Not being able to transfer race entries

Folks. Do you know what’s total bull? Not being able to transfer or get a refund for a race entry fee.

Put restrictions on it. Charge a fee, keep a portion of what I paid. But no refunds and no transfers is really annoying for something you’re signing up for months in advance.

I signed up for the Denver Rock and Roll half a few months ago, turns out we’re going to have a conflict, I’m just out $80. The race organizers could make another $25 off of me by allowing me to pay a fee to transfer my bib, meaning they’d make $105 for one entry instead of just $80. 

I’m looking at the Colorado half in May. I was contemplating signing up now because I know it will sell out, but with a no refund and no transfer policy, I’m not willing to bet $90 that I won’t have something come up eight months from now.

That’s dumb you guys. And probably puts you at high risk for people charging back/disputing their credit card charges. (I’m an electronic payments geek.)

I know we don’t want to create a marketplace for scalpers of race entries, so make it expensive and make it inconvenient, but don’t make it impossible. 


Littlefoot Triathlon – Race Recap

Oh man.

This summer I planned to do no races, to enjoy my summer, and to go to more happy hours. And I have! I have spent a lot of time drinking beers on patios, sitting on the couch, working, and very little time working out. As a result I’m slightly squishier but a lot less stressed out than I was this time last summer.

But a few weeks ago Chris and I went for a bike ride and then I hopped off and did a short run. Just to see. Just to see how bad a brick might feel. But it was fine! I was hot and tired, but really, it was fine.

So on a whim, with no training, yesterday afternoon I signed up for the Littlefoot Triathlon, a tiny sprint tri that was this morning. (There were only about 150 racers.) I had done two random 5ks this summer, not really trained, and PR’d both! Maybe 2013 was one long taper I’d benefited from immensely.

Ha. Hahahaha. Oh, Past Mel. How did you get so dumb?

I actually had a lot of fun today, but I totally face-planted in the race. The very short version with random crappy iPhone pictures…

The approach:

Most of my gear came together pretty quickly last night except for 10 tense minutes spent looking for a stray cycling glove. (I have super crappy wrists, I need them even for a short ride.) My alarm didn’t go off (I set it for PM instead of AM) but Chris’s alarm woke me up and I got out the door on time. On the way there, I hit a bump on the freeway and in the rear view mirror watched my bike bounce out of its fastenings on the bike rack and slide dangerously close to flying off. Pulled over, adjusted, drove verrrry carefully the rest of the way.

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The swim:

Always my favorite leg, and I love the part before we start where everyone’s in the water chatting. I haven’t swam (in a pool or in a lake) in a year so I was impressed that I could swim a half mile with no breaks. It wasn’t fast, but I swam pretty straight and was able to pass some folks.

The bike:

Bleh. I think I have realized I do not enjoy cycling, especially on my crappy Target bike. The course wasn’t as hilly as I thought, but it was really curvy, so you had zero momentum going into the uphills. Also, my heart rate was like “WHY DID YOU JUST SWIM SO HARD FOR SO LONG? IS SOMETHING CHASING YOU?” and my heart rate would. Not. Come. Down. Not when I slowed down, not when I had water, not when I took it easy on the uphills.

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The run:

I got off the bike and my legs felt okay-ish, but again my heart rate was like “THIS IS NOT DRINKING BEER. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING??” And by this time it was really hot, and when I tried to run my heart rate exploded and I felt a little dizzy. So since I had no goals, and I was just here for fun, I decided to just walk the 5k. I could have kept up a run/walk situation but…meh. Meh. I say.

I smiled at other racers, chatted with volunteers, and drank a lot of water. It was hot. Then there were fewer people on the course and I got bored. I kind of wished I’d spent my $85 on a new dress.

The finish:

I realized at some point that I was the last finisher, and I felt badly because I think people really like to cheer for last finishers who look like they’re overcoming some hardship but trying really hard. People like it when the last finisher is really old or overweight but doing their best to sprint to the finish! I was just a healthy lady who was not trained at all and being kind of lazy.

When I got to the finish line I tried to nonchalantly saunter across, but the announcer stopped the raffle/awards to call me out, and I waved to the crowd. “Hi! Sorry. Don’t mind me. Are there any vegetarian sandwiches left?” (There weren’t!)

