First DNF: Brooklyn Half

Well, the title says it all.

I DNF-ed the Brooklyn Half today, my first race I’ve ever DNF-ed.

From the start, I wasn’t feeling it. I met up with Jordan at Grand Army Plaza, and we walked over, planning to start together and run together as long as we could. We got into our corrals (Corral D, I was going to make a joke in my recap about being assigned by bra size), and I feel like I saw everyone I knew who was running this race!

We got on a long, terrible snaking bathroom line, and I started feeling a little anxious: anxious about the crowd, anxious that we wouldn’t get to the end of the line before the race started, and a little anxious about that 13.1. But finally we made it and the race began.

I felt like shit from the beginning — exhausted, drained, a little short of breath, a little nauseous. I hoped after a few miles that would all dissipate and I’d be able to settle into a rhythm with Jordan. I think she knew right away something was up because I was being quiet. “You feeling ok?” she asked in the first mile. “Yup!” (Totally lying, but not ready to admit anything yet.)

We’d talked about our hydration plan, and it was to grab water every other stop. From the first one we stopped at, in mile 1 or 2, I wanted to walk. Before we even got into the park, Jordan asked me again how I felt and if there was anything she/we could do to help. “I don’t know, curl up on the side of the street?” Short of that, no, I’m good!

I stopped for water? to walk? can’t remember…just short of the entrance to Prospect Park and then fought to catch up to Jordan. Once again, she asked if I was ok, and I couldn’t lie any more. “No.”

“What do you want to do? Do you want to go on?” I couldn’t really answer her, but knew deep down the answer was “no.” I felt like shit. To be really honest, the only reason I thought twice about *not* dropping out was because then I’d have to explain this. To write this post. To tell coworkers Monday no, I didn’t finish. I weighed that with how crappy I was feeling and decided that while, sure, I probably could have gotten through those next 9-10 miles, it would be torture/agony. And if I were going to drop out at some point, at least near Prospect Park, it’d be easier to get back home for me.

So, off the course I went. At the spot where I stopped, I had the runners in the park to my right and the runners on the street to my left. I peeled off my bib and leaned against a tree for a few minutes to cry before hightailing it the hell out of there and stopping at Ashley’s for a while on my way home.

There’s no neat way to end this post and tie it up with a bow: today was not my day, and I did do what was right for me today, but I’m still frustrated and disappointed, although I know there will be other races.

15 comments on “First DNF: Brooklyn Half

  1. Taylor

    Hey Thoedora – I’ve been reading for a long time but never commented, I’m another single 30-something runner woman in NYC! I’m so sorry to hear that you had such a challenging day, but really glad you did what you needed to do. My best friend and I both ran today and had horrible races. Good for you for taking a beat to cry and just take care of yourself. There will be other races, sure, but it’s okay to feel awful today.

    You got this. Feel better!

  2. amanda -runtothefinish

    The thing about running is if you do it long enough it reminds you that no matter how fit you are, sometimes it’s not your day. I always think it’s amazing when someone is smarter than their ego 🙂 and knows to stop

  3. Abby

    I too have been reading your blog for a long time and I just want to echo what the others said. You are an inspiration in your determination and your honesty. I think it’s great that you listened to your heart and body and knew that this race wasn’t as important as you taking care of yourself. You have accomplished so mush and have nothing to prove. Hoping that you,re feeling better and feeling comfortable with your decision.

  4. katie

    love to you dear! I haven’t been signing up for longer than 10k races because I know my heart is just not in it, good for you for listening and pulling out, it is more than okay! There will be more races.

  5. Pingback: DNS: Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon – This Girl Eats To Run

  6. Melissa

    I really love the honesty in this post – not everything in life has to have a “moral to the story”. Sometimes things just suck and sometimes days are just bad days.

    I’ve never even ATTEMPTED a race – of any distance – so just the fact that you crossed that starting line is impressive to me!

  7. Heidi

    Good work on making a smart decision & thanks for the honest post. I feel like sometimes in the running community it’s so easy to get caught up in doing all of the races all of the time. But there is really no need if you are not feeling it, that’s ok. It makes the good ones that you train hard for that little bit more special.

  8. Liz

    This was by far my worst race in YEARS! You made the right decision. My hurting quads are jealous of you today 🙂 This was my 5th BK half, and by far the hardest….for whatever reason Saturday was not my day.

  9. Meghan

    I’ve been feeling like garbage while running for about a month—out of breath, dead legs, etc.—and I finally figured out that it’s allergies. A friend of mine was complaining of the same symptoms, starting around the same time. His doc put him on a turbo allergy inhaler and he ran a five-minute PR in Brooklyn on Saturday. I think something weird’s in the air this year—if you keep feeling crummy, that could be it. I’m sorry the race was so rough, but DNFing is def the best decision in that scenario. Hope you start feeling better soon!

  10. Shawna

    Sorry to hear you had such an off day and I know there’s nothing anyone can say to really make you feel better…but I know you’re such a strong runner and have so many great races behind you AND ahead of you and that you will bounce back from this and it’ll just be one little speck in the long amazing history of your running life. We all have bad days where we feel awful and sometimes the only thing we can do is give in and rest. Hoping you feel better soon, girl.

  11. Aimee

    When i tried to run the WDW Wine and Dine Half with a torn meniscus, I only got to mile 5 before I had to give it up because I could not maintain the required pace. It was sad and disappointing for me, but I came back from it to finish the Avengers Half the next November, after surgery and physical therapy. It takes courage to write a post like this. I am sure you know that you will come back from this. Hope you are feeling better soon!


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