So as many of you know, a while back I took up running. It wasn’t something I initially loved. It was hard, it was at times painful but I pushed through and eventually started seeing the rewards. I now (sometimes) love to run. It’s relaxing, it eases tension, it makes me feel good. In every sport, however, there need to be goals. Attainable objectives that make you get better, stronger, faster. Running just to “be healthy” doesn’t usually keep me motivated. I need something to work toward. Like many runners, my first goal was a legitimate 5K. I worked, I trained, I pushed through on days when I thought I couldn’t make it. I set my sights on The Cowtown Marathon 5K held the last Saturday of the month. Even when my dad was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with bacterial meningitis, I still kept my eyes on the goal. I took my running shoes to the ICU waiting room and during non-visiting hours, I would run through the hospital district. After all, at that point, the 5K that I had registered for was only a little more than a week away.
Eventually, I was ready. I was running 3 miles in about 35 minutes. I’d like to get it under 30 but for a first 5K, 35 is good. And who knows what the adrenaline would do for me? So the day of the race arrived. I woke at 4:00, very excited to finally get to scratch this off of my list. I was about to run a 5K, something I’d been wanting to do for so long. We got downtown early and I watched in awe as all of the marathoners and even ULTRA marathoners began working on their own personal goals. Soon, it was my turn. We lined up and the airhorn sounded. We started running. It wasn’t easy. It was hilly, I was running faster than I should have. I was feeling it. But I pushed through, knowing that at some point I’d get my legs under me and hit my stride. And I did. Somewhere around the halfway point, I started loosening up. I felt good. At one point, I even teared up a bit at the realization that I was achieving a goal. It was a beautiful moment. And then I saw the finish line. We were headed to the end. Wait, this can’t be right, we have to turn… but we didn’t. We crossed the line and the race was over. I looked down at my iPod which had been keeping track of my time, milage and pace. We had been running for 22 minutes and had only gone 3.27K.
I’m not sure what happened, or who was at fault but the 5K route was horribly inaccurate. Many people may not have cared but, to me, this was devastating. All of the training, all of the work, all of the excitement and even the money paid had not allowed me to achieve my goal. I left downtown Fort Worth, still having NOT completed a 5K. At first even my husband didn’t understand my upset but he’s not a runner. He doesn’t understand that, at least for me, running is ALL about personal goals and I was just cheated out of one. It’s not that I couldn’t go out right now and run 5 kilometers. I could. But it wouldn’t be the same. It needs to be “official”.
Yes, I’m irritated. I hope that the issue is addressed and it never happens again. I will move on. I will run another 5K in the next month or so and then begin training for a 10K. This won’t stop me but it has put a serious mar on a race that I’ve always considered to be one of the best, in a city that I love. I’m no longer angry but still disappointed. I wanted to wake up this morning with a sense of accomplishment, not disappointment.