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  • Writer's picturecoachmk

DNF= "Didn't Need to Finish" (Pittsburgh)

Hello from sunny Pittsburgh!  

I am flying home in a few hours and wanted to give you a quick update on my race.  I walked out the door of my hotel that morning into 72% humidity and knew it wasn't going to work out.  I had an hour to process that thought while I warmed up in my corral.  The first few miles felt like work and I nearly dropped out early on.  I made a mental deal with myself to hang on until mile eight, the point in marathons when things tend to click for me...and when that point came the sun popped out and the choice became really easy.  I didn't get what I went for, but I got what I needed.

You can see my run on Strava; I wanted to give you some color to better fill the gaps in between the data points.  Below is my writeup for the online community, and I hope you enjoy it, too.  

I expect to be back online, responding to everything by midday on Wednesday.  I need to finish tax things tomorrow and dig my way out email purgatory.  *shudder*.  


‎I usually use a (profane) hashtag to express my feelings about Spring, in no small part to advise my clients against going for A-race goals this time of year. As my (pilot and aeronautical engineer) father-in-law stated on my Facebook page, three H's steal oxygen from the air: high (as in altitude), heat and humidity. Add pollen to the mix and you are asking for the statistically improbable, and why would you hang 20 weeks of hard work on weather conditions that are so unlikely to be in your favor?  If you insist on racing in the Spring, you have to see it for what it is: a gamble. And you should never gamble more than you can afford to lose; we only have one body after all.  

‎Normally, I would reduce my training volumes in Spring and set my sights on a fall race like Twin Cities, Steamtown or Wineglass or even Philadelphia again...But I turn 39 this year and want to wrap up the babymaking chapter of my life.  I was willing to gamble 11 more weeks of training, then 11 more after an injury set me back.  Plus, it's too mentally difficult to do #allthethings and extend this too-long training period by for another 6 months knowing at the end of it I'm gonna trade that body for a pregnant one.  I wanted one more shot, and I took it.

Finally, the DNF.  We only have one body.  Pregnancy is hard.  4 babies and 4 marathons in 6 years will be a LOT to ask of that body.  Today, my body asked me to give it one good reason to keep going, and I couldn't do it.  I had 8 terrific miles and walked back to my hotel in the sun.  I am not wrecked.  My back and SI are intact.  I do not think they would be had I continued; the risk of putting off the baby to rehab again is as unattractive as my finish time would have been.  I have enough medals, I only have one body.  Today, DNF meant, "didn't need to finish".

I feel good with my training, my decision to race, and my decision to DNF. *That's* what I really needed out of today, to be ready to move on.  I felt like I had something left on the table in November, today I gave all I had to give. I'm not sad. I am sated and ready to enjoy one last pregnancy.  

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