For myself, I did far better than I could have imagined. I knew from the beginning I was pushing my pace harder than I ever have in training. And then some. I was one of eleven other runners, and so far as I could tell, I ran the entire race in DFL place...but...my splits were 11:53, 13:54 and 15:48. For those of you keeping score at home, that's a finish time of 41:25! Um... my best training time at the 3.1 mile this season was 54 minutes. So, either WOW! or Huh?
Seriously, I have to question if the course was truly a 5K, but they had it measured by GPS and the organizers would have no reason to lie. I laid it out on Google Maps and came up a quarter mile short (less precise than GPS watch, I'm sure), but even then my average split would have been 14 mins/mile. Therefore, I'm going with WOW!
No, when I say screwed up it had to do with the course layout, how it was marked and how the organizers dealt with the issues that came up. The biggest problem was one point in the course where the markers were completely incomprehensible. The director had said blue arrows on the way out, green on the way in. And there was one place where blue and green appeared to point the same direction so many runners thought that was the turnaround point.
That's what happened to my wife, my daughter, and every runner except me. So, in my mind, I won cause I went the right way, right? And here I thought the volunteer at the real turnaround was lying when he said I was the first one to come through.
Well, one of the first finishers of the short course had a Garmin watch and reported that she'd only recorded 2.5 miles, so the director sent them all back out on the 1 mile fun walk course...cause 2.5 plus 1 equals 3.1. At least to a race director that is trying to think quickly, that's how she calculates. Each runner ahead of me was timed with a different stopwatch to add their time to their 2.5 mile run, individually. So, as I came in to my home stretch, I find my 12 yo daughter crying. She had come in first and then was told that she had made a mistake and had to do another mile. She felt like they had said she did something wrong and that they were taking first place away.
But she did the extra mile bless her heart and was done by the time I finished. She was just so confused as to what was going on. She no longer knew where she placed. Had she won? Or had other runners gone the right way and came in while she was doing that last mile? Since she and everyone she was with was thinking they were evening things up with the runners that had gone on the course correctly (me, apparently), had any come in while they were on the loop? Confused yet? She was. And so am I for writing this paragraph.
My wife, unfortunately, was not told to run the extra mile, so while she had a great time, it was for a 2.5 mile distance. By the time she figured out that she hadn't been instructed to do the extra mile, we were already receiving our awards. She was dejected. She wanted to run a 5K, dammit! And, while she could extrapolate her time doing the math, it isn't the same as proving you can do the distance.
So, there we were. Some real sad sacks. I was DFL even though I had the absolute best run of the season (not a lifetime PR, but a runner up. Really.) Daughter was upset that she'd lost first place. And wife was feeling cheated of a chance to prove herself.
This race separates the clients from the friends and family for awards.. Once a client, always a client though, so I was racing against others who had already graduated the program and were in weight maintenance. I was told that there were four of us and I believe I was the only one still in weight loss mode. Imagine my surprise when they called my name for third place. There was one other runner that started in the pack behind me at the starting line and never passed me. I didn't know she was there. I had only assumed I was DFL. I was DFNTL, and I can live with that.
Imagine my daughter's surprise when they called her name for 1st place for the friends and family! I thought she was going to cry. She was the ONLY under 18 entry in the running race. She ran with the adults, all of whom were quite supportive and cheered her when she bowed her head to receive her medal. Her combined time for 3.5 miles was 33:13. I am so very proud!
But also imagine my wife's disappointment. She was clearly happy for us, but still needed to feel vindicated. On our way out, I pulled the program manager aside and said I had one small complaint. I said that no one had told my wife to add on the last mile. The manager apologized and said, run it now, we'll wait for you. Mrs. Clydesdale's face brightened and she lined up once again. Daughter ran with her. The manager said Go!, and she took off.
Sure, she had a good 40-50 minute rest. But given her conditions, I defy anyone to deny her accomplishment. She ran three and a half miles in 43:44. She didn't run a 5K, she ran a 5.6K. The woman will get her sticker.
I'm sitting here, writing up this race report, crying. Tears flowing down cheeks and my nose running. Not for my own accomplishments, but for my wife's. She has been through hell and back. Many people can almost empathize with the pain of lupus and fibromyalgia, drawing on their own pain and imagining it 10, 20 fold. Most, however, will never be able to understand the mental anguish of her PSTD, her anxiety, panic and her depression. Many would have ended it all long before. But she won't stop fighting.
The reason why I'm crying is that, just a few minutes ago, while I was gathering my thoughts for this post, she walked through the living room and said:
"Oh Kevin. I am so happy."