3.28.2010

The race that almost wasn't, Part II

Fate wasn't entirely against me on this trip.  Right after the crash I realized that getting to DC in time would likely become impossible seeing the traffic and assuming it would be quite a while before a tow truck could get to us.  I looked for a phone number or email to reach the race directors, but there was nothing on the materials I printed or the website.  Another person could pick up my race number for me, but they would need a copy of my ID--not exactly something I had handy to give someone in DC.  However, it just so happened that one of my friends had let me know they were going to be a volunteer at the expo--a gigantic coincidence given that this was an out of town race and that I have so few running friends.

I texted my friend and let them know that I had been in an accident and that I was in jeopardy of missing the expo cut off of 8pm.  Then I let my friend know that Wifey and I were fine and unharmed--I had my priorities in order.  In an strange bit of good luck my friend let me know that not only were they manning the registration tables, but they were handling the box with my number in it.  My friend pulled out the number and would hold onto it until I got to DC that night.

While I was a ball of stress and nerves by this time, knowing I'd be able to get my race number helped calm me tremendously.  I knew that I would be able to run the race I was striving to get to and run it legitimately.

The tow truck with the replacement rental showed up on schedule at 6:57pm.  We hightailed it out of there since we still had a long drive ahead.  I had switched to glasses, because there was no way I going to drive with contacts again--at least not until I got better adjusted to them.  But the problems kept coming.

First, since we didn't get to charge Wifey's phone the night before it was dead.  It would have been fine to be just with my phone, but because we spent about an hour on the phone with Budget my battery was dying fast. And we needed the charge to last all the way to DC to meet up with my friend and then get to update our friends who we were staying with in Virginia.  Second, both outlets in the replacement car were dead, so our Garmin had to operate on battery only--a battery life which I knew would not last the three hours to DC.  Normally this wouldn't be a problem because we have our phones as back up, but then I refer you back to the phone situation.  Third, the replacement car only had half a tank of gas, which might last all the way to DC--I didn't want to do a time-sucking gas stop unless it was absolutely necessary.

Well, we were on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway when the "low fuel" light came on.  If you know about about this Parkway (and Parkways in general) you know that there are gigantic gaps between exits.  I was afraid that we'd hit a traffic jam and I'd be stranded on the shoulder of this highway.  Seeing the bad luck I was having behind the wheel it could only be expected.  Fortunately, we missed the traffic jam by 500 feet (it was a mess of red lights) and pulled off on the next exit to gas up.

At 10:15pm we made it to my friend's hotel and picked up the race bib.  I gave them a run down of the previous 12 hours and the mess of a day I was having.  Then we quickly parted ways because Wifey and I still had to go crosstown to Arlington where we were staying with other friends.

We finally made it to our friends' apartment at 10:45pm with the last bit of charge left in the Garmin. (We had turned off the Garmin on the long stretches of expressway between Philly and Baltimore.)  I hadn't had dinner but didn't really feel like I could hold down any food: my stomach was a cement brick, even water went down bad.  As we turned in for the night I tried to get my head around the idea that I was running a race in the morning.  I took out my clothes and gear, I slapped some music together and called it a playlist (it's not even worth posting the music here), and made a game plan for the morning with Wifey.  By 11:30 we were out--only five and a half hours before we'd have to be awake again.

This was a very strange place for me mentally speaking.  The last thing I wanted to do was run a race--I've been nervous, I've had sleepless nights, but I've never not wanted to run a race.  And actually, if this race was closer to home I might have thrown in the towel.  However, for this race I used one of my precious few vacation days, I drove four hours out of town, I had two near accidents and one full accident, I had asked a friend to pull a major favor that might have gotten them in trouble, among so many other hurdles.  In other words, I had made it through so many setbacks to get to the starting line that I couldn't not do the race.  My only option was to run.

5 comments:

Jess said...

This is a nail biter!

Kevin said...

Way to build the suspense

xm41907 said...

I live in Baltimore and work half way between Baltimore and DC. Traffic absolutely sucks! Everyday is a disaster waiting to happen. FYI, avoid the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at all costs. Stick with I-95. There are more lanes, less congestion, and there isn't much of a difference distance-wise.

The Laminator said...

Unreal, unreal! What a story! I had no idea...

Can't wait for Part III

Adam said...

Suuuuuuuuuck. I am not even kidding when I say that I am fighting with Hertz as we speak because they won't return my calls about a rental accident. What a nightmare.

Can't wait for the rest of the RR