Monday, October 10, 2011

50 Miler: A DNF is a DNF

 A note to start:
This is an off the cuff, honest, unedited, view of my DNF. I do plan on writing a coherent, more "travel channel" post about my 50 mile run. I know only a few folks will understand about the "Whites Run" out and back section, but I really don't care about that right now.
There will be a nice blog about the 50 miler, and maybe some introspective on what happened, but actually, nothing happened. I was too slow. I felt great during the entire race. I had no issues.

Well, it's only about the 50 mile DNF.  Outside of the DNF, I had a fabulous weekend in WV. Spruce Knob Trails are very special. It's very cool to be there.
I missed the cut off at 3.45 pm.  Megan, my friend and AS Captain, gave me the option. She said you are over the cut off, but you can go. But you need to go faster.
If I had been closer, I would have gone. But 15 minutes over, I knew wasn't going to cut it. My voice did crack as I told her I would stop.  The math does work out well. The runners that got through Horton AS at 330pm also made it through the last cut off at 710pm, and I also believe are counted as official 50 mile finishers, even being over the 14 hour mark. Hey, that's the RD call.
I don't want to hear about "well, you went 33 miles, that's so great"  or "you went miles farther than the person sitting on the couch" platitudes.  People, I went 33 miles. Whooppee shit. The race ended at 50 miles and I did not complete it.  It matters not to me that I went farther than some fatass on a couch or I gave it all I had. I didn't do what I came to do. It's a D-N-F.

Am I feeling sorry for myself? Yes. No.No, I am actually angry and disappointed in myself. So is that a pity party? I don't know. Do I feel like a big loser? Yes. Am  I over-reacting? Yes. It's two days post race and I am tired. It's amazing how different you feel about your sore muscles when you've had a good race.

Did I have a bad race? Well, yeah, considering the fact that I did not finish..

Okay, some positives. Maybe I can dig myself out of the ditch here.

I had no negative talk-until the climb out of White's Run.  I was not worried and was not thinking about the cutoffs for the 50 mile race on Friday.In fact, I told quite a few people to stop dwelling about the cut offs for the 50 miler, they were just creating negativity.
In fact, until Elizabeth caught me, on the out to Whites Run AS, where she asked me  if I thought we would make the cut offs, I was actually surprised. "Well, yeah we'll make the cut off..."
That was the first of it. But, you know, my pace was my pace. It wasn't going any faster through the downed trees.  That was when I first started thinking of the cut offs, but I didn't look at my watch. I didn't see the point. I would get to Whites Run when I did, and I would then turn around and head back out. That certainly was a given; I was not stopping and dropping at Whites Run.
They told me the time at WR AS, which I really didn't want to hear. I also reset my Garmin here, since I had screwed it up somewhere previously. So I knew it was 1.08 pm when I left Whites Run AS. I had 8.8 miles to go, to Horton AS, by 3.30pm.
My low spot and pity party hit after Kate came by still going to WR AS. I was climbing,so slowly, up the unending hills.. There was no way I could do this. I thought about the guys at Oil Creek and teared up. And started a bit of hyperventilating, and some general whininess.
Then I put the headphones back on, and turned up the music. I put the guys and the negative thoughts away, and my new mantra was "your job and only job is to get up this hill".
This kept working. I wasn't going fast. Oh no. But I was moving forward, steadily. And I put the sadness away. It kept coming back, but then I started singing out loud with certain parts of songs.
I caught up to people. What an  incredible short of adrenalin-for my spirit, at least, not my speed.
I passed two guys. They were very unhappy, and moving very slowly.
Then I saw Suzie, that I had ran with, most of the 50K Friday. I finally caught up to her, and I think it boosted both our spirits.
The downed trees were pissing me off, finally. I started just going through them. Screw it.
But I also knew the downed trees were back at the beginning of the Whites Run Trail, and Suzie thought we were almost back to Horton Trail also.
I heard Suzie whoop, and then  I saw the blue plastic plate.
I also glance at my Garmin. It's a mile 6; it's 3 pm. I have 30 minutes to go 2.8 miles. I think. More or less.
But it's downhill. And that's my strength. And what if the Garmin is wrong? What if my time is off, and it's less mileage?
I tear off downhill. Suzie lets me by. I have to say, those miles off Horton were some of my most inspired, crazy assed downhill running. I had no fear and there were no breaking on the downhills. As I ran this, I even thought to myself "you know, if you ran like this more earlier,  you wouldn't be in this spot now".
I ran. The Garmin clicked off a mile,then another mile. But my time was whittling away. Where was the road? I
I kept seeing big breaks of sunshine in the distance, which I hoped would signal the road-and the AS. I kept running. I would hate to miss the cut off by some namby pamby number.
I finally came to the river bottom and saw, an old appliance. It cheered me, I knew I had to be close to the road.
I saw Megan, alone, waiting. She gave me the news..and the option.
Fifteen minutes was too much. If it had been under ten, YES I would have gone. I really had pushed the gears going down the hill to the AS. But knowing the big climb up over the mountain again to Judy Springs, I did not think I would have survived the last cut off.
But, at least, I did have that redeeming run off Horton. I did not walk slow or run slow enough to 'catch' the cutoff. I busted my ass. I had some thrilling bad ass downhill running off that trail.
So that at least redeemed my 50 mile race for me. At least I had the good 'all or nothing' coming off Horton. It's the only thing that gives me cheer about not reaching my goal..again.

People, if you do leave comments, please don't give me the burble 'wait till next year' okay? I'm really not in the mood for it.  Or, hell, leave it if you must. I can take it. It just doesn't do anything for me.


  1. hey Kim, sorry to hear you had to drop. as a recent DNF'er myself (Wasatch) I understand how disappointing it can be. but don't beat yourself up too much. give yourself credit for having the guts to swing for the fences....most people don't have that courage. hope to see you "out there" next year. -Eric

  2. The only real failure is failure to learn from your experiences and mistakes. And have a little fun along the way. You might not realize that you are an inspiration to others, so you've got that going for you ;)

  3. Hey Kimba - I know a dnf is a dnf so won't try to sugar coat anything as you suggest. But I did want to say that running with you, Suzie and Rhonda in the 50k was one of the highlights of my weekend. I learned a lot from you gals! Thanks for passing on your ultra knowledge.
    - Michelle


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