3 Deadly Running Sins

dead-last If a Running Fairy came down off her podium in glittery running shoes, and told you that you MUST choose between Not Starting, Not Finishing or Coming in Dead Effen Last in your next race, what would you chose? What is the lesser of the 3 Deadly Running Sins? Welp. I was granted a wish that I didn’t even ask for, and am still recovering from. That damn Running Fairy granted me a Did Not Start. And a touch of what I can only believe was ameobic dystnetery. Or food poisioning. Or cholera for that matter. Whhhhhyyyyyy?!nancy kerrigan

It sucked.

For the first time in my running history, I Did Not Start. Not because I didn’t register. Not because I wasn’t trained and ready. Not because I was sucked into a House of Cards Netflix Binge and couldn’t get my can off of the couch, I didn’t start because I woke up with an epic stomach bug the morning of the race. A half marathon on snow shoes was NOT happening. Chills. Watery mouth. Sweats. Pains. And two other issues not fit for print.


Even though I willed myself to get over it, strap on my snowshoes and run the half marathon I had trained for, I just couldn’t. Hard. Stop.  Maybe if I hooked up an IV and dragged a porta potty behind me? Screw it. It just wasn’t happening. And my body knew it. What a disappointment. I actually dragged my green self to the race to cheer on my friends, hoping that by the time we got there, I would have rallied. {Uh. No.}  Instead, I froze to death sipping water by a bonfire, while they snow shoed their hearts out. AND IT KILLED ME. I had a one way ticket to Bummerville. {Sad Colby.}

All scenarios are pretty dismal. Although I am trying to discern which is the worst:

  •  Dead Effen Last laments: Oh, Honey. At least you tried. Here’s a medal, an ice bath and a hug.
  • Did Not Finish barks: There better be bloodshed, or a major catastrophic physical event, YOU WEAKLING! SYSTEM FAILURE! SYSTEM FAILURE! ABORT! ABORT! {With flashing lights, a stretcher and a hot ER doctor.}
  • Did Not Start gently whispers : Shit, Girl. It just wasn’t your day. Here’s a pint of Chubby Hubby for when you can keep it down. Now go take those snow shoes off, sit your dehydrated self on the couch, and quietly weep.

They’re all bad. They’re all a runner’s nightmare. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. No matter how prepared. No matter how excited. No matter how ready. Pull your Achilles during an ultra (here), and DAMMIT, YOU WILL FINISH.  Even if you have to crawl. Have an allergic reaction the night before your marathon (here), wake up looking like a pufferfish and DAMMIT, YOU ARE RUNNING.  Wake up with a VIOLENT stomach bug before running a half marathon up a mountain on snow shoes and DAMMIT, GAME OVER. One bad stomach bug can ruin your day. And piss you the hell off.

Next time I’m packing a white flag to wave, just in case.

DNF, DNS or DFL? What’s the worst Race Day story you’ve got?


59 thoughts on “3 Deadly Running Sins

  1. Well, my worst race day story is actually my worst Expo day story (the race was no prize either), which you wrote about so eloquently here – https://marathonandsprint.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/sherman-klump-runs-a-marathon-or-how-to-avoid-a-severe-allergic-reaction-before-running-26-2-miles/ .
    I have never had a DFL or DNF (yet). But this race was a DNS for me, too, and I’m still bummed about it. Heck, I didn’t even make it to Vermont, let alone to the start. Waaah.

  2. DNS in a major city marathon is the worst – so many people will apply for a lottery place and then won’t do the training and not bother turning up… depriving another of a possible place. *Rages about NYCM rejection*

  3. Oh no! I hope you’re feeling better now. My worst race was a DNF. I managed to run 20 miles of a marathon but just couldn’t do the last 6.2 miles. I called my fiancée (now my hubby) to rescue me. He’s been rescuing me from botched training runs ever since.

    • GAH. I’m so sorry, Janice! What a bummer!!! Have you gotten your revenge yet?? What’s worse is that my stomach bug was a horrible 24hr thing. The next morning I was MUCH better. My other half rescued me from a 99 degree, swollen ankle training run 17 miles into a 20 miler. God love our Men! 🙂

  4. Dead Fucking Loser… er… I mean, Last, right here! My first half marathon ever and the most humbling/humiliating (there IS a difference, trust me!) experience of my life. Got that out of the way. Now what can the running fairies throw at me?! Do your worst, bitches!!! Boo-yah!

