Three seconds

I generally have limited tolerance for people whining about the accuracy of their race times.  And not just because of the whole Garmin/tangent problem.  But because, I think, weekend-warrior racing has become such technical endeavor. Did your chip hit all six timing mats?  Was your official time within milliseconds of what the gadget on your wrist said?  Quick, load up your phone’s web browser and check with Lord McMillan to see if you ran what you were supposed to run!  

Sometimes I miss those old-fashioned cross-country races where someone handed you a popsicle stick with a number on it as you crossed the finish line, and that was the end of it.

So, um…the fact that today’s race bugs me a little?  Bugs me a little.

During the usual pre-race teammate chatter, I’d stated that I’d be content with my time if I could just slip under six.  I ran 6:02 on the track a couple of months ago.  Although I hadn’t done much in the way of quality running since then, I’d logged decent maintenance mileage.  Totally reasonable.

The course for this afternoon’s Magnificent Mile was nice: a lollipop, with the loop portion circling the state capitol.  Relatively flat, with a couple of gentle grades during the second and third quarters of the race and a slightly downhill finish.

I lined up behind a throng of middle-school-looking kids in matching cotton t-shirts who were hogging the start line and prepared to throw elbows. Ugh.  Sorry, kiddos.  We’ve only got a few minutes to do this thing, and I’m not going to let you get in my way!

My confidence grew as I heard the splits called at each quarter: 84. 2:58. 4:30. I was running a fairly even race and picking people off left and right.  I hauled it down the home stretch, thinking there was no way I couldn’t grab a few extra seconds on the kick and come in under 6:00.

I saw a row of three fives on the clock as I headed into the chute and cranked out those last couple of strides to the timing mat.  5:55?  Worst case, 5:57 or something.  Sweet.

“Hey, you got it!  I saw you go across at 5:58!” A teammate slapped my sweaty shoulder as I chugged a cup of Gatorade.

“Nice work!  5:58!” shouted a coach from the other side of the finish area.

Satisfied with my sub-six performance, I headed out on a long cool down.  I thought to myself: you know what?  That was good.  Not my best race ever and certainly not a PR, but hey: I did what I set out to do.  I ran a consistent race and I passed a lot of people.  It was fun.

So why did my official time have to be 6:01?

Oh-ONE.  OH-ONE.  Seriously?  WTF?

Aaaand here we go.  This is exactly the sort of thing that I roll my eyes at when people start talking about what their finish time WAS versus SHOULD HAVE BEEN.  Because it does not matter.  There isn’t prize money or even a PR at stake here.  It’s just a three second discrepancy. That happens to span the barrier between a finish time that starts with a five and one that starts with a six.

But still.  WTF?  I guess everyone (including multiple people, spectating the race separately) had rose-colored glasses when they watched me cross.  And I still don’t understand how it could have taken me six seconds to travel approximately six feet, from when I last saw the clock to the timing mat.

You all should go ahead and tell me to take my own advice right now.

And to just be happy.  To be happy that I ran a good smart race.  To be happy that I can still run a six-minute mile (or thereabouts) with no formal training. To be happy that I earned a popsicle stick with THIRD PLACE written on it – in my age group, that is.

Oh well.

Prosecco makes me happy:

No need for an “occasion.”  Other than: I had dinner at this cute wine bar last night and was craving sparkling wine but didn’t like any of their by-the-glass offerings.  So I picked up a bottle at the grocery store after the race.

This Ecco Domani Prosecco is a little blah, but it does the job. There’s a little grapefruit, a touch of honey, and very perky carbonation that almost assaults the roof of your mouth.  And there’s something acidic that I can’t quite place.  I don’t know that I’d seek it out again, but this time around, it had two things going for it: one, it was pre-chilled (CANNOT WAIT FOR BOOZE TO COOL) and two, it was on sale for $8.  And for $8, it’s better than Cook’s or whatever.

Bottom line: Skip it…unless it’s on clearance. (Purchased at Harris Teeter, $8, regular price $12)

We had charcuterie for dinner tonight…

Which is a fancy way of saying we had cheese and crackers for dinner. Goat brie, grapes, spicy soppressata, sharp cheddar, and slices of toasted baguette brushed with olive oil and sea salt.  I also had a salad and some strawberries.

Off to relax with a book before bedtime…hope you had a great weekend!

33 responses to “Three seconds

  1. Well that is kind of annoying that your official time was off a few seconds! I would take the 5:58 and run with it.

  2. I think that the distance affects how much of a discrepancy I’d be willing to deal with. 400m? You better not be off by three seconds. But 5K? Really a moot point. And either way, I always pretend it was the faster time, because I can :)

    • Yes, exactly! If it were a longer race I wouldn’t mind so much. But in a mile, you have to hustle for every last second, ya know? Grr.

  3. I would be frustrated also. I agree with Kier, just count it as a 5:58.

    Your dinner last night looks awesome! I love snacky dinners like that.

  4. you’re totally allowed to be annoyed – ain’t no shame! Plus, there’s something about the difference between 6 and 5, or 44 and 45, whatever, that is extra annoying. BUT, nice race regardless! :)

  5. Any excuse for prosecco is fine by me. I’ve now got my husband in the habit of calling the cheese and crackers dinner “charcuterie” – it’s kind of cute how he butchers it as “charcooootery.”

