Prudential put on a 4.01K race at RFK yesterday morning, a 2 1/2 mile romp around the parking lots at the stadium in essence. It was designed to highlight the looming (or occurring) retirement crisis in America where nobody has enough money to be able to actually stop working, except maybe the one percenters.
It was free, and you could create a team. I created a team called January Ninth, which refers to the last day of the federal leave year this year. I even activated my race wrist band on-line and printed off my bar code to bring with me to the race check-in.
But it was raining yesterday morning, and no work running buddies were going to come anyway. So I didn't drive all the way across town to go to the race site.
But I did design a 4.01K race course in my head that left from my driveway and finished there. Actually, since I was now the race director of this alternate run, I took note of the rain and reduced the course from a 4.01K to a 2.005K course, or a hairsbreadth over 1.2 miles. Choosing to lay out the course as my standard neighborhood mile with two extra blocks thrown in, I lined up in the rain and off I went.
I ran pretty hard, since I was cold and getting wet, and I got into the run and was working it, just like in the old days of the last decade. Soon my breathing became less ragged, I was focusing on turnover and I reached the halfway point of my little 2.005K course at the point where my mile run intersects briefly with the W&OD Trail.
Why not make it the real race distance of about 2.5 miles, I thought. The MP 7 marker was down the trail about a quarter mile, and if I went past it to MP 7.5, turned around that and came back to here, that would add the extra 1.2 miles I needed to turn my 1 1/4 mile run into a 2.5 mile run. Obviously my math was fuzzy, since in actuality I was adding about 1.5 miles instead of the necessary 1.2 miles, but it made sense to me at the time as I was redesigning the course on the fly.
It felt good to be going down the trail at speed. I felt like I was doing 8-minute miles, or more probably about 8:10s.
Soon I was turning around MP 7.5 and then I was approaching the spot again where I had mentally reconfigured the race course to make it the appropriate distance. My time running seemed to belie the pace I thought I was running at, because I was taking too long to be at this late spot in the race, so I picked it up a little more. Down the last long straight block I could see the finish line stretching across my driveway and I sprinted the last 100 yards to bring the race home in 24:52.
Hmm. A 9:59 pace, if the course was truly 4.01K. I know I ran way faster than that so I decided the course was long, way long.
What a clown the race director was, I thought, to lay out such an obviously long course. But I was pleased with my first-place showing. And don't you know, in this virtual race, I was also DFL!