Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Safari Park Wild Thoughts

So why was the Safari Park Half Marathon my favorite half marathon to date? I mean, I didn't PR, I didn't travel out of the state to run it, and I didn't win (ha!). But none of that matters. The reason I sign up for races is to experience new things - new places, new challenges, meet new people, and have fun while I'm doing it. This fit all of that.

These are the elements of the race that I loved:
  • The course was interesting - it included road and dirt and hills. I like variety in my races.
  • The course had great views - there was lots to see and Curious Lisa loved seeing all of it. I have to say that I loved the ostrich farm. The ostriches were wacky. I didn't know they made sounds like that and to see them watching us and running around was fun.
  • The race was really well organized - Everything went off without a hitch this year. I heard they had problems with parking last year but there were none this year. The race started on time and the buses back to our cars after were easy peasy to catch.
  • They also had really well organized aid stations. It was doubly nice that they sent out an email before the race telling us that water would be in clear cups and the electorlyte drink would be in solid cups. Except for the aid station outside the winery that was serving drinks up in wine glasses! Sorry, but I think it was just water and electorlyte drink. ;)
  • Packet pickup, the drop bags, post food/water, directions/support on the course were all excellent too.
  • There weren't a lot of spectators, practically none actually except for the families that were bused into the park and the one housing tract we went thru, but I didn't care. I don't need crowd support. And less crowds means you can focus easier. At least I can.
  • One of the runners complained that she'd never been in a such a "chatty" race but I loved it. She's right, there was a lot of talking going on between the runners but isn't that why we race? To run with others? I had a lot of fun talking to various people on the course. It's always disappointing when you talk to someone and they are wearing headphones. But it was fun to be in awe of something we saw and to have someone else acknowledge they were thinking the same thing.
  • The race had Race Guards running with us. There were also some on bikes out on the course. I'd never seen that before and I thought it was a very cool idea. A couple of them were running around my pace so I saw them all the way up until the end. I would like to look into doing something like this.
  • The Wild Animal Park was VERY welcoming to us. All day, the people at the park congratulated me or asked me how I did. It was fun to see the shirts/medals all day too. Like a not-so-secret club. Also, a good conversation opener with strangers.
  • A lot of the runners dressed with ears/tails/animal prints so that was fun too. I was mostly glad that I beat Tony the Tiger. :)
  • Um, did I mention there were elephants and lions and cheetahs? Seriously, how cool is that!!! :) I am still going through my photos for that day! Hopefully, I'll have them ready tonight.
So yes, I absolutely will do this race again. Next time, I'm going to do the Roar and Snore and spend the night before in the park. I talked to some of the runners who had done it and they said it was a ton of fun to hear the lions and other animals at night and that the dinner had been yummy. I think it would be a blast. Who's going to join me?

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