Learning from others experiences
In the post mortem after the toughest events, you generally seem to identify a few things that you should have done but didn't. I have learned significant lessons in every event I have done over 50 miles in length, and I am sure that the learning curve is not complete yet!
I recently got my first DNF in Viking Way. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but I knew when I started entering the hardest events, that I was bound to get a DNF sooner or later. I'm sure it won't be the last time either!
I had a DNF at last years NDW100 with only 13 mile to go. Had an ankle impingment that was so painfull I lost the use of my ankle from mile 65 but pushed on regardless. Crew made me bail out because i was going slower than walking pace and had a real worry that I'd broke something. Ended up in A and E but got seen really quick because all the nurses just wanted to hear what I had done.
I was devastated for about a month after and the more i healed the more i felt i should have carried on.
Wasn't untill I finished my first 100 this year that i realized that the DNF was just a learning curve and didn't really matter. There's always next time.
Any step up say from 50 to 100 miles will put your body through new situations . The DNF is always out there. This was my second. My first one was predictable as Johnny said I could have not started but chose to run when well aware that I was not fit enough to go the distance. My motivation to start was the chance to recce for the following year and to get a good 9hr training run in. As it was the choice to stop was very deliberate and taken before I stopped enjoying myself or caused other runners to worry about me. The act of a deliberate DNF felt good and reduced the pressure on me in subsequent ultras. My Fellsman DNF was made easier and with no pressure to run a few miles more which would have slowed up the other 4 guys in my night group as my condition got worse.
Like Dill says the DNF is part of the learning curve.
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