I like to run. I've learned that it really isn't about where you're going, it's about the getting there - the how, the why, the who with. This blog is just a little repository for my thoughts along the way; the setbacks, the lessons learned, and the occasional triumph.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

An Unimpressive DNF

The SD100 was not good to me. I DNF'd at 44 miles after 12.5 hours on my feet. Worse, I was cooked after 36 miles. My "stubborn" got me those last 8 miles, but I paid for them with a three and a half hour slog up the steepest section of the course.

I'm dissapointed. Last year when I DNF'd at the Burning River 100 at 70 mile, I still felt like I had accomplished something. A DNF at 44 just feels like a let-down. I should have been in shape to run way more than that. I thought I did a good job with my training. I've finished 50-milers on the same or less. I've finished 100Ks.

I was taking in plenty of calories. I was running at a responsible pace. Maybe I could have taken in a few more S-Caps, but I was drinking the sports drinks, trying to replace my electolytes.

My only guess, at the moment, is the high altitude and thinner air did me in. But even that makes me feel foolish: I knew what the elevation charts looked like when I signed up. I should have realized.

I don't know. It's 8 a.m. Sunday morning. I've been off the course as long as I was on it. People are still out there running. There are 6 more hours before the final cutoff. I should still be out there. I should have run 80 or 85 miles by now. I should be out there knowing that the finish line is waiting a little ways in front of me. I should be feeling it's gravitational pull and knowing that I was going to finish my first Hundo, get my first buckle, wear my yellow "Finisher" t-shirt. I'm not. I'm sitting in my hotel room preparing to go downstairs and peruse the continental breakfast.

It was a beautiful course. I met some awesome people. I have good things to say about my experience. Those are coming, along with some pictures and video and whatnot. Right now, though, I've still got this bitter, unpleasant taste...


Chris said...

DNFs suck...whether you get 44 miles, 70 miles, or 90 miles. You'll run another day. Those mountainous trail 100s are HARD! Pick an easier hundred to get your FIRST finish...then move onto the harder 100s. What's wrong with Rocky Raccoon? Vermont? Umstead? Even the local Kettle Moraine 100 is fairly easy (depending on weather). Anyway, lick those wounds, cheer up, and pick another race. You'll get one...soon!

GTI said...

Yeah, Chris I think that's the crux of it. I picked a race because it fit a hole in my schedule and didn't think enough about my choice beyond that. Something like Rocky is seeming like a REALLY good idea in comparison. Not the easiest lesson to swallow, but it is what it is.

There were some great things about this weekend, too. I'll hold onto those while I figure out what comes next.

Paige said...

Nooooooooo :( I was checking the runner splits through the weekend and was confused by how it was set up so couldn't tell how you had done. I was still holding out hope!

I'm sorry to read it didn't go as hoped. I agree with Chris...Rocky or Umstead would be good choices to finally get 'er done. Simple loop courses. I don't know much about SD, but I was guessing it was pretty, um, hilly :)

Lick those wounds and stomp your feet for a few days, but cheer up :) Look at it this way, you'll recover a HECK of a lot faster now and won't miss out on much training!

Proud of you for getting out there :)

Ric Munoz said...

To reiterate what I was able to tell you on Saturday night when you came off the trail with your sister, Gregory: I'm really, really sorry about your DNF. I know it's small comfort, but 59 people dropped out and the 60% finisher's rate was worse than last year's 66%. A lot of people suffered this weekend from the brutality of the course!

It's especially painful to DNF after traveling the distance that you did. My 2nd attempt at finishing 100 miles was at the Freedom Park 24-Hour Run in North Carolina. I bailed after 58 miles and 11 hours -- the nighttime temperature got down to 10 degrees or so -- my California weather background destroyed any chance I had of realizing my dream of nailing the 100.

But you have plenty of options to choose from to nail your 100-miler. I agree with the suggestions about Rocky Raccoon and Umstead. If you try for Umstead, you MUST be at your computer the instant registration opens and you have to be fast on the keyboard to get your entry accepted. This past year's race sold out in six minutes!

Another option is the Javelina Jundred in Arizona on October 23. It's a very popular race and people who've done it LOVE IT passionately. It's six 15½-mile loops plus one extra 7-mile loop --they change the direction of each loop so you get to see everybody over and over again throughout the race (lots of constant encouragement). If you decide to do that one, register sooner rather than later because it WILL sell out.

It was a pleasure meeting you (and your sister) in person -- I just wish it had been under happier circumstances. Hang in there -- you'll get it done next time!

Chris said...

Based on a recent M&B article (and some posts to the ULTRA list) these are the easier 100 milers using finisher rates and finish times:

Vermont Trail 100
Heartland 100
Umstead 100
Rocky Raccoon 100
Old Dominion 100 Memorial Day

None are easy, but pick a fair course without oxygen deprivation or major mountains!

GTI said...

Thanks, all of you for the friendly words and the suggestions. I'm already starting to think about how to get this done. Just clearing my schedule is a major hurdle, but Rocky seems like it could fit into things next year.

Rick, thanks for the heads up on registration stuff. I'll keep an eye on the Umstead info. One of the silver linings of my race was staying in long enough to cross your path. I ran into several people who I knew but hadn't really met before. It was so nice to find that even so far away from home, that there were friendly faces about to encourage me. Still one of the greatest things about being in the Ultra community.

Ric Munoz said...

I forgot to add, Gregory, that the Lean Horse 100 on August 28-29 is available too. I'll be there myself and it will not sell out. It's an out-and-back 50-mile course in South Dakota on roads and smooth trails. (I'm allergic to rocky and rooty trails, so I avoid them assiduously). It'll probably get pretty hot -- last year it got to the high 90s -- but it's a PR-friendly course with an excellent reputation.

And one last thing about San Diego. I found out this morning that Todd Hiskey, who ran most of the race in the top 10, got lost on the course around mile 99 (yes, mile 99!) and somehow got himself driven to the finish line. He consequently ended up as one of the 59 DNFs. I know that doesn't do much to dimish your disappointment, but I thought I'd share that to let you know you weren't alone in the misery department!

Tamar said...

I'm just catching up with the blog. So by now I'm sure you feel MUCH better and have already decided on your next event. Other people are more qualified to discuss races.But just in case you're feeling badly at all, I'm qualified to talk about goals. briefly.
I have several friends and support crew who are constantly pointing out to me that I set ridiculously high goals for myself, just to set my self up for failure. Why? I'm comfortable with failure. I'm also comfortable setting a ton of challenging and simultaneous projects to finish. The problem is, I seem to achieve some of them. So that only encourages me to keep setting them, and trying to prove I'm super human...Wonder Woman in fact.
I'm not telling you that you are setting yourself up for failure. I'm only saying that OTHER, mere mortals couldn't possibly dream about running 50 or 100 miles. And the fact that you ran 44 or even 20 is enough to make most of us slap ourselves silly for sitting in front of the television and call ourselves lazy. And you keep doing it! Jeez.
So, in short, I think you're superman and you should stop showing off. 44 miles is crazy good. And because you didn't finish THIS time, doesn't mean you won't the next time, of course. And most of us are still insanely proud of you, a little jealous, and the rest are totally in shock that someone is nuts enough to even try.
So there.
love ya.

Anonymous said...

You are the man and you're stubborn.

No worries you'll get it done.

All the best,