I honestly have no idea how many marathons I've run. But it's been a bunch. Maybe 80. Maybe more. My first was the Marine Corp Marathon back in 1983 I believe (I'm not sure because I gave my medal away!). Since then there have been a lot of marathons run
I've run most when I was healthy, some when injured, and some when I was sick. Some have been easy, some REALLY hard. Some fast (for me!) and some really slow. But through it all I only failed to finish only one . . . the Leadville Marathon back in 2010.
This DNF (Did Not Finish) really bothered me . . . and haunts me to this day. To be fair the marathon kicked my butt and I missed the time cut-off at mile 20. But instead of turning in my bib and finishing the race anyway . . . I listened to the race director and rode back to the start in the "Van of Shame." I'll never really forgive myself for that mistake. Very disappointed in myself. I felt good and could EASILY have finished . . . just outside the time limit. I had done all the really hard parts!
Well, last night I had my second DNF . . . I quit at mile 10 of the Doomsday Marathon! That's right . . mile 10!! And I'm not the least bit upset!
This was a very unique race! First, it was on the winter solstice . . . the last day shown on the Myan calendar. We all had fun kidding about this being the end of the world. The race started Friday night at 9 PM!! Never had a marathon start at night and on a Friday . . .. crazy!
The bad thing about starting a race at night is that I couldn't take any pictures. That sucks! Plus, my eyes are so bad I rarely know who I was running near!! I do love running at night but I think I like a race to start during daylight and the run into the night!
The day was cold and windy but luckily the wind died down some for the race! Temps were in the low 30s with only minor wind. The course was in a wildlife management area near Hoffman, NC . . . definitely in the middle of nowhere! The course was a 2.4 mile loop on really sandy farm roads that surrounded this HUGE grown up field! Since this was in the middle of nowhere there were no houses or lights at all! As a result, we had an awesome view of the stars all night! I love night running!!!
Of the 2.4 miles, probably 1 mile was simply loose sand . . . like you have near the dunes on a beach. Not packed or firm like the sand near the water . . . just loose! NASTY running! And my hip hated it!
In the middle of my third loop I knew I needed to stop. So I did . . . and never a second guess if I made the right call. I definitely did! Maybe I should have quit after 2 lap . . . but I thought the pain might pass and the hip would adjust. So I gave it two more laps but finishing was not to be. So I stopped at the end of 4 laps . . . just under 10 miles.
I was not alone! I was surprised by how many others injured themselves in the loose sand. Everyone struggled. The winning time was just over 3 hours (3:04 I believe) and the second place finisher was maybe 8-10 minutes back. Then there was a HUGE gap to #3 and the other finishers. And everyone suffered with the sand.
So I have my second DNF. It's looking like I will definitely need to avoid loose sand like the plague! And I'm going to have to think hard about running any trails . . . at least for awhile.
But that's not so bad. While I love trails and trail running, I can still run on roads and well-packed dirt roads. That's fine with me!
Godiva President's Column for March
1 month ago