Masters Running


DNF - Lessons Learned ... (Read 415 times)

    Last weekend I had a very unexpected and discouraging DNF in my HM that came out of the blue. I didn't hide the fact that I DNF'd. So I certainly won't hide the fact that I had some important and painful lessons to learn. 1. Slow down and adjust goals on high H&H days. I've been telling anyone who races down here that they must make adjustments if they happen to get a high H&H day on race day. Some listen, some don't. I didn't listen enough to my own advice. I adjusted my goals downward, but apparently not far enough. Even though I train in this stuff year around and get fairly acclimated, a high H&H day takes it out of me bigtime. 2. A single Stepback week of Tapering isn't enough (for me). Otherwise known as: Base building and racing are mutually exclusive (for me). We're all physically different, so your mileage may vary here. But I had been doing some marathon training base building coming into this race and thought that taking an easy Stepback week before the HM would be sufficient to act as a mini-taper to enable me to race well. Not. 3. Be sure you're fully recovered from illness. Get a checkup if the rundown feeling persists. I had been sick 3 weeks before the race and skipped the Miami HM. I also took off almost that whole week, except for a few short, slow runs. When I felt better I jumped right back into the base building and got the mileage back up. That went pretty well - I thought - but the lack of energy and high resting HR were a sign to me. I knew that but didn't think through why sufficiently. 4. Eat right before a race. 4A - The night before the race I ate a dinner of BBQ Ribs, Waffle Fries, and Peanut Butter Cream pie. Yummmmm! But stupid. Next time I'll eat the pasta I intended to eat. 4B - I had recently become a snack hound, eating chips, chocolates, peanuts, fritos, yada, yada. "Gee, where are those extra pounds coming from?" Stupid again. The chips will stay (hey, I'm human!), the other stuff is done for. 5. Check the ego and pride at the starting line. In the future if I find it's not my day, swallow the pride and finish with what you got on that day. I let my pride tell me I didn't want to slow down though my HR was sky-high right from the start. I allowed myself to DNF rather than just finish. (That hurts a lot to have to say.) I will never DNF again, unless an injury is the reason. 6. It's not really that important in the grand scheme of things. My DW gave me this lesson - "If that's the worst thing that ever happens to you, you're lucky". She's right of course. 7. I am not talented enough to do this on my own. (Please forgive my faith reference here, but for me this is important.) God wanted me to learn something on this day. I need His help and I need to listen when He has something to tell me. Enough said. Bill

    "Some are the strong, silent type. You can't put your finger on exactly what it is they bring to the table until you run without them and then you realize that their steadiness fills a hole that leaks energy in their absence." - Kristin Armstrong

    Marathon Maniac #957

      Lots of wisdom here, Byll. Thanks for writing this.

      Life is a headlong rush into the unknown. We can hunker down and hope nothing hits us or we can stand tall, lean into the wind and say, "Bring it on, darlin', and don't be stingy with the jalapenos."

      i'm lovin' it... MM#1949

        Great reflection of lessons learned. Following your training, I have to vote for #3 combined with HHH conditions as the key factors. You set a target based on how you THINK you would perform and you remembered all that great running. But if your body was not re-strengthened from the illness then there could have been a mismatch. It's just ONE run. Glad you baled vs getting injured. You are a smart runner, Byll

        Perch's Profile "I don't know if running adds years to your life, but it definitely adds life to your years." - Jim Fixx "The secret is to make in your mind possible what was not possible before. The secret is to make easy what was difficult, instead to make difficult what really is easy." - Coach Renato Canova

        King of PhotoShop

          This is an important contribution Bill. It will help others who look at the posts here and try to overshoot. We're all human, and it's easy for things to go wrong. Good for you to post this and add to the learning of others. Spareribs
            Lessons like these are what make us better, Bill. Provided we learn from those lessons! Thanks very much for these words of wisdom.

              Amen! Well said. Important post for all of us. Thank you! C-mom
                Bill, Thanks for sharing. I learned a lot from your report. It is said we learn more from our disappointments than from our victories. You've learned a lot, and that is most important in the long run. I have to admit I was surprised to hear of your difficulties, though. huskydon
                  Thanks for sharing the "words of wisdom", breger. TomS
                    Bill - thanks so much for taking the time to put all of your thoughts down for us - there's a lot of information to be gleaned from your post.

                    Sue Running is a mental sport...and we're all insane! Anonymous

                      you are smart and talented, Bill...these things will get us into trouble at times... We all continue to learn about this game of running/racing. You've learned a lot. You've taught others a lot. Hang in there. The best is yet to come with you. Wink Dale

                        DW and I always say to each other what your DW said to you (#6). It is always a good reality check. I'm sorry about your DNF, but I'm glad that you have paid attention to what caused it, and know you will be a better runner because of it. I need to master some of those learnings myself, so I very much appreciate the reminders! Jay

                        Without ice cream there would be darkness and chaos.

                        Back on Stride

                          A good post! Should probably go into the famous Boomers Wiki, if that's still around.

                          Doug, Runnin' in Rochester, MI

                            You are right on all counts, Bill. Even after 8 years of running every day and some racing. Every run is different and really so unpredictable. I've had some of my best runs at times when I could have bagged the run so easily. It's the "search for the Holy Grail"...hope you find yours! Big grin Fran
                              From one Floridian to another who knows all to well about the H&H factors, thanks for sharing. Gawd I just love Florida! Jewels
                              But in the end, I'm more afraid of not trying, than failing. JJJessee
                                Hey Bill, While it probably didn’t make you happy to drop out of that race, the feeling of passing under the finish banner all beat up and in dissapointing time would probably have felt worse. Sometimes it pays to cut your losses and come back another day. Fwiw I dropped out of the next-to-last half I entered (for less reason than you had) and came back the next time time to have one of my best races ever. Some people will say “quitter” but you are only a quitter if you don’t come back to fight another day. There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll be back stronger than ever. Jim
                                Age 60 plus best times: 5k 19:00, 10k 38:35, 10m 1:05:30, HM 1:24:09, 30k 2:04:33