Maybe 15 seconds after I finished, I was slinking off to collect my stuff when the announcer called out my name for first place! Well, only place. In the sadly neglected Athena division. (That means I weigh more than 150 pounds.) I collected my award and marveled at the math that allowed me to be both first and last. Ah, well.

So there’s that. Ninth triathlon in the books. Kind of made an idiot of myself, but I had fun.

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Three footnotes if I could remember how to actually code footnotes:

One, I think I actually came in last place, which is kind of funny. It’s that thing people dread but it’s fine. No one points and laughs at you, you still get the same t-shirt. I’m kind of happy to fall on this sword if it means someone else who would mind doesn’t have to. But, I was also in the last wave, so maybe someone who started 20 minutes ahead of me actually took more time than I did. Who knows.

Two, I wish the Athena division was really a thing. I always sign up for it if it’s an option because seriously, regardless of how in shape you are, it’s just harder to propel 150 pounds around a course than it is 120 pounds, and I’m a big person! I’d like to compete against other big people. I’m tall and broad and the only time in my life I’ve weighed less than 150 pounds was a brief period after college when I engaged in some somewhat disordered habits. Other than that, I’ve fit into the same jeans since high school.

And there were definitely women in that weight range who beat me today who decided to compete in their age group instead. They should have this cool plaque, not me! I mean, to each her own. Thanks for the first place/last place finish, ladies!

Three, race directors: you always run out of the vegetarian sandwiches or burritos! You should have more. I was starving and made a beeline for a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich when I left the park.

2012 Goals – How did we do?

Here is my post about 2012 goals, in its entirety:

Subject: Resolutions are Dumb. Goals Are Awesome!

So far on my plate for 2012:

  • Read 25 books
  • Plan an awesome vacation for our ten year anniversary
  • Run the half marathon I just signed up for in the spring (my first!)
  • Race the same Olympic triathlon I crashed and burned at in 2011, except this time not have my race go off the rails
  • Turn 30
  • Complete a 70.3 triathlon in the fall (Boulder or Harvest Moon? I can’t decide!)
  • Add a second bathroom to our house

The only thing that’s more of a I’m-going-to-TRY-to-make-that-happen-but-it-probably-won’t is a “resolution” I’ve made a few times: to blog more. I love going back and reading my almost daily posts from livejournal when I was in college. I’d love to just jot more things down for my own memories down the road.

  • Books – Yeah, let’s just start with the saddest news. A very sad thirteen books. I started the year strong, but the second half of 2012 I felt very short on free time and when I had downtime I wanted brain candy in the form of a bubble bath, a glass of wine, and a silly tv show. Definitely room for improvement next year.From left to right, top to bottom:
    Liked, loved, hated, LOVED, loathed
    LOVED, liked, didn’t love, loved, liked a lot until the end
    Hated, loved, liked a lotScreen Shot 2012 12 30 at 3 28 11 PM
  • Vacation – Check. Debating a repeat this February for our 11th anniversary. The snow on the ground is making a warm beach sound so lovely.
  • Half marathon – check.
  • Olympic triathlon – check.
  • Turn 30 – check. (It’s satisfying to hit a milestone birthday and feel like your life is where you’d like it to be.)
  • 70.3 – check.
  • Second bathroom – check.
  • Blog more – mostly check. Checkish.

Also in 2012…

Commuted by bicycle all last winter. I fell off my bike twice, but I was happy and proud I did it.

Refinanced our mortgage, which will save us money in the short run and help us pay it off faster in the long run.

Let’s just say something vague about professional success. Last year I was taking on a lot of new responsibilities and kind of struggling with juggling them, but this year I felt more like I hit my stride.

Migrated my blog from tumblr to WordPress.

Spent a lot of time crying about Aurora, Newtown, and the shooting of a police officer at an event where I was volunteering.

Struggled with balancing work, trying to train, and having some semblance of a social life.

Saw a lot of awesome music (a lot for me, who doesn’t really love live music):

Tyler Lyle
John Heart Jackie
Daniel Ate The Sandwich
Avett Brothers
Devotchka (times two)
The Colorado Symphony
Jason Mraz
The Lumineers (times two)
Paper Bird
Shovels and Rope
Jason Mraz
Christina Perri
Alanis Morissette

Sang “Rolling on the River” with Hazel Miller

Worked with my mentee at Minds Matter to apply for college. They grow up so fast.

