Monday, September 12, 2011

DNF but okay with it....

Yes, it is true.

I pulled out of IM WI yesterday at mile 14 of the marathon, at about 9:05 pm.

Second year attempting to cross the line. Second DNF.

I made the decision to pull out after figuring that there would be no way I could run a negative split to get to the finish before the magic midnight hour. (Had "run" the first half in about 3 hours and 15 minutes or so.... and it was not pretty).

In making the decision, I had to be sure that I could live with it. That I wouldn't wake up today and regret it. As strange as this may sound, I don't and I can.


Because race day -- and the days leading up to it -- were not a total loss.

What went well:

  • I went in to this race incredibly calm. I felt more competent and prepared this year.

  • My swim was 4 minutes faster than last year.

  • My transition times tightened up.

  • My nutrition was fine. (Last year, I got was so nauseous by the time I got out to the run, I couldn't eat any thing. The only things that appealed to me were ice chips, coke (which they ran out of) and chicken broth (which was cold). This year, there was plenty of coke (which, as a non-soda drinker, I have a new found appreciation for its power to bring you back to life when you are running) AND the chicken broth was warm and salty. Perfect!)

  • Instead of hating the crowds (as I did last year), I had fun with them -- even during the run.

  • I had a GREAT first 58 miles on the bike (averaging over 15 mph, versus 13 last year). Also had a great ride back in to town after the hills (averaging 14.8 mph).

  • I had tons of support out on the course, which I really appreciated. Hubby, Nat, Lance, Angel, Rick, Mary, Jim, Gary, Marcia, Marty, Pam, Kurt, Eric, Greg, Patrick and Beverly just to name a few faces I was so very, very happy to see out on the course.

  • I remembered to be grateful.

  • I remembered to look up and to see the day.

  • I had fun in the days up to the race hanging out with Nat doing some pre race swims and stuff.

  • It was a nice weekend with my husband.

  • My other IM WI friends did GREAT! Congrats to: Ali, Debbie, Cindy, Mark, Alyssa, Kirk and MIKE WIMMER!!!!

What went wrong:

  • After that awesome first 58 miles, the second loop went south in a big way. Not sure if the day was too hot, or what, but I got very uncomfortable on the bike. My average pace dropped like a stone to just about 10 mph. Pitiful. Screwed up my plan to get back in to transition and out on the run course by 5:00 pm at the latest

  • Things that usually didn't bother me while riding. did. My shoes got terribly uncomfortable. (I may try some gel inserts to add some cushion). My "hoo ha", which never, every bothers me, really, really bothered me. (And I even had Hoo Ha Ride Glide packets, which I bought as a "joke" and didn't use. Dumb me.) My hands hurt (the tape on my handle bars came loose). Hubby had asked me if I was going to use gloves. "Why?", I replied. "My hands never bother me." Dumb me.

  • I stopped at the water stop in Cross Plains to stretch my back a little, where the following conversation with a happy volunteer occurred:
The happy volunteer to me: " ya doin'?"
My reply: "Fine...just stretching my back."
" have enough water?"
" ya feeling?"
(I thought I had answered that...) "Fine."
"You look a little hot."
"So, you want to sit in the shade a bit?"
(Not really, but are you hinting???) "So how are the riders handling the heat?"
"We are having lots of them sit in the shade for a few minutes.... wanna sit in the shade?"
(Okay, hint taken.) I got off my bike and joined a few people who were also cooling down.

I rolled in to transition waaaaaay later than I wanted to and knew that finishing the run on time would be stretch.

My running training had suffered this year, with early lack of mo-jo and then a late, nagging heel injury. My coach and I had been banking on me getting off the bike in enough time to mostly walk the marathon. My plan was to run a 3 minute/1 minute walk routine, which I started, but had some struggles keeping. I adjusted to a 2/1 routine, but my pace was off, off, off and it became apparent I was not going to be able to make midnight.

I had lots of friends out on the course who tried to get me to run more/faster, but it wasn't where my head was at. And where the head is at, the feet will, by about mile 7, I started to think that getting to the half, picking up my Special Needs bag (because I wanted the card that Hubby slipped in there), and then dropping out sounded like a good idea.

And that is what I did.

