Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Flagrant false advertising

I registered for the ORRC Blue Lake 15k Championship run for a variety of reasons. Of primary importance, the distance and date of the race (last Saturday) fit perfectly with my training plan for the October 25th half marathon. I had also heard that the location of the race in the Columbia River Gorge was quite lovely, and had a few friends on board to join me. In addition, 2009 marks the 35th Anniversary for this particular race event, so the marketing materials promised abundant raffle prizes, hot food at the finish line, and to top it all off, a free pair of running gloves to all registrants.

It sounded like a party I did not want to miss, and after suffering numb fingers through my mid-winter training last January, I was pretty dang excited about getting myself some running gloves for the upcoming chilly season.

My first disappointment manifested when all three of the buddies who originally planned to run with me each pooped out during the prior week for various reasons. All valid reasons, sure, but it left me in the position of driving over an hour from home all alone to run a very long race with no one to motivate or celebrate with me. But I was still very excited about the included pair of gloves, and considered the race an important aspect of my current training regime. Plus I had already paid, and I don't just have money to burn. Thankfully my mother-in-law, who had been planning on babysitting Madelyn for the day, agreed to come along with me and play with her at the park rather than at home. So I had company for the drive, and the valuable motivation throughout the race of loving family members ready to greet me at the finish line.

Luckily, I wasn't very hungry at the finish line, because their "hot food" consisted of hot dogs out of a warming tray on cheap white buns. I would have preferred the bananas and bagels found at many basic post-race festivities. At least there were 7 varieties of cookies to choose from.

The course was not very scenic, as I had been lead to expect. The area of Blue Lake Park that we saw was nice, but the race course almost immediately exited the park and ran alongside a boring road and around the Troutdale Airport field. I didn't catch a glimpse of any lake. It was supposed to be a flat, fast course, and would have been were it not for the severe wind blowing against us. For half of the race it felt like we were running uphill or against a slowly retreating wall. I had never before experienced a headwind strong enough to slow me significantly and require such effort to persevere. That made these 9.3 miles harder than they probably otherwise would have been, and it has kind of psyched me out for the 13.1 coming up in a few weeks. I just need to allow myself to slow down and stop being so competitive.

Anyway, like usual I sat through all of the raffle drawings and my ticket number was never called.

At least I got those sweet running gloves, though, right?

Of course I didn't expect our free gloves to be New Balance or Nike. But in my (albeit limited) experience, running gloves look something like this:
Obviously a person can go running wearing whatever keeps his or her hands warm and comfortable. It's just that the only type of gloves I have ever seen classified specifically for running are made of a high-performance material, are lightweight, water-resistant, and perhaps have a reflective strip since if you're running in the cold it is also highly likely that you are running in the dark. So I expected some generic, non-branded version of the same idea. Perhaps something like the middle example, as that is a brand I've never heard of.

Instead I received these:

And by "received these" I mean "was motioned toward a mountainous pile from which to take any two one-size-fits-all, ambidextrous knit gloves made from recycled fibers." They look a lot like the gloves that came with a set of herb-gardening tools I once received.

I know what you're thinking: They were free. I don't intend to complain as much as to share my amusement at the discrepancy between my imagination and reality, especially when combined with all the other small disappointments. That's all. These gloves are soft and warm, and I'm sure they will keep my hands nice and toasty during a 42-degree run. As long as they don't slip off my relatively dainty wrists, that is. Perhaps I'd be better off just pulling out some of the knit gloves that I already own in my own size! I just don't understand what, exactly, qualifies these as "running gloves." But I'm no expert.


Bridget said...

Oh my gosh, those things are like a dollar at Target. I had the same thought you did about "running gloves." What a disappointment. And a funny story.

Anonymous said...

:( crazy. looking forward to celebrating with you at the finish line NEXT Sunday!!!! :)


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