My “doh!” Moment

Yesterday I ran my first 10K race in two years. It was a race to raise money for the charity put on by Women’s Health, The Run10Feed10 organization. Basically, for every $10 raised, you feed an individual in your own community. I am happy to say, I raised $500!

This past weekend, I wasn’t too fired up to do the race. Life sometimes gets in the way and changes your plans, and this weekend was filled with plan changes. I don’t do well with change. I am a planner and I had planned on doing this race months ago. Then as the day approached and plans were changing, I wasn’t so excited.

Still, I got up at 5:30 to get to the race before 7 am, the time they said they would close the roads. I got a great parking spot right across from the start/finish line and where all the tents were set up. It was cold, windy, foggy and still dark.

the golden gate bridge lights covered in fog
the golden gate bridge lights covered in fog

I got my bib and ran back to the car for warmth. I still had an hour to wait. My dad came with me and we sat and chatted. About 20 mins before race time, we got out of the car and I headed to the porta potty line. There were only about 10 and the line was single file and long!

long line
long line

The we headed over to the race start. I lined up close to the front, in between the 8 and 9 minute pace signs. It was freezing. Especially after standing in the potty line! I had on a warm jacket that I was going to pass to my dad just before the gun.

brrr... i'm in the purple top with a grey headband
brrr… i’m in the purple top with a grey headband with my arms folded

The course was in a beautiful area, Chrissy Field, on the shore of San Francisco. The run, I knew was to loop around the field… a couple times. That I knew. But, I didn’t really study the course map like I usually do.

I was for once, in the front pack of folks, feeling pretty good. After the 3rd mile I took off my warm layer at a water station. My dad captured this as I ran by, about to finish my first loop.

doesn't look like I'm running
doesn’t look like I’m running or that I look like a runner

I was mainly running alone. My nose was running and I once stopped to wipe it with my pullover around my waist. Someone passed me then. I didn’t like that so I sped up and passed her right back!

The loops ran up to the base of the Golden Gate Bridge twice. On the final trek back to the start/finish area, I passed the 5 mile marker and thought, man, I might PR this race. In fact, based on a recent 6 mile run I did in town, I should PR. These are my times from a run the previous week.

feeling good here...
feeling good here…

As I got closer to the tented area there was a confusion going on in my mind. This point did not feel like a full mile had gone by. I thought the finish chute was going to be further down the road, more where the start of the race was, but it wasn’t. I saw the sign for finish chute, and I took it. When I crossed, I said to the announcer lady, “that’s it?” She said Yes! Then I said to my dad, “that was not a full 10K”. I’ve been running long enough to know how far a mile is. It was really odd to me.

I shrugged off the weird feeling and took the short walk around the small gathering of tents and was amazed at all the awesome swag for the race. I’ve never collected so much stuff!

so much lotion! and socks!
so much lotion, treats and socks!

When I had crossed the finish line, the clock had said, 47 minutes and some change. I knew that it couldn’t have been a full mile, because I don’t run that fast. Later, I checked my phone and the ChronoTrack thing I signed up for said I finished in 49:09. Still, I wasn’t satisfied with that even though it would have been a major PR. Something still felt… off.

When I got home I went online to check the results. I was mostly curious to see what my overall placement and age group placement was. There were so many younger people there. Mostly in their mid 20’s. I was feeling hopeful to having a high placement in my age group (upper 40’s).

But, when I looked at my results, it said no finish time. There was no record of me crossing the finish. Odd. I was in a tizzy now, determined to find out where I ranked. I sent an email to the ChronoTrack folks and got a response later in the day:

Hey Michele,
Looks like you only did 2 laps around the course. The 3rd lap, was only a
about a mile. Your reads look pretty consistent. Let me know if you have any
data showing otherwise.
Thanks, 
Super Race Systems Results

I immediately looked up the course.

loop di loop
loop di loop di loop

I’m not sure you can see it, but there was a shorter loop right at the end that went around the grassy area (where all the tents were). I had no clue as I had already looped there earlier. I never saw a sign that indicated the last finish loop.

Needless to say… I blew it! Doh! I mean, how lame! How could I be so clueless? Of course there is nothing I can do, but learn from this experience. I won’t go into how mad I was the rest of the day. Everyone was saying how it’s no big deal, but to me… this is a big deal. I have been working hard to get faster and I want to see improvement in my running, damn it. And frankly, I am so mad at myself for not paying better attention and preparing myself ahead of time, by really looking at the course map. Today, I spent a great deal of time looking at my next race, this coming weekend, the Tiburon by the Bay Half Marathon. (I am not expecting any PR’s at this race though.)

cool bag instead of a t-shirt
cool bag instead of a t-shirt

Now that I’ve calmed down a tad, I will say, that I am going to look for another 10K to do. For now, I can only feel satisfied with knowing that I gave it my best and most importantly, I was able to help provide a meal for 50 people. That is what’s important here. The greater good.

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One thought on “My “doh!” Moment

  1. I don’t blame you for being mad. I would have been a frazzled mess! The last 10K race that I ran had a similar problem. The course was not marked very well at all. There were no signs, just some small arrows that had been spray-painted on the street that pointed which way to turn. I could have easily taken a wrong turn, especially since it was a night run! In fact, I thought I was lost at one point during that race. I was freaking out because I knew it would ruin my time and I was also about to PR. I have started looking over my course maps before each race. At least I will have a better idea of where I’m supposed to go just in case I ever find myself in that situation again.

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