Last Sunday morning was the second day of Mommy’s race weekend. Despite a fabulous race the day before and a day of play at an indoor waterpark with the boys, I was anything but tired; this running mama was pumped and ready to go.
The run was The Beast 10K (or 6.2 miles), a first year event at Kings Island, an amusement park in Mason, Ohio. I never really thought twice about the name, other than it having the 10K distance in it. I was simply out for a training run while on holiday. A training run I got – and more.
When I woke up on race morning, I looked at my three sleeping cheerleaders and decided not to wake them. Instead, I showered and walked to the start line, getting there at 6:30 for a 7:00 start. I did not expect to see a huge line-up – not for the porta-potties but for the 10K and the 5K which was to start 15 minutes later. The runners, it seemed, needed to get a handstamp so that they could enter the park. Well, the park didn’t open to the public until 10:00 and it’s pretty obvious by their gear, sweaty bodies and panting whether they’re a part of a race or not. Wouldn’t a wristband with the race kit make more sense? And, didn’t anyone tell them that ink runs when people sweat? This ended up delaying the start of the race by half an hour and I was miffed. By 7:15, it was well over 80 degrees, there was no water at the start line, I didn’t have my sunglasses and I wore a short-sleeved shirt rather than a sleeveless because we were suppose to be starting in the dark and cooler weather. Normally, I would have had all of these with me – just in case – but this race had no bag check and my support crew was still asleep. At that point, I knew this was going to be a memorable event.
Just before the race started, the MC warned runners to be careful going down the hills. “We don’t want anyone to fall.” There are hills? I questionned aloud as I looked around at what I thought was going to be a flat course. The guy beside me shook his head “I don’t know.” What about marshalling? Are there going to be marshalls? I did not have a good feeling about this one.
The race started and I placed myself behind the first of the fastest, trying to find my pace. The first mile was unevenful, leading us towards the park down the first hill. After several ups and downs, I came upon the first water station and the path diverged. Some runners went right and others went left. “Which way for the 10K?” I called out, and the marshall pointed left. One of the guys ahead of me yelled over, “You’ve got all sorts of guys going the wrong way!”
I followed these men and as the course wound more and more, I was determined not to let them out of my sight. The hills didn’t scare me – even “the beast”. Getting lost did. At one point I wondered if I was sent in the wrong direction and what that would mean to my time. But, as I ran past a turn-about and towards the 5 mile mark, I was getting thumbs-ups from all sorts of runners and a spectator yelled out, “You’re the leading lady!”
That couldn’t be right. I know I passed women on the course but I was sure there was still one ahead of me. I kept following the guy in the green shorts and the dude with the short hair and refused to slow down. I laughed when my American friends suddenly stopped at the 6 mile line and then started again. It’s 10K; that’s 6.2 miles, I thought. When we finished, in the same area as the 5K finishers, I was tempted to yell “Get out of my way!” as I forced myself past the tail end of the 5K runners.
I learned after that at least 7 runners ahead of me were misdirected – 2 of them female. They ran 4.8 miles. The officials decided to not have an awards ceremony “because they were already delayed by 30 minutes and had to make sure the park opened up on time.” They would post the results on the website. So, I left the park being asked by many, “Did you win?” My reply was a nonchalant “I don’t know, but if I did, it wasn’t a fair win.”
The next night, results were posted on the net and I placed first in my age group. Overall, I finished fourth. There is no Masters category, so I’m just fourth. Obviously, times were pro-rated and I was right about another female being ahead of me. That seemed fair given their much faster paces. But, three nights later, I checked the website again and discovered I had been bumped down to 5th female overall. Who was this runner chick and why is she in my spot? Something was not right and, for the first time ever, I am disputing results – not that it matters, but it’s principle.
The course was brutal and appropriately named for the hills. It has the potential to be a good event but there is definitely some tweaking to do for next year.
By the way, you know you’re really a mother when, while waiting at the end of a race, you get really excited when you see Diego and your kids are nowhere around. When I got back to my sleeping trio, the race details waited; it was all about seeing Diego.