Ready, Set, Go . . . Then Stop . . .
Let’s start out this story by saying I went into this marathon completely trained and ready – for a road race.
Backing up some, you may recall the marathon I had trained for, the Ft. Myers Marathon, got cancelled just a week out. I’d put my heart and soul into training for this race. Rented a room. Had my mom coming to town. Then, like that, with no warning, the race director sent out an email cancelling the race.
Since the X Country marathon in Alafia state park was open just two weeks later, I decided to try that. I had run the 30K last year. I’d enjoyed it enough. It meant I could get in one more twenty, but it also meant I was headed into a trail race without proper trail training this year. I knew this was an issue. I hoped it wouldn’t be a big issue.
Coach and I ready to go – and the lucky penny we found!
Leading up to the race I did everything right:
- Slept well.
- Ate well.
- Trained well.
No injuries, no missed runs, nothing. Night before I slept like a rock. I felt great that morning as my mom and I headed out to the race.
I got to the race super early, picked up my packet, and headed to the back of the bathroom area to put on my Vaseline. (Body glide was out, unbeknownst to me until that AM!)
The race started without a problem. The first six miles felt fantastic. I ran like the wind. I was the wind! My only issue: someone, who shall remain nameless, unplugged my Aftershokz and so they were DEAD from mile one. I listened a bit to a podcast out loud since, for the most part, I was running alone on the trails.
Mile 6: Stepped down onto a root I didn’t see, knee went backwards, ankle sideways, and I tripped. Luckily regained balance before falling since it was a craggy part of the path, but immediately felt a tinge in my left ankle.
My mood instantly soured. I started to doubt myself. I started to worry. Though I was fueled, I felt out of steam. Frustrated, I plodded along, suddenly aware of the heat (nearing 80 at 9:30) and, with each step, my ankle.
Mile 10, I stepped down into a patch of almost knee-high weeds onto uneven ground and again turned my ankle.
And that was it.
Walking it In
This time, there was really no recovering. It hurt everytime I took a step onto the earth. The path, being trail, was never even at this point. Any motion to the side made my ankle ping.
To say I was devastated is a misnomer. I felt crushed. Cried. Cursed (in my head so the people around me wouldn’t hear!). One guy told me great job, keep going, but I knew it wasn’t possible. I texted my mom and told her I needed ice and I would be coming in at mile 13 to end my race. I walked most of the next few miles.
I didn’t cross the finish line. I did tell the lady I was dropping and I did get a medal. But in the end it was a DNF.
So, major bust of a race. I got my shoes off, put my foot up and iced it for the rest of the day and the next. Though tender, it is mostly okay. The swelling, which was below the ankle bone, has mostly gone away. Today on my run I only felt it slightly when I had to get onto the grass from the pavement. Otherwise, on flat road, it was fine. After – fine.
When Things Don’t Work Out, Where Do You Go?
I’ve spent the last few days feeling pretty frustrated. I’d trained so hard. I honestly don’t think I could have prepared better unless I’d known my first road race would be cancelled. True, I probably shouldn’t have thought I could transfer to a trail run so far into the game; I just hoped it would be doable, even if I had to walk.
It’s tough to train for four or five months and then, well, nothing.
Unfortunately, by the end of this race, walking 13 more miles wasn’t an option.
So where do I go from here?
I’ve wondered that myself. I put a lot of doubts in my head during this race, and this failure of a marathon. I know there is a marathon series coming up over Christmas break that I can do. That means one more 20 miler. Do I have it in me? Physically I think so. Mentally? Not sure.
I’m still grieving the loss of this race, this finish line. It’s hard when you work diligently and the end result doesn’t pay off.
I may sign up for one of the marathons in the series this December. It’s close enough – a few hours away – and I could get a room and stay overnight. Mom will be here, kids out of school, so schedule wise it would be perfect. It’s a road race. Also perfect. Because even though I enjoy the woods, I have decided trail running isn’t for me. At least not right now.
Or I could put off the marathon until one in January, the 21st, which I had originally hoped would be my first 50K. Or skip the 26.2 and go straight for an ultra in January.
I don’t know what I will end up doing. Right now, it’s tough to think ahead like that. Right now I’m still unhappy about this finish line.
Have you ever DNFed a race? If so, what happened? Why didn’t you finish? And how long did it take for you to get over being angry about it?
Enjoy your sole-filled miles – even the ones you don’t complete.