Saturday, June 9, 2012


Did Not Finish. My first DNF ever. I started the Grandview Gallop about three hours ago with the full intent of giving it a go and seeing how well I could do. This is all a little ridiculous because in the last five days I only ran about 4.5 miles. Monday I woke up with severe pain in my left foot on the top of the foot between the second and fourth toe. My guess is that the ridiculously slow 18 miles that I did last Sunday was too much the day after a speed workout and rock climbing. I'm assuming that during the evening and night my body tightened up and either created a knot in that part of my foot or tore a tendon. It is also possible that I have a stress fracture, but I have to go to the doctor to get an x-ray to figure that out.

My foot was getting better all week. I massaged it, stretched my muscles, which I had neglected the last few weeks, and did some biking and some walking. Tuesday morning I ran a mile, it still hurt. Thursday evening I ran a mile, it still hurt. Friday I ran 2.6 miles and I did it at low 7s pace which I considered relatively fast given my fitness. Today I woke up and it didn't feel great but it felt bearable. I warmed up nearly two miles total and it didn't feel great, but it felt possible to run four miles hard on.

The race started and as usual a few high school kids shot off and I started faster than I would have liked the first quarter mile, then I settled into a rhythm. Nearing mile one it was N, M and myself. I hit the mile a couple seconds behind them in 5:00. My foot was feeling okay at that point, but it quickly went downhill as we trudged up the street. I kept slowing down hitting 2 miles in 5th pace in 5:57. I slowed down even more almost to a jog then I started to walk at about 2.1-2.2 miles.

I can't remember ever walking in a race. Ever. I have been racing the 800 or longer since 5th grade. It was so strange, surreal. People were passing me and the pain in my foot kept getting worse. I think once the adrenaline of the race wore off the pain hit full blast. It hurt. I was limping. It still hurts. I'm still limping.

So I walked for awhile on the sidewalk as people continued to stream past. I took off my shoes thinking that might make it better. No change. But I was able to massage the knot or metatarsal a little which would send even more pain into me, but would die off after a few minutes to a lower level than before touching it. I walked and people offered to help, but being the obstinate proud bull-headed person that I am I graciously refused. Finally about a block before reaching my van the end of the race police cars went past signifying that everyone in the race past me. Had I finished I would have been dead last.

This wasn't a surprise. I wondered before the race if I would be able to finish the race, but I have never DNF'd so I just figured if it went poorly I would jog to the finish and run 22 minutes or something. I guess it's one of those things that if you play the game long enough, everything that can happen to you will happen at some point. It is disturbing to me because I like to imagine that I can tolerate a lot of pain and discomfort. Then this happens and I give up. That being said, this really hurts. This hurts worse than my stress reaction. This hurts worse than racing on plantar fasciitis. This hurts worse than breaking my sesamoid bones. It's right up there with runner's knee, the only injury that ever reduced me to tears on a run. That was six years ago so I can't exactly compare this pain to that. It makes me feel so weak. There are stories of this person and that person doing great things under great pain, and here I drop out of a race for a little foot thing. I feel like I'm failing. I don't feel like a failure because I've set some PRs this year yet I feel that I just earned an F on my summer running.

I didn't go to any of the post race stuff. That's part of the fun of road racing. Meeting a few new people, talking with friends, being around a bunch of fit healthy people. There aren't a whole lot of opportunities in Dubuque like this, and I wasted it by just driving home. It's humiliating, embarrassing to DNF! I mean I like the atmosphere of the post race parties, I just felt like DNF means that I am not worthy to drink the juice and eat the bananas. Even with less than three hours of hindsight I realize that is ridiculous, of course one who DNFs is welcome at the post race food table. I mean, I can barely walk, no one will get turned away under those circumstances.

I feel so weak. Mentally I feel so lazy for giving up. On the positive side, it was getting worse with every step, stopping was probably a really good decision. Hopefully I can go to a doctor Monday and find out that I have a bone split in two. Everything that I do I do all the way. If I'm going to get injured, I will make it significant. (I'm kind of kidding, I hope I can heal in a week or two, but a break would be justification that I am not quite as weak as I feel. There is certainly a huge mental aspect to athletics and knowing that I have the ability to run a little past breaking my foot would give me more confidence. I know. I'm not normal.)


  1. Hi Isaiah, it's Scott. I would get the foot x-rayed immediately. I suffered a stress reaction to my fifth metatarsal a few years ago. The doctor said that I was lucky the bone didn't break because when small bones in the foot break it can be nearly impossible to set them back together. If the bones heal separately you can suffer from a fallen arch in your foot.

    I don't want to freak you out but I would hate to see this happen to you.



  2. Hey Isaiah!

    I know that getting injured and not being able to complete a race makes you feel physically and mentally weak. I get that - I have had a few injuries through my career. But what is more important to realize is that you were mentally strong enough to realize that it was a very bad idea to run it into the ground. It took a great deal of pain - i have no doubt. But don't be to hard on yourself.

    Hope you heal quickly and i can read about more of your great adventures.

    Jill P

  3. I have to respond anonymously because I am going to be critical here (I know, I'm a coward). Like your friend said, get to a Doctor! For someone who is supposedly so intelligent, it makes me crazy to think that you would put it off AND then run in a race. Secondly, not all eyes are on you! It's that humility thing again - try working on that while your foot is healing.

  4. Thank you all for your wise recommendations. I did go see a doctor. They even took a few x-rays, but said that they did not see anything. He also said that the quality was not great so there might be something and if it continues to be a huge problem get it rex-rayed. I won't be running for awhile. His assumption is a soft tissue injury from overuse. He predicted a complete recovery with adequate rest if I stay off it.

  5. Get a clue, you are not special! (I'm quoting from a recently CNN reported graduation speech you obviously did not, but should have, heard. This blog and your reporting of your first(?) DNF and your resulting feelings, is Exhibit A of everything that is wrong with your generation in particular, and with America in general.

    Stop talking/writing about yourself and your feelings, who cares, and what difference does it make anyway? Also, you may wish to note that if you are human, your life's journey will have more DNFs, all of which may well make this your first(?) DNF, pale in comparison.

    I'm hoping and praying your generation within the foreseeable future begins to accept they are not special; that life's journey will be filled with DNFs; and the meaning and difference between humility and hubris.

    Make a difference in the world, In lieu of writing/talking about yourself, write/talk and discuss ideas, theories, problems confronting society, and how your generation can make a difference.

    On behalf of your parent's generation, I apologize for ever having told your generation that you were special, We failed your generation miserably. We are sorry, please forgive us.

  6. I'll try to refrain from using my hereditary anger here, but I think we have turned into two very accomplished and SPECIAL young adults crediting our parents with where we are. If complaining about not finishing something is the greatest of our worries, I think we are doing very well compared to many others IN ANY GENERATION. I'd rather be at the doctor for a running injury than a drug/alcohol problem.

    No one may care about our feelings, I actually don't expect anyone to. Spending time to read our feelings is your choice and for that, I'm sure Isaiah is thankful.


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