52 half marathons! Great job! Keep it up! How many have you done so far?

    1. Fun! I’m so glad you decided to check in on the blog. How did your Columbus race go?

      As of the time I’m writing this (Monday), I’ve done 39! (That’s officially 3/4 of the way through!)

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