Monday, July 15, 2013

Race #28-- Hilton Head Island Firecracker 5000

I was excited to run in the Hilton Head Island Firecracker 5000.  My family goes on an annual vacation to the island and when I learned that this years fell on the 4th of July, I knew there would probably be a race and there was!

Kory took me to the (very empty) mall on the island on Wednesday afternoon to pick up my race packet.  There wasn't much to it but we did get this shirt  (cute but even though its an XS, its still too big)

I laid out my outfit that night.  I was ready to be patriotic!

The race started at 8:00 but they said to arrive there early since it was 30 minute walk.  So my dad, Kory, and I left the condo at 6:30.  Parking was a breeze and the walk took about 5 minutes.  So we were there by 7ish.  A lot of standing around.

 It was then that I noticed that my bib number was Stitch's experiment number!  (yes, I have to find Disney around me anywhere I go!)

It was then that I also noticed that no one was dressed up.  At all.  Even at non-Disney races at home, there's always people with fun things on.  All I saw there were two girls in tutus and one lady wearing a sparkler headband. 

Thankfully Laura from This Princess Runs showed up.  She was also wearing a sparkly skirt!

I loved getting to chat with her!  The DJ (or announcer) said that it was time to head to the starting line.  And then it became a cattle call.  The crowd came to a stand-still at one point.  And that's where the 30 minute walk came into play!  We were chatting and kind of lost the guys.  Sorry boys!

Laura is faster than I am so I told her to go ahead without me.  I didn't want to slow her down and I didn't want to go out too fast.  I had 2 goals, but I wasn't sure if I would hit both, one or the other, or neither, until I was actually running.

1) Run the whole 5k without stopping
2) Finish the 5k in under 30 minutes.

The firecrackers went off and off we went.  The starting line was a white line.  I thought it would be a mat like I'm used to, but it was just a line.

I started off pretty quickly but I felt good.

I liked the route.  The race started later than I'm used to so it was still hot, but it was pretty shady.  And it was kind of fun having no clue where I was, or where I was running.  During training at home, I don't bring water with me until 7 mile runs, so I didn't stop for any water.  I wanted to hit my goals!

I didn't get tired until about 2.5 miles.  I had been practicing running at home and was up to running 24 minutes without stopping.  I knew I could finish those last 6 minutes.  I also knew that I had to keep my pace below 9:40 and I kept looking down to make sure I was!

The finish line was around the corner and kind of crept up on me so when I saw it, I took off!  When I stopped my Runkeeper app and watch after the finish line, I looked at my time to see that I beat my goal by a lot!  My Runkeeper said my time was 29:18 and my watch said 29:15!  I was so excited!

I grabbed a Propel water (yay for it not being just plain water which I don't drink) and found Kory and my dad.  I also ran into Laura for a second.  We walked around for a couple of minutes and I grabbed a banana and a slice of pizza but I was ready to head out.


Later came the problem.  I checked my official results.  I knew that the time might be a few seconds off, one way or the other.  But my official time was 29:44.  That's 29 or 26 seconds difference!! Laura said her time was also 25 seconds off.  I mentioned this on the race's facebook page and was told to email them about it. 

This is the response I got back

"Andrea, I watched the finsh line video and if you had blue shorts(with read and white in them) and a a blue tank top, you crossed the finish line at  29:44. Please note that even though we used chips for the event, all results were  given based on "Gun time" only per USA Track and Field Rule #245 which states as follows"
RULE 245
The official time shall be the time elapsed between the start of the watches or
timing devices resulting from an appropriate start signal and when the athlete
reaching the finish line. The actual time elapsed between when an athlete reaching
the starting line and finish line can be made known to the athlete, but will
not be considered as official.
In addition, this was from the web site:(
'The race will be chip timed ( gun start ) with a state of the art Jaguar Timing System from CRRS."
your chip time was probably 29:15 to 29:18, but we only reported gun times per USA Track and Field Rule 245. I am so sorry for your confusion. In the future, you might want to check the event web site to see what times are going to be reported, and of course, ALWAYS wear your watch so you can get you own "chip start" time. Good luck with your running."
I did see that on the website, but I assumed that "chip timed (gun start)" meant that it was chip timed like normal and there was a gun sound to mark the start of the race.  Not that the official time was going to be a "clock time".  What about the people in the back?  They're times are going to be a minute off?  Not exactly fair.
Yes, I know I am totally being petty.  And I know that I still hit my goal of under 30 minutes.  But to me, it's not AS good of a time.  Beating my goal by 45 seconds felt a lot better than beating it by 16.  And what do I use as a PR time?  Do I use the 29:18 that my Runkeeper says or do I use 29:44 since that's the official time? (although that'll give me more room to PR next time).  I guess the whole thing just left a sour taste in my mouth.
Here are the stats from Runkeeper

So what do you think?  What time do I use?


  1. Ugh. I would be annoyed too. Congratulations on finishing and meeting both your goals, but I'm sorry your accomplishment was tarnished by that. :(

    Love your skirt!

  2. Andrea - It was such a treat to meet you and spend that pre-race time with you! I was so impressed by your dedication to hitting your goals & so happy to celebrate with you when I realized you hit both! I'm using my watch time for this race, just as I would for any gun start race. So, if I were you, I'd be writing 29:18 on the back of that bib before adding it to my memory box :D Congrats on running a great race, and hope our paths cross again soon!

    1. It was great meeting you too! And ya know, I'd never thought about writing my race times on the back of my bibs. I think I'm going to go back and do that. Thanks for the idea!

  3. How frustrating! I'd be annoyed too. I've noticed that not all races do timing mats at the start, usually smaller ones don't. I get the rule and that for offical purposes they use gun time, but I like knowing my chip time too.

    I'd use the time from your watch or runkeeper.

    1. I think that's what I'm going to do. And I guess that means that I need to pay attention to how races are going to use times and worm my way towards the front if needed.