There's a First For Everything

I have a FIRST to announce. I'll give you a second to guess what that might be....did she win her FIRST race? (No, I've already done that) is it her FIRST call-back from a Survivor Audition? (No, Jeff Probst obviously doesn't follow my blog yet) was it her FIRST eyebrow wax (nope, I'll be on my 2nd).... ok, give up????

I got a DNF at my race on Saturday. Don't gasp, a DNF (Did Not Finish) is not the same thing as a DD (Dishonorable Discharge). So I'm safe, I'm not in danger of a prison sentence and I will most likely still be able to get a hired if ever I need to. They only damage done was to race record and my ego.

Since it's rude to throw out juicy tidbits like, "I got a DNF" and not follow them up with the rest of the story, here it is.

Jadon and I woke up at 3:50 a.m. on Saturday morning. My feet still hurt some but I was feeling hopeful about the possibility of running the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K. After a quick shower and packing running clothing for every possible temperature, season and natural disaster known to man, we got on the road by 5:00 a.m.
Jadon's 95 layering options

The drive from Kemmerer to Antelope Island is about 3 hours, which Jadon and I always enjoy. Talking, listening to music, eating breakfast, drinking coffee. I kept eyeing the digital temperature on the Tahoe...14...19...22...26...32 (good to see it break freezing)...32...32...33. By the time we drove up to the race start it had actually warmed up to 38 degrees. I started feeling a bit more hopeful.

the Sunrise on the way there

Antelope Island from a distance - notice it is the only place with snow...that would be the way life goes.

After layering up according to the weather, filling water bottles, counting out GU's and chews, and taking multiple trips to the porta-potties (if you're a runner you understand this) we were ready to run.

Waiting and the starting line

the starting line

The race course heads directly UP the mountain, no warning, or warm-up, just UP! I felt good though, hills are my strong point and I powered past a lot of others runners. I even began to entertain the idea that I might possibly "place"- at least in my age group.

I'm passing her, not vice versa

Eating on the run - not sick yet!

The first 5 miles were fun…powering up hills, cruising down hills. The first aid station was at mile 5. We carry our own water so we cruised right passed it. About ½ mile passed that aid station E Coli, Salmonella, or some similar villain attacked me. I stopped and walked trying to calm my stomach, no use. I headed for the nearest rock, knowing I was about to loose my cookies….I mean….chews. I puked in the middle of the road at a previous Marathon and it’s not an experience I wanted to repeat.

When it comes to the food poisoning the flu or other such situations there is always a calm after the storm. You think, “wow, now that the crud is up and out, I actually feel better.” That’s how I felt. My options were to turn around and walk ½ back to the last aid station or continue on 6 more miles till the 2nd aid station. Having never quit a race and feeling a bit better I decided to keep going.
Antelope Island is deceivingly bigger than it appears

About 2 miles later I greatly regretted that decision. At that point I could only walk and not even water would stay down. I trudged up the endless switch-back portion of the course wishing I was dead but having no choice but to continue. Jadon, being the best friend, perfect running partner and not to mention fabulous husband, stuck with me.

The more dehydrated I became the slower my walking got. Eventually I experienced the “back of the race” something I’ve never been apart of before. People who were attempting to run their very first race, people who were walking the entire course, older individuals etc. began passing me. I have to honestly admit that was hard a pill to swallow. I’ve always done well in races. Winning, or placing in my age group or at least being toward the front of the pack.

At mile 9 you can see the aid station and it looks close. It might as well be a mirage though because it’s still 2 miles off which feels more like 10 miles when you’re sick. My feet felt like lead and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry, but I had to keep moving. I offered a few weak, “way to go” and “keep it up” to passing runners.

As we neared the aid station at mile 11, I asked Jadon what I should say. I had yet to learn the proper way to drop out of a race. Should I throw up my hands in surrender? Should I just collapse to the ground? Should I attempt to be diplomatic and explain that I had thrown up 3 times, I was severely dehydrated, on the verge of hypothermia and should possibly consider stopping. As it turns out I didn’t need to explain myself. Other runners had notified the people at the aid station that there was a pale, sickly looking girl headed their way. As soon as I rounded the bend, I was met with, “Are you the girl who is sick? Here, come sit down” They lead me into a tent, sat me down, covered me with blankets and starting monitoring things, heart rate, pulse, temperature, coherence…did I know where I was? – “Yes, I knew where I was; I was on Antelope Island attempting to run the cursed race I swore I’d never run again last year” ….and so on! Then they made the verdict. Yes, I was sick. Yes, I was dehydrated. Yes, I need to quit.

At this point I was relieved. I knew there was big DNF painted on my forehead but I really didn’t care. I was loaded into a truck and driven to the end of the race. It was over. I had to walk around the finishing line and ask the kind race volunteers to cut my timing chip off my shoe, explaining that I didn’t actually finish and so I couldn’t cross the line. They were a bit confused but bent over to cut the chip off and still handed me a mug for “finishing” – very kind of them.

Post race - Brooks Cascadia -Yes, we have matching trail shoes...No, that does not carry over to the rest of our wardrobe

So, that’s it! That’s how I DNF works, you get sick or injured and you call it quits. At first I was devastated and as we drove home I told Jadon, “I’ve only quit 2 athletic ventures in my entire life: I quit the basketball team in college because I’m no good and I only went out for the team to impress Jadon when we were dating, and now I quit the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K” His response to me was, “Well, welcome to the rest of the world.” - He’s right! I’m not the first person to get sick and drop out of a race or any other venture. Its ok, I can learn from it and come out stronger for my next race….which is in….2 weeks….YIKES!


  1. Wow, sounds grueling! Hope you feel better now & that your next race goes MUCH better. I don't care if you DNF'd... you're still an amazing person, runner, trainer & friend!

  2. I'm so sorry! That really stinks! But there are some things that are just out of your control. Hopefully you are feeling better!

  3. Thanks Monica! I've loved getting to know you and work with you & your perseverance is encouraging to witness

    Yes Jen, feeling better - trying to find something new to eat while I run since honestly I don't think I could stomach the chews I got sick on. I'm hoping I get that figured out soon...Moab Marathon on April 9th...not much time.


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