Saturday, July 11, 2009

Spirit Flower's First DNF

DNF is "did not finish" for you non-runners.

He He: You got to know when to fold 'em, at least, sometime before the sirens arrive with nervous guys not to happy about hauling your butt out of a forest because you were more stupid than you should have been.

I was enormously stupid, but I did accept help before it was forced on me.

It went like this. Today, I wanted to run a 50k (31 mile) running race. This race was mainly on trails in a forest. That means roots, rocks, mud and steep scrambles. Under those conditions it would take me over 8 hours to finish. The race was two laps of 25k each.

So, after 1 1/2 hours, I suddenly trip, or something, twist my ankle and go down in some mud. I get up, ouch! I walk a little and decide, no big deal. Well, I was out on a trail so I'd have to get my butt to the next aid station anyway. But, all goes really well. Not too much pain. After about 3 hours, I pass a medical emergency: runner looks like heat was the problem. A short while later, I fall again. Nothing hurt this time. I finish the first lap in 4 hours.

As I came in to the halfway station, I really tried hard to decide whether to go on or not. But I decided by not deciding. That is, I just started changing into dry socks and shoes and loading up on drink and sandwiches. I vaguely remember part of my brain asking why I was changing my shoes since I was quitting. But, I just sort of got all my stuff together and kept going.

I love the second half of this race. Its all about endurance and not about racing. It is quiet in the forest and I am mainly alone. I go into my head and listen to my mantra praying by itself in my heart. If I think at all, it is about Gu, S-caps and water.

I noticed that my quads were very fatigued, in fact, not that strong. Then I noticed that the hurt ankle kept getting bent sideways by the slope of the trail and hurting. Why was the trail sloped on that side? Not fair. After about an hour into the second lap, 4 hours after hurting the ankle, I fell again. Now I have fallen three times. I realize that the problem with the ankle is not so much pain but that it won't hold me.

Hummm.....Spirit Flower? Wake up!

My leg won't hold me. I've fallen three times. My knees and elbows and hands are scraped. Mission control, we have a problem. I come up on a paved road leading into the second aid station. I realize that the ankle is really not very happy. Right about then, two nice young ladies, volunteers, come past in an air conditioned SUV and ask if I'm ok. All the volunteers are on high alert for heat problems because of the medical emergency. My mouth forms the words, "No. I sprained my ankle and I can't finish. I need a ride." And, just like that, I'm in the cool SUV and whisked back to the start/finish line. I ran 5 hours and 50 minutes before quitting.

This was my first DNF! It took alot to get the truth to register in the brain: Spirit Flower, quit now before you fall again and break something, because you're gonna! It wasn't my day.

I lived to tell about it and to run again! Plenty of summer left for running. No sense in hobbling around because I was more stupid than I should have been!

Ride 'em Spirit Flower!

1 comment:

Mark said...

Good call. Sorry you sprained the ankle. Hope it heals quickly, obviously you are in excellent condition considering you ran all that way on a sprained ankle!