It appears that I've made a mistake.
Race directors deserve the utmost respect and it appears that I've let some down. Banditting is a term in the running world that refers to someone who runs a race without registering. I wasn't aware that running even a piece of a race-- for example, jumping in to pace a friend for a few miles, was also against the rules.
In San Francisco, I ran an out and back portion of a race a few times with a friend well before a race started. I didn't know it wasn't allowed. No officials ever asked us to leave the course and once the race started, we ran on the grass by the spectators until we found our friend who was going for a personal best. Once we found her, I ran a few miles with her to help her keep fighting. Then, I stopped to cheer with my friends for a few minutes, and then ran off into Golden Gate Park, off the course, to finish my 17 mile long run.
In Carlsbad, the exact situation was reversed. I was planning to run along the ocean and found out that a friend was running along the 101 during a race as well. I ran 10 miles with her and while I didn't pace her, she absolutely dragged me along because I was having a really hard day. I was grateful for her company but I didn't realize that I was making a mistake.
I've reached out to the race directors to apologize and pay for my participation. I made a mistake and while my rationales don't make it all better, it's my hope that through my embarrassing and unfortunate mistakes, we can all learn from them. It's never my intention to let anyone down, rather the opposite. But I'm human and unfortunately, I made a mistake. I'm grateful it was brought to my attention so that I don't make the same mistakes again.
The running community is an incredible one. Thank you for always having my back.