Jul 14

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Training run turned into a bandit run

This morning’s scheduled workout was a 17-mile endurance run, with a main set of four mile-repeats at zone 4 heart rate (2-minutes jogging recovery in-between), then another four miles in zone 4 broken up however I wanted.

I got out early enough that it was still cool (55-degrees), and the sun was just beginning to rise. There were lots of others on the Coal Creek trail though, which I jumped onto in Lafayette at 120th and headed west.

There was a rather large Team in Training group headed towards me, in a pack of about a dozen runners. Then another 10 or so in smaller clusters spread out behind them at slower pace. Bringing up the rear seemed to be their coach on a bike, with lots of water bottles.

As I came into Louisville, I could hear loud music from the Community Park. Sure enough, as I turned the corner of the trail, I saw there was a race set up, and the finish line was right ahead of me on the trail. I ran through, politely excusing myself as the volunteers were setting up tables for the medals and water bottles.

I don’t know where the start was, but I soon found myself among a steady stream of runners heading the same direction I was. Many were walking, which made it seem as if they were all walking to the start. A few were jogging to warm up, but most looked at me puzzled that I was cruising by them at a pretty good clip.

A few miles down the trail, they all took the right fork while I headed left, pretty much alone again for the next several miles until my turnaround point.

As I headed back, and eventually reached that fork again, it was clear that the race had started, as the flow was all headed back the other direction towards the park. I had no choice but to merge in with them, and it wasn’t crowded enough to worry about, as I could easily get around people without leaving the trail.

It only got awkward as I neared the park. Supporters were reaching out to high-five me, and volunteers were waving me around the turn in the trail (which was quite unnecessary, as it was the only way to go). As I approached the finish straightaway, there was WAY more activity than before, and I was now in the finish chute, with fencing on either side of the trail. No choice but to go through the big inflatable finish tunnel, over the timing mats, and into the corral. It was open behind it, so I could just run straight through and keep on going.

Well, the volunteers seemed a bit upset that I didn’t slow down at the finish, not stop for a medal and water bottle. The folks I passed heading into the finish may have been annoyed too, although they seemed to appreciate what they viewed as a finish-kick (which was really just my watch beeping me into the next high-speed interval of my training run).

I was quick to politely excuse myself, and tell them “no thanks, I’m not in the race!” as I ran through, declining the medal and schwag.

As I looked down, my watch told me I had been pushing a 7-minute pace, faster than my target. I guess the finish line excitement got me going anyway! Now, I wonder if I can find pictures of myself on Brightroom.com? They were taking race photos as I ran by, but I won’t be able to find ’em by bib number!

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