Text to the finish

October 19, 2009 1 Comment

This weekend I participated in my first big race – the Des Moines half marathon.

People have been equally impressed and unimpressed by this. For the accomplished runner – finishing a half marathon in just under 3 hours is nothing to brag about. For the non-runners (myself included) finishing in any amount of time is impressive.

I don’t consider myself a runner, despite the fact I run on a regular basis and am now contemplating a full marathon. And because of that I had only two goals with this race – run the entire thing without walking and finish in under 3 hours, and I was able to do both.

While there were many profound moments during the course of the morning, the tech nerd in me was fascinated when my sister was able to sign up for text alerts to track my progress during the race.

Image courtesy: Ultramaxtri.com

When I registered for the race I received a plastic card to tie to my shoes. When I crossed the start line it would begin timing the race and every time I ran over one of the blue mats on the race course, it would update my time with pace info and send a text update to my sister. She graciously volunteered to drive up to Iowa and be my cheering section and help me hobble to the car when the race was over. For some, the pacing info was crucial, in my case the texts were a way to reassure my sister I was still moving!

Blue mats along the race course capture information from cards on the runners' shoes.

It was so cool to cross the finish line and walk over to the results tent and get an instant printout with my race time, place and pace info.

I will say that I thought about tweeting during the race, and I actually saw people do just that, but decided to focus on making it across the finish line instead of documenting the journey. Maybe next time.

I did it!

ADDITION: Special congrats to KWWL’s Brady Smith who also ran the half marathon – and finished in about half the time that I did!

Filed in: My Adventures, Web/Tech

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  1. Mike Hawk says:

    Great I went along and watched what a beautiful October morning it was!!

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