This race was a true case of the good, the bad & the ugly!
The Good: I got to meet AJH from Age Groups Rock ! She was as delightful in person as her blog leads you to believe. Plus I think she was pretty pleased by the weather we were having here in the DC area. She ran the race with Emily and then we hooked up post race for some starbucks re-caffeination. Liz , who also ran the race and even though she's been sidelined with a labrum tear, she almost PR'd, joined us. We talked about lots of stuff, but the main thing was the All Women and One Lucky Guy Half Marathon in Maine, which AJH just emailed me last night has moved locations. I met a couple on a cruise a few years ago who told me about the race, where, as it's name suggests, it's all women, with 1 guy. Men apply for the lottery by way of $5, which later gets donated to charity and only 1 mans name is drawn. He gets a bit of special treatment for the race. AJH said she's not sure how she feels about the new course and location, so I'll wait to hear from her on whether it's a better race or not so good.
The Ugly: One big jerk of a race employee. First let me state that what I am about to tell you has already been addressed by the race director, this employee was clearly out of line and she has already taken care of him. Second, I've run enough of their races to know how seamless and well run they are to know he didn't represent them with these actions. Thirdly, let me state that while this race had 5500 people, the competitive side is made up of locals. It truly is a DC race. Last year I won my age group. I was really hoping to use this race to gauge where I am this season.
As we were warming up, Liz , Sarah and I noticed the corrals marked off by paces, which we thought was great. We made our way to the start, after a last port-a-potty break, and as we tried to enter the blockades there was a gentleman with a rope who was not letting anyone past. There were a few men telling him they were planning on running in the 6 minute range and that was about where I hoped to end up, and a bunch of people in the 7 minute range trying to get up. I made the mistake of thinking he didn't understand the paces on the signs and tried to make him understand, and he became extremely arrogant and condescending to me.
He told us that we were not allowed in the corral ahead unless we were running a 4 minute pace. I told him he was incorrect, because he was standing just behind the 8 minute corral. He then asked me if I was an elite runner, looked at my bib and said "You don't belong up there, you'll be fine back here." I told him it was unfair to try to make us run through all the people ahead of us who were clearly not going to be running as fast. (We could clearly see a number of people who were also not elites in front of us.) He informed me that the race was not going by paces this year and then said I obviously don't run many races or I would know the chip on my foot will still give me my time and it didn't matter where I started. When I told him that you couldn't possibly have a good time when you had to weave through people the whole race, that I won my age group in this race last year and would like the opportunity to at least try to compete, he said the chip on my shoe would be good enough. I asked him what his name was, because I wanted to comment about him, because I felt he was being unreasonable. He told me, "My name is Shithead, and you'll be effin' fine." I'm from NY, and I'm not offended easily, but this guy was a real jerk. I stopped talking to him and then he said, "my kids think I'm an asshole too, so you're not alone".
By this time, it was too late to try to go around and climb over the barricade. to a better start position It would be risking injury, as the gun might go off any second.
We started the race 5 minutes late and the first few blocks we were by ourselves. When we caught up with the slower runners/walkers who were in the corral ahead of us, that's where the fun begins, a few hairpin turns (complete u-turns) had all the slower runners stopped to a walk to get around the cones, that meant completely stopping my pace while waiting for the line to get around the cones. Then picking up my pace to weave through them again, only to hit another hairpin turn cone and have my pace slowed. I missed seeing the first 2 mile markers because the crowd was too big and couldn't make it to a water stop, that I kind of wished I could have, but again, the crowd was too big.
I lost any idea of what I was doing, I was just running, there was no one for me to try to use to be competitive. Near the end I tried to gun to the finish, but I never seemed able to get under a 7 minute pace for the whole race. My final time was 35:02 for 4th in my age group. They give awards to top 3. The jerk clapped for me when I came in and said, "see I told you you'd be fine." I said, "don't effin talk to me." What a freaking jerk. (He won't stop me from running it next year though, my Sugoi Shamrock Armwarmers were too awesome for a one-time appearance!).
The Bad: I have no idea where my fitness is at, what with the GW 10k being a windy bust too. I was going to run Van Metre 5 miler on Saturday, but coach George told me that I should just do tempo this week as I've been racing a lot lately.
National Half is a week from this Saturday and I have no idea what's going to happen.