Race Report: Going the Distance Marathon – Is it a DNF if you finish an “official” race distance, but not the distance you set out to do?

This past Saturday I was pretty excited about attempting my 4th marathon in 2014 at local race, the Going the Distance Marathon, in Phoenix, AZ.

Rio Vista Park: Great race location. Lots of parking right next to the ramada - and what a spread they had pre and post race.

Rio Vista Park: Great race location. Lots of parking right next to the ramada – and what a spread they had pre and post race.

I went to bed early on Friday and even managed to bound out of bed at 3:30am, get dressed, and be out the door by 4:00am for the 2-hour drive to Phoenix. I arrived at 6:15am to Rio Vista Park (technically in Peoria, AZ – just around the corner from the University of Phoenix stadium where the Arizona Cardinals play).

This was my first race with StartLine Racing. It was the last race of their Going the Distance Series, designed to help runners work up to their first full marathon by starting with a 5K and progressively running longer races over the course of several months. The day’s offerings included a 4-miler, half marathon, and the full marathon.

I was the only sparkly runner out of the course, but I did get a lot of compliments, which helped what turned out to be a “not so great” race. Maybe I jinxed myself by wearing marathon #3 shirt for marathon #4 attempt…

About 30 runners lined up at 7:00am for the start of the marathon – including a guy with a giant Camelback that was sporting flip-flops. It was an out-and-back race, consisting of 2 different loops for the marathon and 1 loop for the half marathon.

I had a great first quarter of the race (for me) and managed to cover 6.5 miles in the first 60 minutes. A bit of running math in my head and I was thinking to myself I could actually PR this marathon if I just keep up the pace.

This was the last happy runner thought to cross my mind as the wheels came off the race (and any hope of a PR or even 26.2 miles) about 8 miles in.  Truth be told, it was not my day.

It was getting hot (mid-80’s) and my legs were toast. As the next agonizing 4 miles ticked by I slowly realized that the right thing to do was to stop at the end of the first loop, finish the half marathon distance, and not press my luck by heading out away from civilization (and my car) for the second loop of the full marathon.

While I was able to complete the half marathon in a respectable if not speedy time for me (but no negative split), my 4th full marathon of 2014 was just not in me this day.  In fact, I technically got beat by the guy in the shower shoes, since HE managed to complete the full marathon…

This is the first time I’ve set out to run one distance and ended up running a shorter distance.

So, I’ve been asking myself the question: Is it a DNF if you finish an “official” race distance, but not the distance you set out do?

Race shirt and medal from my DNF-ish performance.

Race shirt and medal from my DNF-ish performance.

In my mind, it’s DNF-ish or DNF enough to eat at me (and make me hang the race shirt in the closet unworn and put the race medal in my shoe box instead of on the medal rack).

The good news is that I have a chance for redemption later this year. StartLine Racing will be hosting a NYC in AZ marathon in November.

Even better?… Kimberly is running the ACTUAL NYC Marathon! I can have her send me actual NYC race photos during my run – so it will be like I’m there with her.

And worst case?.. They have a half marathon option that day too if it’s just not my day in November either. 😉

Perfect Goofy Gail

3 thoughts on “Race Report: Going the Distance Marathon – Is it a DNF if you finish an “official” race distance, but not the distance you set out to do?

  1. Hmm, this is a tough call! You did Finish something! Don’t beat yourself up for being smart and respecting your body.

    Did you get a half marathon medal or a full? I would definitely feel better about it if you got a half medal! I was in a similar situation at a race this month. I was registered for the 11K distance but got injured and wanted to turn around at the 7K mark and finish that race distance instead but the people were so rude to me about doing that. In the end, there rudeness pushed me to finish the 11K. It so nice that you were able to just complete the distance you felt comfortable with without anyone giving you a hard time about it.

    • This is a great race organization that is really focused on getting people out locally to run and to work up to longer distances. I let them know my situation as I crossed the finish. They wanted to give me a medal – actually the medals and shirts for all distances were the same. I would not have taken a medal for a distance I did not complete or take one for the unplanned distance if the race was full (The race was not sold out and they offered race day registration) and it meant that someone that planned that distance might not get a medal. They celebrated everyone that was running this day, no matter how long the distance. Actually made me feel much better about the decision to go shorter than I’d hoped.

  2. Pingback: 2014 Providence Full and Half Marathon Race Report | RunAllTheRaces

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