I should be laughing at myself, but I'm depressed.
For whatever reason, I didn't get up when the alarm went off this morning. Which means that, when I did finally wake up, I realized that I needed to leave the house within 10 minutes or I'd be late for the Asheville Citizen-Times 5K I'd signed up for.
I hate having to get out of bed quickly. So I started out the day in a less-than-chipper mood. That should have been a sign.
Then I couldn't find my Compeed. My old New Balance 1222s officially bit the dust the other day when they suddenly, for the first time ever, left me with a blister on my heel. (The fabric inside the shoe had worn through.) So I was going to wear my other pair of 1222s with Compeed, which is the best blister-coverup in the world.
I'd put the Compeed in a special place the night before because I wanted to make sure I wouldn't forget it. Then I couldn't remember where that special place was this morning. (Go figure. This happens to me all the time.)
So, with less than two minutes to go, I was digging through my smelly backpacking gear, looking for the ziplock where I keep my first-aid items when I hike, hoping I had Compeed somewhere in there.
I couldn't find it. But Hubster found some. God bless Hubster.
Hubster overslept, too, and was even later getting up than I was, so I had to leave before he did. Well, pooh. What fun is a 5K if you can't ride over there with your biggest fan? But he promised me he'd be there by the time the race started.
I actually thought about not going. Repeatedly. I really do not like big crowds, and I've had to overcome my crowd-phobia every time I've gone to a race. But I always feel on top of the world after a race, so I decided, after deciding to the contrary several times, to bite the bullet and go. After all, I had paid my $20, and I did want the t-shirt ...
So I drove to Asheville alone, took forever to find a place to park, and managed to get my bib and my chip and go pee with about two minutes to spare. But I still had my bag, my cell phone, my water bottle, etc. I left it all with a very nice stranger, with my cell phone set on Hubster's speed dial, saying, "Call this number. Tell my Hubster where you are so he can come get my stuff."
Then, about 15 seconds before the race started, Hubster found me. I gave him a big old kiss. I didn't see the person who had my bag. The race was starting. I hoped he would find it and proceeded to run.
It was crowded, of course. I was in a sea of runners, the 5K runners wearing blue bibs, and the half-marathon runners wearing green bibs. I was a blue-bibber. I'm not running my half-marathon until next month when I run the Second Annual Phedippidations Worldwide Half-Marathon Challenge. Today was actually supposed to be a long run, and I suppose I could have run the half, but I'm only up to 11 miles for my long runs and didn't want to push it.
The weather was cool and very humid. I felt good, though, and I felt strong. When we got to the 1-mile mark, I honestly thought, "No. There's no way we've already run a mile." I guess I was in the zone. It didn't hurt that much of the first mile was on a downhill slope.
Water stations were supposed to be every two miles, so when we got to the water station, I was again amazed at how easy the miles were feeling. I didn't feel like I was flying, and I didn't know how slow or fast I was going, or whether I would beat my PR of 27:11. I just felt good. Finally my stress had started to subside, and my mood had started to lift.
So I had some water on the run, and kept running. At some point the 5K runners and the marathoners must have split, but I was in a big crowd of blue-bibbers so I didn't think or worry too much about whether I was on the right course. Besides, there were no signs that I could see, and no one pointing and yelling about which way to go, so I stayed in my zone and stuck with the blue-bibbers.
Our trek started to head uphill after Mile 2.
About ten minutes after the water stop, I thought, "This is odd. We should be heading back to the starting/finish line by now. I looked around. Still quite a few blue bibs. But a lot of green bibs, too.
The guy in front of me had a blue bib pinned to the back of his shirt. At the top left-hand corner of the blue bib, I saw two little letters: HM.
"Hm," I thought. "H.M. I wonder what that means."
Then I had one of those smack-to-the-forehead moments. H.M. Half-marathon.
I looked behind me. There were blue bibs, sure, but probably 85% of the people I saw had green bibs.
"Hey," I said to an HM blue-bibber. "Did the 5K people split off yet?"
"Yeah, about a mile back," he said.
Maybe on a better day, and in better spirits, I would have laughed at myself, and I'll probably be laughing at myself by the time I finish writing this, but at the time my heart just sank to the bottoms of my worn New Balance 1222s.
I stopped. Hubster was waiting for me at the 5K finish, and he had to be at a camp work day for 9:00. I was supposed to finish at around 8:30, which would make him only a few minutes late. For a split second I considered just running the half-marathon (after borrowing a cell phone to call Hubster and tell him what I was doing), but I'd been in 5K mode for ... well, for about five kilometers, oddly enough ... and I simply didn't feel like running 10 more miles. Plus, I didn't know if Hubster had found my bag or not.
I borrowed a volunteer's cell phone. Tried to call Hubster. No answer. Tried to call my own cell phone. No answer. Dialed each number about three more times each. No answer. I was visibly frustrated. The volunteer kept saying nice things like, "I didn't realize the 5K people had split off. There were a LOT of blue bibs running by. And not all of them had HM on them, that I could see."
It didn't make me feel better. But it would make me feel better if I were to learn that I wasn't the only 5K person who missed the turn. So, if anyone hears of anyone else who found themselves in my predicament, I would be happy to hear about it.
By now, all of the half-marathon runners had passed and the cops were starting to let traffic through. I wanted to get back to where Hubster was, but only know my way around a very limited part of Asheville, and I wasn't sure where I was, or how to get back.
I was very frustrated. And now it was something like 8:45, which meant Hubster was going to be late for his work day, which he was supposed to be in charge of.
I finally got Hubster on his cell phone. And 30 minutes later he found me and picked me up. By then I was so frustrated (and embarrassed) that I just got into his car and fell into a tearful, rambling rant of self-directed negativity. "Twenty dollars, wasted. " "I am such an idiot." "I can't believe I made you get up at 6:30 on a Saturday so you could come watch me get lost when a veritable sea of runners somehow managed to go the right way." "I can't believe how stupid I am."
(A weird thing about my personality: I can bravely weather truly stressful times, but then I mercilessly beat myself up over dumb little insignificant things.)
Hubster told me everything was OK, and that I was an inspiration to him and that it was because of me that he had started a running program five weeks ago.
I drove home alone. I was depressed. I felt like I'd wasted my whole morning. I still feel like I've wasted my morning. It's 11:20 and I need to be home because the TV repair guy is going to be here "sometime between noon and 5." No time for the 11-mile long run I would normally have scheduled for today, but scheduled for tomorrow since I had the 5K today.
Then when I got home I realized I still had my Champion Chip. So I'll have to mail that back and hope they don't fine me the $30 they said they'd fine people who didn't return their chips.
I know I will laugh about this later, but right now I'm feeling really down. I guess my pride was bruised more than anything else. The same race last year was my first ever 5K, so this was going to be a fun "1-year anniversary" run.
At least I got a nice t-shirt out of it.
1) Pay more attention to the alarm clock! Get to races with plenty of time to spare.
2) Even if you don't think you have time, take time to look at the course map before you start. (Duh.)
3) Apparently, lots of people sign up for 5Ks but end up switching to the half-marathon the morning of the race. So never assume you're in the right race because the people around you are masquerading as 5K racers!
Long-known lesson reinforced: Stories are more interesting to tell later when things don't go as planned. :) (Cases in point!)
(It took a while, but I'm already transitioning from the "frustrated and depressed" phase to the "smiling and shaking my head" phase. This is a good sign.)
Update: I'm not depressed anymore. I knew writing about it would help!
Update #2: Hubster had my bag and cell phone (and t-shirt!)
Update #3: The TV repair guy just called and is on his way! I will have time for my long run this afternoon!