My first indoor 3k in about a year took place last Wednesday here in Montreal at the Claude-Robillard sports centre. Not a bad race, they were only mildly behind schedule, but fell on some ice while getting there and now I have a sore shoulder and slightly strained achilles tendon. I love snow but I hate ice. What a mess. But just doing an indoor race got me thinking why I don't care much for them. Here it is: I find it's like being in an airport. Like an airport, there are dozens of things going on here and there; it's controlled madness; it's a grand show but with no main event. Everyone becomes self-sure that their thing is the most important going on under the roof ("How dare they make us wait for them"). And just like an airport, there's bright lights everywhere, you have nothing to do for hours at a time (maybe you'll find a corner and do homework or whatnot on your laptop), there's nowhere comfortable to sit, food is lousy/expensive/non-existent, the decor is dreadful. You sit with all your worldly possessions stuffed in a bag and listen to the announcer for your event to be called. The best part is guessing whether it will be delayed -sometimes for hours, sometimes called early- or even cancelled (!). You're constantly nervous that you'll miss your name being called; just like a flight you have to check in early else lose your spot. At least for indoor races they don't constantly make you take you off your shoes. Oh wait, they do that too.
Usually I come out of a race exhausted not from the race itself but all the crazy that surrounds it. Definitely a game of mental toughness. There is a silver lining: if you've ever done an indoor race, you know it's like that moment on the tarmac when the engines fire up and away you go. For a moment that adrenaline makes you forget everything. Then you settle in and before you know it the hard part is over.
A few minutes later you watch someone vomit. Gross.