For those of you not up on your racing acronyms, DNF stands for Did Not Finish.
I gamely ran with the 4:45 pace group for eight or nine miles. I was feeling OK, but getting too hot. There in the ninth mile, we hit a long uphill stretch with no shade, and I let the pace group go. I still felt OK. 4:45 would have been a PR (Personal Record), and it was definitely not a PR type of day.
I ran and walked for the next six or eight miles. I remember trying to see if I could run a mile from the mile 16 marker to the mile 17 marker. I didn't make it. Long about then was when they brought out the red flags. "Slow down / consider stopping. Timing of the event is stopped and no awards are given after a red flag. Follow event official instruction. Medical remains on course and at aid stations."
At mile 19, I called Mrs. J and told her I thought I could walk the last seven, but it was going to take me a while. Right about mile 20, the course crosses East Washington Avenue, which runs straight into the capitol square, where I was parked. I walked off the course, and never looked back. Of course, I was further out from the capitol than I supposed, so I had another mile or so walk or so to get to the van. Total, I covered maybe 21 miles, with maybe 13 or 14 of it running.
So, no medal for me today. I'm disappointed, but I'm trying to keep it in perspective. As disasters go, it could be a whole lot worse. And I'm in good company. Bill Rodgers and I, combined, have won four Boston Marathons and four New York Marathons. (OK, all eight are his.) We have also racked up eight marathon DNFs. Seven are his. (Rationalization blatantly stolen from Bob Schwartz.)
As of today, I have officially quit running forever and ever and ever. Check in to tomorrow, to see if I still feel that way.
Full “Dad” Mode
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