Saturday, June 30, 2012

My First DNF!

It was a matter of time, I guess. I ran in the first ever Six Hours of Don Tyson Parkway, which had been postponed till about 11:15 this morning due to life obligations of the race director. I knew my goal of 15 laps, just over 20 miles, was very ambitious given the temperature and the utter lack of light-diffusing clouds in the sky, but I was going to try. I also wanted to try out my new Cool-Off Bandana (review to follow) which I got from along with some Elastikon tape and some tincture of benzoin ampules.

I had run ten laps of the Tyson a week or so ago but it was in the evening so the temperature got cooler as I ran. It felt great and I finished five laps before taking my first walk break. Today, starting with temps in the low 90s and knowing they would go up from there, I went ultra early and walked the top portion of the hill to Kent Dobbs starting on the first lap. Later I added the steepest section of the hill back up to Cambridge. That scheme worked well through at least seven laps.

About lap four, I made the mistake of bushwhacking down the east side of the railroad bridge to take a pee. I then spent five minutes at the aid station picking all the hitchhikers off of my shirt and clearing the spikey grass seeds from my shoes. I will need to find an alternate comfort wall, perhaps the port-a-potties I noticed in the Tyson World Headquarters parking lot where contractors are doing some roof work. No big deal.

My fingers felt puffy about three laps into it but I waited till early in the third hour to start taking Endurolytes. I'm trying train my body to use salt efficiently by only taking salt pills in response to a symptom rather than taking them on a schedule. It seems to be working.

I refilled my pack and re-soaked my bandana on lap five. By lap seven, I was getting quite hot. I didn't necessarily feel bad and I was able to run without overheating--I was just gaining a more clear awareness of the increasing temperature and what it was going to do to me if I stayed out in it too long. Sensing that my fifteen laps were not going to happen this day, I chucked the Cool-Off Bandana so that I could compare running with it to running without it. The verdict is still out. I was hot with it and hot without it. Look for more in my upcoming review.

I walked more on laps eight and nine. At the end of ten, I would decide whether to continue walking another hour to complete four hours and therefore earn my finisher's award, a pair of running socks that I already own. As it happened, Mrs. DMG called me just as I was coming up to the aid station on lap ten, wondering if I was about done so I could run to Mama Tang's to pick up some food for her. It was 1:30 and Mama Tang takes a little siesta from 2:00 to 4:30. I was so greatful for the call! I collected my water and my Walmart reuseable shopping bag full of supplies and headed for the house, happy with my run.

Partial laps are not counted under the rules of the event so my DNF occured at the end of lap nine. I ran 12.195 miles in 2:41:38. More importantly, though, I ran what I ran with style. My philosophy is that running should be fun and it should not result in injury. Several hours after the event, I definitely feel the effects of my time in the sun, but I am not sick or sunburned from it. I now have an honest baseline for how my body performs in the heat. Best of all, I still have several months of hot weather left to improve. By the end of the summer, I'm confident I will be able to run six straight hours in ninety- or hundred-degree heat.


Martijn said...

This story made me laugh out loud (meant most literally). I was getting ready for a horror scenario of blisters, heat stroke, snapped ankles, lighting & locusts, but no, a call to pick up stuff from Mama Tang. Great.

And you still ran further than I have ever ran in my life. Shouldn't you take it a little easier by the way? I always hear marathon runners only run three or four times a year.

Anonymous said...

My life is pretty mundane, Martijn. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I do little errands like run to Mama Tangs to pick up food. It's not a bad life, actually.

Hey, pal!


Martijn said...

Mundane I do not believe. With a mind like yours, every second is an adventure. This is not meant to 'suck up' but as genuine observation. 'Mama Tang' is legendary to me now.

red dirt girl said...

I'm impressed Dave !! I know exactly what you mean by those little 'hitchhikers' ... Keep up the good work but please don't get sunstroke!


Anonymous said...

Thanks mule friend! I'm actually learning this art. I ran ten laps on the 4th starting at 1:30 in the afternoon, high 90s with no breeze. I didn't loose any weight which means I was drinking enough. I also reapplied sunscreen twice during the run. The result: I felt completely normal that evening when we all went to the Ballpark to watch the fireworks. No ill effects from the run at all!

You're tops!