My DNF at Sky Island Explained in Messenger

Friend: Are you going to write a story about your race/hike? What happened?
Me: I don’t know if I will, probably. But here is the inside scoop . πŸ™‚ I don’t know if it’s hormones or what but I’ve just lost my desire to ultrarace, as in run fast for a long time. I had already signed up for the 50k, and I didn’t want to drop, but I probably should have dropped to the 25k. The race has three mountains, up and down each one. But the first mountain you do it TWICE. Well, you start in the dark and my headlamp messed up and it slowed me down and I ended up running ALONE on a mountain in the desert in pitch black. It was okay but I was slow. I didn’t want to fall on the constant rocks so I picked my way. It was mostly hiking. So the sun came up and I finished that loop in 2:38 and we were supposed to be done with BOTH loops in 5:00. I didn’t feel like pushing that hard, so I dropped. But I’m totally serious, I did not care. I was not upset. I just turned in my chip and with the permission of the race director, I went and climbed the third mountain. The second mountain is kinda boring and the climb up is super technical but not really fun. So I did the one that I really like. I had a good time and I will probably go back next year.
Friend: Thank you for sharing with me. I figured something must be going on because you usually have a full race report soon after the race. I can see why you might want to think it through before (if) writing about it. You have been so positive about the long races that I’m sure you want to get all your ducks in a row regarding backing away from them. I hope you realize that it’s a personal decision and no one will think less of you if you decide not to run long distances. I figure I have nothing to prove at my advanced age and if running ceases to be fun I’ll find something else to do. Anyway I’ll get off my soapbox now. You do what’s best for you!
Me: You’re right that I do kinda feel weird , like how do I explain this? I don’t want to sound negative. I’ve been ready to get past this race for some reason. I feel like I want to do other things beside train so much. I want to keep in shape so I will keep running. We have been pretty busy with homeschooling since school started. They are in high school now so I want to make sure they are learning. We go to a class on Tuesdays and Bible study on Thursdays, so that is two days that I can’t run first thing in the morning like I prefer. I just spent two hours organizing Grace’s bedroom that was a jumble of medical supplies and camping equipment and misc junk. I want to get my house clean and in order. That kind of thing. If I feel like running more races in the future, great, if not, it’s okay.
Friend: It sounds like you have your priorities right and that’s what counts.

Thank you, friend, for caring and asking what happened and not judging. I appreciate you!

More Details not given in Messenger: About the headlamp issue,we started at 6 AM in the dark andΒ  right when we got on the trail,Β  the light came detached on one side of the head strap and was dangling/swinging so I could not see the trail. I had my hiking poles in my hands so I was trying to run without falling on the rocks of all shapes and sizes . I should have stopped immediately and fixed it, but instead I kept trying to go. I climbed up the first 500 foot stair climb with great difficulty and everyone passed me. After I fixed the headlamp, I started doing some running, but I was getting out of breath for some reason. The trail markings were very small so I had to watch closely and I almost went down the wrong path more than once.

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We ran down a paved park road for the first part of the race. The first two big climbs are on the same loop Skyline. Then I left that mountain and did the next trail, Indian Lodge.

Looking at my Strava report from my race, I am pretty sure I could have finished the race in time to make the cutoffs, I just didn’t feel like it and I am good with the fact that I did what I wanted to do. Why should I force myself when it’s supposed to be fun? I have nothing to prove. Who really knows what happened in my head? I trained all summer for this race, in 100 degree weather, alone on isolated trails doing hill repeats over coyote poop. But on this day, I was not in the right mind for a 50k. Running that first loop alone in the pitch black, waiting for the sun to come up,Β  is something that I feel proud of . If I had been with another runner, maybe I would have kept going.Β  But this is the way it played out. I’m sure other runners will understand. Yesterday, Wednesday,Β  I went out and ran a road 5k , my first steps running since Saturday, and it felt good. I’m not done with running.

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I love love love West Texas! And these mountains were worth the 544 miles each way drive even though I did not finish my race as planned.
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These two ladies both did great in their races! Taken in Fort Davis.

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The fabulous, not fancy but so super cool, Indian Lodge at the Davis Mountains State Park, where we stayed and the start and finish of the race took place.

 

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You know you’re in West Texas when you start seeing the windmills!
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The small town of Fort Davis taken from on the mountain in the Fort itself. You can see the little grocery store had it’s lights on. The sun was just coming up, but it was cloudy and supposed to thunderstorm, and thankfully did not until that night.
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Took a few pics of the trail once I decided to just slow down and enjoy myself and stop trying to make the cutoff. I saw a javelina right after I took these . You can just barely see a building that is part of the old Fort.Β 

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View from the top of the Indian lodge trail, on the second mountain I climbed after DNFing. Looking across at the first mountain that I ran, alone in the dark .

 

11 comments

  1. Great, fabulous photos, my friend. I most certainly do not think less you for not running as much πŸ™‚ It’s okay, sometimes, you may feel like it again later; but for now, it’s ok, my friend. You most certainly have been an encouragement to me, in this post

  2. You have such a great attitude. Even though you DNF you still focus on what truly matters. And like you said you have nothing to prove. A lot of people don’t even try in the first place so I think you definitely did a great job!

  3. As you know, life is all about seasons. Sometimes we feel like doing one thing, sometimes there is only time for something else. If you focus on what God is calling you to do, you will be on the right track πŸ˜‰ He will show you the way. God Bless!!

    • Thanks for these wise words! I really want to be in God’s will and when I am training a lot for races it sometimes feels like I am too busy to do what God might have for me. Hope you are doing well! God bless you, too!

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