Wore the same pare of gold glitter flats, like, seriously almost every day this summer.

Tried out toastmasters.

Did my annual LALA (Ladies at Little America) trip.

Had a fun power’s-out-party with our neighbors.

Saw Temple Grandin speak and had her sign my book.

Tried acupuncture.

Got really into yoga. Somehow I went from a yoga-hater last summer to a borderline evangelist.

Had a quasi-roommate for the first six months of the year.
So! Some ups and downs, but I’m really proud of myself for completing my goals. Still working on some for 2013.

For someone who decided to quit doing races I sure do like reading and talking about them

After cheering at Saturday’s marathon and half marathon, I fell down a hole this week reading race recaps. (And I even saw myself a few times, that was pretty cool.)

But way cooler, I was struck by how many ways there are to run a successful race.

What’s cool is that there are so many ways to make it yours and to make it fun. And maybe your version of fun is running really fast or finishing with friends or taking a million pictures or getting the most high fives or sticking to your plan so you can sprint to the finish. I suppose, as cheesy as this sounds, that’s what makes running so great. There’s something here for everyone.

Race$ Co$t Money

I’ve been getting the races I want to do this year on the calendar. Because even though I’ve been sick this week and glued to the couch, I can still give my credit card a workout!

I can’t say that I recommend signing up for several races at once. It’s good to plan, but it makes you much more acutely aware of how much money you’re spending, as opposed to when you spread it out, registering for races more on a whim here and there. On the schedule so far:

May 6th – Colorado Half Marathon

$265.13 (+$165.84 for hotel)

This is a super popular marathon in Colorado, and they also do a half, a 10k and a 5k. It’s an overall downhill course, so it makes it easier (still not easy!) to qualify for Boston. It sells out months in advance. I agreed to sign up for the half with a friend. She signed up right away. I waited until three days later when entries had sold out and there were only $250 “charity entries” left, plus some ridiculous processing fee. At roughly $30 a mile, this better be the best race ever.

June 2nd – Boulder Sunrise Olympic Triathlon

$57.00 (Plus a mandatory fundraising minimum) x2 for Chris and me

This race was disastrous for me last year. I was so frustrated by the end I was just crying and really unhappy. I’m excited for a do-over on this course, and my only worry is that I won’t be able to get in a lot of open water swimming practice beforehand since the place I go only opens in May and this race is only four weeks later. This event has a ridiculous $10 race day packet pickup fee, but at least they’re offering it this year. Last year we had to drive up to Boulder the night before and then sit in traffic on the 36 on the way home. Lame. I think this race is one of the cheapest triathlons in Colorado, though.

September 9th – Harvest Moon 70.3

$167.14 x 2 for Chris and me

2012 is kind of a big year! Chris and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary and we both turn 30. We’re celebrating in two ways: one, a vacation in February to lay on the beach in Mexico, and two, completing a 70.3 (aka a half iron man) in September. I sort of went back and forth between the Harvest Moon 70.3 and the Boulder 70.3. Boulder is an Ironman branded event, Harvest Moon is put on by a local company called Without Limits. Boulder is in August (Hot!), Harvest Moon is in September (Still possibly hot). Boulder has the wicked hill on the bike on Old Stage Coach Road, Harvest Moon has some rolling hills for bike and run, but nothing ridiculous. So, it seemed like kind of a no-brainer to pick Harvest Moon. The only thing I’m bummed about is that I don’t think they do finisher’s medals. Solution: I will be ordering our own on the internet. I want a damn medal.

When actually registered, I discovered another incredibly awesome reason to choose Harvest Moon over Boulder: a $110 price difference in registration. Really, ironman people? $250 for early registration? ($277.94 with fees!)$300 after June? Ridiculous. Especially when you’re trying to budget for two participants, meaning we pay all of these fees twice.

Chris has also registered for the Colfax Marathon in May, a bargain at $80, which means our total race-related fees for the year so far:


They haven’t invented that money tree yet? No? Well. This is kind of my thing. I don’t get my hair done. I don’t go for designer purses or jeans. I don’t ski. I’m not super into cars or traveling or clothes or jewelry. Everyone has their one thing they spend too much money on, and apparently being a back of the pack racer is mine.