I think I was well overdue for my first DNF (Did not Finish) and this was a great one. I couldn’t have been happier.
If you ever have to DNF do it in Ireland. Where they laugh with you at the end, make jokes, take pictures, give you extra beer and still give you your t-shirt and finishers medal. Yup, you heard me. And I’m not ashamed to show it off . I earned it.
The reason this first DNF was so easy to swallow was largely because I saw it coming. The course cut-offs and style of course had been drastically changed only a month before the race. From 18 hours for 100k to 15.5 hours for 105k. Which in actuality was 109km. As well the cut offs before the end were even more aggressive. Although the race director assured us that the early cut offs were not hard cut offs, after all except 3 were over the first cut off my 30-60 minutes it was clear this wasn’t going to end with 109km on my feet.
But that was just fine with me.
The race was the Lost Worlds Causeway Crossing.
The final course was 2 out and backs. First half being very, very road heavy. Which had I known I would have worn road shoes for or not done at all. It was longer and more elevation then expected, close to 60k, with 50k on road. I did manage to get some great pictures taken of me by the great photographers there in the short boggy, trail section.
Once, back to the start/finish and turnaround an hour over the cut off and ready to start the more visually inspiring Causeway portion I decided to slowdown (not that I wasn’t already going slow, haha), and enjoy the beauty. I love travel and taking pictures and absorbing the nature I am in is more important to me at these destination races then my time or placement. So I was resigned already and even when the changes to the race had been emailed out a month ago, that all I needed to do was the first out and back and the first part of the second in order to see the full course. Thus making the DNF super easy to swallow.
The views of the Causeway didn’t disappoint and the shorter distance runners running towards me to their finish were incredible encouraging. Stopping and letting me pass them on the up hill or hobble over the many stiles, even though they were going much faster than I. Many even bowed and said things like, “Respect.” “You are better women then I.” Running a 100+k or even just attempting too gets a lot of kudos from folks. It always surprises me, as I never think what I do is any great accomplishment. Particularly at my pace. However, it is a warm feel to hear and see the awe of others. These local runners were some of the best I have ever encountered.
Once at the turnaround I was happy I had seen the whole course, taken my pictures and was ready to get a comfortable ride back to the finish.
What I didn’t expect was to have so much fun at my personal finish line. 🙂
We laughed. We took pictures together of the guys that pulled me off course. I even got extra beer. Most likely for being such a good sport about getting cut off. But truly although I joked that I couldn’t quit an would have continued I really didn’t want to. Especially considering that I’d still have to pack for my flight home the next morning.
I got a warm, cheerful ride back to the start/finish as the rain finally came down after a beautiful sunny day up until then and still got my t-shirt and finishers medal. 🙂 I may not have ran 100k or even 109k as the course ended up being, but even at 85k I earned that medal and it was a lovely DNF.