Monthly Archives: May 2018

Breakdown at 5K. DNF.

It’s unfortunate for me to report that due to illness, related in part due to somewhat high heat at the race, I had to drop out of the Vancouver Marathon at about 5K.

I actually knew at around the 3K or 4K marker that I was in trouble and probably needed to drop out. The forecasted heat for Vancouver struck a little early, and within 3K I struggled badly with it. I also had struggled to sleep well the last couple nights and that compounded the issue. I was laboring badly at a level I expected would strike closer to 30K than 3K. I was suffering clear effects of heat exhaustion, and continuing past 5K seemed infathomable.

I walked past the 4K marker, and at the 2nd aid station (5K) I took a sizable quantity of water, stepped off-course, removed my bib and started a long walk back to the hotel. Within minutes of walking strategically under shade I already felt better and knew I had made the right decision.


The good news is that by DNFing early, I avoided the substantial wear and tear expected from the marathon, meaning if desired I can resume training as soon as I have good reason to do so, rather than needing to take weeks to recover.

I had netted a lottery spot in this October’s Chicago Marathon, and having planned to run it I was somewhat concerned about my ability to bounce back from Vancouver and begin training for that. But now that’s not a concern, and (after a bit of time off) I can begin training for that at my leisure.

It’s my first ever DNF in a race, and I figured if I ever did so at a marathon I’d have done so after 20 miles than after 2. But while disappointed I don’t feel bad… only that I made the right decision.

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Never mind running the marathon… can I even make it there?

I’ve probably been more concerned this week about whether or not my flight to Vancouver will make it out of this bad Midwestern weather than I’ve been about how the marathon’s going to go.

It’s not what kept me up all night Tuesday through Wednesday morning. That I haven’t figured out. I didn’t stay up late, I didn’t eat differently, I usually shut everything down by 10pm so it wasn’t a blue light thing, and I wasn’t particularly worried or anxious about anything, not even the marathon and not even what I’m about to describe. But despite being very tired my stomach turned over, couldn’t settle and I couldn’t get to sleep. I did eat around 4am and finally I passed out for a couple hours, but the lack of sleep left me a functional wreck for much of Wednesday.

Since it was my last day at work for a week and a half, I couldn’t call off, and with business to wrap up before leaving I didn’t want to anyway, so I went to work a full day before heading home, eating dinner and sleeping a good long while into this morning. Any plans I had to run Wednesday were mostly shelved due to my condition.

That all aside, the weather this past week suddenly became a cause for concern… not the weather on race day in Vancouver, which will be warm but clear… but the weather in Chicago on my departure date.

All through the last week the reliable Weather Underground forecast indicated that thunderstorms would hit Chicagoland with over an inch of rain all day Thursday, which as forecast would prevent my flight to Vancouver from leaving. I already won’t have a ton of time in Vancouver before the race… waiting another day could cause some problems.

On Tuesday I scrambled for a plan B. I booked a one way flight to Seattle for Wednesday night, booked overnight lodging near SeaTac and a BoltBus ticket into Vancouver for Thursday morning. The whole thing despite short notice only cost about $300. Of course, that accelerated my timetable to pack. Instead of having the evening after work Wednesday and all morning Thursday to finish up, I had to quickly get everything done Tuesday night. While perhaps that could have been a source of anxiety, I got it all done that evening before eating dinner and heading to bed.

But then the weather quickly turned! By Wednesday morning the thunderstorms that all week hadn’t been forecast to hit before overnight Wednesday/Thursday now were forecast to arrive during the evening commute on Wednesday, which subsequently would wipe out or uselessly delay that new flight I had scheduled. Plus, as mentioned, by that Wednesday morning I hadn’t slept much at all and I wasn’t convinced I could stay up until after midnight let alone competently drag myself from SeaTac to overnight lodging, then sleep a bit less than usual and try to transit to Vancouver Thursday morning. Plus, there were various boarding complications I won’t get into that offered a sizable chance I’d have to check my bags, and the risk of losing luggage isn’t one I want to take.

On top of all that… the forecast for Thursday had softened, and now there’s a decent chance my originally scheduled flight will be able to leave as scheduled.

So I cancelled the Plan B flight, which was easy and fully refundable. I wish I had taken my chances scrambling for lodging, because the lodging was non-refundable. And the bus ticket I bought was non-refundable. So I spent $100 for a backup plan that wasn’t necessary. Also, changing my storage parking arrangement did save me a few bucks.

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All of that never minds that I’m running a marathon in three days! It’s hard to stress about a marathon when you’re already dealing with a bunch of other issues, most notably just being able to get to the marathon site with enough time to spare to pick up the bib and get everything else I need in order.

This will all be behind me once my plane to Vancouver is in the air, over the clouds and out of the Great Lakes.

… if it can get there first!