5 Race Day Surprises

Racing is unpredictable. You never know what the weather or the volunteers will hand you. I’ve had a few bad races, a few great races & yup, I’ve had a few race day surprises.

Today I’m linking up with Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run to explore the topic 5 race day surprises.

Las Vegas 2011
Las Vegas 2011 – after getting to right timing chip, of course!

The One with the wrong name
Which would actually be my very first half marathon.

So I checked my bib; what I didn’t check was the timing chip on the bib (it was the kind where you detach the timing chip & tie it to your running shoe).

Until race day. When I discovered it wasn’t mine.

The One where I went the wrong way
No, not during the race. I had only been to this particular area once before. I thought I knew where I was going. Except when I got to the running path, I started walking down the wrong way.

And when I realized my mistake, I ran all the way to the starting line, sure that I was going to miss the start. Of my first 10k.

I just made it.

The One where knee pain first struck
I signed up for my first half marathon in May of 2011; the half wasn’t until December.

That year I simply started running longer & longer races.

Good thing I signed up for that half, because in June I ran an 8 mile race and for the first time I had knee pain starting at mile 4.

I’m not sure I would have ever run a half after that experience if I hadn’t already signed up with friends.

The One where I left my water bottle at home
I had my handy dandy packing list. I checked off my water bottle; I even packed it.

And then I took it out and set it on something in the garage while I put the container I’d packed it into in the back of the car, so I could have water with me up front during the drive.

We left and there the water bottle sat, in the garage.

I learned I could run a half and rely on the water stops.

The One where they DID run out of water
So after learning I could actually run a half without my trusty water bottle, I still took a smaller handheld with me to the very next half: ZOOMA Annapolis.

And thank God I did.

Because they ran out of cups at one water stop & totally out of water at another.

I took that small water bottle so I could sip water between water stops. It was a hot & humid day.

Thankfully I also refilled it halfway through. So I still had water even though the water stop didn’t.

What sort of surprises have you “run” into at races?


21 thoughts on “5 Race Day Surprises

  1. Oh my, you had some bad luck on a few races. I still haven’t run a race yet and only a couple in the very distant past with no unfortunate events. Sounds like every time you are thrown a curve ball you recover nicely though.


  2. Just recently I ran a 5-mile trail race…and I got to the turnaround, but the guy let me keep going. I had my ear buds in & music playing, but it was not loud. Apparently, it was loud enough that his mumbling (which I thought was him encouraging me to continue on) actually was telling me to turn and head back. I didn’t have to go too far…maybe 100 yards or so, but it was a curved path so I couldn’t see anyone in front of me (duh, because they all had turned and were gone LOL) until I came to a dead end. I probably lost a total of 45 seconds (?), but was pleasantly surprised to see I PR’d my finish time and placed 3nd overall for women. Will wonders ever cease? 😉


    1. Why would he let you keep going? In Annapolis I was afraid I had missed a turn – there was a 10k & the half & the bibs were different colors.

      At one point all I could see were 10ks . . . I was really getting anxious for a while but thankfully I’m just slow. 🙂 So no agre group awards or any type of awards for me.


  3. Yikes, a race running out of water at the water stops is the worst! I don’t run with water usually so that would be flat out unsafe depending on the distance!


  4. You just made me remember another – I had a 5k that wound up only being 2.25 miles, They accidentally blocked part of the course.

    I also once was placed in the wrong age group and should have won my age group. I let it go.


  5. Oh, gosh, Judy!!! These are all really tough ones! I totally forgot, when I made my list, about the morning I locked my keys in my car just before the race began…my water bottle was in there but, thankfully, it was a short race and I was able to get in touch with my husband to come unlock the door before the race was over – ha! Hope you have a great weekend!!


    1. I don’t think I would’ve waited 1 1/2 hours in 20 degree weather! Thank God almost all of my races have started on time.

      Of course Vegas took literally 20 minutes to get to the start line (40,000 runners) & it was 32 degrees.

      I had my husband with me. He took my nice winter coat before I actually started the race. 🙂


  6. I have not had a race that ran out of water, luckily.

    I was surprised when I started racing that many of the races said no music / headsets. I had one anyway, and learned the hard way. In my first race (this was way before iPods that clipped to your clothes), I was holding my music and I dropped it. I stopped to pick it up and almost got bowled over by a ton of people. Very dangerous. Now I understand why music can be prohibited.


  7. Yeah, I’ve done a horribly organized half where they had no water. The volunteers left their stations and they were out of bottles water at the finish line. They were also out of food. And the results were messed up. It was awful. They did learn from their mistakes and redeemed themselves the next year.


  8. Oh, gosh. I always carry my own water because I usually need water in between water stops. Once I dropped my water bottle and broke the top off right before a race so I had to ditch it and make do.


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