Monday, May 9, 2011

TARC Spring Classic 50K-DNF

Yes, my first Did-Not-Finish (DNF). BUT I came out planning not to finish, so it was all good. My left foot had been aching pretty badly after the Boston Marathon, and, um, this 50k was 5 days later. Big mistake just signing up for the thing. I'll remember that next year and just sign up for the half marathon.
I was really worried about my foot, and almost didn't come out at all, but I really wanted to see how it felt. I wasn't even certain I was going to make it two loops (half marathon); I thought I might even only make it one loop. But somewhere deep inside, I thought maybe, just maybe I'll make the 50K distance.
The race began under cloudy skies with rain in the forecast, but we were fortunate to have only light misting for most of the way. It was kind of strange for me to be at a trail race and not know anybody. I had gotten used to the trail runners down in North Carolina where I always had someone to hang out with, but as per the usual when we move, I have to start all over again. I did talk to one woman in the porta potty line who was pretty cool and ran with another woman most of the way who was also cool, so that made things better.
I started off the race sticking to a 50K pace. It was a little bit of a slow start since I started off in the back (which I never do). I thought that would be a good idea since we were starting with the half marathoners and marathoners, but it wasn't. The pace was still a little slow. I think I finally got out of the crowds around mile 3.5. This was a beautiful trail in Jericho Woods in Weston, Ma. It felt so good to be back out on the trails after running Boston. As much as I loved Boston, I longed for another trail race. It had been over 2 months since my last trail race, so it was well overdue. The trail was a bit hard to follow, but I managed to catch all the turn-offs, unlike others. One woman, and I'm pretty sure a big group in front of her, all went the wrong way in front of me. I yelled and yelled, but she didn't hear me and kept going. I felt bad, but what can you do?
Since I thought I just might still run the 50K, I took it easy and ran comfortably. It felt good, and my foot felt good, so I had hope. I finished up the first loop (6.55 miles) still feeling great. I stuck to my easy pace, and then about 1/4 of the way through this second loop, I really started to feel the foot. I kept going easy for another mile, and then that was it. I knew I was going to stop at the half marathon (end of this loop), so I picked up the pace. I started running hard. It felt good to finally be going at a faster pace. I started catching up with people and passing them, and then caught up with the woman and others who had gone the wrong way. HUH? They should have been behind me since they went the wrong way, right? Wrong. Turns out a lot of people missed that turn and it brought them back to the starting point about 3 miles too soon, so they were all back ahead of me again. Oh well, I decided to pass them and shortly thereafter finished up my second loop (half marathon) in 1:58:00. That's a little slow for me for a trail half, but it didn't matter. Not only was my foot aching at this point, but I could really feel the fatigue in my legs from running Boston. So I felt good about the decision to stop. I had really wanted to do another 50K, but this just wasn't the day to do that. I have no regrets about stopping. I felt great. And within about 5 minutes of finishing, the downpour came. I was happy to be dry and in my car on the way back instead of running in the cold rain. I don't mind the rain really, but if I don't have to run in it, that's cool with me. :)
So hopefully, I'll make it back to this one next year, but I will sign up for the half marathon instead, so that I actually get counted in the results, instead of a DNF. I actually thought I was going to be switched to the half marathon results, so I was bummed when I wasn't and was given a DNF, but what can you do. Next year.
Oh, and the funny part. Later that day, I noticed my foot was actually hurting less than before the race. Weird. That continued throughout the week, and by the following Sunday, the pain was gone. I don't think it's 100% healed, but it feels pretty good.

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