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.