I should be pleased as punch, right? I finished fifth in my age group (out of 45) and won an official event hat. I got two pint glasses. I got a bunch of great stuff for 50% off at the Running Fit store right after the race.
No. NO! I'm pissed as hell. This was supposed to be the race for me, the one where I busted the 25:00 barrier for the first time since I was a senior in high school. I was feeling so fine this morning. I was so ready.
OK. First of all, HOW CAN YOU HAVE A CHIP-TIMED EVENT WITH ONLY ONE TIMING MAT??? I just DON'T GET IT. The only people who are going to have an accurate time are the ones who were standing with their toes on the starting line when the horn sounded. The rest of the pack, shuffling slowly forward, crossed the starting line well after the front-of-the-pack sprinters, adding seconds if not minutes to our times. I shouldn't have put myself so far back in the pack; I spent forever zooming past people in the early stages of the race.
Secondly, and I know this depends on how accurate my Garmin 305 is (and it has shown itself to be pretty darn accurate in the past), THE COURSE WAS NOT A 5K. My Garmin showed the distance to be 3.21 miles.
To give you a sense of how inaccurate it all was, my Garmin showed my first mile split as 8:07, but when I got the "official" time from the race volunteer with a stopwatch he called out 9:00. My second mile split according to my Garmin was 7:42! Third mile split, 8:03. (And never mind that the difference in distance between when my Garmin chirped to signal the completion of another mile and the "official" mile marker kept increasing with each successive mile). I stopped my watch as I crossed the finish line at 25:28. My "official time" for the race was 26:06. HUH? After I ran a 7:42 mile? How is this possible?
So let's see. Splits of 8:07, 7:42, and 8:03 equals 23:52 for three miles. For the remaining distance I was running at a 7:39/mile pace according to my Garmin. One tenth of a mile at that pace would have taken me 45 seconds to complete. 23:52 plus 45 seconds is 24:37. Twenty-FOUR minutes and 37 seconds. Not twenty-SIX minutes, my "official" time, or even the twenty-five minutes my Garmin showed.
Oh, and? Strip mall parking lots? NOT GOOD FOR RACING! This was the screwiest race course I've ever run. All these loops and twists and double-backs and everyone jammed in between rows of cars. It was ridiculous.
Running Fit did such a great job with the Big House Big Heart 5K in September. Chip-timed (with TWO timing mats), dead-on accurate 5K, nice wide open race course. Maybe it was the race management outfit. I don't know. I'm just highly peeved. I ran a 5K in under 25 minutes but it's not official. I can't point to my time in the race results and say, "See! I did it!"
There's a St. Patrick's Day "Shamrocks and Shenanigans" 5K next month in Ann Arbor. Maybe I can redeem myself then.