For those who do not know a DNF is short for “Did Not Finish”
My running career is thus far DNF free… and really… I am proud of that. I may not have completed all the races I have done in the way I WANTED to complete them all but I have still completed them all.
The reality is, running is something I love and racing is just a part of that and I don’t always WANT to “go big or go home” so-to-speak
I may be a runner but I am not competitive
However, there are those few races that I pour my heart and soul into… the races I run for time and legit train for to run a certain way. The race this past Sunday was one such race.
Basically… I put all my eggs in one basket
I knew when I started to train for this race that a PR would be easy. Never having actually run any of the other three half’s that I completed for time, made that likelihood easy to figure out. But I didn’t want an easy PR I wanted to essentially blow my previous half marathon times out of the water.
And I guess I technically did that… a 15 minute PR is huge and I know that… but being so close yet so far away is kind of eating away at me
The race was such a major let down for me… and it really wasn’t the race itself but the way I ran it. Don’t get me wrong… I KNEW going into this race that everything was pretty much stacked against me. I KNEW that mentally I had lost what little edge I had with my last long being 6 weeks prior to the race. I KNEW that physically my body wasn’t prepared.
I KNEW all of that but I still held onto a glimmer of hope that everything would click and it would be one of those magical run days where miracles happen
And it just wasn’t
Everything fell apart for me on that course… and really… everything fell apart for me 6 weeks prior when I went out for a little 2 mile shake out run and the dull pain I had been feeling for two weeks already became unbearable. This race was just the past 6 weeks of frustration essentially coming out of me over the the 13.10 miles
Part of me thinks I gave up too easily… but the other part of me knows that I was in a LOT of pain that day
Right now I am dealing with wondering if I really COULD have given it more… but the truth is, I do not know that answer. I know how much pain I was in and I know those miles between 9 and 11 were gruesome.
There was a point when I was walking… well… probably more limping and I was in tears and… I can’t even describe the amount of disappointment I was feeling. Chris and I passed a police car and an ambulance and for the first time EVER in my running career I seriously contemplated dropping out of the race.
I was in pain… a lot of pain… I was limping and in tears and I don’t think anyone would have blamed me for dropping out.
The reason I didn’t – If I had dropped out during THIS race it would have been more because I was acting like a petulant child than an inability to finish
Let me explain
There were a million and one things going through my mind during that race. A LOT of those thoughts were centered around self-loathing and extreme disappointment in myself. I was physically incapable of running the race I WANTED to race
And well… basically… because I couldn’t get what I wanted I was acting like a petulant child in my head.
I was pissing and moaning and screaming lots of “whyyyyyyyyys?” In my mind I was having a total temper tantrum
I realized around mile 6 that there was no way in hell my body was going to magically allow me to run faster and make up time reach my 2:15 goal. I was already 5ish minutes off pace and I know that it takes to maintain pace AND make up time. My body was not physically capable of accomplishing that on Sunday
And I was heartbroken over it and instead of accepting it my mind reverted to temper tantrum instead… which really wasn’t all that productive.
If I had dropped out of the race I would never be able to forgive myself for that… I knew that in the moment and I know that now. My body COULD finish that damn race and I also KNEW that.
So I decided to trek on and… well… listen to Chris and do what I was capable of doing.
I let anger take over… anger at myself for even considering dropping out… anger at my body for going haywire 6 weeks before my goal race… anger at that damn 2:30 pace group that kept passing me… anger that as much as I was fighting, I was BARELY holding on… anger that I felt like I was letting down the people that believed in me… anger that getting injured crushed me completely
My struggles began LONG before I crossed that start line, my struggles began when I got injured. I kept trying to keep up some sort of training but I was physically NOT able to do it.
I feel like I gave up even though I know I didn’t. As much as I tried, I kept failing and that failure crushed me.
There is still some anger in me… I am going to use that anger to fuel me… fuel me to get my body back to… well… to not being in pain
My left glute/hamstring still hurt and it is not just muscle soreness… there is something a little more major going on there and my right knee is still wonky as well so need to figure out what is causing that.
There will be another race… and I think I choose it already
But first I need to heal and get my running back on track… and I need to get stronger…
In the meantime… I WILL be proud of that 15 minute PR because that ISN’T a small feat and it IS something to be proud of.