It was ten years in the making and today it happened. I took my first DNF (Did Not Finish) in a race--the Greensboro Half Marathon.
Before I get into all the reasons and excuses behind the DNF, let’s call it like it is: I dropped out because I wanted to, not because I had to. Ego took hold and rather than face a two-hour-plus half marathon time, I chose to quit.
So then. What happened? I think it was the combination of the perfect storm of bad elements all coming together:
- I was coming off a week of strenuous exercise (even for me) where I was working out twice a day and doing triple the number of miles on the bike that I usually do.
- I felt terrible the night before, actually throwing up around 9:30 P.M. right before I went to bed.
- I was pushing a pace I wasn’t trained for. I probably could have hung with a short distance at a fast pace or the half-marathon distance at a slower pace. But long course/fast pace was a big mistake.
- I threw up on the course and used that as a reason to stop. (Note: Plenty of runners throw up and power through every day.)
- I went out WAY too fast. I swore I wouldn’t run over a 7:40 my first two miles. Instead, mile one was a 7:11 and mile two a 7:04. Big mistake. I always do better starting out slow and then making up time later in the race.
I turned around at mile 4.5 and walked/ran back in. I was feeling low for the first two minutes and then thought about all the people in the world who have real problems and decided there was no way in hell I was going to start shedding tears because I didn’t finish my race. It was a beautiful morning, I got 6 solid miles in total, as after I walked a couple of miles I felt fine and started running again—delivering under a 7-minute pace for the last 1.5 miles.
My ankles are SUPER tight. I assume this is from all the extra time this week on the bike. (It was bike to work week so I put in 145 miles since last Saturday.) Legs were tight and heavy but I think I could have powered through on them if my ankles and stomach had felt better.
As is stands, I’m much less bummed about the DNF than I thought I would be. The only thing about it that scares me is that now that I’ve given myself permission to quit in a race, I’m worried that will become a habit. I don’t want to be that person who if they can’t meet their goal every time, quits instead of finishing. I’ll give myself a pass this one time, but please hold me to higher standards moving forward.
All in all, not a great morning, but not a bad morning either. I got to run, see friends and learn a little something about myself. Namely, I am not superwoman, nor do I need to be. I really shouldn’t have been racing today. I knew that when I signed up and I REALLY knew it last night when I was sick, but decided to suck it up anyway. Sometimes that works out for me. Not this time. And that’s okay. There are more races in my future and I’ll PR in some of them and have bad days on others. It’s all part of the fun.