Sunday, May 30, 2010

DNF at the Nature Valley Run

I was totally unprepared for the Nature Valley 21k Run.  For one, since I got back from Milwaukee a couple of weeks ago, it seems that I haven't been the same insofar as running is concerned.  I have been feeling a bit lethargic, and my endurance the past couple of weeks has been iffy at best. As a result, all the training runs I have done since I got back have all been absolute crap. 

As if those weren't enough, what made matters worse was the fact that I was down with the flu for most of last week.  It was so bad that I actually missed three days of work, from Tuesday to Thursday.  I never ran a single kilometer during the entire week prior to the Nature Valley Run, and my last runs were a 20k last Saturday and a 5k last Sunday.

Given that my last two weeks have been utterly useless, up until last night, I was seriously considering not doing Nature Valley.  But then, I decided to run anyway because I was thinking that perhaps a race would be able to "fix" me and do me some good.

And so, I showed up at the starting line.  I warmed up pretty good, too.  I arrived in BHS more a full hour before the 5:10 a.m. gun start  because I was concerned that I had been runless for six full days. I knew I had to shake off a lot of rust or else I might get injured.

I surprisingly opened the race strong (at least by my humble standards), and my splits for the first 10k gave my confidence a much-needed boost: 5:40, 5:56, 5:58, 6:01, 5:59, 6:09, 5:48, 5:55, 7:12, and 6:05.  Despite my condition, I almost pulled off a sub-60 10k - 1:00:45 to be precise.  Not Haile, but not bad at all, considering that I was doing Galloway at a 6:1 ratio.  Up until this point, I was entertaining thoughts of topping my 21k PR of 2:09. 

Little did I know that a new PR was wishful thinking on my part.  As soon as I opened Km 11, it felt as if someone pulled the plug and sapped all of my energy.  At Km 13, I seriously considered quitting.  It started to feel as if my decision to go ahead and do the run was a bad one after all, and I was telling myself that I should just stop, take off my bib, and call it a day.  I was that close to logging my first official DNF.

You want to know what kept me going, though? Believe it or not, it was none other than... the medal.  I am a huge sucker for Finisher's Medals, and I so badly wanted to get another one.  I'd get one anyway even if I ended up walking the rest of the way, so what the hell?

My pace during the rest of the way was very erratic.  I resorted to an extremely irregular run-walk pattern, and I was no longer targeting a particular finish time.  I just wanted to finish, get the damn medal, go home, and go back to sleep.  My splits for the last 11 kilometers were totally unspectacular: 6:44, 7:12, 7:13, 7:05, 7:33, 7:50, 7:27, 7:12, 7:26, 7:10, and 7:15. The last time I struggled this badly during a race was at 2009's Timex Run 21k, which I ran a few hours after a friend's stag party.

I finished the half-marathon in 2:21:38 (Garmin time), with an average pace of 6:42/k.  Very pedestrian even by my recreational standards, given that my last three half-marys were a 2:14 (Century), 2:09 (Unilab), and another 2:14 (Globe). I don't feel bad at all, though.  As a matter fact, as I crossed the finish line, I felt a different kind of contentment. I did get another big, shiny Finisher's Medal.  More importantly though, twice did I come close to giving up on the race, and twice I resisted the temptation.  Instead of logging my first official DNF, Did Not Finish, I ended up registering MY very own version of a DNF: DID NOT FOLD.


  1. It's nice that despite the temptation to stop running, you still didn't give up.
    I hope someday I'll be able to complete a 21K run like you. But for now, I'll have to settle for 3K races. :)

  2. congratulations still my friend! your finish time is still awesome. rest and recover, happy weekend!

  3. We might be running together Sir... I also finished at 2:21 and felt the same way you felt... my legs were sore at Km 11.... I don't know why... but must be the heat, not to mention I lost my time-in chip.... teehee....

  4. I have to agree that 2:21 isn't that bad a time at all...not fast but not too slow either... also took it easy today for different's looking to better finishes in the future....

  5. still a good time but we'd like to congratulate you more on your version of the DNF. That... is commendable! Keep running! - Jun & Mariel

  6. the unusual heat this summer greatly affected your performance and i congratulate you for not "folding" in this half-marathon. build up your endurance again and always think of the principle "consisteny". good luck & hope to see you soon!

  7. Congratulations for finishing this Half marathon. With what little training or prep you received prior to the race, not bad timing. I am with you on as far as finishing the race, even if you have to run/walk or just walk, or whatever you have to do. Can you believe that there are sub hours for the half marathon. That's sub 5 miles, holy crap. In terms of speed, however, you have to run your OWN race based on your OWN conditions. Sometimes, those conditions are undermined by training, temperatures, and how the planets are aligned that day. A little OA, but you get the drift. With as many races there are, sometimes, a PB is replaced by just getting out there and having fun and a good go of it. Take care, and best wishes in you upcoming training, etc...

  8. BTW, love your new perspective on the DNF factor and love the new layout as well.