8 Things I Learned From the 2011 Training/Racing Season: Night 3 - It's OK to DNF
I wrote last night about the how the hot and humid conditions at the Vermont City Marathon caused me to take my first ever DNF. Believe me, it was not an easy decision. I had an outstanding training cycle and was trained for a 3:30 marathon. When the weather started to get hot, I knew I wasn't going to be able to run my goal time. I had hoped that, with some adjustments, I'd still be able to finish my 5th marathon. It wasn't meant to be. Many of you asked if I had my inhaler with me. I did, and it kept me out of the emergency room. The only way to stop the attack was to to stop running. Mother nature beat me that day fair and square.
After talking with my family, Coach Jeff, and many of you, I learned that DNFing did not make me any less of an athlete. In some ways, it made me stronger. I'm amazed when I read how some runners will anything it takes to finish a race and not take a DNF. Sometimes, finishing that race caused more damage which forced the runner to miss several months of running. Was it really worth it? If some of the best runners in the world can withdraw from races, then it's certainly acceptable for an age grouper like me.