My first DNF. Pretty sad for me – but the right thing to do.
This was supposed to be my first 50 miler. I chose to DNF in order to be able to run the rest of the year.
It was beautiful weather for the run. I was a bit concerned with all the rain and snow this week, but it was supposed to be relatively mild today. I was also concerned because I was sick again on Thursday, but felt fine today.
Woke up at 4 a.m. Got ready for the race including sun screen and all my efforts to prevent chafing. I tried a new product today by Glide (a liquid powder) on all my usual spots and am happy to announce that I had no chafing or blisters or even hot spots.
My sister drove me to the island and we arrived about 5:15. Dropped off all my drop bags and then we sat around a campfire to get warm. It was mild enough I decided to start the race with a knit cap, light weight gloves, running bra, long sleeved running shirt, vest, sleeves, compression shorts, socks, shoes and gaiters. As the weather warmed up I could drop layers easily enough.
The race started fairly promptly. It was my first early morning (in the dark) start of a trail race and it was pretty cool seeing all the bobbing lights ahead and behind me as we headed up the switchbacks. I was glad to have both a headlamp and handheld flashlight because my headlamp decided it wasn’t going to stay on – guess it didn’t like me washing it after my 35 miler.
The sky was light enough as we headed across the saddle in White Rock Bay that I turned off my lights. I ran the entire saddle and down White Rock Bay because I knew the killer hill (I think we should call it puke hill) by Lone Tree was up ahead and I would have to walk that.
Ran through the first aid station and onto the out and back of Elephant Head. My conditioning was definitely better this year and I could run most of this 3.6 mile out and back. Half way out there were about 7-8 bison wheeling around and around – not too happy about the runners. I started yelling to get them to move on and they finally darted across the trail. I yelled at a runner coming around a rocky outcrop to stop and he did. A few more feet and he would have been in there path. Of course, one of the Japanese runners was happily standing there filming it all. Dropped my cap and vest and switched to a running hat.
Next was the Split Rock Bay loop. I chose to run the 2 mile downhill and walk the switchbacks – knowing I could run about half of them. I did talk to another runner that kept switching places with me off and on for another mile.
Grabbed some gatorade and food as I passed the aid station and ate as I ran. I was making good time and getting ahead of my planned schedule. After dropping off the saddle onto the new switchback trail – I started to experience some pain in my left IT Band. It was very unexpected because I have not had any problems with it at all this year. The first twinges started around mile 16 and it started slowing me down on downhills around mile 18. I planned to wrap the knee and take ibuprofen when I passed the White Rock Aid Station.
After mile 19 – headed across the island to the East side of the island. My sister passed me in her van about mile 20 and I mentioned that I was in pain and coping with it. Around mile 22 I found that I could no longer run any steep downhills without significant pain and had to walk them. This got me worried because I counted on downhills to make up time.
Some boggy, wet and muddy sections of the trail for about 2 miles. During this time I was trying to run 100 steps, walk 50 steps – but found the knee pain was starting earlier each repetition. About mile 24 I could no longer run at all because the pain was so sharp next to the knee. I was trying to decide if I could walk the rest of the race and still finish in time, but had to slow down my walking because even walking started hurting and by trying not to limp – I was starting to have the right knee hurt. By 25.5 I knew that I was going to have to DNF – or else choose to be injured most of the summer. I was walking pretty slowly and trying to figure out how I would get hold of Leslie and my sister, Marcia.
At almost mile 27, Les and Marcia came out to meet me from the Lower Frary Aid Station. They were cheering me on and it started me bawling as I announced I had to DNF. I just felt like I was letting myself, my family, Leslie, and my online running pals down.
1st 10 miles: 14:12 (uphill)/15:42 (uphill)/13:20/11:40/11:12/14:49 (uphill)/14:12/13:48/13:15/11:11
2nd 10 miles: 16:57 (uphill)/16:25 (uphill)/13:47/13:40/13:21/13:42/13:42/12:55/15:06 (downhill 😦 )/15:47 (downhill)
Last 7 miles: 14:40/14:49/15:16/14:11/14:59/16:35/17:53
Les was asking what lessons I learned. My nutrition as right on until I got hurt (then I started focusing). My clothing was good (one notable exception). My drop bags were a good learning experience.
My training was pretty good. At the time I quit I was not tired. My lungs were fine. My muscles were not even tired. I just couldn’t take the pain and knew it would be serious injury time if I kept on.
What I did wrong – it is just a guess, but the only thing I changed was the compression shorts I used to keep my hernia from hurting. I think they adjusted the muscles and tendons in the legs and caused the IT issues.