Monday, October 29, 2007

A 5K "fracaso"

"Fracaso" is the Spanish word for when something flops. A common use of the word is in the phrase "un fracaso total", or "a complete flop".

I can't say that last weekend's race was "un fracaso total" because I got a PR - of sorts - out of it. But there were blips.

When I went to pick up the race packages for a couple of friends who were running, as well as my own package, I noticed that there were no timing chips handed out. I asked, "So, there's no chips?"

I was told, "No, it's an untimed race."

My first thought, which I did not voice was, "Well, isn't that a lovely oxymoron - an untimed race. Isn't the point of a race is that it is timed???" But I bit my lip.

When I got home, I checked the registration web page and they had used words like "race", "racer" and "competitor". Then, I read the material in the race package which stated that they had decided not to time this year's event, but make it a "family fun run" instead. The race pack info also said this was to be the last time they were going to hold this run, due to costs.

Being the student I am, I pick and choose my races carefully because each one costs money to enter. Needless to say, the race director got a polite but pointed e-mail that runners should have been informed of the change, so that we could make informed decisions about how to spend our money.

I was not a particularly happy camper, but I decided that since I had my Garmin, I would time myself.

On race day we lined up at the start line, the gun went off and away we went. A few minutes along my friend caught up to me and told me that the 5K route was "back there"! I was running with the 10K group. I learned later, there was a staggered start and I started with the wrong group. Then, I missed the turn-off for the 5K route (precisely because no one had turned off yet, because the 5K runners had not even started yet.)

I thought, "Screw it. I've got a Garmin. I'll stop it at 5K and that will be my time."

Now, I don't know why, but my running brain works in miles. My Garmin is set in miles. I turned it off at 3.2 miles. Turns out that's 5.15 K, not 5 K. Oh well. Anyway, my time was 27:15 for 5.15K. That's almost a 4-minute improvement since my first 5K in May. So, that's something to celebrate.

Also, because it was Halloween weekend, lots of people were dressed in costumes and it was a hoot to see them. The weather was good - dry and cool. These are also things to celebrate and enjoy.

Starting with the wrong group, missing the turn off and having to walk back to the finish line after 5K - yeah, that's the "fracaso" part.

I have decided that one of my goals for 2008 is to program my Garmin to display kilometres and (more difficult) program my brain "run in metric".


Backofpack said...

Yikes - that was a mess! But a huge PR - so congrats on that!

We have races around here without chips but there is still an official timer and finish clock at each. I like the chip timing better though. The wierd one was where there were chips but only a finish mat, no start mat. Anyway, good job!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

yay on the PR part!

ipm said...

okay I have to ask... is running the only thing that is non metric in your thinking?

the UK isn't very metricized, only in a slow spirit sort of way...

and of course down here... only soda is thought of in metric measurement... :)))

well done anyways! no es un frasco total... es bueno! o asi asi....

PNW Runner said...

that's messed up, the whole organized portion of the race! But you still turned in a PR! Way to go!

Turtle Guy said...

Maybe the point of this race was to demonstrate that there is more to the race than the timing.

On the other hand, perhaps the Universe had it figured to create what we, in English, call a 'fiasco'.

Maybe it was simply meant to be.

Sarah said...

My question is...why didn't you just run the 10k? : ) Congrats on your PR! I like to know ahead of time too what sort of "race" I'm in. Good for you for going with the flow. : )