An Ultrarunner’s Favorite Excuses for DNFing
OK, so I dropped at the Lean Horse Hundred at mile 64.5.
Before everything went to shit… I was actually having a great race. Some of the other runners even told me so. They said I looked strong. My pace was right on target. But then everything went wrong. It was my fault and I know it. In hindsight, I messed up nutrition-wise and I should have known better.
But rather than admitting that this DNF (Did Not Finish) was my fault, what I really need now is a good excuse!
Before the race, some of the other runners and I chatted. The weather conditions were ideal and the course was straight forward, making getting lost unlikely. That meant that if we DNF'ed this race we would not be able to use two of our favorite excuses: bad weather and getting lost.
We joked that before any race it is a good idea to have a few possible excuses in your back pocket to use for DNFing, just in case the need arose. That conversation and my subsequent experience got me thinking of all the excuses I have heard. A couple of these I made up myself, most of the others I borrowed. A few I took from postings I read on Kevin Sayer's UltRunR site.
Here they are, in no particular order:
- The weather was too hot.
- The weather was too cold.
- The weather was too humid.
- I couldn't stop throwing up.
- I misread the race application. I thought it said this was only a 10-k, not a 100-m. WTF!?!
- The aid station volunteers didn't fill my water bottles correctly.
- I got dehydrated.
- My feet hurt.
- I got blisters.
- I fell……hard.
- I was peeing blood.
- I started out too fast.
- I started out too slow.
- My crew told me my pet/family member died.
- I got lost.
- My pacer was too fast.
- My pacer was too slow (that would NEVER EVER happen to me!).
- The race director did not mark the course well enough.
- Some SOB @$$#0!* stole/moved the trail markers!
- My costume wasn't cool enough (see Javelina Jundred).
- My headlamp batteries went dead.
- There was a tornado/earthquake/blizzard/hurricane/forest fire/hail/severe thunderstorm/flash flood/ mudslide/avalanche/sand storm/other natural disaster.
- The aid stations ran out of food.
- The aid stations didn't have the right kind of food.
- My pacer didn't B!%&^ slap me when I really needed it!
- I couldn't eat.
- I ate too much.
- I got tired.
- I didn't train hard enough.
- I was overtrained.
- I pooped my pants which caused chafing.
- My nipples started bleeding…ow.
- I realized I wasn't going to win (for those elite among us).
- I realized I wasn't going to finish (for everybody else).
- I missed a cut off.
- Cut offs? What cut offs! I don't care about no steenkin' cut offs! You jes' go an' try an' stop me!
- I didn't drink enough.
- I drank too much and got hyponatremic
- I stopped peeing.
- My blood sugar got too low.
- I passed out.
- I had a seizure.
- I didn't want to die.
- I thought I was already dead..
- My handler/crew/pacer threatened to divorce me.
- They didn't have the right kind of sports drink.
- I didn't want that buckle after all.
- I got hypothermia.
- I got heat stroke.
- I got kidney failure and needed emergency dialysis.
- My quads were shot.
- My heart rate monitor told me I had no pulse.
- I sprained my ankle.
- I had a headache.
- My stomach hurt.
- I tripped on a rock. There was bone sticking out.
- A branch poked me in the eye.
- My pacer forgot to bring the cattle prod.
- The cattle prod batteries went dead.
- I lost too much weight.
- I gained too much weight.
- I didn't use the right run/walk ratio.
- I had a run in with a: cougar/bear/moose/rattlesnake/mean dog/mad cow/bees nest/skunk/ porcupine/hippopotamus/other wild animal.
- The course was too hilly.
- The course was too flat.
- It just wasn't my day.
- A bunch of ultra-groupies kidnapped me and and held me hostage against my will.
- I had a cold/stomach virus/flu/strep throat/bronchitis/giardia/pneumonia/malaria/other illness.
- My crew made me stop.
- My crew forgot to show up.
- My drop bags fell off the truck.
- The cut off times were unfair.
- Life is unfair.
- I wasn't acclimated to altitude/heat/humidity/other conditions.
- I got pulled for medical reasons.
- The race director and volunteers packed up and went home.
- I ran off a cliff.
- I started hallucinating.
- I decided that it wasn't fun anymore.
- My plantar fasciitis/stress fracture/iliotibial band syndrome/other old injury flared up.
- It was so hot, the soles of my shoes melted (see Badwater).
- My toenail(s) fell off.
- I ran out of toenails to fall off.
- I decided that golf or bowling sounds like a helluva lot more fun and a lot smarter too.
- I stopped to have "just one" beer and couldn't get going again..
- Actually, despite what I told you yesterday, this run was only for training. That's right. I never really intended on finishing anyway.
- Honestly, I was just a crying punk-ass baby and I couldn't suck it up.
The most popular ones always seem to be the ones in which you blame someone or something else, never yourself. Let me know if there are any I overlooked or which you think I should add.
In truth, I had a great time at Lean Horse this weekend. So much so that I cannot wait to do it again. Too bad I have to wait an entire year. But I do need a little time to digest all of my experience (and to replace my severe calorie deficit) before I write a more detailed intellectual and inspiring post about it.
In the meantime, I'd prefer to dream up new excuses for DNFing!