Race #175 – Beach Blast 5k – Albemarle, NC – 05/12/12

It’s a little bit of a drive to Albemarle so we don’t get over there as often as we would like, but it’s always fun to run a Vac & Dash race. For the uninitiated, Vac & Dash is a store in downtown Albemarle that sells, you guessed it, vacuum cleaners and running gear. That may sound like an odd combination, and it really is, but thanks to owner Peter Asciutto’s outgoing personality, ingenuity, and unique perspective on how to organize a race, Albemarle’s running community is one of the largest and most enthusiastic you’ll find anywhere.

 Never mind the fact the Albemarle is a couple hundred miles from the beach. We’re approaching summertime, which is beach season, so I’ll just guess that’s the reasoning behind the name. It’s probably best not to try to over-think these things.

After my less-than-stellar showing in last week’s race I decided last Sunday that I needed to lose weight. Instead of Weight Watchers this time around I thought I’d take the free route and go with Calorie Count, which is a great online program that doesn’t cost anything and works beautifully. Of course, like any diet plan, it only works if you do the things you’re supposed to do, and that’s where I generally trip up. This time though I managed to stick with it all week. I ate less than 2,000 calories each day and didn’t eat extra because of running, and by the end of the week I had lost 5 pounds, going from 152 to 147. With two big races coming up in the next two weeks I know that the only way to do well is to drop those extra pounds I’ve been carrying for the past six months. So far, so good, and now that I’m on a roll I plan on sticking with it until I get back down to my optimum weight of 140 pounds.

The first two miles of the race were tough, with a gradual series of uphill climbs of varying degrees. Fortunately, the last mile paid us back for all of that climbing with a lot of downhill. If I get to choose (and I rarely do), I prefer the uphills to be in the first part of the race and the downhills in the last half, so it worked out well for me.

Two weeks ago I ran two 5k races: the Cherry Blossom 5k (21:57) on Friday night and the Bulldog 5k (21:20) on Saturday morning. Having lost 5 pounds this week my main goal was to run in under 21 minutes. I crossed the finish line today at 20:58, and I’m pretty sure the improved time is the result of losing the 5 pounds. I’m hoping that when (and if) I lose the other 5 pounds my 5k times will dip back down to the range of 20:30 or so.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for 400+ Free Photos on Facebook (Vac & Dash page)

My Stats:

Time:  20:58
Pace:  6:46
Age Group:  1 of  9
Overall:  19 of  420

* RACE RATING  (100 Possible Points) *

Note: With my new rating system (started in December 2011) there’s not a chance of any race scoring near 100. If it’s important to you, look at each individual category to see how points were earned (or not). Just trying to be more objective with the details. I generally like all of the races I run. If there’s something that really rubs me the wrong way I’ll mention it in the summary above.

RACE COURSE  (20 possible points)
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (at least 1 for 5k, 2 for 10k, 4 for half marathon) (2 points)
1 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
1 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
2 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)pretty good to excellent
2 – Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION  (6 possible points)
1 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS  (3 possible points)
2 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS  (13 possible points)
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
0 – 70+ group (1)
1 – Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (1)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (1)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (1)yes

AWARDS  (9 possible points)
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
2 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (1)yes  (3)really cool medals

POST RACE  (7 possible points)
2 – Food for Race Participants: (0)none  (1)some  (2)adequate  (5)a feast!
1 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)yes

REST ROOMS  (4 possible points)
1 – Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
1 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS  (8 possible points)
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice
2 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric (had to register in advance)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY  (12 possible points)
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes  ——> 400+ free pics!
5 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
2 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes

PARKING  (8 possible points)
2 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

WEBSITE  (5 possible points)
0 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
1 – No dedicated site but separate page on other site (organization, running store, etc):  (0)no  (1)yes
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER  (5 possible points)
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (1)yes, some  (2)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (1)yes

TOTAL:  77

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