Not To Be Trusted With Knives











{September 1, 2008}   My quads hurt

So, yesterday I decided to go on a little 10 km run. Just me and my friend Alicia. And a couple thousand other people.

IMG_4059 by you.

Here we are in our swanky race shirts. Nike made the brilliant marketing decision to put everyone’s number on their running shirt – instead of the usual practice of giving you a piece of paper that you pin to you shirt – thereby ensuring that everyone in the race would have to wear identical shirts. This made for some pretty spectacular photo ops of thousands of people who were clearly all there to run the same race.

I have to say that the event was a wee bit disorganized – first we were told to gather around the main stage for a warm up. But the warm up never happened. They interviewed a couple of Olympic athletes that I’d never heard of, and then told us to go line up at the start line for the warm up. Oh yes, and that they wouldn’t be starting the race until 7:15 rather than 7 p.m. So we all went to the start line, waited for a bit, and then the race started. No warm up. I suppose there is a possibility that the had a couple of people with no microphones do a very short warm up at the front of the pack, but we were in the 6th wave (for people who expected to complete in 55+ mins) and we certainly didn’t see any warm up.

Here we are about to embark on the big race:

IMG_4060 by you.

Ready, set, go!

And here’s the route we had to run:

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See that part where you go over the Burrard St Bridge? That map is clearly not to scale… ‘cuz that uphill on the bridge had to be at least 10 km itself. I never realized how freaking long that bridge is. And how much I hate that bridge. This ridiculously long uphill starts at the 7 km mark – just far enough into the run that you are pretty freaking tired, but still far enough from the finish that you are sure it will never end. I always find in races that there is a part where I start to think, “Why do I do this to myself? What was I thinking? I must be completely *insane* to voluntarily sign up to do something like this!” (But the end of the race I’m all “Yay! I love races! Let’s sign up for more!” but at the 7/10ths of the way mark I’m giving serious consideration to hailing a cab).

In the end, we did, in fact, manage to finish. Sure it took us more than twice as long as the winner of the race, but we really weren’t there to compete. (We weren’t there to impress Steve Nash either, but apparently he was impressed). We spent the majority of the “race” chatting as we ran, and we did our usual 10 mins of running, 1 min of walking.  And lamenting that the two women running with the baby carriage – who we decided about a quarter of the way into the race to refer to as our arch nemesis – were ahead of us.

Here’s a photo of us crossing the finish line:

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We were running so fast across the finish line that no camera could catch us. No, really.

Now, I’ve complained before about the fact that the Nike+ Human Race website is a big steaming pile of crap.  It was very difficult to get the thing to work to register for the race, or figure out the race route or how much of your registration fee goes to charity.  And I have to say that there post-race additions to the website aren’t much better.  Sure, you can search your name and get a pretty graphic that tells your time:

beth by you.

alicia by you.

And you can also see your time next to the top 10 runners in your city:

beth_results2 by you.

But, you know what?  I don’t want to see my name and time, at #1799 out of some unspecified number of racers, next to the top 10 finishers.  That’s just depressing!  What I would like to know is how many people ran the race.  I’m #1799 out of how many?  1800?  4800?  Who knows!  I’ve search their site and I’ve Googled and I can’t find any hint of what the number might be.  Nor what the number of runners worldwide was.  My theory right now is that they were nowhere near their goal of having 1,000,000 people run this race in the 26 cities in which it occurred, so they are ashamed to say what the number was.  I mean, when I look myself up compared to the top 10 finishers in the world, I’m listed as number 124,119.  And I really can’t imagine that I was 124,119th out of 1 million.  Seriously. As if.

Here’s a video from some dude that happened to be skateboarding around Vancouver and discovered that this race was going on, so he decided to record it. I remember seeing a guy skateboarding along with a video camera, so I’m sure this was the same guy.

Notice at the 1 minute mark on this video, you can hear some of the “can do” messaging. I’m pretty sure that that’s the voice of Karen K from CFOX radio telling you that you’ve just cleared the Cambie bridge and have now run 1 km and only have 9 km left to go. Here’s the thing: the last thing I want to hear at that start of the race is that I still have 9 more freaking km to go. Fortunately for us, this audio was not on by the time those of us who started in the sixth wave got there. My guess is that someone heard that they’d only run 1 km, went “omg! I have to run 9 more k?” and then smashed the speakers in a rage.

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Congrats on doing this race, Beth! I’m not quite at the 10KM mark of my training, so you are my hero! Good result, too! (I would have smashed the speaker if I’d heard that 1 km in, too!)



Kalev says:

Okay first… me and Brett were stuck in traffic downtown on Sunday night and were totally perplexed as to what was going on (it was appallingly slow) because of course they don’t tell you what the heck is going on… so now I know it was you and Alicia trying to inconvenience us! That was totally inconsiderate of you, and after I helped with the desk and everything! *grin*

Second, I cannot believe they had some over-chipper radio cheerleader recorded voice telling you you had NINE frickin’ kee-loh-mee-ters (or kilom-eh-ters) to go… that is insane! I totally agree that enraged runners attacked and decimated the speaker system.

Third, that video promoting the race is one of the most pathetic marketing meaningless drivel collections I’ve ever seen! I started asking myself: so why would anyone do this freakin’ race anyway and their “hip” answer is “because you can?” I can jump off my balcony, too, but that doesn’t mean that’s a good reason to do it, does it, stupid-ass Nike?

Of course, this from the company whose slogan is “Just do it.” At least they’re consistent in their meaningless drivel.

It would have been so much better if it had cut to Yoda saying, “Because race you can, young Jedi. No try there is… only do.” Obviously they should be paying ME a gazillion dollars to develop their uninspired lame-ass marketing tripe.



Beth says:

@Tanya – What are you up to in your training? Let me know if you want to go for a run together sometime!

@Kalev – “consistent in their meaningless drivel.” *snort*!

Yes, Alicia and I did have a multinational corporation arrange a race in 26 cities around the world just to make sure you and Brett would get caught in traffic. Mission Accomplished!!

And, yes, that video promoting the race was positively puke-inducing. They showed it up the big screen before the race and when we heard “Don’t do it to get fit,” Alicia and I looked at each other and we were like “WTF?? Getting fit is GOOD reason to train for a race!!”



Kalev says:

I figure you and Alicia were working with Nike. Typical. 🙂

Video barfness: well glad you were similarly appalled. I’m all for interesting advertising approaches but apparently there’s a very fine line between “interesting” and “moronic.”



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