“We arrived 35 minutes before the start of the race; perfect timing. I got out of the car, and told my friend, “Make sure you leave it unlocked; I’m going to warm up a bit, then come back here and drop my sweats”. We were at the Moab Red Hot, a point-point trail race; she was going to drive the car around and meet me at the finish. The 55k started, and since trail races aren’t like big city marathons, I could see and even speak briefly with my friends, as they trotted away from the parking lot, up into the amazing slick rock country, up into another world. My race, the 33k, was going to start 30 minutes after the 55k. I jogged around another 10 minutes, then went back to the car.

Except it wasn’t there.

My friend apparently did not know there were two races with two start times; figured the race had started, she drove off. Hmm. You know how before a race you get everything you need laid out, exactly, perfectly, down to the last little detail? Well, I had done that, and it was all right there in the car, which was no longer here.

Not good. But after the reality sunk in, I actually wasn’t that disturbed. This wasn’t like the time I was car camping alone in winter, got up at Midnight to relieve myself, and while standing naked in the snow, accidentally locked myself out of the car. This wasn’t like the time I was alone in Kathmandu, and leaving my pack unattended while taking a shower, was robbed of every last rupee. This wasn’t like the time I went for a run on the beach in Costa Rica, and coming back to the car, found it broken into and my passport and money gone.

Well, this was sort of like that last one, but regardless, it was probably better that this happened to me than to someone else. Because with 10 minutes before the race start, I engaged my inestimable charm and good looks – or maybe trail runners are just really nice people – and borrowed one gel, obtained some Vitamin I (Ibuprofen), and stashed my warm-ups in a friends drop-bag.

And with that, we were off. I was the only one not carrying a waist pack – i.e., no water – but I really feel at home in the desert, so it was OK.  Those who want perfect order better stick to the roads.”  Read the rest of the story at RunningTimes.com