Musings on a DNF

Published October 6, 2013 by fitflo

I completed my 1st Half marathon in September 2011 in 2:33:32, (Run to the Beat – read the post here if you fancy a hit of nostalgia).

At Ealing last week I set a new PB of 2:32:33 an improvement of only 1 minute in two years, despite the fact that in that time my 5k time has improved by 4 minutes and my 10k time by 3 minutes.

According the the various race pace calculators, based on a 5k time of 31 minutes i should be able to finish a half marathon in 2:27:27 and a 10k in 1:04:37 (my current PB 1:06:26). I don’t understand why I’m so adrift at the longer distances. Am i quicker than I should be at the shorter distance? Or do I not push myself hard enough in the longer ones? I decided to try both out this weekend, so I decided to challenge myself at both the parkrun and the Cardiff HM this weekend.

Thanks to the wonderful hospitality Alma and I received from Sue and her lovely hubby, the stage was set for a great run at the Cardiff half today. We had a relaxing day (other than the 31:31 minutes of Parkrun) yesterday, I drank and ate well and got a good 8 hours sleep. I woke up this morning feeling great and VERY hopeful that I would get a PB, and decided to pace myself at 11:20 m/mile which should’ve got me round in 2:28:30. Not quite as fast as I should be but a step in the right direction.

The 1st 6 miles were a bit erratic. My garmin showed the 1st mile at 11:20 whilst we were running, but clearly that wasn’t the case – same for mile 2 which showed 11:23 on the watch.

1 mile 10:47
2 mile 11:12
3 mile 11:21
4 mile 11:26
5 mile 11:16
6 mile 11:20
I hit 10k at 1:08 then it all went tits up – we made a sharp left turn off the road and as we did so I was cut up by another runner. To avoid running into her I had to pull up short and landed awkwardly turning my left ankle over. SHIT, I though as it happened, that HURT! I carried on hoping I could run it off, but the sharp pin pains in my ankle didn’t stop and the pain travelled up into my achilles. I didn’t want to put Alma off her run, so I told her that I needed a walk break and made her run on.
My left achilles is the one that I’ve suffered with on and off since I started running – I was out of action for 3 months with it after that 1st Run to the Beat. I stumbled on for another 5 minutes going over things in my head, should I stop, should I walk it off, should I just go slower and see how I got in? I have the Vegas Half Marathon in 6 weeks which has cost a small fortune to enter ($180 which is about £110), I actually never worked that out before, I could’ve got a Radley for that money!! Hm, where was I? Oh yes I remortgaged my house to enter Vegas and being as it is only 6 weeks away, I didn’t want to risk turning a niggle into a full blown injury, so in the end, I made the decision to pull out.
I hated it. I hated sitting on the side of the road waiting to be picked up, watching all the awesome charity runners and walkers pushing through the pain, when I’d given up. I hated waiting at the end for Shaz and Alma to finish seeing everyone wearing their medals and Tshirts with pride, after I’d given up. BUT, my ankle is swollen and bruised, and as much as I hated it I know I made the right decision. And anyway – according to Wikipedia, the fact that I dropped out would suggest I have the psyche of an Elite runner…

“DNFs are also not always evenly distributed across all participants. For example, a 2009 New York Times analysis of New York City Marathon results concluded that recreational competitors were more likely to finish the race rather than be classified as DNF: “Elite runners seem more inclined to drop out rather than simply complete the race”


6 comments on “Musings on a DNF

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