  6. Prosecco is my new go-to champagne of choice. There’s one I always get (name escapes me) but it’s in a blue bottle and it’s delicious.
    Wow I’m super helpful today…

    • Trader Joe’s sells one in a blue bottle…it’s like $6 and it’s fantastic! But I can’t remember the name either….

  7. The 10k I did this weekend wasn’t chip timed – at the end of the chute you rip off the bottom of your bib and they scribbled a time and pinned it to a board and hung them up. Hella old school. I loved it. :)

    • Nice! Old school races are fun. Where the “results board” is just a bunch of bib tags pinned in order. Hope you had a great race!

  8. Maybe those clock-impaired started the race clock late? Whatever your time was, they need to get their shiz together!

    And yeah…that would have REALLY ticked me off too :).

    • This is possible. I kind of wish I’d worn a watch, just so I could have another data point!

      LOL. #whinyrunnernavelgazing

  9. Well, I admit I’d be annoyed too. However I’m sure you’re already over it by now as I leave this comment. :) Congrats on the award!

    Currently I’m busy training to hopefully run a 5K PR this fall, and I’d really like to run at least 7:59 pace, which is far better than 8:00 pace of course. 😉

  10. Last year I ran a 5k and saw the clock turn over to 20 at the finish and was all pissed because I thought I ran like, 20:01 or 20:02. Turns out when the results came up they showed up as 20:06 which somehow felt better because it wasn’t quite as much of a JUST MISSED. That said, I’d stab a bitch for the 5:58-6:01. Really, it blows. You’re not sitting there like ZOMG I AM GONNA SUE – its legitimate to be annoyed by that big a discrepancy.

  11. My favorite cheap champagne is André extra-dry. It’s always under $7 (sometimes under $6!) and quite often is one of the pre-chilled selections. Delightfully crisp, slides down real nice. Love.

    I’d be annoyed about the race time, too. Either way, I’ll never run a mile in 6 minutes, let alone 5-something, so I still kind of hate you right you.

  12. Mt 5k PR was at an unchipped charity/fun run, but I still remember how badass I felt, especially when I knocked over all those children and cancer patients at the starting line. What an amazing day that was.

  13. I’d be annoyed with that too! Clearly you were delusional when you saw the 5:55…others say it as well. Just stroke your ego and pretend you ended at 5:58. After all, the coach did say 5:58! 😉

  14. I want cheese and crackers for dinner. EVERY NIGHT!

  15. The tangent thing totally irritates me! However, i think think this is a little different. Or I’d consider it different! Even though it doesnt *really* matter…it still would to me…

  16. Gah, that’s the worst. A couple years ago I was trying to break 50min in the 10k for the first time, and I totally thought I had it nailed. 50:01. @#$#$%#$!!!!!!

  17. Ecco Domani makes a mean pinot grigiot. My favorite.

    I had the same issue you did with my race on Saturday. I’ve been working on getting my slow butt to run under ten minute miles, and my Garmin told me that I did it at my four-mile race. 39:28! I was over the moon. Slowly over the moon, ’cause I’m slow.

    My official race time? 41:03. Hell.

    It matters. It doesn’t, but it does.

  18. Congrats Shelb…5:58 or 6:01…you are awesome!

  19. hmmmm French food. I like the idea of a little wooden stick. I ran today without keeping track of distance and time. It was a bit strange but I want to remind myself that I love running not running against the clock.

  20. That stinks you didn’t “officially” get your time at the race. I take it this race was chip timed? Was it chip timed at both the start & finish or just the finish? I do race timing (in Michigan) and just for future reference, the clock that’s out by the track & the clock that’s in the computer aren’t usually connected, so they could be a little bit off from each other. We usually have one person pushing start on the computer, one on the clock, one on a stopwatch & one on a time machine. We try to then match them up as well as we can, but a mile race doesn’t give much time for error.

  21. I had a similar experience this weekend with a 10K. I’m torn because I love smaller, local races that attract real runners and are still run old school (this was the first year they used chip timing at the race, but they didn’t have a chip start, only finish). At any rate, my conundrum was similar – I saw the time on the clock and was happy to feel like I was starting to get back into shape, but my official time was about 4 seconds different and I’ve spent the last few days thinking about it. As you said, it doesn’t matter (wasn’t a PR, didn’t change my finish place). But I think us type A runners have trouble shaking these things regardless.
    Meh – at least I should be thankful the course was marked (or at least better than the 5K I ran the weekend before where I, and a few other runners toward the front, added about half a mile due to lack of directions).

  22. I think the reason it bugged you so much is the same as the reason why $9.99 sounds so much cheaper than $10. It’s all mental, but understandable- especially for such a short race and specific goal. You’re still damn fast, though. :) Yummm, cheese and crackers…want. now.

  23. I never go by the clock time. It’s always off, so I wait in angst until the official time comes out. Super frustrating, but in the end, you still ran really fast.

  24. Lol, congrats on a speedy race!

    I’m totally guilty of that offense. When your margin for setting PR’s has shrunken down to a handful of seconds, it’s easy to obsess over the little timing discrepancies. What really bugs me is when people blame the course for being long “because my Garmin said so”.

  25. no shame at all in being bothered. I would for sure be bothered. Runners are obsessed with numbers, and if your goal is “sub-XX”, NOTHING is worse than missing that by less then 5 seconds. It will haunt you at night.

    So what the hell then? How did they get it wrong? Can you email someone to fix it?