Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Run Around over my Run Around Richmond

My recap of the Richmond Marathon concluded with a mystery. Will he be placed in the official results, or will his time only exist in his head forever? The answer is the former. However, it didn't come easy.

The pre-race dinner should have been a precursor. When the attendant at the front desk of the Day's Inn told us the hotel restaurant was having a pasta dinner, we thought, "What could be easier?" So, instead of venturing out into the town, we simply made our way downstairs. I expected there to be a buffett with spaghetti, meatballs, sauce, bread, salad, etc. But, when we walked in there was no buffett. We sat right down since the place was half-empty and when our waitress came over, we immediately ordered. We both wanted the spaghetti special. Easy enough, right? Wrong. Now, I am no chef, but I have cooked spaghetti. The longest its ever taken me to make spaghetti is eight minutes. That's including the amount of time it takes to get the water to boil. When 20 minutes passed, both Aaron and I started to get a little annoyed. We ordered bread to fight off the hunger. It came...15 minutes later. 40 minutes and still no spaghetti. The waitress kept coming by and saying things like, "it's almost here," and "I've never seen it this busy." There were maybe 15 people in the restaurant. Not to mention it was no secret there was a marathon in town the next day that started four blocks from the hotel. Perhaps some planning might have been beneficial. At the 50 minute mark, the pasta arrived. Instead of being plentiful, it was puny. I think both of us finished the entire plate with the side of mystery meat balls in 1/10th of the time it took us to get our food. Still, hungry and overcharged considering the service and the portion size, we left in search of more food. We found ourselves at a minimart down the street. To say it was shady would be a compliment. Bars were on the doors and windows, and the odor of gasoline inside was so strong I thought the whole place might blow up were my cell phone to ring. (Note: it was not a gas station.) Fortunately, we had already bought peanut butter at a real grocery store. But, we needed jelly and bread to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We found some high fructose corn syrup concoction and some suspect looking bread and walked back to the hotel. Paul could only laugh when he came back from his nice dinner with his family to see us stuffing our faces with PB & J.

That's my anecdote.

My calls and emails to the Richmond Marathon organizers began roughly 17 seconds after I learned I had been dropped from the results. Since it was a Saturday night, I got no answer. Sunday was much of the same. On Monday, I finally got through to a person. They said they understood my concern and the problem would be fixed in one to two days. Later that day, I recieved the same response in an email. One to two days. Tuesday, I got an email from the timing company. They weren't so optimistic. I was told they would begin looking into the matter, but would need photographic evidence and testimonials from other runners. Sigh. They really suspected I cheated. I again told them that if I were going to cheat, I would cheat to a place higher than 11th. Heck, there was cash five deep. I thought they suspected me not only of cheating, but also of being stupid. Coach Hadley wrote them a strongly worded email, Paul affirmed that we ran the first seven miles together. I sent pictures and the electronically generated email Caitlin got when I finished. By Thursday, I was starting to wonder if this race was never going to officially exist for me, and I had poured months of work into something I had nothing to show for. It was a daunting feeling. Friday, I was on my last nerve. I called both the race director's office and the timing company. I left messages at both places. The timing company had an assistant call me back to say it might be several more days. In the midst of my anger, I saw that the Richmond Marathon Facebook page had reposted Theoden's blog about all the Charlotte runners and labeled it, "Charlotte Runners love the Richmond Marathon." Maybe I shouldn't have commented, but I had to. I wrote that not all Charlotte runners loved the Richmond Marathon, this one in particular. I put it right there on their public page that I was disappointed with the way this was all handled. They wrote back within minutes, clearly irritated with my squeaky-wheel attitude. That must have been the right move because it was that afternoon I got confirmation that my time of 2:40:28 was official and would be placed in the results. It's still not online, but it is supposed to be there Monday or Tuesday.

Now, I can head back up to Richmond on April 2nd for the Ukrops Monument Avenue 10K.

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