I sleep through the flight. Get to the airport and then book it on down to the hotel. (I wanted to get there as fast as possible, because I just wanted as much sweet sweet sleep before the race as I could get.)
And when I checked in, the front desk clerk told me, “You know the race is cancelled, right?”
I ended up running into some runners in the lobbies. Everybody was upset. One woman even checked out and just left for the airport – even knowing she couldn’t get another flight for like 6 hours, at least. “I just don’t want to be here anymore.” And she left.
It was fun to commiserate, at least. And since we didn’t have to be up early, a bunch of us stayed up pretty late.
Once I got to my room, I took a little looksie on Facebook to see if anybody was talking about everything.
I was going to try to write out here how I felt or how that conversation went… It’s so much easier to just post the screenshots.
But, I was already all the way there in Florida within walking distance of the start. I might as well go down there and grab my stuff – especially since I was still up at 5:30am after all the all-night complaining/commiserating haha.
Now, a smart person would’ve immediately corrected course and figured out the race within a two-hour radius that day and done that one.
And someone did point out that race on Facebook. And I started to look into it a little. But I was tired and didn’t know the easiest way to go so far – seemed too expensive to take a rideshare vehicle. And I was so tired, I didn’t think it would’ve been super safe for me to get get a car and drive it. And on and on and on. Blah blah blah – stuff that could’ve been figured out, but I didn’t.
Instead, I went down and got my packet, and talked with the man from the Facebook comments.
He was nicer in real life. (Of course. People usually are.) But he still held his ground a bit.
He kept explaining that there wasn’t time to send an email until many, many hours later because
a) He had to order and pickup the sign for the expo.
b) Packet pick-up was so swamped that they didn’t have the time during those hours.
…But here are my two issues.
- Who cares about printing a sign? Having a sign printed, I feel, is one of the least of your worries. Write something huge in sharpie if you need to. If the sign is keeping you from sending an email – an email is so much more important.
- Packet pick-up is now a moot thing. There’s not even a reason to have it anymore. My feeling was that if people had actually known the race was cancelled that I would assume only half or even fewer people would actually show up. (Because why would they?)
Basically, we just had very differing views of the situation. His view was that he was trying to problem solve as fast as possible, and to him the way to problem solve was to turn the race into a “virtual race.”
It sounded like he made the assumption everyone would still want to do it – they’d still want their shirt and medal and would just do the mileage on their own.
I mean, okay. I guess I kinda sorta see that, maybe. But I’m not paying tons of money to fly to Florida just to get a medal for a virtual race. That seems very silly and kind of defeats the purpose of a virtual race…
Also, as he re-explained to me how a bunch of people who do most (or all) of his races are his Facebook friends, and that word spread quickly among the Florida crowd.
And that’s when I tried to slow down, and still be nice, and just say calmly that I really believed him that word probably did get out quickly in Clearwater. But the people who most needed to know as quickly as possible were the out-of-towners (because they have more plans to potentially change).
Aaaaaanyway, even when I said how the email would’ve helped the people who needed it most, he just told me that he bet I was one of only a few people – and that most people who traveled probably came on Friday. (The race was on Sunday.)
And I said that of course I don’t work for the city or the race. So, I don’t have the data to back this up, but anecdotally, at my hotel, there were numerous people I’d met who’d left for Clearwater after 11:30am (the time he knew of the cancellation).
And he still didn’t really care. No matter what, he was right.
So, we just have difference of opinion on which I guess we just can’t meet in the middle.
I stand firm that based on all races I’ve ever done, email is used as the main communication form. (I set up an entire email address that I just use for race registrations because I know how many katrillions of times they email you.)
I’ve had races cancel before. I’ve had races move the start times because of weather advisories. And do you know what’s happened every single time? I’ve gotten an email. (Or 2. Or 5…. Sometimes they reeeeeally wanna drive it home.)
Anyway…. I was accidentally about to re-lay-out my points here. But you’ve heard them. I think you get the gist.
So, I dunno. The point is, it was a bummer. I could’ve been with my friends in DC, not rushing off, not wasting money. But alas, I was not.
I do always adore any chance to sleep in a hotel bed, though. And I looooved the amazing breakfast at my dope hotel. (Residence Inn for the win.)
p.s. What did I ultimately do with the medal and stuff? More tomorrow.
(Sorry for the long post, btw)