July 15: Foam Glow 5K fun run/walk

So back in early April I saw ads for a fun run called Foam Glow. They were waiving the usual signup fee, only requiring payment for the event insurance and venue fee. I think I opted in for a $1 donation to their charity as well, bringing my total just south of $17. I figured I’d do this once, and then base my decision to return on my experience this year.

So finally the day of the event rolls around. I find out packet pickup is the day before the event unless you want to pay an additional $5 for the privilege of picking up on race day. It probably cost me an additional $5 of gas just to make the additional drive to Conroe and back. To top it off my work assignment was in Lake Jackson later that day (and I still made it back down there in time to get most everything done, surprisingly).

Fast forward to race day, the evening of the 15th. I’m slightly anxious as I don’t really know what I’m getting into at this point. I manage to settle in and enjoy the ambiance for a while before race time arrives. I finish the bottle of water I have (some 32 fluid ounces) long before the race is officially on. So I walk back to the car to drop it off (no sense in carrying

It turns out that, indeed, most do this as a 5K non-competitive walk. In fact, there is no timing apparatus at either the start or finish line. If you want to keep track of your time you are more or less on your own. And I’m okay with that; I still have the occasional flashback to one of my few attempts at competitive running when I was in elementary school (5th grade), a mile run where I got pushed/knocked down at the start. (I went on to finish with a time of 14 minutes, 12 seconds, at the time a personal best.)

The distance as measured via GPS was closer to 4 kilometers than 5, so the organizers took a bit of liberty with the “5K” labeling. My total time according to this particular GPS track reading software was 54 minutes, 26 seconds (excuse the weird start/finish times, those are apparently in UTC not local time). That comes out to around 21 minutes per mile, not bad for a leisurely walking pace.

A lot of the pictures show black lights during the after-sunset portion of the event, so it is easy for the casual observer to conclude the course was lit like this for the entire length. It was not, as these were taken at specific points near the foam machines; toward the end the flashlight feature of my phone (and the phones of other participants for that matter) became quite useful.

I had a good time, despite higher than expected expenses. Parking was $20 I didn’t have in the original budget; besides being a bit of a price gouge (didn’t we already pay a venue fee?), it was mostly unavoidable given the locale (the outskirts of Conroe). It would have been nice to know this upon signup; not all of us are familiar with these types of venues (this is mainly a motocross track and would likely be unfamiliar to even the most seasoned of fun run/walk participants).