Where to begin with this escapade gone wrong…
The morning of:
Certain circumstances didn’t help with rest or time for this race, but perhaps more on that later. My Airbnb was only 2 miles from the race, so I opted for a rideshare service that I had to give up on and took the Metro. That landed me a mile from the course and I had to jog the remaining distance. I should have just ran it. The Metro wouldn’t have been so bad except for the fact that I ended up on the wrong side of the course to access the cloakroom (bag check). Security told me there wasn’t a way to cross the course and had to run away from the course to access a bridge to cross to the other side. Now I’ve missed my wave group, and actually all of them. Dropped my bag off and made it to the start area. One guard wouldn’t let me in, so I went to another who opened the gate for me.
As I approached the start timing mat, I realized that it’s being disconnected! I ran across it hoping it registered. At this point I know I’m the last to start this race, but no worries because I’ll catch the back of the pack runners. The first kilometer and a half was confusing because the course monitors had stepped back to the sides and twice I had to ask for correct turns. Anyway, I did catch the first group around the 5k mark and continued to ease through the crowd.
The temperature rose to around 60 degrees on a partly sunny day. A few stiff headwinds to make the morning interesting.
The crowd support was amazing and the music throughout almost every mile was just wow! Most of it was drums, but drums will make you move to the beat. This helped me to relax and realize I should just enjoy the run. Especially after my hip flared up. This time it happened in mile twelve, much earlier than normal. Then the domino effect started. Left quads/hamstrings started crying. I slowed my pace to avoid making it worse. That lasted for a short period. Now time for the inevitable: start stretching. And I had to make several more stops along the way. Walking breaks included once I felt my quads pulling on groin muscles.
So that episode continued for miles until I spotted the 5 hour pace group. I played leap frog with them until the pacer ran to the side for medic assistance. Possibly cramps. She caught up with me and passed me and I would do the same, over and over. At this point, I had a target: beat her time. I did finally pass and leave her somewhere in the last three miles.
Into the finisher’s chute we go. Turn here, turn there. The crowd is screaming! Whistles blowing! I envisioned videotaping the final stretch, but opted out because I just wanted to finish. And then, all of a sudden a guard motioned for a young woman directly in front of me to turn right and off the course. She was videotaping with her cell phone. Are we not supposed to record in this area? Was she wearing something inappropriate on her shirt? I have no clue, but am glad it wasn’t me.
As I was about to focus on darting to the finish line, I had to maneuver around a group out in front. I veered left and my shoe grabbed the rubber paving and I fell just about 40 feet in front of the finish line. I couldn’t break the fall and skidded. Down on my bad leg at that. The last segment of the finishing zone, parallel to the reflecting pool, is paved in rubber.
That hurt. Anxious to get out of the limelight, I jumped up and crossed the finish line. How embarrassing. I quickly moved out of there to collect my poncho, my bag from the cloakroom and then get my medal engraved. While not happy with how this entire event played out, I’m glad I got to experience it. I highly recommend this race and who knows, maybe one day I’ll return to redeem myself.
The venue is titled, ‘Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias’ aka City of Arts and Sciences. Seeing the venue alone inspired me to sign up for this race.
P.S. the United States didn’t rank in the top ten list of participants. Is that a good thing? Hmmm…