Wayne’s Word

May 4, 2008

A Running Scorecard for the Rest of Us

Filed under: General,Running — Wayne @ 3:31 pm

Look in almost any issue of the HTC News and you will see results of the Huntsville Track Club Grand Prix, a yearly contest for HTC members. Throughout the year, winners of certain races are awarded points and at the end of the year, the Grad Prix winner is the one with the most points—just like auto racing. I’m sure this is a spirited affair, with rival runners passing each other in the standings throughout the year and the results often not being settled until the final race. But, let’s face it: Most of us are never going to be in contention for the Grand Prix, or, for that matter, score any points at all. But, that’s okay—not everyone can be a winner, or even a contender.

However, we ordinary runners would like to score points for our runs, too. It doesn’t have to be points for winning, just points. So, with that in mind I have created a running score card for “the rest of us”.

Runners and Technology: Runners interact with a lot of technology, sometimes intentionally and some unintentionally.
+10 Activate a motion detector light.
+50 Activate two motion detectors simultaneously.
-100 The owner comes running out with a shotgun to see what’s happening.

Traffic Regulations: There are a lot of traffic regulations for drivers, but don’t you ever wonder if any of them also apply to runners?
+1 “Running” a stop sign.
+100 Breaking a speed limit. (Tricky, since the human speed record is 12 mph).
-200 You get a Moving Violation for either of these.

Interactions with Drivers: Not all drivers understand the concept of “running”. How do you interact with them?
+10 A driver stops and asks if you need a ride.
+25 You are actually running and not just stretching or walking at the time.
+50 They look at you like you are crazy when you tell them you are out there without a vehicle on purpose.
-100 If you wimp out and take them up on the offer.

Running with your pet: Running with you dog can be a rewarding experience for both of you You can improve your health while enjoying the company of man’s best friend.
+10 Take your dog running with you
+25 Take more than one dog with you.
+100 Figure out how to take a cat running with you.
-75 Your dog stops during the run and refuses to go any further.

Personal Accomplishment: As we get older, the PR’s don’t come as often as they used to, if they come at all. Sometimes we need to set different goals.
+10 Complete a run of more than one mile with your shoes on the opposite feet.
+50 Run a complete race of at least 5k with you shoes on the opposite feet.
-150 If it was not intentional.

Record keeping: Keeping good records can be helpful and modern technology makes it even easier.
+10 Log the time & distance of the run with a spreadsheet.
+25 Also log temperature, pulse rate, weight, etc.
+50 Use a database and data mining techniques to find a correlation between your pace & the dew point.
-100 Do this while you are running.

Races: What can we do when we run races to help out or just stand out?
+5 Wear your race number where it can be easily seen.
+25 Wear a costume such as Mr. Incredible.
-150 If this is not during a race.

Day and Night: It is always fun to start in the dark and watch the sun rise while you run, or vice-verse.
+25 Cross a day/night boundary while running.
+250 Cross two of them in the same run. Double below 60 deg latitude.


December 9, 2007

Life Lessons from a Race Course Sentry

Filed under: Running — Wayne @ 11:00 pm
Tags: , ,

Governors & GallatinIn my previous life (my 20’s), I ran the Rocket City Marathon once. In the years after that, I gradually stopped running, but recently I started back again. Since my training is not yet back up to marathon length, my participation in this year’s Rocket City Marathon was as a race course sentry.

It’s a fun job. A “Special Sentry” (really, that is what the instruction sheet calls it) gets to wear a goofy looking bright green vest, set out race cones and then direct runners. In my case, I pointed runners to the cones marking the right lane and said “right lane” as needed. I also got to point a few cars to the left lane if they weren’t paying attention to the police officers directing traffic. The active Governor’s Drive construction site made it even more interesting.

Life has taught me that there are lessons to be learned in almost anything you do. Since this was my first time as a sentry, there was even more to learn. So, if you will forgive me for broadly over-generalizing, here is what I learned in four hours one Saturday at the intersection of Gallatin & Governors, the 25.7 mile mark of the Rocket City Marathon.

  • If you wear a bright green vest near a construction site, some pedestrians will mistake you for a construction worker and ask you when the road will finally be finished.
  • One the plus side, however, being near a construction site means there is always a port-a-potty handy.Princesses
  • If you say “right lane” and point to the cone marking the right lane, some runners will same “thank you” to the person who just bossed them around, even after running 25.7 miles.
  • Women are much more likely to do this than men.
  • If you are a course sentry who also happens to be a guy, you will be so stunned by this it will take 10 or 15 people saying “thank you” before you think to reply “you’re welcome”.
  • Standing up for four hours will make your feet ache a lot more than you would think.
  • Likewise, holding up your arm to direct runners to the right lane makes your arm ache a lot more than you would think.
  • It’s fun to direct traffic, even if all you are doing is pointing the cars the same way as the police officer the drivers weren’t paying attention do.
  • A few people will dress up to run the marathon. Women will be sensible and just wear a tiara. However, some guy will dress up in a complete Mr. Incredible costume. And, oddly enough, he will be the last one across the intersection before the course is closed.Mr. Incredible
  • When 1200 people run past you, you are likely to see someone you haven’t seen in 20 years. (Hi Charley!)
  • As a people, we don’t always pay attention to directions as well as we should. Running 25.7 miles doesn’t help this any. However, if a few people do it right, everyone else will follow their lead.
  • And, as much as you might be tempted direct the runners by saying “Runners, right lane; victims, left lane”, saying “please” is more effective.
  • And finally: Some people will ask “how far?” If you are a half-mile from the end and say “half mile left”, at least one woman will say “I love you” and at least one guy will ask “Exactly?”

See my album page of the photos I took.

(2017 note:  Sorry, but the server with the photos is gone.  I’ll try to upload them elsewhere and fix the links.)

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