Sunday, October 5, 2014

2014 Rosehill Cemetery Crypt 5k Packet Pickup Recap

The 2014 Rosehill Cemetery Crypt 5k was a bit of a mixed bag. Some things were terrible. Some things were awesome. And some things were somewhere in between the two. I have a lot of things to cover with this race, so I've decided to break my recap into two parts. This first part will only cover packet pickup. I'll be posting the actual race recap tomorrow. 

Registration was easy and painless - go to the website, input some info, pay it all off, and get a confirmation email. Done. There wasn't very much information about the race available (no parking info, no packet pickup dates, no course map), but I did register early, and I've noticed that things often get added or sites get updated as race dates get closer. 

I chose to register for the chip timed event, which was $5 more than the non timed event, but I wanted an "official" time. I also ordered a shirt size smaller than usual due to it being a unisex shirt (more on this later). I added the race to my calendar and then started the long wait until race day.

As the weeks passed and the race grew closer, I kept checking the website and waiting for an email that would have more information. I began to get really frustrated with the lack of information. I wanted a course map, and I needed to know when and where packet pickup would be. Although they never released a course map, a week before the race, the events company sent an email with packet pickup instructions. There were two days available for advanced pickup, or there would also be on site packet pickup the night of the race. I always like to pickup early, if possible. Luckily, one of the days would allow me enough time to get my things on the way to work.

Packet pickup was at Runner's Edge on Clark Street. The store is only a few miles from my apartment building, so I decided to walk there. 

I always try to walk through the park when I'm walking anywhere.
We had had storms the night before, the rain had stopped and the clouds had parted to reveal a lovely fall day. It was damp and a little chilly, but it smelled like fall and the leaves were beginning to change colors and fall from the trees, so I was able to enjoy a beautiful morning walk.

The store is in the Andersonville neighborhood.
I love this neighborhood - it is very pretty with tons of fun shops and restaurants.
My walk didn't take as long as I thought it would, so I arrived really early. I walked around the neighborhood for a while to kill time, but I eventually headed back to the store to get in line.

It was day two of packet pickup, so I thought they would have figured out how to streamline things. I was wrong. Pickup was very slow and disorganized.

I was promptly greeted and directed to the back of the store for pickup, but that was about the only pleasant thing that happened. The lines moved incredibly slowly, and the folks working just seemed really annoyed to be there and helping people. Those of us waiting in line were basically tasked with keeping the lines organized ourselves. There were two lines, one to look up your bib number and the second to collect your packet. There was no one there to direct people to the correct line, which led to some confusion as more people began arriving. There were several people who they weren't able to find on the list, despite these people having their confirmation emails.

The only good thing about the slow moving lines is that I did make a new friend:

Look at his furry face! He was very friendly, and his person let me pet him.
There was also a lot of confusion regarding shirt sizes.

I, and many others, were under the impression that the race shirts were unisex shirts. A quick google search showed that they had been unisex shirt for previous years of the race, and online registration (at least when I registered) also showed unisex shirt sizes. So I was very surprised to have them call out "women's medium" when picking up my packet. Ummm...excuse me? I would have ordered my usual large or extra large if I had known that they were going to be gender specific shirts. Several women in line in front of me also voiced their displeasure with this, stating that they wouldn't have ordered the size that they did if they had known that the shirts were in gender specific sizes.

I was told that I could exchange the shirt for a different size AFTER the race, as long as I didn't wear it. The guy passing out shirts was clearly tired of explaining this. I get it, dude, you weren't the one who ordered the shirts, but you don't have to be rude. Anyway, I figured that exchanging it after the race was better than nothing, especially because I love the fun design of the shirt.

My race packet - drawstring bag, bib number, shirt, a glow necklace, and an envelope containing a coupon to Runner's Edge  (must be opened by store employee to be valid) good for the month of October.
In addition to my shirt and bib number, I was given a glow necklace to wear at the event and a drawstring bag. As I was leaving, one of the store's employees gave me an envelope containing a coupon for the store that was good October 5 - October 31. While I understand that the purpose of dating the coupon this way is to get people to come back to the store, I'm not going to go out of my way to use the mystery coupon (it is a sealed envelope and is only valid if the envelope is opened by a store employee). Sure, I'll drop by the store if I'm in the neighborhood again, but I'm more likely to use a coupon that I can use immediately while I'm already in the store.

There was also a game where you could guess the number of candy corn in a jar. The winning guess will win a new prize every month for a year. Sounds good. I'm terrible at these types of guessing games, probably because I'm distracted by all the delicious candy and think about eating it instead of how many are likely to be in the jar, but I went ahead and placed my guess. It couldn't hurt, right?

The packet pickup left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I've seen much busier packet pickups run more smoothly and much longer packet pickup lines move more quickly for other races. Once I had my packet in hand and had made my candy corn guess, I quickly made my way to the red line so that I could get to work. Pickup had taken so long that I was worried about getting to work on time. Luckily, I managed to make it to work right on time, without a minute to spare.

A disorganized packet pickup always make me a little nervous for the actual race, as do surprises such as the shirt situation. I was still really excited about running through Rosehill Cemetery at night, though. I love Rosehill Cemetery. It is really beautiful and peaceful. Their gates close around 4pm each day, so I've never been able to explore it in the evening. Even with the unfortunate packet pickup, I was still excited for the race.

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