Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Electric Run Race Review

First, I want to start off with sorry I haven't done my product review. Turns out I want to put more into it than just slapping it together. It is coming though, promise! Now, onto the highlight of this past weekend, the Electric Run.

This was a race I'd been looking forward to for awhile and it looked like SO MUCH FUN. Check out the website later-www.electricrun.com. While I do the majority of my running in the dark of the very early hours of the morning, this would be my first night race.

Day before the race, Friday, my mother, we'll just call her Mom, and I took a quick trip down to San Diego for packet pick-up. The location of pick up was Road Runner Sports and scheduled to last from noon until seven that evening. We decided early was better than later and actually ended up arriving 10 minutes before noon. Good thing we were early, even though the store's parking lot was sizable it was already filling up FAST. Interestingly, the parking lot wrapped all the way around the building, which was good because as we drove looking for any spot to put the car into we started wondering if the 5k part was walking back to the store for pick-up! In the end we snagged a prime spot on the opposite side of the set-up simply by driving all the way around the building-lol.

Bib pick-up was easy and fast and facilitated by the numbers being assigned randomly as runners picked them up. No digging through piles of numbers looking for your specific digits. After bib pick-up it was over to another table for goody bag pick-up. A simple white plastic bag with an awesome flashing bracelet, a set of glow-stick glasses (ended up being totally useless so you won't see any pics coming up) and a mystery card for Sport Chalet (go in and see what it is worth from $5 to $100-I haven't gone over there yet). T-shirt pick-up was inside the back of the Road Runner Sports store. The shirt was a disappointment. The woman's XL was a large at best. Much too small for any proper usage. To be fair, it wasn't just me, as we left I saw a young, fit girl, trying hers on and having to peel it off when it was too small for her too. Seriously, these things run REALLY small and no warning was given to order up a size.

At the end of the t-shirt table was a selection of light-up gizmos designed to make the night race more electric. Mom and I both came away with a light up jelly ring and a light up foam stick.

Seems they took a page from Disney's play book and after picking up all the race stuff they directed you through Road Runner Sports, where of course there were many, many sparkly running related items and many employees to make sure you received a 10% off coupon. Yes, we did end up with a few items we hadn't intended on leaving with. Paid for, of course!

As we finally made our way out the door it was hard to miss the fact that there was a line of cars going down the street and around the building all wanting to get to packet pick-up. Good thing we got there early!

It was really strange having the entire day ahead of me on Saturday. I got many errands completed and even snuck in a small nap so I wouldn't be too tired staying out until ten o'clock all hours. We headed out about 3:45 in order to arrive about 5:30 for a race that started at 7:00. The volunteers had stressed over and over to arrive early and car pool. We made pretty good time and were on schedule to arrive just past our target time, until.....da-da-dum...the freeway stopped dead just a bit more than a mile from our exit. Cars in the exit lane inched painfully forward while cars in the other lanes continued to flow on by. It took us embarrassingly long to figure out that race goers were causing the log jam. Hate to admit it, but we pulled a masterful piece of line jumping. We moved out of our lane with every intention of going an exit past the one we needed and doubling back, but at the last minute doubts of our plan's success won out and we slid back in 3/4 of a mile closer than we had been. Traffic control for this event was a major flop. Once inside the fairgrounds they did a fine job directing us to open spots and getting everyone settled, but at the freeway and through the town it was miserable. City assistance would have been nice as 10,000 people descended like so many locusts on a wheat field. Yes, 10,000 runners at this event.

Finally parked it was time to find a potty and get ready to run with only slightly under an hour left. Thankfully REAL RESTROOMS with flushing toilets were available. NICE! That sort of made up for the traffic disaster.

Into the chutes, the man in the leprechaun hat and his wife were very nice people and we chatted for a bit before everyone shifted and we got separated. The volunteers were throwing glow sticks into the crowd and when one landed on the ground right between us he picked it up, but didn't want it so it came to me :).

As we stood waiting for the race to begin it began to drizzle, just a little. If you look closely, you can see little sparkles in the light beams, those are rain drops. The effect in person was downright magical as small diamonds fell from the sky.


 Me-That vest ended up being too warm. The clouds kept the night from being cold.

Finally, we were off. We were actually the second wave to be released and the going at the start was still very slow, not a lot of running in this wave as many walked more slowly or stopped to take a bunch of pictures.  I managed to take quite a few of my own pics. A sample...

The lights were magical, the music fun, though at times a bit too loud. Over all a WONDERFUL event and I had a terrific time.

The negatives? A very dark and very early stretch of the event was on dirt. Not a lot of people ran through here since there was not enough light and you could not see what was coming. There was a very real fear of tripping on or over something. A bit more light in some areas would have been nice.Two other sections were covered with weird plastic tile things. I assume they were there to protect runners from very uneven ground. Unfortunately, the tiny bit of rain and the plastic surface mixed to make a very slippery area. Adhesive ducks holding umbrellas would have been a nice touch as I saw at a young girl go down on hands and knees on the slippery surface. We went through several service tunnels and the effects were spectacular, but the music much too loud as it reverberated in the small space. It was headache inducing. I wish I was still young enough to enjoy a good busted ear drum, but alas, age has removed all desire to completely destroy my eardrums. I think I had some of my fastest times through the tunnels. Finally, I was strangely disappointed that Neon Trees was not the music of choice as we ran past a stand of palm trees where each trunk was lit in a different bright tone.

Some of the awesome? The water stop was well organized. Runners not staying left and charging through were a problem, but the volunteers made a great effort to inform everyone well before hand that water was to the right so not really their fault. The effects were varied and some of the best effects came up unexpectedly. The organizers seemed to make a concentrated effort to provide safe areas for people to stop and take pics. I didn't keep close track, but it seemed that every area where there were really spectacular lights there was some place nearby to step out of the way and take all the pics you wanted before reentering the fray. The train that ran past as we were jogging down the road was all sorts of awesome. Being night you could see the people inside the train watching us as they zoomed past. I think they might have been amused at the sight of a bunch of glowing people running down a stretch of dirt road. The race itself was VERY super organized, well done and FUN. I would definitely do this race again, though I might take some light ear plugs next time, not enough to block sound, just tone it down a bit. I left slightly damp, some of it rain, some of it sweat. I left slightly sore from the hills going down into and back out of the tunnels and with pockets full of the coconut water and granola bars that were being handed to us as we came across the finish. Literally, the volunteers did not want to let you past without handing you something. I didn't have enough hands for everything. I've always said that the volunteers make the race and I think that held true here. The lights were pretty cool too.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like big fun! I continue to wimp out on selecting my next running event...
    But I am immensely enjoying my hot yoga sessions (trying to fit in once weekly)