Sunday, June 1, 2014

DNF - US 50 Mile Trail Champ: Cayuga Trails 50

Today, did not go as planned one bit. It is around 1:30 and I am home in Philadelphia instead of finishing up 50 Miles of trail running in Ithaca, NY.

At the second aid station, I officially dropped from the race. 6.9 miles into the race. It is heartbreaking as I felt so ready for this race. Part of the reason, I am typing this entry out is as a means of healing and release. How it happened was just before AS1, there was a point where the course is on a bit of singletrack with grass on the side that turns left and does a small dip down. It was here that I strained what is my right Gracilis muscle (or this is at least the self-diagnosis). Upon running into the dip, I planted on some soft trail while steering myself onto a wooden board. In this transition, I knew something was not right.

Knowing Peg was at AS2, I went through 3.1 and towards AS2. While, I had just tweaked something, I felt I could possibly run it out. Unfortunately, this was not the case. I could move but I had no ability to open up my stride without discomfort. As the discomfort became more apparent, I knew I could not be able to run the additional 43.1 miles without great risk. Due to this, I entered the aid station and dropped from the race.

My emotions range from crying to anger to sadness. Thankfully, Peg accompanied me on this trip as her presence and ability to drive prevented me from spiraling into the depths farther than I have.

It is hard that I feel like I lost an opportunity with this race and there are lots of what ifs. Physically, I know I made the right call but reconciling the mental is a tough go at the moment.

Presently, I plan on taking a few days off completely to heal this injury hoping it is minor. Originally, I intended to get rest after this race but there is definitely a dissatisfied taste in my mouth.

So for the first time in my ultra career, I have a DNF. (And only my third DNF in 20 years: one in 1996 and one in 2007. CORRECTION: fourth, I forgot about a DNF in 1999 during my one semester at York.)

Post-Initial Entry:
Well it is nearly two days since all of this went down. And emotionally I feel a bit better. Still in a rut and that has a lot to do with questions about recovering from my injury. That dovetails into getting better because one of the best ways to get over the last race is run another one. Obviously injured I cannot do that. Today is my second straight day off from running. Physically, I do feel better than I did yesterday which was bad enough I felt it better to stay home from the office. In retrospect, some of that was likely mental as well. Peg has been great during this. She mentioned seeing An Endurance Life at the film festival really helpful in her understanding of the situation. Before she would have saw it just isolated to the event and not part of the larger life context.

Huge thanks to Maggie for being such a darn good friend. In discussions with her, it was decided Cayuga left a lot of unfinished business for both of us. So, we’ve determined we’re going back in 2015. This nudging has been good. I’m committed to it. Even emailed the RD and told him of my intention. Now, I don’t expect the same treatment as this year. At least right now, I’m not deserving of it but I certainly intend to be.

Also, thanks to everyone in the past 24 hours who has heard my tale of woe and been supportive. All of your responses have started the path away from what I perceive to be a failure. It is important that I move on. I’m typing this with the hope that in a few days I feel I can run again. That will be a big step in the healing process. Once I reach that, I will take it from there. I’ve got race options…..and a couple of them are ultras. We’ll see where this goes but I’m on the slow ascent.


  1. You did a smart thing. 5-10yrs ago, you might have not done the smart thing. If you choose to go back for this race next yr, it will make it all the better when you finish it!

  2. I, too, am excited to go back next summer. My son and I were at Underpass when you dropped from the lead peloton. He's been asking me why ever since. We both felt your pain and wish you a speedy recovery.