Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Anatomy of a "DNF"

Until yesterday, I had never dropped out of a race.  I admittedly took pride in this fact, but evidently not an immense amount judging by my end result.  No valid excuses.  It just wasn't my day, I wasn't having fun, and I quit.

From the beginning, I was "off".  A couple pit-stops on the side of the trail made the first couple sections about 10-minutes slower than what I planned, but my head just wasn't in it.  I tried every trick in the book to derail my apathy, but nothing seemed to be working.  By Edinburg Gap (mile-12), I was tired and not having fun.  This was uncharted territory since each of the other four 100's that I've done, the first 50K just flew by. 

A few good pukes and several miles lacking fluids put me at the 50K mark at Elizabeth Furnace well off my planned pace and in a depleted state.  I talked of pulling the plug there, but my crew would not hear of it.  I told them I'd run to Shawl, but that I didn't think I had 70 more miles in me that day.  I somewhat hesitantly regrouped at the aid-station (mainly to appease my crew) and got myself physically ready to go on.  To make what could be a long story short, my crew spurred me along since I was certainly mentally and physically fit to continue -- all the way to Camp Roosevelt, mile 63.9 (around 14hrs 30min).  That's where I ended the needless mental suffering of a race gone wrong.

I finished MMT in 21:37 in '08 and 22:39 in '09.  I am proud of those finishes, but I know that I can run much faster.  I came into the race this year with the plan to run at least faster than I ever had.  I had no plan-B in place though.  When things went bad early on, I think I checked out mentally.  Actually, I know I checked out mentally.  End of story, but a lesson learned . . . the anatomy and physiology of a Did Not Finish -- it was all between my ears.  I just didn't want it enough.

I am absolutely fine with my decision to drop -- which somewhat dumbfounds me.  I am embarrassed by my failure and egotism exhibited by quitting because "I'm not having fun and not running a good race." I feel that what could be taken as a depressingly negative result though, will only be fuel for the fire next go round.

Thanks to my friends Clay and Caitlin Warner for giving their time and effort to help me and of course my wife Kadra who is always there for me.  I'm sorry that I didn't come through for the three of you.  I owe you a mega-effort next time!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

MMT 100

It's time for my third crack at the MMT 100 in Virginia this weekend.  I ran 21:37 in '08 and 22:39 in '09 so after a three year hiatus, I'm interested to see what I'm capable of.  Just like every runner, I'm hoping for a huge PR.  Anything less than 21:37 will admittedly be a bit of a disappointment.  Regardless of the outcome, I'm looking forward to the single-minded focus of simply running for a day on Saturday and Sunday -- a joy that I certainly do not take for granted.

Time to get my head screwed-on right . . . the most important aspect of running 100-miles (in my opinion, of course).

Enjoy some pictures from my first 100-mile experience in 2008.

The invaluable crew at Edinburgh Gap

 Mongold on pacing duty

 More crew -- the embarrassingly selfish part of trying to run 100-miles fast

Mongold will have pacing duties over the last 16-miles again this year (My friend Clay is also kind enough to spur me along for some miles)

 Gap Creek blister service

My AWESOME wife; who will be crewing this year 6-mths pregnant (she's tough)

 Paul giving info: "speed up!"

 great shot by Aaron Schwartzbard

A Happy Finish: What will the clock read in '12? . . . I hope at least an hour faster
Race Report from MMT '08