No matter how many trail races I run, I still balk and complain about getting up early to drive to the race. I really, truly wish I was an early bird, but it’s just not in my nature, so I always stay up too late the night before and then suffer for it race morning. This was the situation I found myself in before the Harding Hustle, when I got up at the runner-unfriendly hour of 3:45 to get everything together, drive down the Orange County, park in the designated lot, then take a 20-minute shuttle to the start. (The start/finish had no available parking for runners.) It was kind of a production. I arrived about 5:55, a few minutes before the scheduled 6 am shuttle, so I was giving myself giant pats on the back for my excellent time management and driving skills as I settled in to wait for the shortly-arriving shuttle.
And waited. And waited. The shuttles were supposed to run every 15 minutes, but 6, then 6:15 came and went, without a shuttle in sight. Of course, my first thought is, “I could have slept in until 4:00! That would have been awesome.” But instead, I killed time taking awkward pictures of myself and my fellow runners: