16 October 2005

My first DNF :(

I've got to get this race report down so I a) don't chicken out; b) conviently forget what happened; and c) not learn from the mistakes I made today.

Okay, let's begin this puppy yesterday. I got up and was feeling great. It was a beautiful day and so I decided to go for a bike ride. I did an easy 20 miles and just really enjoyed a gorgeous day. Got home to find the electrician working on our exterior lighting. Since the hubby and I had plans to go out for breakfast I hadn't eaten anything yet and was getting hungry. Plans were quickly altered to lunch and I grabbed a yogurt and hit the showers. After the electrician left we headed out. I had to go into work for an hour so we did that first. Then it was off to packet pick-up and lunch. By the time we actually got to the restaurant it was 1:30pm and all I'd had all day was a banana and a yogurt - I was starving. A big fat cheesburger, seasoned fries, and a beer later and I was much better, although this would turn out to be not the best choice. After having eaten such a huge lunch kind of late I was not hungry the rest of the day so I had a very small dinner. I was off to bed by 9pm to get lots of sleep for my 30k today.

The alarm went off at 3:00am and I would have given anything to roll over and pull the covers over my head. I never sleep well the night before a race, I just don't. I fell asleep fairly easily but kept waking up and looking at the clock every 1/2 hour, UGH!!!!

So I drag my butt out of bed, shower (I know, weird to shower before a race but it helps wake me up), grab coffee, finish getting my gear to together and by 3:40am I'm on the road and off to Waikiki trying to choke down some breakfast on the way (I don't eat well on race mornings either).

Get to the parking area by 4:15am, nice and early cause I hate to be rushed on race day. Get all ready and head off to find my group. We did some stretching and warming up and stood around stragetizing for the race. Now our group was not supposed to finish the race. We were going to go out to mile 7 then turn around and head back. For the past 2 weeks I'd been going back and forth with our coach over whether or not to finish this thing (I really wanted to and he didn't want me to). I had finally decided last week to not finish it and stick with his plan (although I was still on the fence a little). In talking this morning though my running partner had decided she wanted to finish it so I said, what the heck, let's go for it! Oh what a mistake.

The first mile was really slow since we were still warming up and if we were going to do all 18.6 miles there was no need to rush. We started picking up the pace a little though and by mile 4 were cranking out 12 minute miles and we were very happy with that pace. We kept that up till mile 7 (the turnaround point).

Here we met up with our group again and were debating the merits of turning around. Now I should point out my serious lack of nutrition yesterday and the fact that I only brought one gel with me since I figured we'd be turning around early. My partner and I decided to go 1 more mile and another girl decided to join us. Mile 7 was pretty good and we decided to go 1 more mile. Mile 8 was also okay although I was starting to feel it in my hamstrings. But, since I didn't want to drag them back with me we decided to go 1 more mile. Well, now were are at mile 9 - the halfway point, we still had about 3/4 mile out to go since the return is shorter than the out. Well, we'd made it this far it seemed silly not to go to the turnaround. By mile 10 I was really starting to feel it. Having eaten my gel at mile 6 I could feel myself getting seriously depleted. Miles 11 and 12 weren't too bad and when we saw the half marathon marker we were stoked - woohoo only 5 miles to go, yeah!!!! (yes, we were ignoring those pesky .6 miles at this point). Once we passed the half marathon mark I could no longer run and neither could the other girl. My original partner was still feeling strong and so she kept going - yeah Darlene!!!!!

From 13.1 to mile 15 we did okay, not great but we were hanging in there. At about 15.5 miles I realized I could not go much further, I was at my limit. The girl I was walking with helpfully pointed out that I really had no option, there was no other way to get there. Realizing she was right, we took a break, stretched, drank some and headed back off. By this point I was in agony wondering if they had a sweeper van and when it would come by.

We had just hit mile 16 when she looks down the road and says, "Hey, there's my husband." A million thoughts raced through my head; yeah, a ride; damn, we are only 2 miles from the finish; maybe he has some food; is the truck air conditioned; etc, etc....... Well, since he was the smart one and turned around at Mile 7, he'd been waiting quite a while for us. He told us to get in the truck. After a little debate and conferring and totaling up pain we decided to get in the truck. He then drove us to the finish line to drop off our chips and that was that, we went on our merry way.

Now, while I did DNF this race I went further than I intended and so that is good. More importantly is I learned (actually relearned) a number of lessons.
1) Proper eating the day before is critical on a long run.
2) Always, always, always, carry at least 4 gels no matter what!!!
3) I hate Amino Vital powder drink mix.
4) I am going to have to train more if I plan on finishing this marathon unscathed.....

So, overall I'm very pleased with the day. I learned some very important stuff and realized where I need to focus my training energy for the next 8 weeks.


PuddyRat said...

It's a smart racer that knows when to quit. Good for you. Don't beat yourself up. Take your lessons learned and learn from them (doing the same things over and over again and expecting something different to happen is the definition of insanity). Onward!

Nancy Toby said...

Sounds like you weren't quite in the mental game for the full distance from the start of the day - which is important! Long distance running is 50% physical and 90% mental! Or something like that!! :-)

And don't worry too much about the sleep the night before. Just do your best. The night *2* nights before is when you have to make sure you get an extra-long sleep.

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