Sunday, May 8, 2011

Did Not Finish

- I was supposed to complete the New River Marathon on Saturday. But I didn't. I had intestinal distress and a generally rotten race.

- My plan was to run about 7:00 per mile, which would have put me well under 3:10. However, the race course was tougher than I anticipated, so even if I had been on my game, I don't think that was in the cards for this marathon in my current conditioning.

- I even agreed to run with my fellow Crazy Legger, Scott Kennedy, for the first few miles at about 6:50 pace. When the race began, I stayed with Scott for approximately zero point zero miles. After the mountain climb on mile 2, I quickly changed my plan to a 7:30 pace for this race. I figured I could run about a 3:15 marathon with no major issues.

- So we got the first hilly section done. Suddenly I realized that I needed to find the nearest porta-jon. I finally got to one between mile 7 and mile 8. This stop ended up costing me about 4 minutes. Now, I figured I would feel better and could pick up the pace. My 8 mile split was about an hour and two minutes. So I was two minutes behind what I wanted. I figured that it would be no problem at all to make up that time in the next hour.

- The next problem was that I couldn't make up much time. I was going pretty slow. This was depressing. There was no energy. I'm afraid I got some sort of food poisoning in the last few days. As we came through mile 11, I was tempted to stop, as it was near the race start and finish. But I figured I would at least keep running on this flat part of the course, and see how I felt at the halfway point.

- The sun was beating down on me. I felt awful. I was not making up any time. I saw no benefit to stay out on the course for another 1:40 at the least, and possibly 2 hours more if I kept feeling terrible. I got to the mile 13 mark, and my time was 1:38:something. I knew I would have to slow down in the second half. And I knew there were worse hills, too. I decided that I didn't want to finish just for the sake of finishing, with a disappointing finish time of 3:25 or worse. Plus, if I finished I would have to be sore for a few days. I quit, I dropped out, I Did Not Finish.

- I began to run back to the start. Soon I saw my friends Theoden Janes and Doug Blackford, and then Jinnie. She asked me what was up. I said I felt awful. I figured she might stop, as she has been injured worse than most people know. But she gave me the thumbs up. She said she felt good. She asked if I would run with her. I watched her disappear down the course. I thought about running with her. I felt so bad that I simply could not.

- Then I jogged back to the start for a total of 15 miles for the day. I saw a few friends who had run the half marathon. Then I got in the Jeep and rode out on the course. I saw Scott in second place overall, and he gave me the "what's up, why aren't you running?" look. He went on to win the race! I found Theoden at about the 19.5 mile area. He indicated that he was having a rough day, and asked where Jinnie was. I looked around, and she was right behind him, with the ageless Doug also in the pack. I told them that there was only one more hill and then it was downhill and flat to the finish. They all exclaimed about how hellish the hills were at mile 16. I was glad that I didn't experience it.

- I drove to about mile 21. I set up a mobile water station for anyone who came by. The sun was out and it was pretty hot. Now, I don't travel with a mobile aid station generally. But Jinnie and I had bought a bunch of bottled water at the Food Lion in West Jefferson the night before, so we could hydrate well. And when TrySports moved locations last week, Jinnie grabbed a stack of paper cups to bring home, and they were still in her Jeep.

- I handed out a lot of water at mile 21 and mile 23. Everyone seemed appreciative. When Theoden, Doug, Jinnie, and their group passed, I couldn't just pack up and leave. If anyone was within sight, I stuck around to hand them water. But then someone else would come around the corner. Finally I was able to speed off to the finish line without feeling too guilty.

- Doug was looking strong as he came to the finish. Theoden was picking up the pace as well. Jinnie was nowhere to be seen. I was worried; what happened in those last three miles? Then she came around the bend and she was going to finish. She was definitely moving a lot slower than she had been at mile 23. She finished and told me she wanted everything that was available to eat. She ran super, 3:47:55 with an injured hip and on a tough course. Fifth overall female!

- Some people say DFL is better than DNF. Maybe that's true for some people. Maybe that's true for me on some days. But I'm glad I quit on this day.

- I guess my plan for a marathon in each month of this year is by the wayside for the moment. There's still a chance I'll do another one before May is over. But I want to do well in a couple of local 5Ks first.

- Richard Hefner asked me if this was my first DNF. Actually it is my second of this year. In February I participated in the Sultan 50K, but I stopped at 25K. I felt rotten that day, too. It was very similar to my New River experience. It was as if I was not myself. I felt like Superman under a red sun. Or wearing kryptonite running shoes. My hope is that my Boston Marathon time of 3:06 is an indication of my general state of fitness, and that New River was the aberration. Not vice versa.


mrn said...

eh i drop out of races all the time. nobody knows your body better than you do, which means that no one else's opinion about it matters except yours. end of story.

jayholder8k said...

Agreed. It's all about making the smart decision and it sounds like you did just that.

Anonymous said...

Almost as many followers as me, hmmm....
I also liked the zero point zero line, I will steal that sometime in the future. Running a marathon every month, why does that not sound like fun.

eminnick said...

These days make us really appreciate it when things do go well.