Tuesday, September 25, 2012

North Coast 24 DNF

I’m not sure what happened. I wasn’t feeling it. So wasn’t in the mood. The fun meter was registering a zero. I just had no interest in running past 43 miles. I was in a funk…

I had high expectations for a great run. I was feeling healthy. I was confident I could run well under 14 hours for 100 miles. My splits were memorized and in my pocket. While the conditions were not perfect, they weren’t bad. The race was well organized. I have no excuses. At 43 miles I quit.

I went out fast. Perhaps, a bit too fast. But I felt good and the pace did not seem to require too much effort. But, I just couldn’t go to that other place. Have my mind leave my body. Escape to my daydreams. Run as if it required no effort. I knew it wasn’t my day at 43 miles.

I just stopped. Thank you’s were in order for Race Directors John Hnat and Dan Horwath. They had bent over backwards to accommodate my ambitions. I felt as if I had let them down. They had done so much for me. Having only run 43 miles was shaming.

I went to my hotel and watched it rain. I was glad I was not out running. My rationale brain knew I had made the right decision. My emotional brain was troubled. Others were enduring and pushing on in the rain and the wind. I had quit at 43 miles without suffering any inconvenience from the weather. I was a quitter.

The funk followed me home to Salt Lake City, perhaps the cause of the low clouds and drizzle that consumed the Valley today. Just 43 miles. “What was that about?” I kept asking myself. I didn’t even hurt. I was running at a 7:48 mile average. Ahead of pace to achieve my desired time.

“Time to get over this” I thought, as I laced up my shoes. Once on the Desolation Trail I quickly outran my funk. I felt good. My body seemed weightless. My breathing was light. My mind left my body for that other place. Time ceased to exist. I felt calmness for the first time since I quit at 43 miles. I realized that I had forgotten that I choose to run for joy. I had toed the line at the North Coast 24 obsessed with a time and a record, forgetting about the innate joy of the run. I had f’d up. Just 43 miles because I forgot joy. I will not forget the lesson.


peter said...

Tough to get the stars to align every time out. In my opinion, you are the toughest mo fo around (after Storheim and maybe that Campbell character...they are both hugely tough). Nice to know that you are still human. Hope this fuels your appetite for the big chase, and that we can get out for a run on Sunday. Happy trails.

jun said...

Incredible post. You made the right decision. So glad you found your happiness again.

Chris Cawley said...

The DNF is an important experience for people who enjoy racing of any sort. Sometimes it happens, and I think its a benefit to know what thats like. Next up, you should try the WIT, which stands for Walk It In, but make sure you blow up massively before attempting the WIT.

LEWIS said...

Sorry you didn't get the results you wanted but it sounds like an important experience nonetheless. Thanks for the writeup- always fun to follow your impressive exploits.