This sunday the Niff and I ventured down to Lowell for the final leg of our 3 part race series - 5 miles through the city of Lowell.
She ran the course a couple years ago and I had the only vaguest of ideas where to park when we got there, but we had a suggestion map from the race site for locations to park. We showed up about 40 minutes early for the race and rolled past the starting line looking for a place to park.
To say that it was a nightmare is fucking laughable. By the time we parked in a parking garage and talked to 3 people that just happened to all be batshit crazy we had about 15 minutes before the start of the race. We ended up looping back to the car and talked to a cop we saw that said we were about a mile to a mile and a half from the starting line.
We got into the car and I headed where he told me to and apparently he's not a runner, nor has any sense of distance because it was less than 1/4 mile away. Had he pointed us in that direction and told us it was that far we could have jogged there without issue.
Instead we rolled up to around where we parked a few years ago, only to find zero spots, not even a snowballs chance in hell finding a spot. We did our best to find a spot. We had no choice.
I can't recall a time I was angrier or more disappointed in myself and frustrated and upset. A couple time I screamed I wanted to crash the fucking car into the median and blow up. The Niff was less angry, but understandably upset - she's never missed a race for any reason...ever. Injury, being late, not finding the place, etc. Never.
I was so pissed, I was done with running. I was going to go home and feel sorry for myself. I was truly pissed at myself.
But the Niff had the idea to run our own private race. There is a 5 mile course she runs when training, it's right outside our door, she knew all the mile markers to track my pace, and we'd put in the 5 miles. I was resistant because I was still seething mad. But I changed my tune.
And we ran. It was a little more than 5 miles, and just as difficult (probably more) than our real race course based on the elevation profiles, and she paced me wonderfully as usual, and we finished in 55:30.
I am upset we missed the race to complete my tri-force-like medal, but it was more about the accomplishment than the t-shirt and medal.
And because I'm a glutton for punishment I signed up for a 5 mile race in Boston, in the same place where the Niff runs her half marathon. But it will be my first long race without my personal pacer so we'll see how it goes. Who knows, maybe I'll surprise myself.
Out of all this I did learn one thing: if we did The Amazing Race together I'd likely kill someone in the process.
But it would make for good TV.