Monday, April 12, 2010


So the plan was for me to race Big D Texas marathon yesterday.  It was the middle race of the three in 90 days needed for me to qualify for Marathon Maniacs (actually, with it coming two weeks before Oklahoma City, those two alone would have gotten me into MM). I had originally wanted to do the LA marathon in March, but finances and the foot problems I had after Cowtown made LA unrealistic.  So I had decided I would instead stay local and complete Big D, using it as a last training run of sorts before Oklahoma City.

It's a small race - grown in the last few years, for sure, but still small enough - so they have race-day registration. Cash flow issues and the increased number of shorter 5Ks I'm committed to for the Red Light Runners meant that I really couldn't sign up ahead of time. And in the past, I've signed up for the half on race day with no issues. So I hadn't sweated the fact that on race morning I didn't have a bib and chip. Even though I had played with the concept of an April running streak, I consciously backed off the mileage last week, limiting my runs to 2-3 miles at a time, wanting my legs to be as glycogen-packed as possible on race morning. 

So I set my alarm, laid out everything I needed the night before (even making a special trip to Academy for a fresh stick of BodyGlide) and headed out to Dallas a little after 6:00 am. I arrived at Fair Park right before 7:00, and slathered on sunscreen and snapped on my two-bottle belt pack. I'd parked in front of the science building, so there was a little bit of a hike over to the registration building and start area, but nothing huge. I'd had no problem getting to the fairgrounds and parking, but already I could see that the traffic was already increasing.  It seems to me that this race is having some of the same issues as the Cowtown - the half is getting bigger, the full stays about the same, but the 5Ks are growing huge and almost out of control. 

I walked into the building and headed for the registration table, stopping to fill out my little form. And then, the cluster started. I handed the volunteer my form and my credit card, only to be handed it right back and directed to the sign that said "Cash and Checks only." WTH?  I only brought my one credit card - I didn't have my debit card with me (call me a paranoid suburbanite, but I don't typically bring my full wallet with me and leave it in my unattended car for five+ hours when I am in the Big City) and who uses checks anymore? So even if there was an ATM around, I didn't have my debit card handy anyway.  So I was done for the day before I even got started. A couple of Twitter friends suggested banditry, but besides a moral and philosophical inability to do that, I know when things got tough I'd have given up if I wasn't going to get a medal at the end. I also need an official finish to qualify for Maniacs.  Plus, mentally, I just wasn't in it after the events. If I had been thinking clearly, I would have gone out to the lake and ran 12-14 on my own. I carry my own fluids anyway. But I was not thinking clearly in any way, shape or form that morning. 

I was pissed as hell, but more disappointed than anything. The fact that if I had checked the website I could have avoided it all (or, hell, registered in advance - duh!) really aggravated me the most.  I had really looked forward to this race, and to meeting up with some of my Twitter buddies again. More importantly, it was a critical part of my strategy to make Marathon Maniacs this spring. My clock is ticking on the 90 days since Cowtown, and OKC is on the last weekend possible, so to qualify I'll have to do two within 16 days instead and complete another race within two weeks of Oklahoma.  There are lots to choose from, just not a lot that I can get to easily (and cheaply). Right now it looks like the most realistic choice logistically will be Beaumont on May 1. But is that a realistic choice physically?  Mentally? A lot will depend on how OKC goes.

So there you go, my first official DNS. I've yet to have a DNF, but I imagine it sucks even more than a DNS, and I can tell you that the DNS really bites. Really.

The first thing I did when I got home?  Registered for Oklahoma City. Lesson learned.

No comments: