The Stages of a DNF

I will admit it, a DNF (did not finish) has always been in the back of my mind during every race. Injury, illness, lack of training – there are many reasons behind them. I’ll admit, the thought of a DNF was a little scary.

However, it also is a sort of “rite of passage” as a runner. All kinds of runners have DNFs – from beginner to elite. And honestly, I always respected those who listened to their bodies and knew it wasn’t worth pushing it.

So when I took my first one on Sunday during the Gazelle Girl, I had a lot of thoughts go through my mind. I knew it was the right decision, however it is, without a doubt, extremely hard to do. I had been training hard for this sub-2 race goal. It was tough to see it just go away, all because of illness.

DNF Stages



What happens after a DNF? Here is a look at the stages I’ve gone through:

Disappointment. When I stopped and saw the medics, I knew it was over. I watched as other women passed by, full of smiles and excitement. While I was extremely happy for them, I was very disappointed that my goal was gone. That sore throat I woke up with just days before the race determined my fate – not anything I could control, but definitely something that ruined my plans.

Anger. I trained hard for this race. I put in the speed work. I ran through the cold and snow. To have my goal ripped away by illness stinks. There is no other way to put it. It was absolutely horrible timing and that is very upsetting infuriating. I was ready to crush that goal. I was ready.

Acceptance. Sometimes your body knows best. Even though I felt ready for this race, my body was obviously worn down and let in a bug I had managed to avoid for months. Although it stinks, I felt surprisingly at peace with my DNF. It happens and it was out of my control. And there will be plenty of other races.

Discouragement. Many friends from my hometown, as well as friends from around Michigan ran this race. They didn’t just run it – they ROCKED it. Listening to their stories and seeing the recaps is not easy. While I am very happy for them, this was supposed to be my awesome race too.

Yet one of the hardest things for me to deal with was the race shirt. My first thought was to give it away because I didn’t earn it. However, I currently have it in the back of my closet and that decision will come later, once the emotion has subsided a bit.

Redemption. When your goal is ripped away by illness, your drive is even bigger. I have been looking at redemption races, however I’m trying to be smart in the decision process. No matter when my next sub-2 attempt is, you can bet I will be going after it full force! My second attempt at half marathon #12 will be a great one!

Ravennas & Garmin

I have absolutely been through all of the DNF stages and know they may continue for awhile. I want to thank EVERYONE for their amazing outpouring of love and support. It means more than you know!

When will my next half be? Honestly, I’m not sure. While my instinct was to sign up for another as soon as possible, I am choosing to make the smarter decision and hold off – for now. I have some other races on my schedule in the next few weeks that I’m excited for. My sub-2 will come. Now I have even more time to train, hopefully crushing my original goal!

 

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