Sometime late last year I decided I wanted to train to run a 10k by the end of January but worried about holding myself accountable, so I signed up for the January 31 Too Cold to Hold 10k race at White Rock Lake.
I've been putting off writing a race report because the experience was less than stellar.
A lot of races offer event shirts in the price of registration, but a lot of them don't offer them for women, and it is endlessly irritating. Women make up over half the sport, closer to 60 percent in 5ks but are ignored as having different body shapes than men. I don't want to hear theories about men's shirts being cheaper because they're cut differently; I ain't buying it, because women's sizes require less fabric, and I'm sick and tired of maleness being treated as the default human norm. It took me two hours to alter the last small men's race shirt I received down to fit me, and it's still not very good because I AM NOT A SMALL MAN.
Some events offer unisex shirts instead, which means a men's cut in slightly smaller sizes. That was the case for this event, so I ordered an XS unisex shirt since it's the next closest thing to having a women's cut shirt that would actually fit my body.
I arrived at packet pickup to find that the shirt size I'd ordered was not provided at all. I have 20 race shirts cut up and displayed on my bedroom wall and another dozen sitting in a pile in the sewing room awaiting alterations because these events don't offer women shirts. And they don't offer discounts on the registration price, either, for people with breasts and small waists. It's insulting.
So I didn't get the shirt I paid for, and then the accompanying Too Cold to Hold beanie appeared to have been designed for giants, so my race swag is fit only for the garbage bin. After complaining publicly on Facebook, the event organizer reached out to me and said they were also surprised and disappointed in the quality of the hats ordered, so they ordered finishers' shirts including women's sizes. . . .
Guess what WASN'T at the finish line. There were piles and piles of only men's shirts for an event which the organizer herself said has about 64 percent female participation.
The race itself? It was nice. There was no seeding or separate waves, so it took more than a mile for the crowd to thin enough to run at a comfortable pace; I don't envy anyone trying to hit a PR that day.
I was a little bit sick and a lot sluggish, but I finished. And I looked badass in my Wonder Woman costume, for which I'd found blue shorts only a few days prior. I got a lot of compliments and cheers and one, "Look, it's Super Woman!" from some dude. ONLY men mess that up, you know; this is the second time it's happened. Fake geek guys.
The weather was unexpectedly warm, nearing 65°F before I finished, and many runners struggled since they'd trained in cooler temps for so many weeks. I was SO glad not to be running the half marathon that day. The course around White Rock Lake was pretty as always.
Because parking was limited, we were encouraged to carpool and take public transportation and were told there would be a place to put bicycles with the bag check. I took up that offer, took the DART to White Rock Station, and rode my bike the extra mile and a quarter to the start. I felt speedy and clever whizzing by everyone who'd had to park as far as the train station and walk. I was surprised to see only two other bicycles at the event at all. At the end, feeling irritated, icky, and hot, I was VERY glad to retrieve my bicycle and roll out instead of staying for any post-race activities.
I know the summer event by the same organization offers women's shirts, or at least that's what the race organizer said to me, and I know they have in the past from the one time I volunteered at it. But after this experience, I'm not super keen to spend my money there.
It's great that they support local charities, but Dallas is a big city flush with racing events and several to choose from every weekend of the year, even holidays. I'd rather support a company that recognizes I AM NOT A SMALL MAN.