The down and dirty of it all is that I had another DNF today. DNF stands for “did not finish.” It is not a failure; it just is what it is. I only hope that it isn’t a sign of things to come.
I’m tired of race reports where I plan to do something remarkable and amazing and come back to report a performance that is “less than” what I know I am capable of. I’m tired of admitting that I am human, but the fact is I *am* human. I’ve been failing all too often lately.
From Bizz Johnson (October 2004), Silicon Valley (October 2005), and Grandma’s (June 2006), I have had less than satisfying performances. There was always a reason for my “less than” performance, but I am getting tired of it. CIM 2006 will not be another one of those races. My DNF today, was in an effort to be certain that I don’t have yet another reason for a “less than” marathon finish. I am not proud of my DNF, I am just accepting it. CIM is my race for 2006, and I am not going to sacrifice it for a half marathon.
Today, I “rolled” out of coral #3 with a conservative pace. I watched as Amy moved out much faster and quickly disappear in the distance. Garminia kept me in check with an average pace at 8:17/mile. I was happy to be holding back. It is all too easy to go with the over enthusiastic runners and over do it in the first 2-3 miles. My plan was to turn it up at the 9-10 mile mark if everything felt good.
I started my timing as I crossed the timing mats, so by the 1st mile marker I had a way to double check how well I was doing with my pace. I had Garminia showing my average pace for the entire run, so I was not viewing my pace at any given time. I went by feel.
I was feeling good – at first. In the 2nd mile, I was beginning to heat up. I kept running while I unpinned my race number from my long sleeve shirt and to my skort. Then I peeled off that layer. It wasn’t a big deal, but had I worn my number belt, as I had planned, I wouldn’t have had to do this. Also, if I had worn my red short sleeve shirt, also the original plan, I would have had to peel off the layer so soon. I ran onward.
The bands along the way were fun to see. They were really getting into it. I only wish that you could hear them for a bit longer. I only got a minute (if that much) of musical entertainment from each band. But the bands brought the fans with them. There were a lot of spectators out cheering us on, and that *is* always a great help.
As I approached mile 3, I really became aware of the pain in my right foot. It seemed to running along the lateral part of my foot. I was running on the right side of the road and the streets were very cambered (they slanted towards the gutter) so my right foot was consistently landing off kilter. I moved towards the center of the street for a bit.
The pain didn’t seem to be getting better. It was just intensifying. I decided that I’d better try to stretch it out since I didn’t want to compromise my marathon with any foolish injuries. I limped over to the right side and began to stretch. What I found was that my foot gave me a loud scream whenever my foot would go into the push-off position. Oh, how it HURT. I was at about mile 4 at this point.
The field was pretty heavy as I tried to begin to run again. I couldn’t do it. My foot screamed and my head told me that I was making a mistake to push it. But I didn’t know where exactly I was in relation to the finish area and my van. I walked onward.
As I was walking, other runners would try to pass the main field and I was getting knocked around a bit. I moved to the sidewalk. When the sidewalk was getting too filled with spectators, I tried to stretch again and then tested out resumming running again. My foot again protested.
Between 4 and 5 miles, the sorroundings became familiar again. The race was passing near the area where it had begun. I wondered if my foot would settle down after a bit so that I could finish. I hesitated as I considered this, and then I made my exit from the course.
I picked up my things from the bag check and made my way to the finish line where I got to enjoy seeing the winners come it. It was spectacular. Elite Racing did an awesome job of picking the best place for a strong finish. The final stretch was down a street lined on either side with beautiful palm trees. They were passing out cow bells to the spectators and the announcers were informing everyone how the race was playing out as the winners were further out in the course.
When the leaders did finish, the crowd gave them an enthusiastic cheer right up to the finish. I got to enjoy the race from a different perspective this year, by joining the enthusiastic crowd as they “rocked” San Jose.
As for my “rolling” that will hopefully be at CIM (December 2006) where *my* palm trees and crowd will be cheering my BQ in Sacramento.