It’s not all that often you see Trail/Ultrarunning websites, blogs or magazines talk about DNF’s…usually the focus is on the winners or the people that barely squeaked in under a cutoff. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s usually great stuff to read! However, DNF’s, while not as glamorous or uplifting, can be just as important as making it to the finish. In fact, sometimes the lessons we learn when we get our asses kicked by a race where we’re forced to make the tough decision to call it quits are the ones that make us better, stronger runners. Our DBR Co-founder Tyler Clemens had such an experience at the Pine to Palm 100m in Ashland, OR this last weekend:
“It just wasn’t meant to be this weekend. Pine to Palm 100 = DNF.
Having completed Angeles Crest 100 just 5 weeks ago, I went into P2P thinking maybe I can finish, but if not, I already have my qualifiers. This is not the right mindset to start a race like P2P. By mile 15, I was wondering what I was doing out there, and couldn’t fathom being out on the trails for 30+ hours again. I got support and encouragement from the crew at Seattle Bar (mile 28), and decided to keep going as long as I could. By Stein Butte (mile 35) I decided if something didn’t change, I was dropping at the next aid station. My heart wasn’t in it, and I was not having fun.
On the climb out of Stein Butte, things definitely got better. I started hiking hard and having fun. I turned on some music and thought I could really crush out the rest of the course. On the drop into Squaw Lakes I felt like I was floating down the trail, and was completely re-energized! The crew could see the change when I got into Squaw Lakes (mile 40) and they were thrilled! The next 19 miles seemed to fly by, but the climb up to Dutchman Peak started to beat me up. I was picking up a pacer at Dutchman and thought that would give me the push I needed, but my body was simply breaking down.
We finally got to Grouse Gap (mile 80) and I had a tough decision to make. I could try to push through the pain and risk an injury, or I could drop. It was a really tough decision, but I told the aid station captain to cut off my wristband, I was done.
I had the time of my life playing in the mountains around Ashland for 24+ hours this weekend. I had some awesome company on the trails through 80 amazing miles. I had the best crew and pacers anyone could ask for.”
If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you know that the Arkansas Dirtbags have some awesome trails to run around! This week they hit up Mt. Sequoyah & Mt. Kessler:
Did we mention that Dirtbags look pretty damn awesome in goodr running sunglasses? Here’s some more proof if you weren’t aware:
Go back ’em on Kickstarter and you too can be a fancy Dirtbag Runner that views the world through polarized lenses.
Lastly, a quick shout out to Dirbags Joel de Blonk & Patrick Sweeney who ran events at last week’s Franklin Mountains SkyRace in Texas. Joel killed it in the half-marathon with a 12th place overall finish and Patrick pulled out 2nd overall in the 5k!
*Be sure to check out Joel’s photo album from the 50k!
Another week in the books! Make the most of it & hit the trails this weekend Dirtbags!