i have run a handful of half marathons now... all of which i completed while following all of the guidelines (with the exception of an ipod). today, i broke that streak but in my defense, i will use famous saying... "but it wasn't my fault."
a bit of back history for journal-ing purposes.....
i signed up for the Des Plaines River Half Marathon a while ago. My goal this year was to find inexpensive, low key races as i wanted to put the dollars into triathlons. i should have known this was going to be a bad race when my sitter bailed on me two days before. she was legitimately sick and luckily a friend swooped in to help me out!
got to the start a hour early as packet pickup was day of. saw some triathlon swim friends which was fun who all projected sub 8 min/mile pace. told them they would be home sleeping by the time i finished.
start was in a field (?!?!).. and then we basically ran around this reservoir a few times and made a turnaround around mile 5. ( Map ) i started with a nice slow pace (11:00 min/mile) as i am 1. not in good running shape and 2. still concerned about my stress fracture. my foot was also asleep for 4 miles. my pace put me in the second to last pack with about 15-20 other people. Looking back, somewhere between Mile 6-7, a group of us got on the wrong path near where the three water drops are. (There were only mile markers every two miles and there were no splits so i relied on asking people every once in a while.) We proceeded to run around the reservoir again (once on the lower bowl and then again on the upper bowl.) i kept seeing the same people around me and as a loner runner that likes to keep my head down, i have been known to just follow feet for miles.
finally the couple in front of me asked me if we were going in the right direction and we find out that some of the other runners are running the relay half marathon (whose course didn't overlap ours past mile 3). we found out one the people in front, asked where to go and a cross country high school kid told him the wrong way.. as i was following feet with headphones, i was a lemming following the pack. a group of of us then headed toward the correct course and met up with the runners at mile 11. I asked for the time and figured these people were running 9:30 min/miles. i was so embarrassed. i told another helper we were lost (another cross country high school kid) who told me "dude, that sucks"... no kidding! i also felt horrible for the couple b/c this was their first 1/2 marathon. they even did a training program and now they won't be able to officially finish.... annoying!
i finished the last 2.1 miles at ~ 9:45 pace b/c i was mortified i was "cheating." after crossing the finish and in the chute, i tried not to let them take my stub to scan. i 'finished' at 1:58 min (30 minutes ahead of my 5 previous half marathons). they ended up taking my stub and then i ran another 2.25 miles b/c that is what i calculated i needed to run to finish (based on pace, looking at the map after i finished and historical time).
i am pretty confident i did the mileage... just annoyed at how i needed to get it. lessons learned: pay attention in little races!!
no pictures except a picture of my awesome finishers medal. notice the upside wording??! the medal was the icing on the cake to a crappy race.