"That must have been the start of the race," my sister said casually.
"No, it couldn't be," I replied. As we drew closer, I realized it was. By the time I was ready, the last walkers were disappearing beyond the horizon. A sinking feeling came into my stomach. I adjusted my race number and set my watch. Then I started. I had 194 runners in front of me. A little before the first mile, I started catching some runners. That made me feel better. Soon I found this was actually fun! I was especially happy when I caught up with my parents. Only one runner passed me (after I passed him) the whole race.
All the runners in front of me were a real inspiration. I set a PR on my first 10K: 46:28. The race went by quickly. I finished with my watch reading 1:39:39, and with the official time of 1:44:20. I was in about 33rd place, and 3rd in my age group. So the nightmare had about the best ending possible. I hope I never, ever do this again, but it was an interesting experience. It is a bad idea to be late in any case, but it is an especially bad idea to be late to a race. :)