Thursday, 12 September 2013

Meet Your Maker 50mi 2013: My first DNF.

There is nothing sad about not finishing a race. Nor shameful. In fact, when knowing that one is underprepared to race, the DNF can be a godsend.

The 2013 Meet Your Maker 50 mile ultramarathon went off this year with twice as many competitors, over 300, topping the inaugural year's count of just over 140. I was one of the solo competitors who signed up almost a year ago with dreams of finishing the ultra for a second time. After this year's Knee Knacker and the feelings that I had in my body in the following weeks, we set out a plan to deal with the MYM50 ultra, undertrained.

The plan was perfect: start the race, run the first 32kms of it and then exit altogether. The decision made over two weeks ago on a family vacation to Lake Osoyoos was in effect, an effort to mitigate the impending physical beat down that I would have to endure. Attempting to finish an ultra is knowing hot to pull yourself together mentally after your body has quit, then finish on fumes.

I was not looking forward to finishing on fumes, then living the coming weeks on fumes until I replenished myself. Perhaps I am getting soft, perhaps I am getting smarter--all I know is that two days after the race I felt great, and now I look forward to my next ultra (whichever that may be).

Hindsight is always 20/20, and although I would have liked a finishers medal; I admire and think it amazing that the solo and relay racers kept at it for up to 15 hours(!); and I would have loved to experience the finish again, I am better off for the short and long term by not finishing this race.

Brothers at the dark start: 5:30 AM. 

My rationale is simple: in the current condition that I am in, some of the best shape of my life, I am not fit enough to deal with the stress of the run and the recovery that goes with it. This was covered extensively in the last posting.
On Comfortably Numb...

Our graceful departure with MYM owner/ visionary Kathryn Stanton

As for the pre-race festivities, it went as follows:  starting with the package pick-up--a meet up with Tom Craik and James Marshall; a pre-race dinner with some fabulous people--a dinner that I was late too, but had heard the briefing all before one year ago; a great second dinner with the family, beauty sleep that was only 4 hours long.
Former Kamloopsians turned ultra runners. Marian Bryan and me--her team won the womens catagory!!
Her team had the best socks ever!!
Which brings me to race day: The best decision that the organizers did was start the race in the dark. A pretty cool picture on the Sea to Sky trail was looking back at all the dancing headlamps snake across the trail. The first 10k were run with Tom Craik, as he started way back and used that to keep him slow and honest for the jacked up speed of the front of the race. We raced, chatted, laughed and kept the beginning of the trail run light and fun.

Sean and me with ultra-runner/ crazyman Sam Chiu. Sam would finish this year in 11:49:00
Into Comfortably Numb, I met up with Marion Bryan, an old co-worker and former Kamloopsian. It was pretty cool to meet her and talk about old times. Also, Sam Chiu, a crazy ultra runner from Vancouver who does things like the double Knee Knacker in early June, a race that is totally unsupported. Sean and I had a great time talking to Sam about running, ultras, and had some good laughs. I did managed to get stung on my right shoulder blade by a wasp; Sean was stung on his calf. That makes 5 stings this summer for me: top of the head in Whistler, 3 behind my ear in my bed while I was sleeping in Kamloops, and one on my shoulder. It has been a hard year for wasp stings!

The best part of the morning? Finishing up on base 2, knowing that I could have gone on, but stopping and pulling the plug. A wonderful feeling--DNF'ing with dignity, not all cramped up, decrepit, injured, delirious, and spent on the side of the road/ trail in the fetal position wanting my Mommy. That would have sucked.

No--this race was halted on my own terms. I am grateful--this was a fantastic training run for the Victoria Marathon in 5 weeks. In total, I managed to run 94 kms the week following MYM50--my longest total since before the Chuckanut 50. My foot feels great, my legs and body have no pain, and I am pumped to run again, recharged and ready to start. It has been a long time since I have been this motivated to run.

This fall, I am looking forward to some XC running races, and most importantly, the Canadian National Championships at Jericho beach.

Have you ever felt great about a DNF?
Have you ever planned to DNF in a race?
Share your story!!