I'd been to Rich's previous two in Simsbury and we knew the route to get there, where the check-in was, where the start line was. This should've been a walk in the park. Except... this was the year they switched things up. It was in about the same place, but not quite. Parking was in the same area, but instead of the registration being in the lot, they had moved it down the street into this park and made a festival out of it. There were WAY MORE people there than in years past! The kids were doing their fun run up and down the sidewalk, there was no clear direction as to where the registration tent was. It was a mess before I'd even gotten my Bib!
Rich was yelling to me, "Just go! Just go anyway! You're chip timed so it doesn't start til you actually run across the line!" I said, "I can't! I have to go now!" :( Now on top of being frustrated to begin with, I had to do 3 miles without using the bathroom first??? Good thing I ran from the portapotty when I did - there was no actual "start line", so they started the timing from when they actually sounded the gun. I wanted to quit before I had even started. I was so upset and devastated to begin with. I had used up what little jog I have the ability to do just getting to the start line. This was going to SUCK!
So I went along with my fast paced walk, trying to compose myself and think positive. And just like the first 5k, I got further and further behind everyone else. I was afraid that soon I wouldn't even see anyone to know where I was going! I made sure I kept one girl in front of me in my sight so I had some chance of not being last. After what seemed like forever, I saw the makeshift 1 mile sign and looked at my ipod - I was at just about 16 minutes! No way! That was about 2 minutes under what my pace was for the first 5k I'd done! And with all that had happened before the race even started to stress me out?? I was so happy!! And then, a few more minutes up the road, there was another makeshift sign - "5k - 1 mile." OMG!!! The first sign was for the 10k'ers!!! I wanted to collapse right there. As I looked at the ipod, I was at just about 20 minutes. I was doing HORRIBLE! :(
But I kept going. I kept the girl in sight. And she was the ONLY girl in sight! The locals who had sat outside by the road to cheer people on had all gone inside. It was me, my ipod, and the streets of Simsbury. Although they were quiet, the streets weren't blocked off. There were no cops out directing traffic. There was pretty much nothing. It was a pretty nice day though - that was about the only upside. And I swore that just a little after mile 2, my grandpa, who had just passed away 2 months before, was with me. Not long after that, I got a burst of energy from "Let It Go" by Cavo. And then a little after that, a volunteer who was there to give direction between the 5k and 10k route, told me she loved my shirt!
::Side note - It was a Biggest Loser shirt that says "Unless you faint, puke, or die, KEEP WALKING!" :)
Just after her was a pretty decent downhill so I tried to jog quite a bit there and pickup some time. I was keeping somewhere around the 20 minute mark, so I knew I should be under an hour, but the whole slip up at the beginning had really thrown me off from knowing where my pace really was. I kept thinking the end was coming but I swear it never did! I kept switching places with the girl behind me because I REFUSED to be last! And finally, I saw the finish line! AND I SAW RICH! He had finished his 10k before I finished my 5k! He didn't see me, but his bright orange shirt stood out and gave me my last burst of energy to get to that finish line! I used what little breath I had to call to him after running through, and he poured his bottle of water over me and brought me to the shade. I couldn't believe I had actually finished that thing!
Looking back, we needed to get there sooner. We unfortunately needed to account for all the changes they had made from the years prior that we hadn't anticipated. Also, I need to wear my sneakers to the run! Had I not had to switch them when we went back to the car, I probably would've had time to use the portapotty before the race. I wondered what my time would have been if I hadn't hit all the obstacles before I had even started. And I wondered how much time would've been cut if my start time was actually calculated from when I crossed the start line, not from the gun time. But I can't redo history - I can only look forward to the next one. I still finished, I still managed to not come in last, and I still got my t-shirt :)