The first race of the year was not meant to be.

It’s 7:30 am and I’m calling my Dad. He answers after two rings and even before I say anything, I hear Beta (dear), is everything okay? What’s wrong!? I’ve never called my parents this early. There’s never been a reason to do so. I wasn’t surprised to hear the panic in his voice.  Yes, I say. Everything is fine Dad. It’s just that I am lost and I need your help. 

This morning I left my apartment at 6:45am to run my first race of the year. Shooting Starr 4miler is part of a series of low key races sponsored by the Montgomery County Road Runner’s Club. I was excited to run in a new place, with other people, and with an official timing chip. I tend to run faster in races than when alone. This race, ergo would tell me just how well my training is going. But instead of standing at the starting line, stretching and warming up, I am in my car, calling my dad for directions. Somehow even after double checking the race information, I’ve managed to get myself lost. The piece of paper in my hand has brought me to a completely empty parking lot in a neighborhood rec center. What the…

By the time I called my dad, I had already tried a 711, the local police station, a cab driver, and the only two people I saw awake in the entire town of Silver Spring. I was sweating, panicking, and chugging the Gatorade in my car. At least I wont need to warm up when I get to the race, I thought.

My dad’s computer is rather slow or so it seemed in the moment. By the time he turned it on, logged on, searched for MCRRC’s website, and found the race info, I was counting down the last 15 minutes till the gun fired. He started reading the directions and after hearing half of it, I rudely interrupted and said, DAD I already know this…cant you see if there is a last minute update stating that the race is canceled?  Unfortunately, he saw no such notice. I lowered my head against the steering wheel and stared at the clock: 7:56, 7:57, 7:58…. It was too late. I hung up the phone and drove back. I ended up running 4 miles in RCP to salvage what was left of the morning and my pride.

I finally got home and immediately logged on to MCRRC’s website to see what had gone wrong. As it turns out, if I hadn’t interrupted my dad he would said that I was supposed to be in Sligo Creek Park instead of the Sligo Rec Center. Apparently, I had erred while adding the event to my gmail calendar. The worse past? The two places are less than 5 minutes from each other. I would have totally made it had I kept shut.

First: I owe my dad an apology. Bad manners never pay.

Second: Tomorrow is another day. I’ll be out again trying to outrun my stupid.

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Chika Gujarathi is a freelance writer and a mother of three from Raleigh, NC. She writes for national and local publications about lifestyle, travel, books, and of course, motherhood! Her most current project involves illustrating and publishing a children’s Hindi book. When not adventuring with her family in the minivan, you can find her riding the streets of Raleigh on her beloved bike Linus.

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