The really bad news: for as much as I prepared, the real struggle for me has always been (and continues to be, apparently), the ongoing argument with my mind.

As much as I've heard "the body can take 20 times more than the mind thinks it can", I have not been extremely successful at countering it when it woos me with it's crazy talk. Be it "you aren't good enough/young enough/thin enough/speedy enough/whatever enough" or, "just stop. It will feel soooooo good", I am not always prepared with a counter offer.

I have 360+ days to come up with a good one.


Anonymous said...

I think it is amazing what you accomplished. I wish I had your strength and stamina.

Anonymous said...

You are my inspiration! You did what you could on Sunday and I'm sooooo proud of you!

--Marcia Lee

Anonymous said...

We have never met but you are my hero too. I was working the bike to run transition and watching for you because I knew your story from last year and get your emails. Your attitude is a complete inspiration to me. Great job on Sunday Amy!

chewwook said...

Those mental battles can be very tough- I've been there, too. I am glad you enjoyed the experience this time (remember that you do this because you love it...right?) and that you're excited for next year. Let's go for a swim this weekend!

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy -

I think we pretty much DNF'ed in '10 at about the same time. I was somewhere 2/3 minutes behind that last time cut-off mat at mile 19/20.

Sadly, Sunday wasn't my day either... Long story. I had it, and then managed to make a wrong turn of all things and it added too much mileage to be able to pull-off. I managed to get in 21 miles of it this time.

I'm glad you'll be back to figure out business. Who do we need to see about ordering up a cooler weather day? Seriously.

Maybe I need to blog about it this year. I keep meaning to, but never get around to it.

Anyway I just wanted to let you know you're not alone in this. 2012. See You There. We WILL be Iron.

J-Wim said...

Amy, I was so excited to get my hands on you after the swim. We know exactly where you are at. Not much say exept I am proud of you and honored to call you friend. When you are ready to tackle the elephant again, we'll be there shaking cowbells til our arms fall off.

Bethk said...

So glad to see the long list of things that went right, all due to your hard work and training. Getting the nutrition working is a huge step. Even though the bike was tough, your biking has improved so much this year. The weather was not your friend on the second loop. Also glad that you changed the banner on the top of your page and that you will be back to give it another go. You can impart all of your wisdom to me as I will be a newbie!

TriGuy that likes to eat. said...

It's kind of funny when you think of it. You train soo much all year, you plan and visualize everything you need to do, then you need everything to go just right on that one day. Those are a lot of stars to align. I'm glad you were able to have a great experience!! You made it to the start line and muscled through what you could. You did fantastic in my book!!

bigmike600 said...


You gave me the biggest blast of energy on my bike when you pulled up next to me at mile 50. I was SO HAPPY to see you. I was actually bummed at myself at that point because I wanted to go faster but just couldn't make myself. I needed a pick me up. You probably couldn't see the smile I had but it was massive. It lifted my spirits some.

When I saw you on the run I was having trouble doing math at that point and I didn't even think I was going to make it. I just was glad to see you.

I'm glad you signed up again. Best thing I ever did after I fell short twice. Stay strong and know that you had a part in helping me cross by midnight this year.

I will e mail you. I had a few good pieces of advice that helped me along and I would love to share them.

Jenny and I will be there cheering in 2012.

Keep your head up. It really is true that you had the courage to try what most people won't.

We think you're awesome Amy.

We will talk soon.

Anonymous said...

Some advice...? (Even if you don't want to hear it)-

Run a few marathons. Well. No six hour stuff.

Ride a few centuries.

Swim some longer open water swims.

I don't understand the urgency of having to do an IM when people haven't done the sports separately or tons of shorter races. I ran for ten years before attempting a marathon. I raced tris for ten years before attempting an IM. Just food for thought. Good luck with next year, whatever it may bring!

amybee said...


Appreciate the advice. You should know that I've finished 9 marathons; countless 1/2 marathons. Rode plenty of centuries this summer and previewed Madison a number of times. Did plenty of open water swims (1 milers and the Imoo course including the Madison Open Water Swim, which covered the 2.4 mile Madison course). Been doing tris for 7 years.... isn't like I walked in to this after just doing a sprint.