Skip and Betsy are pro runners. Skip ran all through high school and still runs now and again. Betsy ran two marathons this year. Enough said. While I got in pretty good running shape this past summer, it go too hot for me to keep it up, and I haven't really run since starting Body For Life. Heather is a new runner, but ran a 5K a week or so ago and ran her second one today!
Or so we thought.
Since Heather was planning on run/walking the race, I decided to stick with her since I didn't know what kind of running shape I'd be in. I knew for sure I wouldn't be able to run the whole thing in one go, that I'd have to stop and walk every so often, and that Skip and Betsy would probably finish in 20 minutes. Plus Heather said she came in last place at her first 5K, so I wanted to be there to support her, keep her company, and walk with her if we needed to. Also Heather is just really cool, and I had heard she cusses when she runs and you know I love that.
So here we go running. I was excited to actually be in a race for what I realized was my first time, because I've been a spectator at lots and I love going to running events. So it was cool to be on the other side of the tape. Heather and I are with the pack of racers, then we are finally in last place. No worries, it was a really pretty day and some of the leaves were still turning and we were back on some awesome country road so it was just really beautiful and serene. There was one lady, I called her Purple Pants, who we kept leapfrogging with, and I told Heather, "Oh man, we can totally smoke this lady."
So we're running and we're running, we stop and walk, we run, things are going good. We can still see people up ahead and, well, they were getting way up ahead. No worries. It was beautiful, the sun was out, I didn't have my iPod because I broke it in Palm Springs, so I was content just running and hanging out with Heather.
Then we come to a crossroads and I remember saying, "Geez Heather if you weren't with me, I wouldn't know which way to go!" There were no orange cones guiding us. So we continue on another stretch of country road. No worries. Well, some, maybe. I didn't really see any runners anymore, and the road now was busy and wide open so the wind was blowing in our faces and we were kind of worried about all the cars whizzing past us. Oh well, we've got to be over halfway there. But where is Purple Pants? Man we must really be kicking her butt.
We eventually start to realize that this is crap! Where are the orange cones?! The next road we were on had the wind blowing even harder and the running lane even narrower. We're running and walking, and by this time we're walking a bit more often.
Finally we see the end of the race. We're running into the parking lot and Heather is yelling at runners (who, by the way, have long since finished the race, some are even driving home), "Where is the finish line?! Where is it?!" They look at us like we're crazy and kind of point over to the soccer field. I see Rich, Heather's husband and our pastor, and since I can't see any kind of finish line, I decide to just stop. Heather is determined and starts running over to the finish line. She sees Rich and says, "Where are we supposed to go??" and he's like, "The finish line is over there!" and points in the other direction across the parking lot past the registration tent. "People were finishing coming from that way. What happened?"
Long story short, Heather and I got lost. We got lost and Heather lost it on the race coordinators. She walked right up to them (oh yeah, and it's true, Heather does cuss when she runs!! And even more so when the race was shabbily run, no pun intended) and let them have it. Rich and I stood back and let her get it out of her system. I can't say I blame her. She comes back over to us and we start looking at a map of the race course that was stapled to a pole. Heather and I see that we did not make a left turn at what was clearly a pivotal point, but we are certain there were no cones directing us. I mean, I didn't have anything to do but look around and see the road, I had no iPod or music to distract me. No way we could have missed it. Heather rips the map off the pole and, as she storms back to the registration table says, "I'm showin' them this!!"
Rich and I wait for Heather to come back. Someone must have either stolen the "Turn Here" sign, or the group of runners in front of us picked it up thinking there was no one behind them. Meanwhile Rich had been back at the finish line, watching our predicted finish time go by, imagining the worst. Skip and Betsy had gone back to look for us, not knowing that we'd gotten lost and weren't even on the same path as them. It was a mess. The race coordinators sent someone out to look for anyone else who might have gotten lost and to pick up leftover cones. I don't know if Purple Pants was out there. I hope she is ok.
Heather comes back, cooled off by now, and says instead of 3.1 miles, we probably ran about 5. I think that made it worth it to us. If we had gotten lost and still only ran 3.1, or even worse, ran less than that, we would have continued to be pretty upset. But they gave us a couple extra free shirts and offered us a refund. We didn't take it, we wanted the cross country team to keep the $10, but organize your race better!!
Needless to say, it made a great story, we all went out for breakfast afterwards, and Rich dubbed us "The Kenyans."