Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wisconsin Marathon: DNF This

Did that really happen? The answer is unfortunately so.

As the race was unfolding, none of it seemed real. I absolutely could not believe that it was happening to me. Nope. Nope. Not on any level.

But it did happen. And after spending a week moping and channeling my inner Nancy Kerrigan I've come to the point where I just have to let that shit go. Yes, I got screwed by the weather. No, there was nothing I could do to avoid the fact that my body was not acclimated to the warmer temperature. Yes, other people had similar troubles at this race so it wasn't just in my head. No, it was not fair. Yes, it was heartbreaking to be fitter than I've ever been and have this happen.

No, there is nothing I can do to change it.

At first it didn't feel like it was that warm. 60-65 degrees is in fact very much not that warm at all. However 18 weeks of training in nothing higher than the 40s meant that it was a shock to my poor Midwestern system. Geez, even on my last couple shakeout runs leading up to Saturday it was in the 30s.

Happier times: Around mile 5.

My initial warning was a side stitch forming at mile 6. Then a super icky dry mouth feeling developed around mile 8 despite already finishing all my 22 ounces of water. The 8:15 pace I was running not only didn't feel easy- it felt like WORK. (A huuuge red flag since I ran a 7:40 pace half marathon just a few weeks ago. 8:15 should have been a breeze at this point!) After my water bottle was empty all I could think about was getting to the next aid station to hydrate more. I chugged more water around mile 12 and was immediately thirsty again a minute later. I felt like I was reenacting that scene in Spaceballs where they are lost in the desert. But you know, in Kenosha instead.

I got to mile 16 and I finally accepted that it was not happening that day. I texted my family who was waiting for me at 18 and told them I was slowing down and planned to drop out. Then I had 2 miles to come to terms with that decision so I wouldn't cry in front of them.

Mile 9ish. Beet red face. Sadness.

I've never DNF-ed a race so this was completely new
territory for me. I've mega-bonked races before and been proud of finishing them but this time it honestly didn't seem like it would be a wise decision to keep going. Looking at it from a technical perspective, I can tell myself I didn't put my body through the stress of completing 26.2 miles so I can log it as a long tempo run. I can "save" my legs and extend my training cycle a few weeks and maybe try again at another race at the end of the month.

Still it stings like a bitch. More than any other bad race I've ever had.

All I want to do is have my hard work pay off on a race day. I absolutely know I can do this. 18 weeks of the most amazing training and I'm left with... what? It's beyond frustrating. I feel like I'm on the verge of this huge breakthrough but it's just taking it's damn sweet time getting here.

When I finally smash through this wall it's going to be so good.


  1. aw tracey i'm so sorry to hear that! it is very disappointing for sure, but you are right... you have to just let it go. you can't beat yourself up over what you could or couldn't have done differently as it sounds like the factors that were at work were out of your control. still... i understand how hard that is and how you must feel. <3

  2. Weather is dumb! I'm so sorry this happened to you. No sense killing yourself over a race where it wasn't in the cards. Dropping out was a smart choice to save that power you built up for another day when the weather is better. We all believe you will get this next time!

  3. Oh thank you so much. I actually feel a lot better now and very happy that I don't have to go through a full marathon recovery right now. When I finally get there it's going to be so sweet!

  4. So sorry to hear about this race, Tracey! I also believe you are on the brink of a breakthrough and your hard training will absolutely pay off soon. I think you made a smart decision so you can race again - and BQ - sooner!