DNF. DNF. Did. Not. Finish.
If you are an avid road-racer you probably know what DNF stands for. If you are not and do not know, see above. Did Not Finish.
In my entire running career (expert in the house. hi.) I have never had any type of DNF. Not in the heat or the cold. Not in the morning or evening. Not in a race. Not in a long training run. Not in a short training run. Yes, I realize this post is sort of starting to sound like a Dr. Seuss book, my bad.
Yesterday started off fine. I was pumped for my first mid-week long training run and my first 17 miler. I ate normal. What is normal you ask? It doesn’t even matter. I thought I was fine. Mary and I suited up and left to go run at 5 p.m., right after work. We started off kind of fast, which is how we always do, but slowed ourselves down to a nice easy pace.
We were running the East River, to South Street Seaport, around to West Side Highway, to the 72nd street entrance of the park for the first time ever. Everything was going pretty great–we were even joking about how today I should call this post “Just Follow the Path!” because of how many times we had to stop and ask people if the path went all the way around the island, since it was a little confusing, and they would tell us that. HEHE, HAHA this is fun!! 17 miles. CAKE WALK, BITCHES!
Then we got to mile 8. If there is a way to describe the pain that I began to feel–I just I don’t even know if I could tell you. My stomach started gurgling at a rapid speed and I know the truth was inevitable. This run was going to be crappy, literally. Thank goodness there are bathrooms on the West Side Highway. Made my first stop–felt okay.
Then this is how the next 6 miles went: Started running slowly. CRAMPS. CRAMPS. walk a little. bathroom. water. jog slowly. CRAMPS. AH CRAMPS! bathroom. cannot quit. walk a little. jog slowly. cry. will not quit. CRAMPS. can’t walk. really do not want to quit. call mom. sob in Central Park. get a cab home.
I quit. That is the only way I could think of it. In the cab on the way home all I could think of is the 3 miles that I did not run. Those 3 miles hanging over me like a freaking dark storm cloud of failure. I had never quit a run before. Then I had to tell people that I didn’t make it. My mom, my love, my running mentor. This was so embarrassing! My mom and my love both told me to forget it–but they just DID NOT UNDERSTAND. H does not even run! Sure, my mom is training for a half-marathon. But had she ever had a horrible run that left her on the side of the road unable to move? Not that I have heard about! Besides, this was 17 miles. They didn’t get it! Right? Probably not right. But I wasn’t satisfied with their opinions.
Side note: Love you guys. Thank you for your unending support.
Then I got a phone call from the person who helps me with my running the most. My running mentor. Basically… she told me that it was okay. That what happened to me, LITERALLY, happens to everyone at some point. That I have to realize that right now I am pushing my body further than I ever have. It was ONE bad run. 1, uno, singular, ONE. That I have to take the 14 miles, no matter how bad they were (and in case you didn’t get it yet, they were awful) use it as my long run and FORGET IT. Throw it away. I still have 10 weeks to run 3-4 awesome super long runs. She was so right. She also told me to eat a hamburger and fries. She was right about that too. Yum.
So there you go guys. I didn’t finish the 17. I almost pooped my pants. I cried in front of hundreds of my fellow runners on the side of the Central Park run path. I ate a hamburger. Running’s dirtiest secrets here.
Moral of the story? You will have bad runs. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, including yourself. Do what you can and when you cannot do it anymore do not push yourself to punishable limits. It just isn’t fair or smart. This morning I started off with a clean fitness slate, went to boot camp, kicked some butt and felt better.
Tomorrow I run. Tomorrow my training starts over. One run at a time I will get strong again.
Do you have any horrific long run stories? What did you do to overcome them?