The dreaded DNF (Did Not Finish). I wasn't sure I'd post about it. Not because I'm a private person (ahem, I'm a blogger) but because I'm embarrassed. and my ego is severely damaged. poor ego.
I went into the Jailbreak Half Marathon this past Saturday with high hopes of finding a new PR waiting to hug me at the finish. I was confident I'd see a time of 1:51 or better. Instead I saw mile 4.85 and the three letters...
D N F
...flash through my mind.
It all started a couple days prior (hence the "Episode 1"). A yucky case of diarrhea cha cha cha came to visit me. Aren't you so happy you read my blog? I'd love to tell a different story, one of heroic proportion, but instead we get to talk poop.
I didn't think much of these couple days because I was drinking coconut water and it's known to save the world. I felt great (other than living in the bathroom) and I was ready to race. Note to all runners: Listen to your body. Mine was telling me to DNS (Did Not Start) so I wouldn't DNF. I didn't listen. and I truly love acronyms.
Race morning was the same yuckiness. That didn't stop me (until mile 4.85, of course). The gun went off and so did we. Brett zoomed ahead and I stayed back with the 8:30 runners. It was a small race. Well organized but run on country roads with little to no crowd support. I knew something was wrong at mile 0.5. Yes, you read that right. I was struggling to keep an 8:33 pace. something that should be easy for me this early on in a race. I chalked it up to a few things:
1. I, personally, don't ignite my engines until mile 3 so I just need to get through these first couple and then I'll cruise (possibly),
2. It's a little windy and I'm running into it so that's slowing me down (unlikely),
3. This course is not flat... it's full of rolling hills and by full I mean you're either running up or running down (truth).
Here's the real story; I could've been warmed up, running with the wind, and on a flat course and I still would've DNF'd.
Why? because I shouldn't have been running.
I very clearly remember the 4.85 miles I ran on Saturday.
Mile 1, I was ignoring the pain. telling myself to suck it up. The thought, "Quit being a sissylala," most definitely ran through my mind. 8:33 pace.
Mile 2, I was furious this runnergirl passed me. I decided I was faster than she was and so I was going to re-pass her. Instead I watched as she disappeared from view. I never saw her again. 8:35 pace.
Mile 3, I walked. Walked? I've never walked in a race. ever. I took water, choked trying to drink it (so classy) and then walked. I was hot, weak, and out of breath. 9:01 pace.
Mile 4, There was this hill. I walked again. I let all these people pass me. I took in a gu. I felt horrible. I wanted to quit but I knew I had to keep going. I wanted that medal. I wanted to see my future in-laws at mile 5. I wanted to do this for Boston. 9:22 pace.
Mile 4.85, I realized I was running slower than my first half marathon by 40 seconds. My first half was hillier than this course and by every account, harder. Something was wrong. I stopped. I put my hands on my knees determined to keep going. I felt sick. I knelt down and finally I sat... and cried. A couple runners stopped, I told them to keep going. I asked them to get help. They did.