Even though they still ooze, my toes have healed enough to allow me to run again. On Tuesday, the gym at work sponsored a little 5K race. It was not a giant affair — only a dozen people entered — but I was pleased to managed to win pretty cleanly. I took off right at the beginning and never looked back.
Or did I?
The course followed the loop around the campus. Not being quite 5K, we also had to run down Seaport a ways and turn around. See map.
Cute little four inch pylons with cute little arrows drawn on them like happy faces marked the course. OK, cool. I saw a bunch of them, as they directed me around the loop and down the straightaway towards Redwood City.
I ran down Seaport, and eventually I saw two large orange pylons and a metal bar ahead of me. So I planned how I would jump over the bar and turn around and come back on the other side of the pylons. As I got closer, I realized that the bar was actually a downed light pole. Wow, pretty severe. How about that.
I turned around and finished the course, easily in first place, running in 20:10, almost two minutes ahead of the fellow who came in second. The fellow who arranged it congratulated me, and told me I won the $25 gift card for first place.
As I overheard him talking to someone else about how he set out the course, I started thinking how lucky it was that the downed light pole happened to be right at the turnaround. Then I remembered how those pylons were much bigger than all the others. That’s when it dawned on me: that was not the designated turn-around point.
Sheepishly, I went to him and said, “Um, I think maybe I cheated.” I explained what happened. Another racer chimed in that the actual turnaround point was only maybe 70 feet after where I turned around, so he agreed that my margin was sufficient to make no difference to my first place.
It sure made me feel stupid though. Maybe I do have an athlete in me. I just wish it wasn’t in my brain.