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Aug 23

WRONG WAY 5K

It’s usually a good thing to “go the extra mile,” right?  Well…not when your racing!  Around my neck of the woods, we enjoy a great summer running series called “Scrambles.”  They consist of three 5Ks spread throughout the summer months and always have fun music themes like Elvis, Jimmy Buffett and, most recently – Disco!  Part of the fun of these races is that you never know what you’re going to get.  The course changes with each race and sometimes they throw in stairs.  A lot of stairs.  Or rocks.  A lot of rocks.  Are you noticing a trend here?  But then you have beer and fabulous burritos afterward and you forget about all those stairs and rocks.  Kind of.

Oh it was "extreme" all right!

Oh it was “extreme” all right!

Well, let me tell you that I will never forget the last race of this summer.  In hindsight (20/20 of course!)  there were plenty of signs that something was about to go horribly wrong.  I went to warm-up and stopped because my legs were feeling tight and tired from the 20 mile bike ride I did in the morning.  I’m training for a Duathlon and a girls gotta do… Then I said to my friend Pam “I really like to know my course.”  To which she replied “Oh that’s part of the fun.”  Nope.  Turns out, it wasn’t.  The final sign was, at the start of the race, they announced that all the young, lean and speedy looking men with their toes on the line were from the local magnet school and this would be their last race as high school students.  And then we were off…

It was a fast  start.  Apparently, the lead pack of high schoolers weren’t paying any attention to the guy on the bike who was leading us through the first section of the race because they went the wrong way – straight across the finish line…and of course, the pack followed.  There was no telltale “beeping” when we ran across the finish so I was hoping our timing chips weren’t being picked up at that point.  If so, that would’ve been my fastest 5K ever! Oh the irony!

We sped through a paved walkway by the river and then headed into the woods.  And we ran and ran and ran.  I was feeling vommity and cramppy and just kind of miserable but I was in the lead and heard the glorious *beep* on my watch signaling the first mile.  We continued running and running and running and then this happened:

I see the pack turn around!  A speedy friend of mine zips by me (in the opposite direction) and says “we’re going the wrong way!  Turn around!”  What the what????  Is this a sick joke?  Am I being punked?  Of course I thought all this as I (and about 10 other guys since I was the lead woman) turned around and started running in the opposite direction.  My next thought (with a lot of swearing) was just how far off course did we run?  Is there any chance in hell of catching up?

Which way Dave?

Which way Dave?…he doesn’t know!

Back through the wooded trail I went only this time dodging people – who, by the way, were extremely gracious and let this hungry mob pass them on a fairly skinny trail – with tons of dirt kicking up and making me bleary-eyed.  I saw at least two of my friends and just mumbled “We went the wrong way!” as I passed.  They were pretty confused and then shouted “Oh shit!” or “Oh no Allie!”  These are not encouraging words my friends!!!

At this point, my watch had already beeped out mile 2 and I knew we were more then a mile to the finish.  I wanted to stop.  I wanted to stomp my feet and cry and yell “This isn’t fair!”  but instead I thought – I’m going to finish this goddamn race as fast as I can.  Suck it up!

And suck it did!  When I’m racing a 5K, it’s a mental and physical focus of 3 miles.  I know it doesn’t seem like a lot but when you run even a quarter mile more then what you planned, it screws with your head and your legs and lungs start to turn on you!

At mile three I checked my time (because I’m a masochist) and it read 20:11.  Unfortunately, the finish line was still .58 miles away!  Yep.  I ran an extra half mile (plus a little more) and finished in 23:53.

I have a love/hate relationship with this thing.

I have a love/hate relationship with this thing.

Misery loves company.  At the finish line there was a lot of confusion and bitching.  Mostly by me since guys just don’t bitch that much even when they run an extra mile!  We decided on two things:  Yes it was extremely frustrating and the course should have been marked better BUT what the hell can you do?  At least it was a “fun” run and not a Boston Qualifier or anything.  Runners are good at putting things into perspective.  Especially when they have beer and burritos.

So we drank our beers and lamented not knowing the course and why the hell did we follow a bunch of teenage boys?  Everyone knows they don’t pay attention to anything!  And then a funny thing happened.  We started checking the results…just for ha ha’s.  Well, the joke was on us because even though some of the guys ran almost and entire mile extra…most of us placed in our age groups!  Yep.  I came in third in my age group and even got a Donna Summer album for my troubles.  Rock on!

Oh Donna, you're so cool.  You would never run an extra half mile.

Oh Donna, you’re so cool. You would never run an extra half mile.

As a side note…twin sisters won the race for the women in 20:58.  How could I possibly be upset about that?  Wonder Twin Powers – ACTIVATE!

Has this ever happened to anyone else?  What was your worst race (as a runner or spectator) and why?

