Sunday, July 20, 2008

vermont 100 update - DNF

what a major funk i'm in right now. i DNFed yesterday afternoon at mile 47.2, camp ten bear, and even though i had to, under the circumstances, this lousy feeling will stick with me for a long time. i don't mind a DNF if it's unavoidable - but having to take one because of carelessness and poor execution really hurts!

when i got into camp ten bear it was via walking. chafing, of all things, undermined my race. what made this worse was that i could have changed into dry clothes at mile 21, pretty house aid station, and didn't because it at that time the chafing wasn't much of an issue - and i had more dry clothes at ten bear. ugh - what dumb decision! and, for the next 15+ miles it really wasn't a big deal.

in fact, my major concern during that stretch was sun. despite plenty of fluids and food at the aid stations, i could feel the heat wear me down. then in the late 30's we got the first rain of the day and things cooled off a bit (only to have the humidity spike back up within a half hour after the rain stopped). but now i was completely soaked yet again, first from the constant sweating, and now from the rain.

so by the early 40's the wheels began to fall off my bus. the chafing got more and more painful - to the point were i was alternating between running and walking in pain. discomfort i didn't mind - but this was bad enought to alter my running mechanics to the point where i looked - charitably speaking - as if i was a runnign orangutan! add to that mess the lightheadedness that crept up on me along the stretch of highway in the bright sun, and i started to count myself out.

amazingly, i rallied back from the sun and lightheadness with a couple of succeed tablets given to me by a fellow runner. but as i got closer to ten bear i was finally reduced to a crawl - a painful one at that. that's when i told emmy i might have to drop. i didn't want to jeopardize her race at all (we had ran the entire race together so far). that thought process only made me feel lousier under the circumstances because she'd still have to go on for 20 miles before hooking up with rob, who would meet us at mile 70 and pace us to the finish.

well emmy ran on ahead to camp ten bear and told pat and katie i was struggling. when i got to ten bear saw a few familiar faces - but the medical crew was more concerned about how i looked! since i had only lost 4 pounds (162 versus 166 at the start) weight loss wasn't an issue. i sat down and was about to change into dry clothes when the rains came down again - and fell for a good 10-15 minutes. the medical crew gave me balm for the chaffing - which was really raw and painful by that point.

they cleared me to keep going, but had serious doubts about whether i could keep moving forward. i changed into dry clothes, but the damage was done. it was impossible for me to walk without wincing. i walked up and down the hill a few times to see if i could get past the pain - hoping that my thighs would just go numb - but no such luck. i had to confront the painful reality that even with almost 18 hours left on the clock, i wouldn't be able to finish the remaining 53 miles at the crawl i was tooling around ten bear.
so that was that - race over.

the only good new to report is emmy finished in 25 hours! and wayne finished too! i just got off the phone emmy and an so proud of her pushing on - through additional rain storms, meeting up with rob, dealing with a lost drop bag (which contained her headlamp), managing to borrow one from a fellow runner - and getting to the finish line in style! woo hoo!

here is link to my race day photos.
here is link to my pre-race photos.


johnking said...

Sorry to year about the DNF. You're still the best runner in my book. Hands down. There are those little things we just can't help sometimes, chaffing one of them no matter how much balm or body glide we use. There is always another day to run and another race. The orangutan image made made me laugh. Heal up buddy.

Just_because_today said...

I can imagine how upsetting making the DNF decision was...sometimes things just dont work out and this was one of those. There'll be other races. Write sometime up for the newsletter (one page long only!!!)

DawnB said...

Frank, sorry to hear you did not have a good race. Hope you're feeling better today

susan said...

Hi Frank. It's Susan from NJ. We met at Greenbelt and I have been enjoying your blog and have been inspired by it ever since then! I'm so sorry to read about what happened to you in Vermont. ugh. The photo of your bib with dnf scrawled on it is heartbreaking. I read a quote today that seems timely--"neither success nor failure is ever final." (Although I would not call what you did this weekend a failure-I'm sorry you are feeling down.) I look forward to your triumphant return, and to more of the cheerful and ebullient race reports I've come to expect here. Hang in there and feel better soon!

