The best laid plans…

I meant to post the other day, but blogger had other plans–I know many of you can relate. Sometimes races don’t go according to plan either. I was reading Big Daddy Diesel’s race report the other day–where he placed 2nd overall in the aquabike, btw–and it brought up a few memories. In his post, BDD talked about having to scramble to make it to the starting line; he got there in time, but with only about 15 minutes to spare.

It made me laugh, because I’ve had a few of those experiences over the years myself. One time I was headed down to Annapolis, about a 30-min. drive from here, for the annual 10-miler there. I thought I had given myself enough time, but no, I got stuck in a huge line of traffic trying to exit at Navy stadium. By the time I got parked, I had to run to catch the tail end of the runners crossing the start line. I literally ran right onto the race course and just kept going. Thank goodness for timing chips!

Then there was the year I did Boston with a few friends and we decided to forgo the bus system and instead take a cab up to Hopkinton. Yeah, it seemed like a good idea…

When we got to the exits for Hopkinton, they were all blocked off to general traffic. We started to panic–the exit was still a long way from the finish. If we had to jump out and run from there, we probably wouldn’t make the start, not to mention all the miles we’d put on our legs before the marathon we had ahead of us. Somehow we were able to coerce the police to let us through and the cab got us fairly close to the start line. My two friends in the first corral that day had to give us their bags to check and run right onto the course. And even with another 30 minutes before the rest of us started, we still had to scramble to check bags and make our way to the corrals.

My favorite of all race mishaps happened to my brother. He had met us in Delaware for a sprint triathlon. My son was a baby then and we had brought along a baggie full of rice cereal. My brother had also brought along a baggie full of Cytomax for his race. He made up his race bottle and yep, he chose the wrong baggie. Rice cereal for hydration, anyone?

It all goes to show that we can’t take ourselves too seriously…sometimes, no matter how hard we try, things will go wrong. What close calls have you had on race day?

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  1. Raquelita says

    Ha! My friend and I missed the start of a half-marathon in Virginia Beach last year because he thought it started a half hour later than it did. We did get across the starting gate (separately because he went off to do a warm up) before they took it down, but it made for an interesting start of a race. It did give me a bit of a boost, though, because I passed a lot of people (mostly walkers) for the first couple of miles.

  2. Michael says

    OMG…the rice cereal really cracked me up! We just about missed the start of our last race and got there with seconds to spare. I thought I was going to have to carry my gear bag during the half marathon – that would have sucked!

  3. MCM Mama says

    I nearly snorted my coffee onto my computer at the rice cereal story!

    I've been lucky so far and have never cut a start too close…

  4. The Green Girl says

    I think missing the start of a race was really stressful for me when I first started racing but now I'm a little more relaxed when it comes to big races because I know it's chip timed – and I understand better, you know?

  5. Jennifer says

    Ha ha! Very funny! My biggest mishap was when running a 50, in the mud, and I took a quick break to take off my shoes and clean the mud and debris out, unfortunately I put them on minus the insoles. Duh! It's good to be prepared for anything!

  6. Finallyfit2011 says

    Wow those are some close calls & funny adventures! P.s. Thanks for your tips on my last post! Once I get to running longer distances I may just need to to two-a-days? A.m. run, p.m. train :)

  7. Jill says

    The rice cereal story is the best! Haha. And I think one of the best parts of the Boston Marathon is taking the buses; have always had a great time waiting in line and riding them.

    I have a few very close-call stories like yours and BDD's….once I was doing this 7K and we were running late as it was and I forgot something in the car and we parked far away. It was the first year my boys were running it and it's a huge race so I was was all wigged out about finding them after so they got the lecture on where to meet me and I quickly ran back to my car, got whatever I forgot (forget what now) and sprinted to the start JUST as the gun went off. Good thing was that I was virtually on the front line since I was sprinting towards them and I actually PR'd. I figured I need a good 2 mile sprint warm up before a 4.35 mile race!! :)

  8. Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner says

    I'm always worried about being late to things, and races are no different! Those close calls worry me!

  9. Amanda@runninghood says

    Oh Amanda, this rice story is too good! So funny! ha ha! Probably not the best tasting or best fueling. :)

    The Boston story just makes me cringe. This is the stuff I have nightmares about. Being unprepared for things I've waited so long for.

  10. Richelle says

    Oh my gosh… that rice story! Must have been terrifying at the time, but it makes for a good story later.

    So far (knock on wood!) I haven't had any late starts or race day mishaps. I've gotten "the runs" on training runs, though, and sometimes I have wardrobe issues (usually dressing too warmly for a spring or fall race).

  11. Fran says

    The rice story is great, bet you would have wanted to see the look on his face when he opened it :)

    I haven't had late starts on race day (yet). If it's possible I go by public traffic, especially in cities to prevent getting into a traffic jam.

