Over Memorial Day weekend, I ran the Color Me Rad 5K with my sister. It ended up being a family affair; my sister brought her fiancé John to cheer us on, and even my parents came down to watch us run.
We were signed up to run in the 10a.m. wave, so to make sure we had plenty of time to get to the fairgrounds and park, we left my apartment at around 8a.m. We parked around 8:30a.m., and then my sister and I handed all our phones and shit over to John and proceeded to get pre-colored at the DJ booth/dance party area before the race.
After successfully wasting an hour and a half doing that, it was time to run. My parents still had not arrived when it was time to go to the corral, but they ended up finding John shortly after we started running.
Although this wasn’t my first 5K, I did a very stupid thing and didn’t hydrate with water. In fact, I hydrated with everything but water: the day before I did a shot of Patron and had a beer with the family at dinner, and the day of the race, I had coffee. So combine that with it being as hot as Satan’s testicles outside, and you have me having to stop and walk after the first mile or so because I felt like if I kept running, I would have passed out or thrown up or quite possibly both. I told Laura to go on ahead since her goal was to run the whole thing, and I happily walked, then ran until I felt like I was going to be sick, then walked, then ran again, cursed the heat and the sun, kind of hated life, and then ran the last stretch to the finish line.
After I finished, I looked for my family via my own personal strategy: standing around and drinking water, thinking they would find me. After about 10 minutes of that, I started to walk along the outside perimeter of the crowd that had gathered at the finish line. Nothing. I then made a loop by the porta potties, food tents, check-in tents at the front, and the DJ booth/party area. Still didn’t see them. I went back to the crowd at the finish line and stood awkwardly for a few more minutes, finishing my water. Then I repeated the entire process of walking the crowd perimeter, making a pass by the porta potties, food tents, check-in tents, and DJ booth/party area before winding up exactly where I was before, still not locating my family.
When I repeated this loop for the fourth time, I was getting frustrated. My phone was with John, so it wasn’t like I could call anybody and ask where they were. My glasses were also with John, so all I could see were blurred faces and lots of color. I made a few passes by the “lost person” tent and even borrowed a lady’s phone to call my cell, but nothing. None of my people were at the tent. Nobody answered my call, or checked the message I left.
By this point I was pissed. Why in holy hell could I not find four effing people? Why weren’t they in the same area John, Laura, and I were in before the race? Did they step into a black hole Land of the Lost-style and get transported to the land of the dinosaurs? The area wasn’t that big, and while the crowd was good-sized, it wasn’t like it was shoulder-to-shoulder jam-packed with people. Once again, I did a loop of the perimeter. Nothing. I finally walked to my car, thinking maybe they were all gathered there. Nada. I walked back to the fairgrounds, rehearsing what I’d say when I finally saw them, angrily shaking my fist and gesticulating. Once inside, I made another pass by the “lost person” tent then walked the perimeter a few more times. By this point, the crowd had thinned out considerably, as people began leaving. I again walked to my car, where I still didn’t see anyone. By this point I was so pissed, I considered trying to break into my car, hot-wiring it, and leaving their asses. But I had nothing with which to break into my car, and I don’t know how the hell to hot-wire anything, so instead I sat under a tree in the shade and fumed for a few more minutes before wearily getting up to once again make my way to the fairgrounds to waste more time wandering aimlessly about like an escaped Alzheimer’s patient.
It was on this second trip into the fairgrounds–an hour and a half after I crossed the finish line–that I ran into Laura and John. I was tired. I was pissed off. Laura, John, and I were all sunburned. And my mother was worried I’d had an asthma attack and was passed out on the course somewhere. After getting my family’s side of what had happened, I pretty much gathered that we were all wandering aimlessly in the race area, looking for each other, and probably passing each other, like, 50 times.
This race taught me some valuable lessons:
1. Beer, tequila, and coffee do not count as an acceptable means by which to hydrate before a race.
2. Establish an area with your people where you all can meet up after you finish your race so you’re not wandering around for an hour and a half, wondering if your family has reported you missing.
3. The amount of sunscreen you should wear should be as if you planned on being lost for an hour and a half.
4. Margaritas do not count as an acceptable means by which to hydrate after a race.