Pam said...

Frank - crud, crap, dang it. Bummed for you buddy, seriously bummed, but not because you DNFed but because I can imagine how disappointed you are. As johnking says ... heal up buddy. Rest easy this week. And, most of all ... enjoy embibing in your favorite poison tonight.

Ronster said...

Frank--Take care of yourself. I'm beginning to understand just how physically unhinged runner's can become on days like this. I really admire you guys for getting out and putting it on the line for countless hours and mini-ordeals.
I think DNF isn't appropriate for a 100-mile race....maybe "partial finisher" ....sort of like indy-car racing.

Blaine Moore said...

Sorry to hear that; DNFs are tough to take sometimes. Just have to take your fitness to something new in the near future and learn for next time.

CTmarathoner said...

no shame in leaving a 100 mile race --look at your accomplishment in running 47 miles on a hilly, hilly course. We did not go out too fast -we were conservative, it was just the heat and the humidity that stopped and slowed so many. It's only a race, but I was bummed out that you couldn't continue -had to do 23 miles alone!. Wanted you to be able to will get the next one.

Scott said...

First, it was great to actually meet you!
It was freakin' tough out there! No shame struggling with with what this race through at ya. Like you said, DNF's are inevitable. I think you have plenty of races ahead of you which will quickly put this behind you... Nice effort. You rock dude!

Bob Gentile said...

Hey Frank that is a bummer about the chaffing, especially since you could have prevented it or slowed it from getting that bad... There was a person at Kettle Moraine that we ran with for a little bit that had to stop also for chaffing at the 50 mile mark...he was hurting bad!

Recover well!!! We have plenty more races to run!!

Meredith said...

OUCH. That just sounds dreadfully painful, if you kept going, you would have looked like raw hamburger! Booooooooooooo on the DNF. :( It happens, and it sucks. You could always go to Burning River! :)

rundangerously said...

wow, thanks everyone! i really appreciate all the positive comments - they've definitely lifted my spirits!

i was pretty bummed at having to drop - but then again, better to live on to run another day (or something along those lines).

john, so glad your back at school - and look forward to calling you doc two bostons from now!

thanks myriam! see you at the catskills - if not sooner!

thanks dawn! see you waveny or norwalk!

thanks susan! i'm so glad you stopped by. was wondering what you've been up to since greenbelt? any more ultras on deck? turkey swamp coming up in south jersey in a few weeks.

thanks pam! i'll be cheering you and the wlf team on at the nyc half this weekend!

thanks ron! i'm waiting for you to get bitten by the ultra bug ;)

thanks blaine! and thanks for visiting the blog.

thanks emmy! i'm so proud of you for getting to the end of that 100 miler in style! awesome!

thanks scott! congratulations to you also for finishing it! and it was great to finally meet up w/you!

thanks bob! any chance you plan on traveling up north in near future? we could hook up w/anthony and find some trouble to get into ;)

rundangerously said...

thanks meredith! my plan is to head up to wakefield for the 24 hour run this weekend.

Fishmagic said...

Sorry to hear about that DNF, but you ran farther than most people ever imagine. Of course, you ran farther than most people imagine after mile 10.

You'll be back.

Laura said...

Really sorry to hear about the DNF! On the positive side, I've never run even as far as you made it :)

Unfortunately I won't be doing the Around the Lake... I decided to do the San Francisco Marathon the next weekend instead. Good luck though!

UltraBrit said...


I'm so sorry about the DNF - I agree that the term is negative for such a great accomplishment. Partial finisher or something of that sort is much better. Hang in there. You know that with ultras there are going to be times when things don't work out. I know you will be back and better than ever. You are still my hero!

Kevin said...

ouch! sorry about the chaffing. still, 40-plus miles! i'll take that any day right now.