how not to start a race

So, for the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge I brought to you What Not to Do Pre-Race Day.  And now I bring to you How Not to Start a Race

This morning was the Classic 10k.  I started the morning by dragging my feet a bit.  Out of nowhere I was hit with a case of the nerves.  When  I eventually hit the road, my ETA was approximately 30 minutes prior to the start time.  Plenty of time. Or so I thought.

I SHOULD have arrived at the start line 30 minutes early, but I didn’t anticipate that there was a 5k already in progress so every road surrounding the track was closed.  I drove around in circles trying to find side streets that weren’t closed to traffic, slowly I was inching my way closer.  At one point I found a pretty good spot, but a cop came and told me to move.  I’m still not sure why.  It was an empty street, with other cars parked along the road.  I wasn’t blocking anything or in the way at all…but who am I to argue with the law??

At that point I became convinced that I wasn’t going to make it and I got pissed. Seriously pissed.  I was running this friggin’ race even if it meant that I did it untimed and all by myself!  I parked the car with less than 8 minutes to start time, pinned on my bib, grabbed my stuff and started sprinting.

I was yelling to the volunteers, fan stations and cops along the way asking them which way I should be heading.  They responded with cheering and waved me on. Finally, I turned a corner and there it was, the start line!  With a wall of Kenyans already in position, staring me down.  The gun went off and they were headed directly for me!

I scooted to the far left, hugging a fence and kept running in the opposite direction.  I got to the back of the pack, popped my headphones in, took about 15 seconds to catch my breath, then I was off and running.  Again.

I had sent a text to my husband shortly before getting out of the car telling him that I might not make it.  He called back after the race started, so we chatted a bit.  Chatting? While racing?  Really, I have nothing to say about that!?

The rest of the race was relatively uneventful.  Particularly compared to the start! It was a challenging course, but not overly so…it was tough at times, but overall I enjoyed it.  As I entered the stadium I saw a flag waving, the photographer was there snapping pics and the stadium was cheering us on.  As I crossed over the chip-reader-thingy (is there an official name for that????) I assumed it was over.  People were trudging along the track, so I figured we were doing a victory lap of sorts.  I backed off to a jog and soaked it all in.  The gorgeous weather, the beautiful track, people cheering…and what looked like a sign that said ‘FINISH’ with another clock under it.  CRAP!  RUUUUUUUUUUNNNN!

I’ll stop here and fully admit that at times I am a complete and total dolt!  I don’t know what the hell I was thinking?!  I picked up the pace for a final sprint and was done.  Again.

To be honest, even with all of that I really had a great time.  It was a far better learning experience than I was expecting when I left the house this morning.  My ultimate goal for today was to finish under an hour…my chip time was 57:18.  And at the risk of being melodramatic, that sprint to the start was one of those character building moments.  When I was driving around (trying to find a place to park) I overheard someone say that they were giving up and heading home.  It was tempting to do the same…for about 3.5 seconds.  Ultimately, I decided that this was completely and totally NOT an option for me. If I had given up, it would have eaten me alive for yeeears afterwards!!

I can say without a doubt that I truly earned today’s shirt and finisher’s medal!!  This was definitely a race to remember.


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