I felt betrayed. The display on the bike rack read, "Temporarily closed for system servicing. Please come back later."
I didn't have "later." The monthly noontime Tidal Basin 3K Run, held the third Wednesday of every month, was going to start in 10 minutes. And it was two miles away.
I wasn't going to make it. This was going to be only the tenth one that I have missed in the last hundred months.
I have a new system for attending this run which is two and a half miles from my work, to cut down the time I am away from the office when it is held. I used to jog there, run the race, and jog back. It was time consuming.
Lately I have been jogging over to Judiciary Square and picking up a SmartBike (100 bikes scattered about the city at 10 bike racks that members can use for free anytime during the day). Then I bicycle the rest of the way, and bicycle back after the race. It saves a lot of time. I have come to depend upon this method of getting there, and now leave my office for the race at a quarter to noon instead of at 11:30.
But the SmartBike.DC system was down, and I was stuck. I couldn't get a bike out of the locked rack, although there were seven candy-colored beauties there tantalizing me. Just when you start to count on something . . . . .
Runners are resilient though, right? I figured out a 3K route in my head that travelled up Capitol Hill for a little hillwork thrown in and took off at noon for a virtual 3K race. I wound up 14:54 (8:02) later at Union Station where I bought lunch and walked with it the two blocks back to my office, arriving back at work at 12:20.
Later when I plotted out the route I had run on g-maps, I saw it was a little short of 3K, 1.8 miles instead of 1.86 miles. But the real race doesn't have a big hill like Capitol Hill in it.