How come I seem to have so much trouble getting to races on time?
On the morning of the last day of 2011, I felt really laid back. My friends signed up for a marathon that morning, and just to be a joiner (and to get another state crossed off my race list), I was going to run the 5K. Their race started at 8 AM, and I was under the impression that mine did not start until 9:30. So, as they got ready for their race, I casually took pictures, wandered around, and planned when the best time would be for me to find a little spot on the grass, eat my banana, drink my 5-hour energy, and play a little Scrabble on my iPhone before my race. I knew I had plenty of time to eat, recreate, use the restroom, and check all of my bags (and those of my companions) at the bag-check tent. At 7:55, or so, they got into their corrals, and I, again, played photographer.
I'm not exactly sure what I did for the next 20 minutes or so, but I distinctly remember hearing the following message over the loud speaker: "Final call for the 5K! All racers should be at the starting line. We will begin in 2 minutes!"
My heart started pounding, and I frantically stripped down to my capris and short-sleeved shirt. I threw my earmuffs, scarf, jacket, and sweat pants into a plastic grocery bag and searched for my race number.
"One minute warning for the 5K!"
EEK! I didn't have time to fill out any name tags for the bag check, and I am sure I looked like a crazy person as I threw my bags down by the tent and blurted out something about being late and that my name was Annie. I sprinted to the starting line just as the gun went off.
In the first quarter mile, I managed to put my race number on, even though I had lost one of my safety pins in the shuffle. I ran without my iPod or my Garmin or my RunKeeper app (they were in the grocery bag), and I distinctly remember thinking 1) I hope no one steals the bags, and 2) this is not the first time that I nearly missed a race. :)
The race itself was fine. It was a flat course that made its way around a park in one direction, and then we turned around and ran back to the starting line. I figured that I was running at about an 11 or 12-minute pace, which I was happy enough with since I spent nearly all of my Christmas break eating and not running.
I ended up finishing the race in 33:46, which is a 10:49 pace. Looking back, I bet I could have run faster, but I am actually pretty happy that I started when I was supposed to - in spite of everything - and that nothing was stolen from my bags. :) Good, funny day.