Sunday, August 12

Psycho Night

Run, run, run, run -- Eurythmics, Thorn in my Side

Imagine the worst experience you've ever had running. I, rslight, probably had a worse day this weekend. Unless you were badly injured or died of a heart attack during a race, I'm sure I've topped you.
I ran the Psycho Night 10K, a rocky, root-filled, hilly trail race through Wyandotte County Lake Park in Kansas City. It started at 8:10 p.m. Friday, and runners were required to have a flashlight or headlamp for when it turned dark.
When the race started, I was in close competition with a young woman scrambling up a grassy, uneven hill. Sometimes I would be ahead. Sometimes she would be ahead. At one moment she inexplicably moved far to the right. It was a great chance to pass her for good. I sped up, fell into a huge pool of mud and lost my shoe.
I waded through the mud until I found my shoe. I continued running even though I was drenched in mud.

On the far end of the out-and-back "course," the woods became completely dark. I literally bumped into Kent and Kelly Miller, who were also from Springfield. The Millers stayed close behind me because my flashlight beam seemed more powerful than their headlamps. I kept telling them I was lost on the "lollipop loop," but they thought we were fine as long as we kept seeing little yellow flags in the grass.
We got separated. A few minutes later, I lost my left contact lens. A few minutes after that, I lost my right contact lens.
When you're blind and lost in an unfamiliar forest with no one else around at night, you're not really "racing" anymore. I peered at my fuzzy flashlight beam and tried to walk toward any voices I heard.

I finished the 10K in 1:24:44, which evidently isn't bad by Psycho Night standards. The fastest man took more than 40 minutes and the fastest woman took more than 1 hour. Several people finished behind me.
I was in trouble. I foolishly didn't bring glasses or a spare pair of contacts. I couldn't see to drive anywhere.
Mark and Kelly with the Kansas City Trail Nerds put me in the back of what I guessed was a Range Rover and asked me where I needed to go. I told them to take me to a hotel. I wasn't sure what else to do.

On Saturday morning my Egyptian cab driver took me to an eye doctor. I had Dr. William Holmes, my Springfield optometrist, fax my prescription to Dr. Angela Horon, my Kansas City optometrist-found-in-desperation-in-the-phone-book. She was very good. Within minutes I could see clearly again and was back in the cab. My driver, who entertained me with stories about Cairo, managed to get me to the park before a park ranger towed away my "abandoned" Honda.
Author John Steinbeck wrote about the best laid plans of mice and men. I had intended to do Springfield's Maui Mile and Big Kahuna 5K Saturday morning, and boast about doing three races within 12 hours. However, all I can brag about now is that I'm home, healthy and safe.


Blogger tangerine said...

I am so sorry about what happened. MS and I were at the Maui Mile and Big Kahuna 5K race Saturday morning, wondering aloud where was rslight. We finished the race but never saw him and thought that was very out of character for him not to show up.

But we thought there must be a reason. We were right.

By the way, we've picked the race T-shirt for you.

August 12, 2007 1:28 PM  
Blogger Jim Evans said...

That is the sort of adventure of which memories are made. Tell it often. By the time you are 60 it will have morphed into an even greater story.

August 12, 2007 7:23 PM  
Blogger rslight said...

I appreciated Tangerine giving me my Big Kahuna shirt today.
Some 5K race shirts are pretty lame, but this one has a cool look. It is something you would ACTUALLY WEAR.
While I paid to participate in the Maui Mile, I feel a little awkward wearing a shirt for a race I didn't attend. People could say I'm a fake kahuna.

August 13, 2007 5:46 PM  

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