Sunday, February 22, 2009

My 17 1/2 Minute RRCA 10 Mile Challenge



We had a choice this weekend, either run 12 miles at an easy pace OR run the RRCA 10-Mile Challenge at 8 a.m., located approximately exactly 31.5 miles from my house. I chose the race.

Error #1.

I got there at 7:57, parked, and learned that check-in was 1/4 mile away, so raced over. Had I pre-registered? I had.

"We don't have your name. Fill out these forms please."

Errors #2 and 3.

Then? Sudden Dire Digestive Issues requiring immediate, but late, use of bathroom. Use your vivid imaginations.

Error #4.

"I can still do this," I said to myself. Just a nice 10-mile run in the middle of nowhere. On streets. With cars. On a course billed as "one of the most competitive and challenging races in Maryland."

I ran the 1/4 mile back to where I'd parked, since that's where I'd seen all the runners at the start, and I kept right on going.

"Girl," I said to myself, "you might just want to make sure you are going the right way." There was one cop up ahead, sitting comfortably in his idling cruiser. "Is this the right way?", I asked.

Um, no, he said. This is the FINISH line.

Go back the way you just came.

Son of a %$@!!

Error #5.

I turned around and ran that same #@$# 1/4 mile again, this time meeting two other runners coming towards me. I told them they were going the wrong way. They turned around.

My race had finally started!

There were no cones, no mile markers, nothing. Another passerby told me to turn right at the next intersection, marked with a teensy little sign with an arrow that i would NEVER have seen.

Me and the two other losers latecomers crossed the heavily trafficked road and started up a hill that snaked through a lovely neighborhood.

It was dark and dreary.

Two cars slowed down to point the way for us.

I started thinking. There would be no cops holding back traffic for us, and certainly no volunteers, and definitely no water.

Then a van came by with a guy in a bib sitting in the passenger seat.

It was That Van. I had never yet succumbed to the temptation of That Van.

"I'm out," I said to my companions.

17 1/2 minutes.

I hadn't even hit mile 1.

The other runner had a real excuse: severe shin splints. Me? I just had a Bad Attitude. We were dropped off back at the registration area.

I jogged the 1/4 mile once again to my car, and starting thinking. "Just drive directly to your usual trail and run 10 miles. You can still do this!!"

To which I answered: "Or, you can go home, take a nice hot shower, and climb back in bed."

And then it started raining.

Now, if I was a different kind of person, I would have Sucked It up, driven to the trail, and run a nice 10 miles, and been right back on The Plan.

Too bad I'm this kind of person: I called and woke up Number One Daughter to get her to tell me what to do. She declined.

Next I called my friend Tri-S. to get her to tell me to go home, take a shower, and climb into bed. Which she obligingly did. I heart Tri-S!

And then it started snowing.

And then my internal bickering began. "Just go the trail and run!" "No, I don't feel like it!" "You'll be done before you know it!" "I don't wanna!!!" "A run in the snow will be beautiful!" "You're a lowdown lying liar!!!"

And then I passed a Starbucks.

And then?

I ordered a grande decaf skim latte and an apple bran (possibly not the wisest choice) muffin, sat there, and read The New York Times, as the snow gently drifted down.

Just another day in the life of Not Born to Run.

19 comments:

SuperSnail said...

This is why we love you so much Jeanne.

Petraruns said...

I'm with SuperSnail on this one. We all have days like this believe me. Try again!

21stCenturyMom said...

I'm giving you a hall pass on this one because sometimes we just run for 17.5 minutes and throw in the towel and sometimes that's just fine. Especially when it is snowing.

Thomas said...

Not your average race day then...

Rhea said...

You made a wise choice. Sometimes, just sometimes, running/racing is just in the cards.

Susan said...

Oh Jeanne - you poor thing! I agree; bed was calling. That race was too drama-filled to make for anything but bad memories!

Sunshine said...

I didn't know whether to cry or laugh! Are you sure this wasn't a nightmare?? And the post should end with... "and then a woke up, went in the kitchen and made a nice cup of coffee."
You are one tough runner.

Calyx Meredith said...

I think you get to call all those 1/4 mile dashes speedwork drills and call it a day!

Laura Lohr said...

I have had that kind of race morning and not even gotten out of bed to try. At least you tried.

LBTEPA said...

I read somewhere that "don't wanna + 2 = don't run" eg don't wanna plus a little cold plus rain
or don't wanna + SNOW + NO-ONE TO RUN WITH .
Good call darl

IHateToast said...

you lived my pre-race nightmare. who organises these things?

Kelly said...

This was an awesome story. Everyone has one of THOSE races/days. Next time will be better!

peter said...

You so made the right choise, and what a beautiful day! You spoke to your child, received sage advice, ran at least a mile in the bracing elements, crossed the finish line, met a new friend, advised a new friend, achieved regularity, had one of those Starbuck thingeys, read the Sunday NYT, and you probably even turned your head up to the sky while outdoors, opened your mouth and caught some snowflakes with your tongue. What could be better?

Mary Ellen said...

Ohhhh. I did the same thing on Sunday afternoon -- four miles in the wind? Or a few more chapters of the English Major in my cozy bed... At least you can say you didn't run TEN miles. That sounds a lot more impressive.

Vickie said...

Well you lived up to your alias that day. We all have days like that. I struggle constantly to get my runs in when things don't go as planned--bad weather; forgot something; bathroom issues; etc. I have PAID for group bike rides and when got dropped in the first mile turned around and went home. You probably won't let this happen again because you will be determined to not let it happen again. But even if sometime in the future it does, just remember that tomorrow is another day and can be another run if you choose. No one's holding a gun to your head. (and for me, that's a good thing 'cause then I don't have to run fast!)

Xena said...

There's some bad running Juju going around.
Have I mentioned 10 milers are cursed for me?

ShirleyPerly said...

Well, surely with all those times you ran that 1/4 mile, you ended up running a couple miles total. Either way, it was just not meant to be. Tomorrow is another day!

Runner Susan said...

Sometimes things like that just happen. If you were channeling me, you did the right thing.

Rainmaker said...

I LOVE the fact that you went to Starbucks and just enjoyed the morning...semi-mid-race. I've always wanted to just stop running in the middle of a training run and be like "Yup, time to eat and enjoy".