Yesterday marked my first DNF (Did Not Finish) in my 2 years of racing. Not too shabby considering I've done well over 20 races. Back in the day, I would find a way to the start line no matter what. Even if that meant I was wincing in pain to the finish (as depicted above). So I'm going to consider my DNF yesterday as me growing as a wiser runner.
It really all started on Saturday morning. I met up with some running friends to do an easy 4 miler. I was trying to take it easy since I knew that I had the PPTC Cherry Tree 10 miler planned for Sunday. The run was a bit uncomfortable from the start. I chalked it up to being a little stiff and getting only 4 hours of sleep. Sometimes birthday parties trump adequate sleep, okay?! But by the end of the run, I knew that I was teetering on the line of injury. My left hip/butt was pretty sore, and the soreness was located to one specific spot. Not good.
I spent the rest of the day resting, rolling, and icing. At that point I still had full intentions of running the scheduled 10 miles the next morning, but I knew any ideas of racing or even using the race as a tempo workout would not be in the cards for me. And I was more then fine with that. I looked at it as a training run with "free" water and goodies at the end.
And then I woke up on Sunday. Let me clarify, I woke up 45 minutes late on Sunday, and I was very sore. On the walk to the train, I already knew this was going to be a really rough morning. And when I tried to think positive, the 40 mph gusts blew garbage in my face. Nice.
Waking up 45 minutes late obviously came back to bite me in the ass. The trains were extra slow since it was Sunday and by 9:40am, I was still in the Lower East Side, 11 stops away from Prospect Park. The race started at 10:00am, FYI.
Anand & I decided to hail a cab from the LES to Brooklyn, and 30 dollars later we were at Prospect Park, 6 minutes after 10 a.m. Well, PPTC was not effing around when they said the race started at 10:00a.m. sharp. By the time we crossed the Start line (at 10:07 a.m.), they were already trying to take away the start mats. Anand asked the guy if the mats were still working, and he just yelled "NOPE!" and continued lifting the mats before we were even off them. Thanks, asshole. I know he was just doing his job, and it was my fault for being 7 minutes late, but I'm going to bitch about it anyway.
Mentally, I was already checked out. Physically, my body was falling apart. I thought to myself that I needed to get in 10 miles anyway, so I needed to stop being a little bitch and power through. But after about 2 miles of pain in my left hip, I called it quits. If I was going to treat this race as a training run, then I needed to treat it as a training run. And that meant waving the white flag when I felt like I was doing more harm than good.
I felt embarrassed and a little sad/worried for 10 minutes and then a gust of wind almost blew me over. Then I was just happy to not be fighting 40 mph winds.
Like I said before, I'd like to think that I made the right decision yesterday and am growing as a runner. After running a marathon, I tend to think of distances less than 13 miles as "easy," and mileage that I should be able to push through. But I think I've come back down to reality and see that 10 miles is still a long effing way to run, and should not be taken lightly. Pushing through "only 10 miles" of pain is a dumb idea. Not to mention, it's a pretty douchy thing to say.
So in order to listen to my body, I'm taking a little time off running this week. Let's see how this goes... I hope I'm not a raging basket case by the end of the week. For Anand's sake.
And this is just a little bonus to make you laugh:
I received the above e-mail after the 10 mile race I dropped out of. How I could even have a finisher time when I didn't have a start time is incredible! Don't worry, I wasn't a jerk who tried to play off that I could run a 6:49 pace for 10 miles. I actually frantically e-mailed NYCRuns and PPTC, and then e-mailed my marathon Coach who is an awesome person with good connections, to try and take me off the results. Luckily, Coach Cane was able to settle everything for me. Maybe next year I'll be able to get into the Top 3 of my age group. ;)