  12. Jeff - DangleTheCarrot says

    Annie and I were at a HM last year and it got delayed b/c of traffic problems. We took a nap in the car and when we woke up we noticed everyone was at the start line. For some reason (sleepiness?) we thought this was an opportunity to use the line free porto's. Well, we were in them when the starting gun went off. About 2000 people in that race and we were the last 2 to cross the starting line! I still finished 15th OA so I passed just about every single runner – good times!

  13. Penny says

    Ok that rice cereal hydaration is so funny. Cracked me up. I cant remember having any issues at races. I am one to get there extra early and I tend to triple check everything. I can be obsessive on race day. I probably will have more crap than I need in my bag or one me.

  14. Caratunk Girl says

    That is hilarious – the rice cereal hydration! SO funny. I am always there super early and check and re-check everything if I can. When I get there late I am a FREAK.

  15. Johann says

    Oh yes, we are only normal people or are we? One of mine was when I took off my tracksuit pants at a race only to realize I never put on my running shorts the morning.

  16. MotherRunner says

    Close calls?? Hmm I did get to a race once without my garmin. Turned out to be one of my best races! (It's mamarunsbarefoot here!!)

  17. Christina says

    rice cereal? that's a classic. Probably the only mishap is when my Garmin watch band broke, the duct tape intended to hold it together didn't, and I shoved the watch in my sports bra. that's a common holding spot for gloves, shirts, ear buds and I don't think anything of it. The guy next to me eyeballed me like I was strange.

  18. Meg says

    Wow, these stories stress me out even though I laughed out loud at the baby cereal. I LOVE to have all of my ducks in a row for a race, including being there at least an hour early!!
    Sometimes letting things just happen make for better races.
    Fun post!

  19. ajh says

    As everyone is saying – love the rice cereal mix up. Hysterical. I'm not recalling any big mishap at the moment.

  20. Allison says

    Haha @ the rice cereal story.

    I had a mishap before the 2004 AFC Half Marathon. I got a little sloppy eating my pre-race chocolate chip bagel in the car and somehow ended up getting some chocolate on the back of my running shorts from a few errant now-melted chips. You can imagine how that went over in the porta-potty line. I had a woman come up to me MORTIFIED telling me that I had something on the back of my shorts. My husband and friend were dying!! "It's not poop! I swear!!" I felt like George Costanza and his "shrinkage."

  21. Kenley says

    Nice Post. Nice Police Men. I have not had any mishaps yet, but I am sure I will in time. It is true no matter how hard you plan or prepare, something is bound to go wrong. With other things, I found that the harder you try to plan, something will go wrong. The only mishap on my latest race was the unforgiving visit of the Gingerbread man. (Marathon Talk) Cheers.

  22. Jim ... 50after40 says

    Man, I can relate! Like Michael said, we almost missed the start of our last half marathon. It was my daughter's first race. I would have been "worst dad ever" if we missed that one. Our hearts were pounding! Made it though.

  23. Gracie (Complicated Day) says

    I was on a bus that was so slow that we reached the start line 16 minutes after the start once. It was the Crescent City Classic 10k and there are 55k runners and walkers and no timing chips. Pretty sure every mother in the state was in front of me pushing a stroller.

  24. Running Mama says

    Thanks so much for the follow, hope you enjoy the read as much as I enjoy reading yours. :)

  25. Molly says

    rice cereal = carbs!

    The first year I ran the Boilermaker, my sis in law and I checked our bag with the car keys in it. I don't know why we didn't look for the truck with the bags at the finish, we took the shuttle back to the start line assuming it would be there instead of at the finish. We had to go all the way back to the finish to get our bags. We wasted about an hour on pointless shuttle bus rides!

  26. Matty O says

    HAHA wow you drew up some good comments on this one 😉

    Great stories haha, we have ALL had those experiences and yes I have had my share of "oops" moments as well.

    Great post :)

  27. Jen says

    That rice cereal story was great! Races don't always go as planned and that's part of the beauty of running. There are so many things that are just out of our control. Weather being the big one!
    I hope you're doing well. How's the feet? I've been thinking about you!

  28. Big Daddy Diesel says

    You have post alone with all these comments. All that scrabbling left me mentally drained at the start of the race, frazzled. Lesson learned. And sometimes we cant control it and just have to go with the flow.

  29. runningonwords says

    Ha, I love stories like these! The baby rice cereal is hilarious and definitely something I would do if I had a baby!

  30. Monica says

    love these stories. Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when the marathon runner sleeps over and he is late for the NYC Marathon. This is why we are all a little obsessed pre-race!

  31. Dash says

    I had one year where every race I ran, I was in a porta john when the gun went off. :)

    But you feel so fast running by everyone! :)

  32. lindsay says

    oh man the boston one – i would have been a little stressed! i usually forget things…or do newbie mistakes. mine don't seem as funny as yours :)