This is another one of those races that I really don't have a lot to say about... I'm going to try to share a little about this race, but feel free to skim past this mediocrity. The mediocrity doesn't come from the writing (I hope), but instead was palpable throughout the event. I feel horrible saying that, but I can't find any other words to really express my thoughts about this race.
I wasn't really expecting all that much from a race that was put on by a local rotary club. My mother has been a Rotarian for most of my teenage and adult life, and I was a Rotarian for a couple of years when I was finishing my Masters degree and beginning my Ph.D... I loved Rotary for what it provided me in terms of leadership training, community service opportunities, and the more global attitude that it seemed to foster in me. I don't love it for what it provides in a road race though.
It was a last minute decision to register for the Weston Rotary Run for Tomorrow Half Marathon. I wanted to get one more half marathon under my belt before the end of the calendar year, and this seemed to fit into my schedule perfectly. I knew it would be a smaller race, and was excited for that, because I expected that at a Rotary event I would get the kind of course support that I am fond of... you know... the kind that is actually existent... without having to deal with the massive crowds at the other local race that was happening that same day.
My friend Seth chose to run the event with me, but when I say "with me" that doesn't mean stride-for-stride matching. What I actually mean here is that we drive together, hang out at the start line together, we each run our own race, then he meets me at the finishline when I am done.
The field was really small. and normally that wouldn't have bothered me, but I was having a slow start day. The first 3 miles (aka, until the sun came up), my vision was constantly being disturbed by the police cruiser that was following directly behind me because I was the last in the pack. After the sun came up, I managed to pick up a little speed and put some pace between me and the last finisher, but I wasn't able to maintain my status of "not-last for long."
It was a gorgeous day, and although it was a little warmer than I would normally like, I wasn't really worried about the weather. What bothered me though is that the race was hosted in a town that is well-known in South Florida for it's affluence and the amount of money that is spent manicuring the perfect little entries of all of the perfect little gated communities. This means (and I don't know why it didn't occur to me until the middle of the race), that there was no shade to be found, and the views bored me half to death because all I saw over and over again was variations of the exact same landscaping. I was bored out of my mind, and I slowed down because of that.
By mile 8, I soon found that I was back of the pack again... this doesn't bother me normally, but the cruiser who was at the tail end of the pack wouldn't give me the space that I needed, and was right on my heels the entire time. So of course, I was happy when at mile 9, the officer in the cruiser asked if I was ok, then proceeded to leave me out there on the course myself. Guess her shift was over? I don't know.
Like I said, I was happy to have a little more space to do my own thing, but that happiness was short lived. Apparently, when the cruiser passed me, the people at the aid stations determined that the race was already over, so I went without course support for the last 4 miles. No water is ok for some folk, but not back of the packers who have no shade and who are in a concrete jungle in South Florida. I was also left to my own devices to cross major intersections on my own. I had to stop for traffic, and when I say major intersections, think 3 lanes each direction.
As I rounded the corner and came to the finishline area, I knew there was something wrong. I was well within the mandated time frame for finishers, but I could tell that the finishline was basically already packed up. From a distance, I could tell that my friend Seth was having a heated conversation with one of the timing officials. I later learned that he basically had to argue with the officials to prevent them from packing up and leaving me out there on the course entirely. They must have been in a rush? I don't know.
I finished. It wasn't pretty. I did it without the support that I should have had, and the support that I paid for. It was another race to add to the tally for 2014, but I won't be returning.
Gun 3:31: 55