Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's Me Against The Clock... Literally

We as runner's, probably take for granted some of the logistics it takes to put on a race for us.  I've gotten an inside look at some of the race preparations having timed a few races this past year.  One of the constants every race has is a clock at the finish line.  We're either happy with it when we PR/BQ, or it let's us down when we don't.  Perhaps we're just happy to see it because it means the race is over.  Is there anyone who crosses the finish line without paying attention/looking at the clock?


I am a member of a 300+ member running club here in Wichita.  At the club's last meeting, our race director, said our finish line clock had a mechanical problem and that the manufacturer told him we should be able to figure out how to fix it.  He then asked if one of us would volunteer to try and repair it.  At first, I declined, but no one else was really stepping up to the plate either, so I thought about it and said I would give it a shot.


It shouldn't take long to see what is wrong with the clock in the above picture.  No, you're not dyslexic, well, maybe you are, but either way, it's jacked up.  Certain segments of digits aren't moving properly.  The fact that I can set it to read 8 hours 88 minutes and 88 seconds is another issue that isn't relevant for this discussion.

This is the only race clock I know of in the area.  It is used for our marathon, half-marathon, and the other most popular races held in Wichita throughout the year.  After I accepted the responsibility to fix it, it dawned on me some of the risk I'm taking.  What if I break it worse?  What if I can't put it back together?  What if I did something so that the clock isn't available for a race?  Can you imagine a race without a race clock at the finish line?  I could envision word spreading among the local running community that I was the reason for the lack of a time piece.  They would whisper and point at me at races, and give me the "L" sign on their forehead.  This thing would cost about $3,000 to replace and take time (bad pun intended).

I took the clock to my in-law's house since it was the best place to work on it, and my father in-law knows a thing or two about repairing gadgets.  Once the case was opened up, a quick inspection revealed the bearings  had fallen out on the segments that weren't displaying.


Finally, after reseating some of the bearings, and ordering a couple more from the manufacturer, the repair was finished.



Ok, so I turn out to be more of a hero than a zero.  Not that anyone besides a few will know about my minor behind the scenes wizardry geek squad audition, but it gives me something unique to blog about, and I also get some satisfaction of giving back a little to my running club and the running community.



Now, what to do while I have expensive electronic running gear in house, doing nothing, and at my disposal?

Can I get me some more shadows in this picture please?
If I drop it, I'll just say I couldn't fix it.

I've got one more crazy little photo to share:

Say hello to my Bank of America 24 string limited edition guitar.
Now I can say my time rocks!

I would have liked to taken a picture of me throwing the clock into the air to demonstrate how time flies, but it is heavy and pricey, and my balls just aren't that big.  Besides, if I would drop it I could show how time comes to a screeching halt.

BTW, I didn't just set the clock to a random number, 3:35:49 is my current marathon PR, and the dorky picture of me standing on my back deck includes the finisher shirt and finisher medal commemorating that glorious day.  I think the clock is needed for a race this upcoming weekend, otherwise, I'd be tempted to hold my own little race with it.

29 comments:

Doug said...

Maybe you could hold a neighborhood kids run to see who can run around the block the fastest and everyone gets ice cream.

Chanda M. DeFoor said...

I'm sure runners everywhere will thank you for your good deed. Maybe the walkers with strollers don't care, but the rest of us do.

Christi said...

YAY, you are the hero! I love the pix!

Mamarunsbarefoot said...

YAY!!!!! Awesome fixer you are!

Julie said...

You rocked the clock! Great job that I'm sure most people will never know about, but will surely appreciate on their own race day.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I am impressed that you were able to fix, I have zero gadget fixing skills, if I was part of your club, the director would have asked "Would anyone NOT named BDD would like to try and fix this?"

XLMIC said...

Wow! Your fix-it skills can now be considered truly impressive! Sometimes all it takes is getting in the right physical space and giving yourself the time to look at the issue. I think I read something like this in The Road Less Traveled… or some similar book :P Way to go :)

Paul said...

Dude. U srsly have nerd running mojo 4ever now.

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

You SHOULD hold your own race with it.

It's pretty cool that you fixed it.

Nelly said...

Awesome job! I love this post! Great job on fixing the clock, that is a big deal! And I like the pics too, haha

Amanda@runninghood said...

Ha, I love these pictures! Awesome!

Amanda@runninghood said...

and it takes big balls to admit that your balls are not big enough. :)

Katie said...

Ahahah love this post too!! and the pictures :D

Shawn said...

Good job....hundreds of time obsessed runners (like me) salute your efforts!!!

Char said...

I do love a happy ending. Well done on the repair.

Angie said...

Amazing! Way to save the day!!! :)

ajh said...

You are a hero and I love that you put your race shirt, medal and held your marathon PR!

trailturtle said...

Great creativity in your post...kinda like your header. I am a fix-it person, too, so I found this really interesting.
Now all of the broken timing clocks around the country will crawl out of their graves and come knocking on your door!
Run well, Ann

Meg said...

I am ALWAYS totally impressed with TECH-ies who can FIX it all, my husband is like that, SO COOL!
You are one enthusiastic runner and racer, I LOVE IT!

Joshua said...

I wish the group I run with had a clock! They just shout your time at you as you finish.

SeeAliEatSeeAliRun said...

I freaking love those pictures. Awesome!

Coy Martinez said...

Not too shabby! It would be awesome if you had a man cave and could hang that clock on your wall!

Emz said...

Total. Hero.
Loving. That. Clock.

Great post!! All smiles here!!

Jennifer said...

I love geeks! Thanks for the birthday wishes!

Jill said...

I hope you made it run slower, that way you'll finish your next marathon in 2:55. :)

Tri-James said...

Awesome picture. We have a clock like that and I bet people would pay (for charity of course) to have their PR's on the clock in a picture.

I'm thinking of a fund raiser!

Fair Weather Runner said...

if you could go ahead and manipulate that clock for the wichita half... that'd be great. easter sun run saturday?

trailturtle said...

Came back to say I noticed on a comment of yours somewhere (I think Jill's?) that you plan to do the Pikes Peak Ascent. So am I (see my Apr 19 post) and my husband. You will undoubtedly finish WAY ahead of me (us--hubby wants to stay with me) so it would be nice to meet you before the race. Anyone else you know doing it?

Oh, and I like Tri-James' idea of using the clock for PR/finishing time pics for charity :)
Run well, Ann

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