but these events really happened. i am just asking why. i know i know. It wa back in june. i signed up for a couple of short trail races in local parks that I often run. the first one was an 8k in ravenna park the second was in carkeek. this story is about the first one. i no-showed the second one because i forgot. its hard to shake though you know…paranoia that is. i mean isnt every system of control based on fear? …but isnt paranoia is also quite beautiful in its own twisted way? where would we have got any of the greatest works of literature without her? i mean like philip dick kind of paranoia! anyway there is a narrow park that runs the length of a deep ravine in the middle of town that has several trails snaking along it’s length. looking at the map provided on the race web site i realized that i’d better go early and give it a look and warm-up. when I was jogging around in the park I couldn’t find my way so I went back up to the start area to stretch. there were about 100 to 150 runners gathering around the start area and one really drunk guy sitting at one of the tables in the park yelling at anyone who would listen – not that anyone had a choice- “HEY! HEY YOU! YEA YOU! FUCH YOU! YEA YOU! FUCK YOU! YEA IM TALKING TO YOU!” i tried to glance over just using my peripheral vision without him seeing me look at him and wonder if everyone else was doing the same thing – or was he really just talking to me? anyway no luck at getting any direct attention he started inviting anyone to shoot him. “GO AHEAD! RIGHT HERE (pointing at his forhead)! one sure kill shot!” anyway at start time the guy marking the course still wasn’t finished so we all waited. he finally arrived seeming flustered and expressing annoyance to his friend at the crowd (and increased interest in their race) and i thought to myself: ‘hey wait a minute, i paid 30 bucks to race this. am I not welcome?’ i wanted to to do some strides right before start time but felt embarrassed because of some of the comments around me from some high school kids. it’s not easy being twice as old as most of my competitors and people often say things to me they don’t think i can hear because of my headphones…or maybe i cant. hey! that’s the paranoia! hehe. so i am inventing stuff that comes out of peoples mouths because i cant hear them but think i can and am paranoid! haha! well lets clear this up right now: i listen to music but it’s usually jazz and quiet and they are not noise cancelling and I can easily hear everything around me. they just serve to mask my severe tinnitus that I have struggled with for years and likely will until I die so if you don’t like people wearing earbuds fine but don’t make assumptions about people. so… after a few announcements about how the race was “very well marked” we were off. i lined up somewhere behind where I should be just because of experience and more false assumptions people make. the race started with a nice fast downhill section and i was passing everyone but the fastest. it was a group start for the 4k, 8k and 12k (1,2 and 3 laps) i was in the 8k so I paced myself a little but felt really good finally getting strong again after struggling with injury all winter and I was ready to ace this one. on the downhill i was going strong but got deliberately bumped by one of the high school kids who muttered something about getting out of the way. damn I was really getting fed up by all this but retained focus and was gritting out a really good trail pace around 7:00 on the flats and no one was passing me on the hills and I was passing folks on the flats and downhills and folks half my age and stupid high school kids 1/3 my age. up to a couple of miles everything was ok because there were other runners around me but the course was marked with signs and pointers and streamers and there was stuff all over the place! no wonder it took him so long to mark it. i still say it was not well marked…it was over marked!…until a critical junction. a junction where I was in the all too familiar no-man’s land between the competitive front runners and everyone else except for one lady whom i had just passed so no one was in front to follow. a junction where the main trail went up towards the start and there was a small offshoot off into the bushes to the right and there was no sign…see here is the problem with overmarking a course…now there was no sign. zero. nothing. i did not search in the grass for it but after all the copious marking on the course if nothing was visible then?… so me and the lady who was now following me kept going on the main trail and ran back up to the start with what i can only imagine a terrified look. discovering we went the wrong way i yelled an expletive and turned around profusely apologizing to the lady I had led astray looking for the junction, finally found it, having lost about one minute I made some more apologies to the lady and finished the race feeling discouraged but soldiering on as fast as I could (also noticing the critical marker having been added on the second lap) but i fell so far behind with the wrong turn I ended up having to pass a lot of slower runners. a pair of girls on the trail were so surprised by my late speed and i had to apologize to them saying “sorry” and “excuse me” and “i got lost!”. one of them patted me on the back as I passed saying “aww. it’s ok”. after finishing the race i slumped at one of the picnic benches where people were sitting around (still wearing my earphones that make everyone think I cant hear them). “eww he’s old!” said a young girl nearby. that was it. this is no truman show. i left without stretching out properly or waiting for awards but first stopped at a table that had t shirts and went to get my swag. “umm that’s $20”. wtf? today two months later as i am writing this down i looked on the website for results and see that there are no fewer than 6 images of me taken by the race photographer including one that seemingly was taken the moment i realized i went the wrong way as if the whole damned thing was a trick so the photog could capture these precious moments (suspiciously crouched near the location of the offense) . omg. i worked hard training and rehabbing for a long time to get this strong just to be, ahem…and if you look closely behind me in that photo i think you can see the spot where the trail goes off into the bushes with no marking. i cant bring myself to put it in the post though. ok here’s a little one.
place: 14th out of 73 41:41.9 ag3rd. those who were stronger prevailed but i want a leveler field.
here’s the gps data: