Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lessons From A DNF

Lessons From A DNF

(not a race report)

DNF: Did Not Finish.  
My long time running partner, Kurt, and I had three rules for not finishing a race.
  1. You're physically broken
  2. You're bleeding out
  3. You risk worsening a physical injury by continuing
Up to 25 Apr,, 2013 I was 2/2 at the 100 mile distance.  
My first attempt/completion was at Indiana Trail 100 in April of 2013(report here), where 65% of the field dropped because of the course conditions.
My second attempt/completion (here) was at Hallucination 100 in September of 2014, where I had to walk the last 25 miles due to a back issue.
I felt as if I were invincible.  I had stared some horrible stuff in the face and come out on top.  

When I felt my back tightening up at the end of the first loop yesterday, I knew what it meant.  I didn't say anything to Kurt because there was no point.  All I could do was to just rock it until the wheels fell off. 
They fell off sooner, rather than later.  About two files from the first aid station on loop three, approximately 35 miles into the race, they flew wildly.  I told Kurt what was happening.  I must have said at least a dozen times, "I'm not walking the last 60+ miles."  After walking the last 25 of Hallucination, there was no way I was doing that.  Kurt suggested that I finish the loop.  I told him that I really didn't see the point in that, and dropped as soon as we hit the aid station.  I had nothing to prove to anyone.
Yes.  It hurt.  A lot.  For many reasons.  We were tracking to set a PR for both of us.  We were undefeated at the distance.  We were tougher than anything that we had faced.
None of that mattered when faced with a situation beyond you're control.  Which brings me to the point of this post

One Way To Look At It

  • I was robbed!
  • Son of biscuit!
  • Why me!
  • I coulda' been a contender!
  • It's just not fair!

How I Got Over It

This is what I discovered, after I got off of my brief visit on the pity pot.
I am 99.9% sure that Kurt and I would have finished sub 24 at IT in 2013.  We ran at least 50km in training every single Saturday for three months.  That was not to be.  The entire week preceding the race, it rained.  The course was 75% covered in water.  We persevered.  We were among only 35% to finish the race.  We were darn proud.
But wait a minute.  Shouldn't we rage against the weather for ruining our chance at a sub 24?  after all,  it was a circumstance beyond our control.
Either I had to be as mad at those circumstances as I was at these, or I had to let go of this as much as I had let go of this as much as I let go of that.
So that's it.  I could waste my time and energy raging against things that I can't/couldn't control, or I can accept what happened, and strive to make sure that it doesn't happen again.  I have a big race coming up in October.  I am so excited to train for it.  I'm looking forward to whipping myself into shape; to making sure that this never happens again.  As is said, "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."
Also, I have absolutely nothing to prove to anyone.

  • I was among the 35% at IT100 in 2013 who didn't quit because it was cold or because the course was flooded. 
  • I walked the last 25 miles of Hallucination 100 after my back seized up.

Time to get off of the pity pot, and get to work.
back to work boys