28 September 2016
Lapham Peak 26.2 Report
"Anatomy of a DNF"
Last month, I shared some thoughts on my running hobby. I was coming off a great run at the Marquette 50k. On September 17th, I started the Lapham Peak Trail Marathon. I have won this particular race the last four years and was excited to try and "5-peat".
Well...that didn't go so great. I actually ended up suffering my first DNF (Did Not Finish) in 53 races of marathon-distance or longer.
So...what happened? Well, after successfully harvesting turkeys during the last two spring turkey seasons, they took their revenge.
I was leading the race about three miles in to it, when I came over a ridge, and to a blind corner in the trail. As I crested the ridge, I came across 6 or 7 turkeys right there in front of me. The startled me...I startled them. Reflexively, I planted my right foot and pushed off, trying to move laterally (away from the closest one) to my left.
As I did this, I felt an immediate 'pop' and pull in my right knee. Not. Good.
It continuously worsened on downhills for the following 11 miles of running. After about 5 miles, it tightened up when hiking or running uphills. While it never bothered me while I was running on flat areas (unfortunately, hardly anything on this course is flat!), right around Mile 14 I decided that it was time to quit.
I was limping. I was concerned that I would go from "Hurt" to "Injured"...and I can't be injured. I needed to work on Monday!
So, upon arriving at a trail intersection, I looked at the posted map and found shortest way to get back to the start/finish area. It was tough to tell the Race Director that I was done, especially considering I was leading at the time.
There were some lessons learned, though:
1) DNF could also stand for "Did Nothing Fatal." I obviously wasn't near death, but I also could have really screwed up my knee and my ability to work, let alone continue running through my next event.
2) Sometimes you're the winshield. And sometimes you're the bug. Sometimes you come over a hill, and a bunch of turkeys will be waiting there to scare the youknowwhat out of you. In life...stuff happens.
3) It's all about mindset. I could have been annoyed...angry...stubborn...dejected. Many mindsets were appropriate for that particular circumstance. But guess what. It's time to look forward, make the best of it, and learn! Negative thoughts won't get you healthy any sooner.
On that note, it's time to train for the season finale -- the "Wild Duluth 50k" on October 15th.