When I got up with the littlest one at 5 a.m. I didn't know if we'd be running any races that day. The rain was pouring down! The driveway looked like a small river from the rain that fell through the night. However, as the morning worn on I realized that the temps outside where rather mild (55 degrees) for southwestern Pennsylvania and the downpour was slowing down.
I became hopeful.
A quick call to the race venue confirmed that runners really are committed because the race was still on. Yipee. I got the littlest to lay back down in his crib to nap a bit before we headed out the door to Grammy's house.
It didn't take much convincing to get hubby up and moving. I think he was excited to see how his bionic knee was going to hold up for a 5k. (He had major knee surgery in April) Once the hubby was up, our daughter is bouncing off the walls excited to go the Grammy's and play for the morning. Despite the dreary weather, everything was just falling into place! The usual per-race morning activities, bathrooms, food, gearing up; it all went by and we were out the door.
A quick drop off and thank yous to Grammy and we were on our way. With the race being a local one, the drive was fast. As we drove into town the rain got harder again. It didn't dampen my spirits. I was getting so excited to run in the rain!
Fast forward through all the boring registration and waiting and it was time for the race to start. I was mostly excited to see how I would do in such a short distance. As is the case in lots of local events, there was little advice given to the runners and walkers about how to line up. That resulted in really slow people being in the front of the pack. Grrrr. I am not going to complain too much about mistakes people make because, as you will soon enough read, we all make them.
Once the gun went off I had to do some weaving through slower runners to find my race pace. The rain had slowed during the first half mile of the race which was nice since that allowed me to warm up before the heavier rain started again. I quickly fell in about 45 seconds behind the fastest female and tried to keep that speed as we left the main road and ran through an industrial park. (I know it sounds like an unattractive place to run but we are rural enough that even the industrial parks are rather landscaped with all the open fields and trees around.)
The course was to be 2 loops around the biggest part of the park and then once around a smaller building. Being unfamiliar with the area, I should have look at the course map closer but I really thought, I would just follow the other runners and rely on the volunteers - not always a wise idea. I had fallen back to about a minute or so behind the fastest female but with the heavy rains returning I was still happy with my pace.
Once the rain picked up again I realized I had made another mistake. I had on my glasses. Not having contacts currently (because I am too lazy to go to the eye doctor for myself, I have taken the kids) I was wearing the glasses. I usually would have taken them off before the start and relied on the fact that I can see things once I get close enough to them and I can certainly see well enough to run without glasses. Without the glasses I can not see things clearly at a distance and I can not read little signs like the ones the volunteers were holding up to tell the runner where to go. So when I had finished my second loop and was trying to figure out where the other building was that I had to run around once, I asked a volunteer who was holding signs, "5k, I completed my second lap. Now where do I go?" to which the volunteer said, "2 mile go straight. 5k turn right." I simply did what he said. What is that my third mistake??
After running nearly half way around the same loop again, I stopped. Yeah. I stopped because there was no one in front of me after I run up a hill which allowed me to see for quite a distance. Then I looked back and there was one runner. A local woman, Lisa that I had run a bit of my first lap with. That is when I realized that we had taken some bad direction. As Lisa approached me, she was already asking where the 'other building' was and if our current route seemed right to me. Of course, we agreed we had gone the wrong way and decided to turn around and avoid the next hill and find out way back to the correct course.
Now we could have just run in to the finish and told them not to time us but I came to finish the 5k course and that was what I was going to do. We made our way back and ran the remainder of the course after getting correct directions. After running about four and a half miles to complete the 5k course, I finished strong even when I saw the 31:11 on the clock as I finished. I have to admit I was upset with myself for having made such a rookie mistake of not knowing the course but based on my pace and where I should have finished (based on the people who I was running behind and in front of) I would have finished around 23 minutes which was good.
Having never "gotten lost" before on a race, it's a lesson learned and a bit more of a workout than I had planned for that day. I have to say that it was an overall great great day! There is little better than running in the rain. Having my hubby run a strong race with little pain after his surgery helped lessen my disappointment in myself. Now we have another great memory to share and I will be the butt of a few more family jokes.