 

 

26 comments

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  1. Pam Lonsdale

    Just another day in the life of Allie . . . So, I think I was the one with the encouraging, “Oh, shit!”, as you blazed past me. At the end of the race. After you had run an extra 1/2 mile more than me. And then, even more amazing, you placed 3rd in your age group! Congrats! You’re an inspiration to us all.

    Now, let’s see if I can beat you in the “virtual” race to 200 miles!!!!!

    1. vita88

      Yep, that was you Pam!! Ha ha!!! Don’t worry…I added my .58 miles to my virtual runner!:-)

  2. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance

    Oh my gosh if I ran an extra half mile I would probably just give up!!! But it would probably be because I couldn’t physically finish! First my legs would scream, then my lungs, then my heart and then my head. You get the idea! Congrats on getting through it and still doing well!!

    1. vita88

      Trust me, I wanted to give up! Everything was screaming stop except my mind!! At least it makes for a good story!

  3. thedoseofreality

    OMG, that is honestly like a nightmare to me…I feel like if I ever attempted to race in any capacity that would happen to me! ;)-Ashley

    1. vita88

      It *was* a nightmare!!! I will never again blindly follow the people in front of me. I will always know thy course! I’m just glad it’s over…

  4. Dawn Parsons

    Okay, Zippy, I feel the need to comment on this post since I was privy to this fabulous show…now, I’m one of the slow runners at the back of the pack, so obviously when I saw you go the “wrong way”, my immediate thought was…hmmm that must be a special fast lane for the fastest runners… Like the HOV lane on the highway…
    Then when I realized that you went over a half of mile more than everyone else and still placed… I was like “WTF? Who does that?
    Admit it…. Running 3.1 and winning that 5k would have been so ordinary….but, running over an extra half mile and still placing….extraordinary…
    You rocked it!!! Great job!

    1. vita88

      I’m so glad you did since you were a witness! THANK YOU for giving me the attitude adjustment I needed at the finish line. You’re right – this is a much better story and when all was said and done, a pretty good outcome considering. Thanks so much for your encouragement and also for letting me laugh at myself!!

  5. Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady

    I don’t race but I’ve read several blogs where people went the wrong way, ha!!! That is super hilarious! Glad you finished and still placed..SWOON to the Donna album, lol! Have a good weekend!

    1. vita88

      OMG really? I don’t think I know of anyone who has done this. I feel much better now!! Thanks Joi.

  6. Carla

    Oh, gosh! What a mess! Why were you following teenage boys? LOL But look at you still getting 3rd!

    1. vita88

      I will never do it again, that’s for sure! Thanks Carla!!

  7. Tamara

    Ok, you’re kinda awesome! (not kinda)
    You earned that Donna Summer and those fabulous burritos!
    I can’t even imagine. You were feeling vommity, and you still rocked!

    1. vita88

      It was kinda awful (not kinda) and I earned every bit of that album. I may go out and get a record player! Thanks Tamara:-)

  8. Leah

    You are so awesome. I would have totally freaked out and then cried. I could not handle one tiny step more than I had too – but a whole extra mile! And, you had a great attitude! Be proud!

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Leah! Believe me, the very first thing I wanted to do was stop running and cry like a baby. I had to get over pretty quick and just go with it. Plus, it makes for a good story…

  9. Mothering From Scratch

    {Melinda} Allie, I so admire your discipline and perseverance! Great job! 🙂 And, yes, having two teenagers myself, they don’t always lead in the right direction. 🙂 But then neither does their mother …. 🙂

    1. vita88

      How true!! Thanks Melinda!!

  10. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    Oh no!! That is extremely frustarting- and you ran an awesome time!! But you’ve got the right attitude… what can you do?! 🙂

    1. vita88

      Pretty much the only thing I could do was keep running!!!

  11. Melissa Burton

    Holy crap you are fast!! I love that you won a Donna Summer album! Maybe one day I’ll get you to train me virtually.

    1. vita88

      It was a pretty cool consolation prize! I would love to train you – FUN!

  12. Michelle

    That is really funny! Although I probably would have been complaining too! I did that in high school…I was always kind of lazy about learning the course because I figured there would always be someone to follow…not smart. I was at a Junior Olympics event in California and took a wrong turn (and ran quite a bit extra). The bummer was that there were runners reasonably close to me that apparently went the right way and saw me going the wrong way and didn’t bother to yell up to me and let me know. 🙁 Live and learn!

    1. vita88

      Yes, I thought the same thing! Why didn’t anyone yell to us? We had to figure it out the hard way…not very nice. Oh well, lessoned learned and at least YOU learned it early on! Thanks Michelle!!

  13. Alison

    I’m sorry you went the wrong way, but look, you still totally rocked it!!

    1. vita88

      Thanks Alison. I’m just glad it’s over!

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