Life, if it was meant to be easy then words like effort, dedication and motivation and DNF would be meaningless. There wouldn't be any type of reflection needed when things did not go as planned. This weekend at Rocky Raccoon life slapped me with a huge dosage of reality. What started off as an easy all day pace quickly turned into a fight of will over my body not being able to do what my mind was asking it to do.
As I finished the first 20 mile loop of the 5 loop course I started to feel different. At first I thought it was my knee acting up again. I then started to feel joints in my other leg act up. My mind started going in different directions. DNF came up, and I quickly shot it down. There was no way I was taking a DNF. I told my self that I would walk this course before I did. I've not ever finished a race, and I wasn't going to start today.
I decided to go to the rest room at the end of the first loop and take some time to gather myself. After I visited the restroom I was very light headed and knew, right then and there something was wrong. A friend of mine who was crewing me handed me my hand held bottle, and asked me if I was okay. I simply responded, “I don’t know.” I thought to myself I genuinely do not know.
I had made up my mind to go out onto the course for the second loop, and assess after I completed the second loop. As I stepped back onto the course I stated with a walk. I then went into a slow trot. As I trotted along I realized that my body was cold. I had chills, and I was not warming up. Every step I took got progressively harder to take. It felt like my joints were being slammed together with each step. I knew it wasn't missed nutrition or hydration. I knew my physical conditioning was there. It was then I knew I was sick.
I stopped my slow trot, and started walking. About a half mile away from the start/finish I found a bench. I sat on it and took several deep breaths to help the reality of actually taking a DNF sit in. Several runners asked me if I was okay or needed anything as they went by me. I told them, no thanks, and wished them well on their race.
After sitting on the bench for a few minutes I gathered myself, and started the long half mile walk back to the start/finish line. That walk felt longer than the first 20 mile loop. I was light headed, and didn't feel like I was walking straight. The completive person in me did not want to go back, and throw in the towel. I had to mentally convince myself that there was absolutely nothing good going to come out of me attempted a second loop as I pressed onto the start/finish line.
Approaching the start/finish line my head was hung low. I felt defeated. I’m thinking to myself, “I just DNF a race”. I was on an emotional mess. I don’t think it was because I felt like a failure, but more because being sick was happening to me on this day, and it was completely out of my control. It was a hard pill to swallow. I was cold and shivering and just wanted to lie down. There was nothing I could do about it but turn my chip in.
I spent the next 20 plus hours in a bed with a fever, aches and pains. I ended up throwing up a couple times along the way. I was very week, and had no energy. I sent out text messages, made a facebook post, and emails. I had friends and family who I knew may be checking in on me, and I didn't want to leave anyone hanging. I had intended on getting up later that day and going back on course to cheer people in or help volunteer, but I was in no physical condition to make that happen.
Laying sick in bed gave me the time I needed to make a mends with my initial DNF thoughts. I realized there were several positives to take away from this experience. Running the first loop allowed me to make a couple friends. I also walked away with course knowledge. Being sick brought forth an appreciation for good health when I have it. It was a solid reminder to be self motivated to put forth the effort, and dedication needed, not only for my training, but all of my life’s daily ventures.
In retrospect this little set back isn’t a set back at all. I look forward to healing, training, and making another 100 mile attempt. I truly enjoyed, and appreciated all the support I got from friends and family members throughout the day. You guys helped out more than you know.
I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in something love. I do not plan on wasting it as I train for future events, and help others stay motivated to obtain their goals.
Thank you for reading my blog entry. As always feel free to email me any questions or comments you may have.