So, actually, first of all, let me just say that I am ready to defend my overall Ugliest Christmas Sweater title at the Runner's Roost-Saucony Ugly Christmas Sweater Run tomorrow night. It is very very important to me.
Moving on. Oh wow does a DNF feel horrible. It's one of those things that happens that really makes you question yourself. Did I really just drop out? Am I really the kind of person that just bailed on something I put every fiber of my being into? I know there are a lot of reasons to not finish a race and many of them you quite simply can't control. I couldn't control the injury in Cleveland, and I couldn't control feeling dizzy and ill in Las Vegas. But I keep wondering why I didn't just try a little harder, even if I had to crawl across the finish line, wouldn't that have been better than that glaring DNF? I'm not sure. And I'm honestly not sure if I even had the ability to do that at that point. But I am sure it won't happen again. Short of actually passing out or somehow breaking my femur, I will crawl if I have to. I can't stand that dull, nagging feeling of knowing I didn't push as hard as I could.
I've heard of elites dropping out of races if they don't think they'll get a good enough time. Why put that stress on your body? Why not save your energy for a better race? Well, I understand the logic behind that but I think it's crap. Everyone else paid to be there and everyone else is going to cross the finish line whether they run a fantastic time or not. You're an elite and you can't do better than Average Joe? It's your job and you can't work harder? Really? Come on.
Anyway, just my little opinion. And why I won't ever DNF again.
I've started thinking about my next marathon and what kind of goals and expectations I have for it. I'm debating between a guaranteed fast race and one that would just be more for the experience. I'm a little torn because I definitely want to see how far I can take my potential speediness, but I also want a unique experience and not necessarily the fastest easiest course I can find. Sometimes the ones that are the hardest are by far the most fun! That being said, I'm looking into a few trail races over the summer to satisfy those "experience" needs (a 50 miler in the mix, in fact!) and will most likely head toward Chicago in the Fall (unless I can get into Berlin).
But first! I got into the Canyonlands Half Marathon in March! It's actually on my birthday - perfect celebration for me. I'm really looking forward to this one. I've had my eye on it for a few years but never took it any further than looking at a few pictures. I'm very excited for some new scenery and a solid race, and, despite all this wondering about running and what I want from it and so on and so forth, I still have a competitive streak and will definitely be in it to win it.