Friday, November 9, 2018

Running Time Machine: Throwback Race Recap

While I was writing my last post about running mistakes and looking back on old races, my mind wandered back to the good old days--to the days of running before technology. Life was simpler then and so was running.

I started my running journey in the late 1980s. I ran a lot of races back then--mostly 5ks and 10ks. Half marathons weren't really a thing and only the die-hard runners ran marathons! There were no blogs--actually, there wasn't much of an internet, and I sure didn't recap my races. I wish I'd kept a running journal back then, but the thought never occurred to me. I just ran. It was all about having fun.

But it's not too late for a race recap, is it? Let's hop in the time machine and revisit a race circa 1993!



Close your eyes and imagine the start line at the Sportmart Shamrock Shuffle 8k in 1993. I had laid out my outfit the night before and pinned my bib to the long sleeved cotton race t-shirt. I wore black running tights and laced up my Nike Air Pegasus. I lined up with the 8:30 minute/mile pacers and waited for the gun to go off.

I didn't formally train for this race. Back then I ran 4-5 days per week and usually ran between 4-6 miles each time I ran. To confirm the mileage on my runs, I drove my route in my car. The 8k distance was certainly in my wheelhouse. While I didn't listen to music on my outdoor training runs, I used my Sony Walkman cassette player while running loops at the indoor track to keep my mind occupied.

The national anthem was sung and we were off. As I crossed the start line, I pushed the start button on my Timex Ironman watch to track my running time. We ran through the city and I enjoyed the sights along the route. I saw a couple of runners off to the side of the road, vomiting. I knew that a lot of runners went out the night before to celebrate St Patricks Day and signed up for the race at the last minute. Along the route, we passed a bar handing out green beers to runners. I passed by.

I crossed the finish line, pushed stop on my watch, and looked at the time. I tore the bottom tab off my bib and slid it onto a long spindle while a woman recorded my bib number and finish time on a clipboard. I was happy with my finish time. I wouldn't know my official time or place for about a week. There were also no race pictures and without smartphones, no selfies! I don't even think selfies were a thing back then.

Can you imagine today running a race where you wore cotton clothing and ran without GPS, relying on the reliability of the race volunteer who was recording your bib number and time?  While I had a good idea of how I did using my watch to record my moving time, official results wouldn't be available for about a week, when a postcard would arrive in the mail with all my stats. I once ran a 5k where my results weren't counted. Without proof of my finish time, the response from the race headquarters was basically: "too bad, so sad".

If only I'd had a Garmin...

Ah, the good old days. There were no race lotteries. There were no medals for any distance except the marathon. You could sign up for the big races at the last minute. No one wore costumes. Cheating wasn't rampant. Running in the olden days was definitely simpler. But was it better?

What race would you revisit in the running time machine? Do you think things were better in simpler times or do you enjoy running today?

I'm linking up for Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness.







23 comments :

  1. I was looking over my race bibs for a post I published today. I only began racing in 2003. The biggest thing I noticed was that none of the bibs had chips back then. Now, most of them do, especially for larger races.

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    1. Not too long ago, I ran a small race that wasn't chip timed--it took me back! But the race officials recorded the time on a computer as we crossed, so we still had results pretty quickly!

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  2. I didn't start running until 2001, so I never had to lu my Walkman, but I do think I had a Timex before I had a very clunky Garmin. We were reminiscing about when you had to enter the Cherry Blossom Lottery by sending in a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope! Thanks for the memories!

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    1. It's so funny how such a simple sport has evolved along with technology!

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  3. I've only been running about 10 years. I'm actually really impressed that you even had a watch capable of recording your time!

    We have some supported long runs in the winter and they're not chip timed. Their purpose really is to help runners be able to run long in the winter. So you start, and there's a clock at the end. As you pass the finish line, someone hands you a card & you record your finish time.

    Luckily by the time I started running tech fabrics were widely available -- although some races still do cotton race tees!

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    1. I don't mind cotton race tees-I wear them for non-running activities. I love the idea of those supported long runs. I run long in the winter, but it's just me and my GPS!

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  4. Aww I love this old school race recap! Goes to show, do we need all this new running stuff? Well I guess new technology does make it simpler and in this day in age we all love instant gratification ( chip timing, selfies, medals, etc). Can you imagine running today with a Walkman or Discman?... how heavy that must be...haha. thanks for linking up!

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  5. Things sure were a lot more simple back then on a number of levels. I do remember having to tear off your bib and place it on the spindles. How did they even figure out your time back then? The good old days...

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    1. We didn't know any better so it seemed fine, right?

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  6. Boy, this does take me back! I ran a few 5K's back in the day, but never trained for them nor did I take the sport seriously at all. As much as I appreciate all that technology has brought us, I think that a lot of people area co-dependent on it (myself included sometimes), which is unfortunate. I do miss the good old days of running just for the sake of it, which is why I don't wear my Garmin very often for my training runs. I do have my iPod with me most of the time, though LOL

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    1. I do wear my Garmin since it times the run/walk intervals for me. I won't lie, I like my gadgets!

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  7. It wasn't too long ago that you had to stand in line to have your timing chip cut off your shoe. I also remember wearing sweatpants and cotton shirts. I had Nike Air Pegasus shoes too, but I guess that's all there was then. I like the new technology (and shoe choices) :-)

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    1. I loved those Nikes--and then they changed them! They're back--tempted to try them!

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  8. While I didn't start training for races until 2010, I did plenty of training runs in high school and college. I had a walkman, discman, and the predecessor of the first ever iPod. I'm sure I don't have any of those anymore, and it's sure entertaining to look back on how electronics have changed.

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    1. Just think about all the gadgets we use now! It's crazy!

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  9. This is too funny! My first marathon was in 2006 (I think) and I wore a cotton jacket and no Garmin!

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  10. I totally remember planning out my run routes in the car. Lol. Good times!!

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  11. I love reminiscing about old races! What a low tech way of keeping track of finishers.

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  12. It's so funny to think about how racing used to be before technology! My first race was in 2008 so I never experienced running without technology. In a way I bet it was nice that everything was simpler! But Im sure now we would be so impatient waiting that long for race results!

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