Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yawn, yet another 3K.

A week ago yesterday I ran a special edition of the free noontime Tidal Basin 3K Race. The RRCA had a Run To Work Day for its 50th Anniversary, as I understand it, and the DC representative set up a Friday running of this monthly 3K race, normally sponsored by my running club, the DC Road Runners.

It was a sparse turnout. At noon, the sponsor was begging people jogging by on noontime runs to participate in the race. A workmate of mine ran by, halfway through a six-mile monument run, and I waved him over. He was game, although he had never run a 3K race before. I told him not to start too fast and then to kick it up as he felt comfortable.

Secretly I was pleased. I knew I was faster than this workmate. I have been remiss so far because I have only been successful in persuading workmates to run this race who are faster than me.

My doppelganger Peter was there and I gave him the disinformation that I felt really bad that day. He laughed me off knowingly and then told me he felt bad.

Off we went at noon, eleven of us. The runners froze into place a quarter mile down the road when I ran by Peter, as customary (he often runs by me again the last quarter mile) and Gary ran by me a short while later, as usual. After that, no one changed places anywhere in the race, it just gradually widened out.

I ran well. The guy in front of me steadily stretched out his lead over me, a process repeated all up and down the food chain ahead of me and behind me. I finished sixth in 12:52 (6:55). Woo hoo! I broke 13 minutes for only the second time this year (12:59 in April was the other time). My mile mark was 6:49, and my 2K mark was 8:37, exactly the same as two days earlier. But somehow on Friday I ran the last 1K eight seconds faster than on Wednesday. Go figure.

My workmate ran an excellent 14:04 (7:33) and he came in DFL among the men. Is this a tough race or what?

Afterwards there was trouble. A Parks Policewoman in a plain wrapper spotted us, a small knot of emaciated men and women in short clothes gathered around a plain folding table holding a water jug and cups set on the grass by street's edge at the intersection of Ohio Drive and FDR Drive, 3/4 mile from the Jefferson Memorial and 1/4 mile from the FDR Memorial. She parked alongside us, got out of her sneaker and strutted over to ask for our "permit" to "gather" on Park Service land. The race sponsor said he thought that as long as the "gathering" was under 25 persons, no permit was needed.

"That's just for demonstrations," she said, "not gatherings. And no permit has ever been issued for here. Well?"

I didn't help matters when I blurted out, "Free Tibet!"

She lectured us and told us to read the "regulations" (sure, we'll get right on it) because "it's all in there." Grandly saying she'd "let it go this time," she contemptuously surveyed our pathetic, sweating skinny little group standing there in abbreviated clothes acting as respectful as possible. Then she parked her fat ass in her unit and left. Bah!


jeanne said...

those cops scare me. i tried to ride behind the white house today and got yelled at cuz i guess me and my little bike are TOO SCARY for w.

Sunshine said...

Was it the folding table that made it a gathering?? Wish I'd been there for your remark!! Be safe,friend.

ShirleyPerly said...

Under 25 people doesn't sound like a big enough group to require a permit to me. There are MANY more than that, like hundreds, at some of the group training runs held every week in Orlando through a park. Weird.

David said...

Sounds like a bunch of commies plotting to overthrow the nation's capitol to me.
Cease and desist!

CewTwo said...

Sometimes a civil servant needs to prove their worth to themselves. I always get a kick out of the approach. It can be handled diplomatically ("Did you guys run? How'd you do? Are you aware that you should pull a permit to set up like this?") and sometimes they just come on gangbusters. I am always telling my people that the old adage of flies and honey works a great deal of the time.

Buck up! Chin up! Keep on keepin' on!

Rainmaker said...

I hate dumb people who are incompetant. :(

That said - shoot me an e-mail with the next race and I'll wander on down and run in it. I have a bit more flexibility these days working from my home office, so I'm up for a quick 3K.

Just12Finish said...

"We don't need no stinkin' permit", said Peter.

peter said...

I wish Ida said that. She looked mean, though, and she was the one who was armed!