Or, the 10k that wasn’t.
This past weekend was crazy busy for us. It started out with the Tulip Time Run on Saturday morning. Jennie picked this one out for her May race even though it was only a week after the last race we did. The Tulip Time Run corresponds with the Tulip Time Festival in Holland – a celebration of Dutch heritage and culture. They offered both a 5k and 10k so Jennie decided on the 5k and I picked the 10k so that we could watch each other’s races for a change.
The morning started with the usual packet pickup and what not. Jennie was happy that she got an even race number this time. I, on the other hand, got a super lucky 777 as my race number. Could this be a good omen?
The 5k started promptly at 8:00. It was fun to be able to spectate Jennie’s race rather than run myself. The 5k was one big loop so I was only able to see her at the beginning and then at the finish.
Off she goes with a smile on her face and a wave.
She finished strong with the same smile on her face.
After Jennie’s race, we hung around for my race to start at 9:00. It was a bit delayed because the start and finish line where the same and we had to wait for all the 5k finishers to cross the line. By about 9:10, they were ready to start us off.
After waiting around for so long between races, I really wasn’t feeling like racing at all. But, as usual, when the gun went off I kicked it into gear.
I immediately found myself in the front of the pack. I counted and there were only 10 people ahead of me. I couldn’t believe it. By the first mile, I caught up to the lead female. We ran together for the next 2 miles. I kept waiting for the wheels to fall off, but it never really happened. As we approached mile 4, there was an intersection with a volunteer on the corner. There was two runners in front us that look confused at the corner. I was still running with the same women and as we got closer to the corner we realized the volunteer didn’t know which way we were supposed to go – straight or right. We glanced to the right and could see the police car down the road so we hung a right hoping that it was the right choice. It wasn’t long, however, before we realized that it was the wrong choice. Crap.
At this point, I wasn’t sure what to do. Do I DQ myself and step out at the finish line? Keep going and worry about it after the race? If I wasn’t wearing a Garmin, I would have had no idea that the course was incorrect. So, I decided that I would just finish the race and let the race director know what happened. For all I knew at that point, everyone behind me cut the course short as well.
I ended up finishing with 5.67 miles in 37:42 – a half mile short. Right outside the finishers chute, I joined the other finishers to try and figure out what happened. We were all pretty disappointed to have been short changed on the course. I don’t know about the rest of the runners, but I was having the race of my live. If I had maintained the same pace for the missing half mile, I would have finished around 41:30 which would have been a 4 minute PR.
It took a while to actually find someone in charge, but once I did, I explained to him what happened on the course. He said that they already knew there were some problems with marking the course, took down my number, and said that they were still trying to figure out what to do. The craziest thing about the course was that there was a long straight stretch of road that had absolutely no side streets. In the middle of the road was a giant “straight ahead” arrow sign. Straight ahead was the only possible way of running at that point unless we were supposed to turn into someone’s driveway. I don’t know why they didn’t have that sign in an actual helpful place – like the corner. Ugh.
After getting everything straightened out with the race director, we headed to the refreshments tent. After seeing the food Jennie got after her 5k, I was looking forward to this. Boy was I in for a disappointment. All of the good food (the bagels, muffins, juice, fresh fruit) was completely gone by the time the 10k finishers started to go through. What the hell?!?! How freaking hard is it to not put out ALL of the food at once? I ended up with a carton of chocolate milk and a water. Not nearly enough – I was starving.
We stuck around for the awards ceremony and I ended up placing 2nd (out of 26) in my age group and 10th (out of 288) overall. The race director was really apologetic for the shortened course. Because they didn’t know how many people followed the volunteer’s direction and turned at the wrong corner, they ended up leaving the results as is. Based on the finishing times, it looks like pretty much everyone probably cut the course short.
Overall, I was really disappointed with this race. For such an established race (it’s been around since the 80’s), there were a lot of mistakes and poor planning. Nevertheless, I am really happy with my personal performance. I still can’t believe I was able to hold a sub 7 pace. It really sucked to miss out on the full 10k though.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for a recap of the rest of the weekend. I’m feeling a bit under the weather so I am going to make it an early bedtime tonight in hopes of fighting it off.
|Age Group Place:||2/26|
|Run Pace:||6:49 min/mile|