Saturday, December 8, 2012

I Hate the Cowbell...and Other Race Annoyances

Most of my friends (and their children) know that I hate unnecessary noise.  High-pitched screaming, banging, noisy children's toys, etc.  In fact, my good friend's kids know that when I come over, "Aunt Michele doesn't like noisy things."

At the very top of my annoyance list is the cowbell...I loathe the cowbell at races.  Loathe. Why can't people just cheer?  Why do you need to clang around some annoying piece of metal?  Clapping and cheering really is sufficient.

I recently saw the cowbell as the #1 recommended item on a holiday gift list from a running website.  May Santa Clause give huge lumps of coal to anyone who gets me a cowbell for Christmas...

The annoying cowbell...
So it got me thinking:  What else annoys me when it comes to races?  Here's my top 10 list:
  1. The cowbell.  I think we've established that. 
  2. The plastic hand clapper things that you shake back and forth and they make a clacking/clapping sounds.  Again, just use your own hands!  
  3. Spectators who wait in line for the porta-potties with the athletes.  I know that spectating is a difficult task and that you're going to have to use the potty at some point, especially during a long event; but, please - yield to the athletes!  
  4. Men's cut t-shirts for women.  In this day and age of racing, there really is no excuse for races not to offer a women's-cut t-shirt.  I have too many nightgown/race t-shirts.  
  5. Gatorade.  Yuck.  It's too sugary and not as beneficial as people think.  There are way better sports drinks out there now, e.g., Ironman Perform.   
  6. Bad post-race food that consists only of pizza and oranges.  Obviously people are doing athletic events because they want to be healthy.  While pizza can taste good after a long grueling race, there needs to be more options, including healthy, satisfying options for vegetarians/vegans other than oranges.    
  7. Having to run around the finish line before you get to cross it.  I've done several races where you are tortured with having to run past the finish line and continue on for quite a ways before you actually get to come back and cross the finish line.  
  8. People who rack their bike facing the wrong direction in transition.  Never fails, someone always hangs their bike the wrong directing on the rack.  Read the race instructions.  Ask an official hanging out in transition.  It's not hard.  
  9. Running out of water at the aid stations.  This happened once during an Army 10-miler on a very hot day.  At one of the last aid stations they ran out of water with about 1/2 of the runners still out there.  I was appalled.  Seriously - you're the Army...aren't you supposed to be able to plan for major events?
  10. People who don't shut-up during the National Anthem.  This really should be #1 on my list.  Show some respect and shut your trap during the National Anthem.  Be grateful that you live in a country where you have the privilege of being able to race...  
That's my list...

What's on your race annoyance list?