Not Fast But Not Last
My Love/Hate Relationship with Running

The Dreaded DNF

This is the post I was hoping to never have to write.

This is the post that will help explain why I took a hiatus from running and writing about it.

This is the post about my first DNF.

When you start to run a lot and start to get confident about your running, the thought never crosses your mind that one day you might not finish a race.  It seems impossible to think that you will ever get to a point where it hurts to run or you can’t run.

After completing the Sarasota Half Marathon, I was planning to take some time off.  I got another deep tissue massage to work out my kinks and took it easy for a few days.

A few of my friends were planning to run a local 5K for St. Patrick’s Day.  I had participated in this same run the year prior and had a lot of fun, so I decided to go out and just have fun with my friends.

I did not expect to try to race this 5K.  I told everyone that it was just for fun.  And I did go out and expect to have fun.

I even dressed up!

Paige and I before the race I Did Not Finish

Paige and I before the race I Did Not Finish

The course is a 1.5 mile loop that you complete twice.

I started out with Paige and made it through the first mile with a little pain in my right leg, specifically my IT Band…again.

I slowed down to almost walking and watched as all of my friends passed me.  They all slowed down to ask if I was ok since I NEVER walk.

By the time I was beginning my second loop, I was limping.

I decided it was better to end my misery than to try to make it the rest of the way and risk more injury.

This is where I walked off the course and sealed my fate.

This was my first DNF and I was hating myself for it.

DNF stands for Did Not Finish.  Most seasoned runners feel you are not truly a runner until you have experienced this.  Let me tell you, it is not fun and is usually the result of injury, illness or “hitting the wall” and being physically unable to finish a race.

Trying to put it in perspective; it could have been worse and it could have happened at a longer (and more expensive) race.  This was a local 5K, but I was surrounded by friends and I was the only one who didn’t finish.

I really felt like a failure.  How could I not complete 3 lousy miles?  I joined some friends for dinner and tried to not think about it.

After this happened, I decided to really take a break and I did not run for over 2 months.  It was hard, especially when I got new running shoes for my birthday a few weeks later.  But I knew I had to give my body time to heal and rest.

Not being able to finish a race is hard mentally and physically, especially when you have recently completed longer races.

I hope this is the only DNF on my record, but maybe now I am that much closer to being a “true” runner.


One Response to “The Dreaded DNF”

  1. […] Last year, this was the race of my dreaded DNF. […]

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