Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Dark Princess DNFs

One big cheer for 29.5miles and a DNF (as in Did NOT Finish)
with an IT band timing-out. The race is worth it,
however my IT band is not. 
Flash Back—The Only Way to DNF
In April this year my run buddy and I ran a 50k trail ultra called the Traverse City Trail Running Festival as part of our training. Yes, a training run of 31+ miles a month before a marathon. Just couldn't resist the urge. We have ran this race before (in tutus) inwhich the trail was hit with snow and ice storms prior to the race—and I referred it 33 Levels of Hell. This year, was the first time it was actually on the intended course of 2 out and backs. The course has changed every year. But this year, no snow or ice—yippee!

We were 2 of 7 runners participating in this race. I'm not sure what happened this year with the lack of participation, but the snowfall of years past may have frozen some out. Plus, it isn't easy to train in Michigan thru winter. There did seem to be more participants in the 25k that was also going on than in years past.

Naturally, people assumed we are not in the 50k when we show up in tutus. Yes, we are serious runners. Please take me serious—no, not really. However, people do show some love for the tutus out there on the course. We left feeling obligated to wear them every year, ha! I just hope there is another year. It was wonderful to run on trail, in the sun and they even had a few snacks. Of course we brought our own—grilled cheese please.
Checking in as the Dark Princesses.
I love me some INKnBURN.

The race was going well it seemed until just about every runner in the 25k and 50k got lost on the way back. Later, we were told that bicyclists had moved the signs, and so following the leader and misplaced signs were our undoing for this race with added miles.

We met a couple of runners from downstate that kept getting off course regardless. It was downright comical. I am sure if their Garmins hadn't stopped they would have been at 37+miles. When I found out that the 54 year old woman had done 100 mile races (yes plural "races"), I picked her brain for some golden nuggets and to hear about her experiences. She has got to be the most seasoned ultra runner I have ever met. (Chocolate covered coffee beans—check.) Hope to meet up with her again.

So how and why did I DNF? My IT band was not ready for the last 8 miles at the turn around point which would have put us well over a 50k anyways. It was darn right fiesty in the last 6 miles to finish, so I dropped. The extra miles seemed pointless and it just wasn't worth injury for my greater goals. My inner voice had spoken—don't be dangerous today. Yes, I DNFed with 29.5 miles at our finish, in a tutu, and I have no regrets to this day. With a marathon in the next month and not wanting to rehab an IT band AGAIN it was the right choice. My running buddy said she didn't care about a medal either and we walked back together. One of the race directors even offered to us that we could walk out and back to complete just the full 50k. But, my IT band screamed back, "NO WAY dark princess! This is not your Run or Die day!" I listened. It's got to be worth it.

We really did have a blast. We received some great loot and microbrewery beer just being in the 50k. Heck, we even got special bottled beer and stayed around talking to the Directors and crew waiting for the final two to come in. They still made us feel like rockstars. This has got to be the best ways to DNF eva!

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