The DQ that Was and the Race that Wasn’t

Last Saturday was one heck of a long day. It started at 6:55am with my younger son’s swim team warming up for their last regular season meet and ended at 9:20pm when my race was cancelled for lightning. I could be bummed about that but actually saw a silver lining in that I didn’t really feel race-ready by the time the evening rolled around.

That could have just been in my head, or it could have been caused by events earlier in the day. In the 8U boys’ breaststroke event, two of our swimmers false started and were disqualified. One of the swimmers dove before the buzzer, and another followed him. As team rep for the swim team, I bring any disqualification protests to the attention of the Referee. In this instance, one of the coaches and I thought there was a rule that a swimmer who false starts based on the movement of another swimmer is not disqualified. But when I looked in the rule book I couldn’t find anything about that under disqualification. So the DQ stood.

Then, the second swimmer’s father approached me and showed me the rule I had been looking for. Turns out it was under “starts,” not “disqualification.” And the rule clearly stated that movement by a swimmer causing another swimmer to false start was NOT grounds for disqualification. So I had to bring this to the attention of the Referee. Which was awkward. Because the swimmer in question was my son. Of course I would have done this for any swimmer, but the fact that it was my kid made things a bit difficult. Anyway, long story short, my son was reinstated but given a stern warning by the coach to listen for the buzzer, not follow other kids into the water. Point taken. I think they both learned something.

Clearly not discussing how to avoid a DQ...

Clearly not discussing how to avoid a DQ…

I sat around for the rest of the day because I had a night race: Rockville Rotary Twilight 8K. Why, oh why, do I keep signing up for this race? I hate night races. All day I am a mess of what to eat, what to do, am I drinking enough, am I resting enough, etc. I took a nap. Watched a movie. Whiled away the time until I drove the 45 mins to Rockville. Paid $2 to park in the scary lot where you have to walk where the cars are driving because the elevators are out of commission. Picked up my number. Decided not to go back to the scary lot to put my goodie bag back in my car, but checked it at bag drop instead. This meant I did not have my pre-race GU. Didn’t really care. Can you see I wasn’t really in racing mode?

Went for a warm-up. Almost got lost. Tried to do some strides, couldn’t really pick up much speed. Used the stifling porta-potty. Drank some water. And then, at 8:30, 15 minutes before race time, there was a flash in the sky. Lightning. And then a couple more. The race was delayed for 30 mins. As the lightning continued we were told to go undercover. I didn’t want to stand in the parking garage with the masses so I went in the grocery store and wandered around there. But I started getting too cold so ventured back outside. Conveniently positioned myself near a group of race officials and heard that they had taken down the speakers but planned to put them back up by 9:15 to make an announcement. At this point (after 9) I was pretty confident the race would be cancelled as the lightning continued, but stuck around chatting to some new friends. Around 9:20 the announcement came: race cancelled. I grabbed some food from the table and got my bag from bag check before it got too crazy. Drove back home. Ate 3 granola bars on the way home…I guess waiting around made me hungry!

Sunday morning I got up early and got in 10 miles before 7:30. That made me feel much better. I am debating whether I’ll sign up for this race in the future. I’ve run it 3 times before without any delays or problems, but I hate spending all that time hanging around and not actually racing. Obviously weather is a factor that can’t be controlled, and runner safety is important, so I don’t fault the organizers at all in their decision, but this is a factor I have to consider when signing up for a race.

Not that my race calendar isn’t full already! I have USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals coming up August 11th, South Riding Triathlon August 25th, and IronGirl Rocky Gap September 8th. And training for Marine Corps Marathon is in full swing!

Ever had a race cancelled?

Ever been disqualified?


  1. I heard it was cancelled this year–that stinks! Glad you can find the silver lining in it all.

    Ah, summer swim team! We are having our all-city meet today (14 teams–can you say nightmare) and then we are done. I love it for the kids, but am happy to be done with it for the year. Glad your son was reinstated in his race–tough call, for sure!
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  2. I’m glad the swim team DQ nightmare worked out okay. It happens- kids do false start. They do in running too. I’m glad your son was reinstated with just a warning, whew.

    Sorry your race was cancelled, but I agree that safety is the #1 thing. Still, I’d feel really crappy if I spent the day preparing for it and driving there, only for it to be cancelled. I don’t care for night/evening races either for that reason, I never know what to eat or do with myself when I’m not running first thing in the morning!
    Amy Lauren recently posted..House Poor Summer Tour: Staycation ShenanigansMy Profile

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