(#41A) Lady Speed Stick Women’s Half Marathon AZ (Nov. 4, 2012) – Part 2 (The Morning Craziness, Pt. 2)

(To keep the flow of this story going (and talk about something other than the election), I’m gonna post some extra chapters in one day. Thanks, ya’ll!)

Picking up from last time -

So, I start running with no one else around. I get to the intersection. I realize I have no idea where I’m going. The race as been extremely efficient at cleaning up immediately after the last runner. There are no marking anywhere as to where to go. I jog back down towards where I came and yell to the clean up crew, “Do you have any idea where I go.” The person closest to me gives me the “I have no idea” shrug.

I call my dad to see if he can give me directions. Then I realize I’m on an iPhone. I hang up the phone and pull up the map from the website. Turns out, I already started running the wrong way through the start.

Yep, this is going brilliantly so far.

I run the opposite direction, through the start again and follow the map.

I’m pushing myself, trying to catch up to anyone. I just want to see the last place person, but I know that starting over half an hour late, I won’t see anyone until probably somewhere in mile 4 at the earliest. (It’s more probable to happen in mile 5 or 6.)

I don’t listen to music for the first mile and a half. I have way too many thoughts chattering in my head, and I’m too nervous about this whole trying-to-find-the-last-runners-thing to listen to any music.

Another runner with a bib blows past me. Okay, at least I’m not alone in my situation, and I’m probably still going the right way. Cool.

I saw the first mile marker, and was reassured that I was in fact going the right direction. I looked down at my phone. 12-minute mile. Not too shabby. The time limit has 20 minute miles. I’m 8 minutes closer to catching up with anyone going that speed.

I speed up a little in my second mile. I don’t want to go nuts (for me – I know 11 minute-miles are nothing for many people). Even if I tire myself out now, I’ll be able to make 20-minute-miles happen.

I make a turn onto a street where I’ll just jog on down that same street for the next while. On the one hand, this is a pretty big relief because I am awful (absolutely terrible) with directions and reading maps, so I’m excited not to have to turn for a while.

On the other, this is nerve-wracking because I might not realize I’m going the wrong way for a long while if the next street I’m looking for doesn’t show up for two miles.

I run along, looking for people to hopefully verify that I’m going toward McDowell. It’s a Sunday morning, so not many people are out and about. I just keep jogging, pretty sure that I’ve diligently followed the map. (I sort of tried to check it out using my GPS, but just got nervous about spending too much time figuring it out. I decided to trust that I’d read the map correctly and jog it on out.

One I was pretty sure that a mile had gone by, I was kind of disheartened that I didn’t see a mile marker 2. I chalked it up to the fact that the clean-up crew was working really hard. From the start there had been very few cones or signs that a race had taken place that morning. It made sense that mile marker 2 would not be there.

Keep jogging.

Third mile marker is nowhere to be found. After I’d done about 2 1/2 miles, I started to get really nervous that I didn’t see the next street to turn on – and I found a human being! She said I was definitely going the wrong way.

Of course.

This is where I’ll pick up tomorrow.

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