Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Race That Almost Wasn't

The alternate title to this could also be "Every Second Counts".    Because realistically had I gotten myself ready a little bit faster, I would have been a happy camper instead of sorely disappointed.

On Saturday night, I ran the Mississauga 10km.  I was scheduled to do a 25km run with a 10km race pace segment so I figured I'd run out to the start of the race, which was 13.2km from home, run the 10km and then do a 2km cool down.  It was a perfect plan.

Sue, my favourite partner in crime, was also going to do the race so my wonderful husband offered to pick her up and drive her out to the start line.  Knowing this, I packed a bag with stuff that I didn't want to run out with, but would need to race with.  Like my race bib.  And my GU Roctane and my Saucony sleeves, just in case.  I loaded up my fuel belt with a couple of bottles, some money, a couple of gels and my phone and headed out the door.  I gave myself an hour and 20 minutes to get to the start.  That would be a very nice leisurely pace and a good warm up.

I ran along Lakeshore at a nice easy pace.  It was actually a nice evening, despite the rain.  Not too cold and hardly any wind, which was great.   When I hit Port Credit, I noticed that traffic had started to get quite bad.  I then noticed the police redirecting traffic up Stavebank Road, which meant that you couldn't cross the Credit River on Lakeshore.  Hmmm....not good.  I called Gary and gave him a heads up.   I figured it wouldn't be too hard to find an alternate route.  Boy was I ever wrong.

I got to the start line with about 15 minutes to spare.  I called Gary right away to find out where they were.  The answer I got was not what I wanted to hear:  "Um, we're not sure, we got redirected".  Awesome.  He asked me to look up the nearest cross street on my phone because he didn't have his GPS with him.   So I hung up and tried to do that but my GPS didn't seem to want to work.  I called him back and told him as much as I could about where I was and he said he'd call me as soon as they arrived.  So I got in line for the porta potty, figuring I was going to miss the start anyway.  I get out to see the crowd filing into the starting corral.   I start pacing as I'm getting antsy.  And cold.  I was quite damp from my run over. 

The countdown to the start begins and I watch in dismay as everyone jockeys for position.  At this point I was ready to just say screw it and go find a pub.  The gun goes off and I start walking away from the start line towards Clarkson as I figure that's where Gary will be coming from.  I am watching an old man get into an altercation with a police man about not being able to drive to his street when my phone rings.  It's Gary and from what I can tell they're almost there.  Great only 5 minutes late so far.  I am somewhat comforted by the fact that I'm seeing other runners tearing towards the start line.  Apparently several other folks misjudged the traffic as well.  I finally see Gary and Sue and I start peeling off my fuel belt and jacket.  Gary tries to help me but I snap at him to drop my bag and let me deal with it.  I grab my race belt, stuff my jacket and fuel belt into my bag and start rummaging around for my sleeves and gel.  I get the gel and start eating it, Sue says she is going to use the porta potty so she runs off saying she'll meet me at the start line.  I finish my gel and start running only to see that the start line is in the process of being torn down.  CRAP.  As I get closer I see they are pulling up the timing mats.  CRAP CRAP CRAP.  I yell "one more runner coming" and they stop.  At this point I have no idea if my timing chip is activated or not.  I assume that it is since I crossed the line as the mats still looked like they were all down.

I then start running like someone who was being chased by rabid dogs.  Heart rate?  What's that?  Oh right, it's redlining right now.  I didn't care.  I just wanted to catch up to the tail end of the pack.  I quickly caught some walkers and then gradually started picking off some of the back of the pack folks.  I caught Sue and she said she didn't make it to the porta potties because she saw them tearing everything down.  I chat with her for a bit, wish her well and take off again.  By the 3km mark, I had made a good dent into the group.  I was still running a whole lot faster than the folks I was running with so that was a bit frustrating.  Nothing I could do about that except do my best to get around people without running them over.  That proved to be a challenge on the bike paths so I spent a lot of time running in the grass.  I figured that once I caught the larger part of the group that I'd ease off a bit but that never happened.   Not really the way I had planned on racing that's for sure.

I started to hurt a bit around the 8km mark.  I looked at my watch and I had hit 8km in 37:14.  2 seconds slower than what I did at the Harry's Spring Run off.  Not bad considering I had run 13km TO the start of this race (vs. 8.5k to the start of the other one)  AND I had been fighting to get through folks for a large portion of the race which slowed me down in some spots.  There was an aid station just past 8km so I grabbed some Gatorade which was just what I needed.  I figured I knew exactly where I was going as the race course is run along the same route I do my long runs on.  Little did I know there was a little out and back on the bike path around the Marina.  ARG.  That slowed me down a lot as there were people coming in and people going out on this one little path so we had to run single file.  I felt like I was jogging on the spot at some points.  Eventually there was a break and I managed to get around the pack in front of me.  I knew that once I got out of that little loop that I was almost done.

I didn't think I had it in me but I started to run faster.  I saw Gary with the camera and I waved.  Only about 500m till the finish line.  I pushed harder.  As I came up to the line I looked at the clock and saw 57:14.  I looked down to stop my watch and it said 46:37.  Holy crap.  That was a P.B. for me for 10km.  Nothing like starting a race 11 minutes LATE to get the adrenalin pumping.

I had hoped that my time had gotten recorded properly.  I saw the results posted but never bothered going to check them. 

I went to find Gary and cheer Sue on.  We found Sue and headed back to the car in the rain chatting about the race and both of us hoping that our times would get recorded properly as Sue had a P.B as well.

I get home, shower and stretch while Gary decided to pull up the results and check.  "Well that's odd" he says.  "Your gun time and chip time are exactly the same but Sue's were recorded properly".  CRAP.   Now I'm annoyed.  Obviously the timing mat had been disabled by the time I had crossed it.  All because I decided to stand around and have my gel.  Had I just grabbed everything and ran, I would have made it.  To make matters worse, Gary then proceeds to tell me that my time would have gotten me first place in my age group!  Ok, now I'm REALLY PISSED.  So if he had actually been on time, I could have been on the podium.  Sigh.

Nothing I can do about it at this point so I have to look to the positive.  I ran a PB with a 13km warm up.  And, as a friend of mine so eloquently put it:

"Think about the gift you gave to the woman who thinks she won your age group, because she would have been number two officially, and now she is happy. You really DID win, but she won't know, so you can both feel like winners."

That and I know I can bust it on tired legs which is going to come in handy in a couple of weeks time!

No comments: