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Eat, Consume, Relax: A Guide to Normalcy

June 27, 2013 Comments (0) Journey To A First Ultra, Musings, Training

4 Ways to Move On From a DNF

picture of hand hold a sticker that reads DNF - did not finish

I DNFed my first race ever when I quit at mile 73 of the C&O Canal 100 Miler.   There are days when I still forget that it happened, but I’ve been able to move past it with some handy tips:

  1. Worse things have happened to better people.  In the grand scheme of life and the universe, the fact that I didn’t cross the finish line is such a blip on the map.  There are people who face real hardship in their lives every day and to get all worked up about a DNF is really a slap in the face to those people.
  2. Realize what you learned from the experience.   Through my DNF, I learned a lot about myself and my love that I call running.   For example, I learned that super flat courses, even as a flatlander, aren’t for me.   I thought I’d ace the course, but the flatness took a toll on me quickly.   I also learned that I need to do a lot more running in the dark to deal with mental toll it can take on a runner.
  3. Analyze your training to find places to improve.   Looking back, I didn’t spend enough time running long.   I did a few 50k distances (in training and in a race), but the most time I spent on my feet was 7 hours.  Before my only other 100 miler, which I finished, I ran a 12 hour race.  The time on my feet, ability to test out eating and hydration, and mental preparation over the 12 hours was so helpful.  Without that, I clearly was underprepared during this race and will factor that in with my future planning.
  4. Remember what fun times you did have.  I was able to be crewed by my mother, boyfriend, and a friend, as well as be paced by another friend I don’t get to see that often.  The time spent with these amazing folks can’t be taken away, even if my ‘finish’ never was achieved.  I also got to run parts of the race with a running buddy that I talk with frequently, but haven’t raced with, nor do I see often.   While neither of us finished, it was really cool getting to spend a bunch of hours on the trail with him.

With this DNF in my rear view mirror, I look ahead at my future races (relay in 20in24 and a handful of fall marathons) and realize at the end of the day, DNF or not, I’m one lucky lady to be able to consider myself a runner.  Can’t wait to see what the rest of my 2013 race calendar will teach me!

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