>Adventures in Going the Wrong Way

>Today was the last day of my recovery week, so Coach Tim had me enter a 5km race as a means of checking where my preseason speed is. He also loves charting “pace vs. HR”, so this race would give him some more data points.

The race was up in Glendale, which is a 2-hour drive from Tucson, and it started at 0830. So I got up at 0500, hopped in the car, and hoped that my GPS would deliver me to the race site. There was no exact address given for the race site, so I just plugged in an address that “seemed” right. The GPS predicted that I would show up at my destination with plenty of time for registration/bathroom/warmup. Ohhhh… how wrong I was…

I’ll spare you all of the details, and let’s fast forward to 0750. The GPS, having proven itself incapable of finding the race site, was useless to me. I called my sister Sue in Boulder, and asked her to look up the race website, hoping it would have directions. While we were figuring things out, I came upon a sign that said “Thunderbird Paseo Park”, the race site! Bingo! Or so I thought…

I drove on what I thought was a road, but it got really narrow. Hmmm, strange… Then, I saw some runners coming right at me. At that point, I realized I was driving on a running path. Whoops!! So I put the car in reverse, and had to go backwards about 200m before I got to an intersection and could get off the path. Luckily, I didn’t mow down any joggers. Anyways, Sue finally found some “useful enough” directions on the website and I found the race site. It was secluded and hidden, though. Kind of like that pirate island in “Pirates of the Carribbean”. You can only find the place if you already know where it is.

So anyways, I get to the race about 20 minutes before start time. Just enough time for a brief warm up. And then… Ready! Go! I go out, and it’s just me and one other dude in the lead. He was about 15 ft. in front of me, but I was holding him. I decided to let him do his own thing, and I would just trust my durability. Sure enough, he started fading, and I passed him to take the lead at the 1 mile mark.

All was well, until I had a Charlie Brown moment. I missed a turn marking, and kept going straight. I knew something was wrong when the path ended, and I was at an intersection with a busy street. I started yelling at no one in particular, “Where the hell is the course? Where am I supposed to go?”. Since there was no one there, no one answered. So I turned around, retraced my steps, and then found where I was supposed to be. All told, the detour cost me about 45 seconds. Luckily, I was more than 45 seconds up on the field at that point, because I was still in the lead. I then coasted to the win, with my margin of victory being about 1 minute (would have been about 1:45 if I didn’t take the detour).

It wasn’t a huge race or anything, but I’ll never complain about getting a win (Ladies love a winner!). And the winner’s prize was a gift certificate for a Road ID, which is something I need to get anyways. Score!

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