My running mates and I have been registered and training for a half marathon for months now. For two of us, this included training back up post partum.
Any distance under 10 miles can become routine for me. 13 miles never has. Every time I run it, whether in my one actual race or practice, I hit 10 miles, and I am done; those final 3 miles are a struggle. So it is a lot of work and effort, and it is a challenge.
However, we never even got the chance. Months and miles and many dollars later, we stood in line in the freezing dark for over an hour, and we were turned away.
The race, the Revel in the Rockies half marathon, was to be a scenic downhill route, snaking through breathtaking scenery as the sun rose.
Instead, I woke up at 4 am, pumped breastmilk in a cold, dark car, stood in a .75 mile long line that never moved while I shivered in the dark, and left with all my training completely unconsummated and feeling utterly unsatisfied.
I have had races cancelled for acts of God. Both the Bubble Run and the Devil Dash were cancelled on the same day when Denver/Boulder/Lyons had such severe flooding a couple years ago. That happens. And honestly, what can you do? It is always disappointing, but nothing can be done but reschedule or refund (almost always just reschedule).
This was not an act of God.
We stood in line pointlessly because there were no buses. Per the email from Revel after everything unraveled, the 52 contracted buses never arrived, and they had to cancel the half marathon due to permit restrictions. Even considering that this failure was completely human error, after my rage and disappointment subsided, I could dig some understanding out from the back of my brain. The buses the event contracted did not show; what could they really do about that at 3 am (besides actually having a Plan B)?
Angry, confused, disappointed, and somewhat lost, a contingent of our team decided we were running anyway. We drove into Morrison, found a park, and just ran. We needed to do something with all that anger; we needed to satisfy some of our bodies’ expectations for the morning.
We were not happy, but it was something more than just returning to camp fucking livid.
The run we found would have actually been quite delightful–on any other day. Compared to the beautiful downhill half we had been anticipating so long, it was instead a slap in the face. The park had a paved trail that snaked through some lovely fields and trees before winding along a creek. It was gentle uphill on the way out then downhill on the way back. Not as good as 13 miles of down but still so much better than the brutal hills we live among. There was even shade and breeze. The weather was wonderful, mild with cloud cover.
All the perfect conditions for a half.
And I felt great running. The anger lay heavy on my pace. We ran 8 miles, and I could have kept going. The sun even came out, and it got hot. And I could have kept going. I sprinted hard at the end. And I could have kept going.
My body wanted to run that half marathon. Everything was aligned for my 13 miles. Except access to the route.
We did our run. We packed up camp and left. As we moved on with our normal lives, I tried to just let it go, only getting riled up again when we explained what had happened.
However, then I got home and learned from social media and the internet that 350 participants did in fact complete the half marathon. And it was supported. And they were timed and had winners and an award ceremony.
How in the fuck is that cancelled?
Learning that, I was just as pissed all over again. I understand they had participants at the start; I understand they could not allow the 1500 participants in line to drive themselves to the start. I understand the logistics there. However, if you support the participants that did make it up, the race actually happened. It was not cancelled, and I was prevented from participating my factors under the event’s responsibility.
And that is bullshit.
My understand and empathy have vanished, and I want my money back.
I don’t know where to go from here. I have two awesome shirts that I am hesitant to wear because the sight of them inflames my anger and I feel guilty because I did not complete the race they advertise.
Completing a half marathon was supposed to cement my recovery from pregnancy; it was supposed to bookend childbirth and return me to the condition I was in when I ran my first half when I was in my first trimester. The fact that it did not happen just seems to confirm that I have not made it back; that I will not make it back.
There is no way back.
Now do I try to run a different half marathon? Do I abandon the idea and return to my favored 10 miles and under? I just don’t know.
As upset as I have been at different instances today, I have not lost perspective entirely. It is just a race; it is just a superficial problem. It is extremely disappointing after so much work and preparation, and the entire situation was even worse for my sister who flew out from Boston exclusively for this race. Even if they reschedule (which why would they since they did actually hold the race?), it would do nothing for her. But, in the end, it is just a run.
I am anxiously waiting to see how Revel intends to rectify this clusterfuck of a lack of a race.
Revel sent out an email taking full responsibility for the chaos and promising the choice of either a full refund or a registration transfer to any 2015/2015 Revel event. That resolution seems perfectly appropriate and has quelled my anger. I have made peace with my disappointment and am returning to considering a replacement half marathon. It seems wasteful to squander all that training.
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