I’ve been really lucky when it comes to races–for the most part, the races I’ve run in have been well-organized. I can only think of two races that I’ve really had a bad time with. One was an event with multiple distances and although I’d signed up for the 10K, my bib color marked me for the 20K distance. The course wasn’t marked, but they had volunteers sending runners in the direction they were supposed to go based on bib color. I thought there was something wrong with my running app when it told me I was almost 10 miles into what was supposed to be 6.2. Lesson learned: always double-check your registration.
But my very worst race was a 5K that shall remain nameless. It was a little neighborhood 5K, organized by a church. It wasn’t my neighborhood, but I decided to run it because they were supporting a charity I like (and the shirt was cute).
I loaded up my then 3-year-old and headed out on the residential course. As a stroller runner, I started in the back–which wasn’t a big deal until one of my stroller tires went flat. Completely and totally flat. So out came my son, who walked awhile…and then he got tired. So I carried him, while pushing the gimpy stroller. We fell so far behind that the cones showing the course were removed. Oh, did I mention the cell service was terrible and I couldn’t call for help or GPS my way back on track?
Luckily it was a safe neighborhood and I finally found some nice old ladies who were out gardening who directed me back to the church and my car. We crossed the finish line as they were putting it away, and that race will always hold what I call my 5K un-PR at a little over two hours.
Lesson learned: now I always snap a screenshot of the course map with my phone and, if it’s a small race, give my husband my estimated pace so he’ll know if I’m way off track.
Have you ever gotten lost during a race?