Especially given that my most recent 5Ks have been sub-30s and I'd had some faint vision of coming in sub-28:57 this time around. I think my imagination even wandered into the What if I can sub-28 territory.
My imagination is apparently delusional OR it is not acquainted with strollers.
Jogging strollers. Double strollers. TRIPLE GOD DAMNED STROLLERS. Strollers lined up right at the starting line and next to the ~6 mile pace signs. Oh, really now?
Dudes - there were one million strollers at this race. And it was a problem. And before I rant about strollers being just everywhere and anywhere I wanted to run to escape the throbbing, drooling masses I would like to rant about the dog policy.
Specifically that they didn't allow dogs because of some vaguely referenced "liability".
Um, if you can have people of all fitness (and aptitude) levels operating strollers three times the size of your average dog and these strollers are filled with kids who do NOT want to be pushed at high, medium or slow speed through the overcrowded streets of my fair downtown so they are screaming and throwing shit out of their seats as they are being used as battering rams, HOW can that not be a liability?
Do you like how my no-dog rant became the stroller rant? Yes, I'm good like that.
Anyway, there were strollers. And there were very small kids racing on their own behalf which seemed mostly just like a bunch of kids screaming and racing around because they couldn't find their mom in the throngs of 1800+ runners. So, you know, they're running horizontally through the course rather than straight ahead and...not my favorite, but OK - it's a race benefiting the local elementary school, so I had accepted this fact from the start.
I knew I was going to have to not crush little kids. Fair.
I knew there were going to be strollers, too, but I apparently underestimated my patience for such things.
Though, all told, I did take advantage of a particularly fast double stroller runner (double! and so fast! and in the tiniest shorts!) by drafting her for about half a mile as she broke trail, but - and I hate this - she was too fast.
Yes. Here was a woman about the size of my shoe maneuvering a DOUBLE stroller through a suffocatingly crowded field of runners/joggers/walkers/looking-for-their-mommy-ers and here she was- too quick for me to keep pace with. I think she was running an 8 minute mile - at least.
And remember - I'm a 9 minute mile AT BEST kind of girl - so it didn't take long for her to leave me in the dust.
But - Hey Fast Double Stroller Runner Lady - you're awesome! And thanks for the lead from mile 1.5-2!
The only other thing I'll bitch about - because even I see the folly in bitching about so many things in a short 3 mile race, was the timing.
The timing was "All new and technical and professional and shit because we're using a real chip timer company!" (OK, so that's not an exact quote...), so I assumed we'd have either the stickers on our bibs or the shoelace looping chips, but no.
It was some foam sticker stuck to the back of the bib. Which wasn't a big deal, because I assume it'd function like all the other chips like this I'd used in the past. Specifically that when I went over the starting line strip, I'd hear a beep and when I came back across the finish line strip, I'd hear another beep.
Not so. I heard no beeps. Not even that comical Super Beep Fest that you get at the outset of most races as the masses head across the start line. And - the thing that fucked me up the most - there weren't any start or finish line strips.
How the hell am I supposed to know when to start shoving people out of my way if there's no starting line strip?
I mean, until now I've really been low key at these mass starts and don't start actually running and trying to make space to run a normal pace until I get to the starting strip. I don't waste energy doing that while I'm toddling to the start pressed against everyone in their newly collected race Tshirts. What's the point? If I'm not being timed, I'm not running.
And therein lies the problem. I didn't know when to start running (and pushing, shoving and eye-gouging).
I started my Garmin when I went under the balloon arch and stopped it when I came back under the same arch. My watch said 29:47, which, still, not great, but still sub-30, but my official time is almost a minute slower.
What a rip.
Anyway, aside from all my random rantings, the race was fine. I saw my cousin, neighbors and friends and we all started the race together. My neighbor and I walked to and from the race together, which was also nice and neighborly of us. I got some interesting things in the goodie bag that entertained me at packet pick up (a dish scrubber? What about that says, "Running" to you?). Money went to the school in our town. I was home an hour after I left and in time to go have cocktails and Race Fries with Bubba and fellow runners.
And, as Bubba reminded me, this was a small town "fun run" and let's not take it so god damned seriously and just eat your Race Fries and have another cocktail because you've got another race in two weeks so just worry about that now.
He really knows how to put things in perspective.
|Cheers courtesy of Sloe Gin Fizz|