Saturday, February 2, 2013

Race Report - Langley "Not-An-8K"

Another tune up race for Jamie and me.  So no taper -- I did a 15 mile midweek long run on Tuesday, speed training on Wednesday, and already had 47 miles in my legs this week before stepping up to the start.  I guess that is why it's called a "tune up" race.

We arrived at the start and it was COLD.... my iPhone said 14 degrees at 9:30am.   We did a 10 minute warm up, and I finished with a few strides on the track, threw our gear in the car, and arrived at the timing mat right at 10.  And we were off.

The first mile wasn't bad.  Pretty flat in fact. I glanced down at my Garmin and it clicked off at 6:55.  Then I saw a MONSTER hill. And it was pretty much like that the rest of the course.  Up up up, down down down.  Lots and lots of hills with pretty steep grades.  I should have known with much of the course being on "Balls Hill Road."

I hit 3 miles at just over 22 minutes and thought to myself "Hey, I don't feel too bad and there are only two miles to go!"  I saw Jamie heading the other direction and he looked like he was doing pretty well.  4 miles clicked off, and I started to push it, even on the uphills.

At 4.5 miles my phone rang.  I looked at the number -- it was our babysitter, Poliana.  It was a little after 10:30, so I knew that she should have just arrived to Susanna's swim class.  Aurgh!  I had less than a half mile to go -- I figured less than 4 minutes, and Jamie was probably done already.  If it was a big issue I'm sure she could call him.  I ignored it and kept running.

4.9 miles came and I was pretty sure I was nowhere near Langley High School.  I hadn't even gotten back on Georgetown Pike, and I was sure we'd ran quite a distance on that road before turning into the smaller neighborhoods.  5 miles came.... then 5.3.... what was going on?  I had paced this thing for 5 miles and I was running out of energy.  I finally turned onto the main road and saw the school -- pretty far off in the distance. Had I read the race entry wrong?  Was this a 10K?   I pushed it as best I could and finally turned into the school's front lot.  There were runners going in two different directions - some behind the school and some in front.  I asked the guy behind me which way we were supposed to go and he threw up his hands in obvious frustration.  Well, since my GPS already said 5.8 miles I decided to just go the shortest route.  And then someone said to the photographer at the timing mat "That woman is going to cross the wrong direction."  Which I did.  Because there was no way I was turning around and running the other way.  The guy behind me did the same thing.

I stopped my watch. 5.86 is not 4.97.  Everyone around me was getting about 5.92 (so even though I went long, I still cut the course by going in front rather than behind the school.)  Then this man (maybe the race director?  I am not sure....) says to me "Why didn't you go around the school?  You were supposed to come back the way you went out."  I looked at him and I said "There were no volunteers telling us where to go.  I couldn't remember which way I ran at the beginning.  And I thought this was an 8K, but I did almost 6 miles."  I'm not sure what was going on with him -- maybe a bunch of runners had already complained?  He retorts "If you went the wrong way, you didn't know the course.  You are supposed to know the course before you run it."  Seriously?  I was just following people.

So apparently what happened was that the first (fastest) runners made the correct turn and actually ran an 8K, and then the guy in fourth place went left instead of right around the 5K and EVERYONE followed.  Was this man really telling me that I should have "known the course" and gone the opposite direction of every other runner?  And really, it's not like I often run a race with a map in my hand.  So I did an extra .9 miles -- fine -- I'm okay with that. Just don't get annoyed with me like I did something wrong.

6th place Overall Female, 3rd in the 30-40 Age Group.  All the girls went the wrong way.

I called Poliana back and found out Susanna was refusing to get in the water at the pool. Phew.  No emergency.  It's always hard to know what to do when you get a phone call from your babysitter during a race...

And for the record I hit 5 miles at 36:40.  Which still is a little over the pace I was hoping for, but considering the hills, not too bad.  And considering a little over a year ago my 5 mile Turkey Trot was 40:53, well hey, that's progress.  Except the race results are going to say that I did it in 43:16.  I might have to block this one from Athlinks....


  1. You did a great job! I enjoyed reading your post.

  2. Wow you hear a lot these days about wrong turns in races...hope this is a short lived phenomenon! Congrats on a great performance.