Wednesday, August 13, 2008
1234 is NOT a Lucky Number!
This post is the strange but true story of what happened after last years Cigna 5k Road Race in Manchester NH. While the race usually falls the Thursday before the Falmouth Road Race this year it takes place after the Falmouth Road Race. I will be running tomorrow and I will be careful to not get caught in a circumstance like I did last year.
I drove up to the race through the heavy traffic and parked in the Millyard area. I got my number and I looked at it and it was the number 1234. I thought that was cool and the lady handing out the number said something about it too. I got in a port-a-john line and the guy behind me said that 1234 might be a lucky number and I said that we will see. I saw a friend and he said I could put my envelope with the t-shirt in it in the Digital tent (this is also a cooperate team road race). I stuck my car keys in the envelope and left them there for after the race.
The race did not go that well. I had been using posture control insoles since January and while they worked great at first my hip imbalances had returned. I had a new pair in my shoes that I just got in the mail that morning and they had a bigger wedge under the big toe. My running was not smooth however. I did finish in 18:46. Then I hung around had some ice cream sandwiches and sodas that were provided and went to the Digital tent and got my envelope with my keys in it.
When I went to my car I noticed my keys were not in the envelope. I went back to the race area and looked on the ground for them and also in the lost and found but found nothing. Most people had already left the race and the clean up had begun. I walked back to my car to see if I could find them again and took the t-shirt out of the bag. I saw it wasn't a new t-shirt but an old t-shirt and it wasn't mine. I looked at the tag and it wasn't my envelope. I went to the Digital tent as they were taking it down. My envelope and keys were not there. No one had seen them. I thought someone must have taken it home by mistake at this time.
Fortunately I saw a friend and he had a cell phone so I called home. A message machine with my daughter's voice on it was all I could get. I left a message for my wife to come pick me up. I must say my friend offered me a ride home, but I knew it was way out of the way for him to go to my home, so I told him to try again and call my wife and let her know that I was waiting to be picked up.
So I sat on the bridge by the highway exit waiting for my wife. I waited a couple of hours and she never came. I decided to go down the road where I saw some gas stations and stores and to call again. I got the message machine again and this time I said I would be running home and they could pick me up along the way. I figured maybe it was a 15 mile run and it was already after 10:00 pm. I started running but after 1/2 mile I got a pain in my calf where I had an injury months earlier so I started walking instead.
I kept looking for my wife's car but it never showed up. I walked and walked. Fortunately it was a most pleasant night. I only had my racing shorts, singlet, and my super light Puma H-Street shoes. I carried a can of orange soda and the key-chain award that was given to all finishers. Great I had a key chain but no keys!
At about 1:30 at night I came to a place where I made another call. Again I got my message machine and I knew no one's phone number off the top of my head to call so I kept walking. I was wondering if my family was out looking for me. Where the police trolling the river to see if I fell in? Had something happened to my family because I knew they were spending the day with friends at the seashore and they had a bit of a car ride home?
I got to a Dunkin Donuts and a worker gave me some money to use the pay phone. Again the same message came up! Back to walking I went.
In Merrimack a police car came up and stopped. He wanted to know what I was doing. I told him my situation and he said he would drive me to the edge of Merrimack, but first he needed all my information. I gave him name, address, ect. Then once he got that he said he had a call he had to check out and would be back for me if he had the time. He never came back. I kept walking.
By 3:00 AM I was in the neighborhood near my school. People were out wandering the streets. I wondered what they thought of the guy in the light shorts and racing singlet with the big dog picture on the back. As I walked down Main Street in Nashua, I encountered street people. One guy was lying on a bench and whistling some song. I heard him for a long time as I walked on by. I saw delivery trucks making early morning deliveries and kept walking knowing it would be another hour to go.
The night was clear. The air was cool and breezy and I had long ago decided to enjoy the challenge rather than getting angry or stressing over it. By 4:00 AM a light drizzle started and finally at 4:30 I made it home. Our van was in the driveway so my wife was home. They lights were off. I entered the house. Everyone was asleep including my wife!! I woke her up and asked her if she hadn't missed me. She looked at the clock and asked me where I had been.
I told her of my long walk. It seems she was so tired after the beach that she went right to bed. Our phone had no messages on it, in fact the phone did not work. We have Vonage internet phone and it seems something happened to our router and the phone was not working and the message was going to a web based message box. Our computer wasn't working either because of the router so there was no way for my wife to know that I left messages and it would have been impossible for her to know how to fix the router anyhow.
I went to bed very tired. The walk had taken 6 hours. The weather was so nice I had never opened the can of soda and had carried it the whole way. When we went to pick up my car the next morning I measured the distance I had walked. It was a 23 mile walk. But I have to admit it was somewhat enjoyable taking care of myself on the road by walking. I am not sure what most people would have done in my circumstance.
What happened to my keys? Later on that day after I fixed the router I got to the phone messages. My "unnamed" friend from digital had left a bunch of messages. The first was from Thursday night saying he had taken my envelope and t-shirt home from the race because he saw it in the tent and he thought I had gone home. The only reason he knew it was mine was because the envelope had said number 1234 and he had remembered me laughing about that number before the race. Then there was another panicky message from him. "Jim, Oh no, I see your keys in the envelope! Sorry, I hope you made it home all right!" There were also messages from my friend with the cell phone telling my wife where I was and to pick me up!
All in all, 1234 definitely is NOT a lucky number. Imagine my surprise when I picked up my race number for the Hollis Applefest 1/2 Marathon a month later and I started reading the numbers I had been assigned. " 1.....2......3.......(oh no)......5". Well 1235 turned out to be a much better number!
Three days later I ran the Falmouth Road Race. The bottom of my feet were sore from the walk. I decided not to wear the posture control insoles any more. That is why I wore the Aline insoles I picked up the day before Falmouth at the Expo. This year I am sure my Cigna race time will be much slower than previous years, but I know I will definatley be home much earlier that last year when the race is done. My wife has procedures and fall backs in place so I don't lose my keys again!