Race Recap: DNF/Slacker Half Marathon 2019

This was my first race post-miscarriage. I was no longer peeing every ten minutes, so that was a plus. I was hoping for redemption from such a bad experience at Rock n Roll San Diego a few weeks prior. I wanted to use this race as a baseline.

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The race was scheduled on the first day of summer.

When you think of summer, you think of sunny skies…a warm breeze…the sun in your face. Colorado never got the memo. As we drove up to Loveland Basin, the weather changed from chilly to snowy!

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I dutifully wore my trail running shoes for extra grip. They are also waterproof, so my toes stayed warm. The snow came down pretty hard and left about 2-3″ on the ground.

The Slacker Half Marathon is a point-to-point course that starts at Loveland Ski Area to the railroad town of Georgetown. There were a lot more people than I realized. I had never heard of this race before, so I just assumed it was a small one. However, lots of people actually turned out! This must be a popular Colorado race. I’m just so used to running the big-box races elsewhere.

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The horn blared as the first corral ran off. (There were only two corrals.) After a few minutes, my corral was called and I began my race.

The air was so crisp, and blue skies were just starting to peek out. The race was run on a mostly paved road. However, the first half mile or so was on a packed dirt path. With the snow melted, the ground was pretty muddy, slippery, and wet. After a few minutes of the race, I had a stumble. I tripped on a rock and as I landed, I heard and felt a few pops in my ankle. I crouched down to examine it and almost got ran over by runners behind me, so I stepped aside. A guy ran past asking if I were okay. I said that I was, unsure of what he could actually do to help me at that point. I didn’t want to ruin someone else’s race.

I tried to walk on it a bit. At the Jackson Hole half marathon, I had twisted my ankle really bad stepping out of the hotel to get to my race shuttle. It swelled to the size of an orange by the time I was ready to run, and strangely enough it felt better to run on it than to walk. I tried to do that this time, but I only made it a few steps before I stopped again. I tried thinking back to the book I had just finished (Eat and Run, by Scott Jurek). He chronicled a ton of race injuries where he kept pushing on. I tried a few of those mental techniques he talked about in his book to no avail.

At this point, I’m a mile or so in. The aid stations are every few miles. I still had twenty minutes or more to go until aid station 2. Once I got there, I asked the volunteers to assess my limp. They were encouraging me to continue, even though I knew I should’ve pulled myself out. However, I kept pressing on, thinking that it wasn’t as bad and that it would calm down with more light walking.

By mile 3, I was pretty miserable. I could feel my foot swelling up in my shoes. I loosened my Lock Laces so that my foot wouldn’t explode out of my shoes. I tried to wiggle my toes, but nothing happened. I told myself that I wouldn’t pull another Rock n Roll Las Vegas…I would pull myself out as soon as possible. Some women power walked past me and asked about my limp. I let them know so that when they got to the next set of volunteers, they could relay that info.

I got to mile 4.

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There was supposed to be an aid station! At this point I started getting really hard on myself. I knew that the first portion of the race was on a trail. I know that I twist my ankle every single time I’m on a dirt path. I should’ve thought to just walk the trail until I got to this paved road, but I got caught up in the energy of a promising race. I was very bummed about the whole thing.

I eventually come across some volunteers a little after this point. They drove me to mile 6, where medics were waiting for people like me. They offered to transport me to my car, or to the finish line. I didn’t have my keys with me, so I opted for the finish line.

It was my first ride in an ambulance. It was also my first DNF (did not finish).

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The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Once I got to the finish, walking was out of the question. I didn’t take any pain medication and just wanted to wait until I got home to take care of everything. In the meantime, the medical station workers gave me some caramel popcorn.

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…and that concluded my first DNF! Race officials were still nice enough to give me a finisher’s medal, goody bag, and t-shirt. It went straight into my storage bins. So much for a redemption race. I’ll just need to heal up before my next start line jaunt.

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