Running – Racing – Ultra Marathons and My First DNF

It was going to be my 100th finish.

It was going to be my June race.

It turned out to be something totally different.

dnf face(My Instagram post with my DNF Face)

The 2016 edition of the Bethel Moonlight Boogie 50 Mile endurance race turned out to be something ugly, and something I had never faced before. Turns out for this year, I was not mentally tough enough. I decided to drop out just 15 miles into the race.

Why did I give up some would ask? My only answer is that I was never really committed to the race in the first place.  I signed up about two months prior to the event, just before my Grand Canyon run.  I did so more to see some friends and to get a another Boogie (I ran in 2015) hand crafted mug. I did not enter the race for some larger purpose, such as testing myself, to prove to myself that I could run the distance. I signed up for the mug, a nice mug but not nice enough to run 50 miles in June when I really wanted to be home. Plain and simple I was not mentally into the race.  From the first step, I kept thinking of being home…spending time with my wife and not wanting to suffer again.

Five things I learned From My DNF.

1.  You must be committed to a race, if you’re going to stick it out when things turn ugly.  It is so easy to sign up for a race, but are you really committed?  This race will make me think twice before I click and sign up.

(Please follow/subscribe to my YouTube Channel)

2.  Every race does not have to be an Ultra.  Lately every race I’ve run tends to be in the ultra distance.  I need to get back to running races of varying lengths.  I can still view myself as an Ultra-runner and run 5ks, 10k and half marathons. 

3. To finish some of these long races under difficult conditions you have to be ready to visit the pain cave.  To finish the Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim run a month earlier I had to go deep into my pain cave, and I was not ready to go back in to that dark place again…at least not this soon.

4.  It’s okay not the end of the world to DNF.  Driving home (3 hours) I was very down on myself.  I was not happy with my performance or my being.  Then it hit me, my 17 year running career will NOT be defined by one event.  It simply was not my day (night).

5. I would run again.  The world did not end, the sun came up the next morning and my legs worked during my next run. I’ll learn from this tough night and come back ready to run again.

Have you had a bad race.  Have you signed up for a race for all the wrong reasons?  Have you dropped out just because you were not into the race?  Share your experiences with us.

  • Nathan CoachBeast Brown

    I just recently DNFD my second 50 miler. I had some calf problems starting at mile 13 and dropped at 22. While the circumstances were different the post race feelings were the same. I was embarrassed and disappointed. Some had picked me to win and I thought I had a real shot. It was a tough day and I have just recently returned to running after a month of healing. Thanks for the write up!

  • Nathan CoachBeast Brown

    This was my first DNF in my second 50 miler. The first one I finished. I realized after I posted that it read like I DNFD both of them hahaha! Needed to clarify

    • Brian Burk

      Understand….come back stronger!