  5. That’s terrible! I would hate that! I came last in the last event I ran. I loved it hehe I looked around the field (just 30 and mostly elite runners) and predicted that I would come last. The heat was so bad one lady was collected in the ambulance! That would be worse than coming last 🙂

  6. Mine is a DNF from about 10 years ago. Pulled out of a marathon only 16k in. Simply hadn’t done enough training. Wept like a baby. So bitterly disappointed in myself. But learnt a lot. The only other DNF was a genuine injury which stopped me in my tracks a few years ago. But the marathon DNF was the worst by far!

  7. They all suck, but it is like those “you never regret a workout” silliness–well, what if you broke your leg or got hit by a car or a biker or missed a huge life moment? Then NO THE WORKOUT/RUN WAS NOT WORTH IT. I think that any time that pride gets in the way of health, you should just get a bitchslap in the face. I’d rather not start a race and run it myself the next weekend (which I have done) over running it and being miserable and hurt. PREACH

  8. I had a light version of the flu bug the night before my marathon, my 3rd (failed) attempt at a BQ. 10pm the night before I was yacking into the toilet wondering how in the freak I was supposed to run the next day. Luckily, I didn’t have other episodes that normally occur with throwing up, so I ran, but I “ran” out of gas at about 15 miles, probably because I couldn’t eat the day before, which is pretty important. I just chalk it up to more marathon experience, but it’s annoying, and at least I tried. I still couldn’t eat for about three days after so at least I lost a few pounds in the process. Sick, but it’s true. Sorry you had to miss the race, but it’s better than ending up as a Facebook poster with poo running down your leg, right?

  9. Lol- my friends & I came in Dead Effen Last in a small trail race- it was so embarrassing because everyone else left except for the race directors- and even they were packing up! Kudos to the race directors who still smiled at us & said “good race girls” – SMH 🙂

  10. DNS my first marathon. 15 awesome weeks of training and then an injury right before the start of my taper. Could not even run 3 steps without serious pain. At least I was able to defer my entry to this year.

  11. I have had my share of DNS’ s Colby. As a matter a fact one was this past weekend … ugh! And I think I shared my race nightmare with you in the past lol

  12. Boo, that sucks! Stomach bugs are the worst. Thankfully I don’t have too many bad stories (yet). I DNS’d two races this fall because of my foot, and it sucked. I hope you’re feeling better!

    • Total BUMMER. (And it was also centered around a lovely Vermont trip. 😦 ) Well. You can’t win ’em all. Bad paws and bad bellies will kill ya! I’m feeling fantastic now. Dammit.

    • A DNS before a marathon has got to be at the top of The Worst list. I’m so sorry. This was bad because: A.) It was. B.) I trained on damn snow shoes all winter for this thing. It’s not like I can find one to run in August. Unless I strap ’em on on the beach. Such a bummer. Meh. There is always next year, Lora! 🙂

  13. I had a DNS at the Derry 16 Miler last January due to an injury. I knew better and was in therapy at the time. Physical therapy.
    My worse race day story is the 2013 Hartford Marathon where I was the last runner to start the race. Everyone else was at least a half a mile ahead of me. Talk about a panic attack! I wrote a way long blog post about that, so I wont go into details here.
    Hope your feeling better.

  14. Crap. 😦 I hope you’re all better now! I have had a “did not start” before too last year when I missed a race due to my stupid foot. All of them are bad though. So bad.

  15. DNS is a bummer, but winding up in the hospital (worst case) or making yourself sicker or having some humiliating bathroom incident when you should have not started is way worse. I had a few DNSs and 1 DNF. They stink, but heck… they have these races every year. It is NOT life or death… so stay healthy and keep being smart like you were!

    • Total Words of Wisdom right there, Erica! I was far more concerned with the humiliation factor. I mean really. If you can’t finish with dignity, you should really pack it in early. It was a 24hr fiasco. Then, all was right in the world. Until next year!!! 🙂

  16. Bummer, yo. Did you eat some bad roast beef or something? I’ve never DNF, but I did DNS a 5k once when I woke up on race day with the flu, or leparcy, or something. I didn’t really lose any sleep over it.

    • I’d only eat roast beast if if was made out of vegetables. Or if I was in Whooville. It may have been lepracy for all I know. It sucked. Especially because it was a whole weekend race-cation type gig. Sigh. Next time.

  17. I’ve had 2 DNS’S and 2 DNF’s 😦 First DNS was from a stomach bug. Same thing…woke up at 3am puking my gut out. Slept an hour and got up and got dressed to go run(it was a half)…realizing I couldn’t keep anything down….or uh….in….my husband said no way. First DNF was last April, 3 miles into a full, tripped over a big freaking cone in the MIDDLE of a marathon course (who does that) and broke my arm…..ran 10 more miles before my body said STOP! Second DNF…it was a half trail/half paved marathon. I was at MILE FLIPPIN 2….on the trail, stepped on a pile of leaves disguising a nice tree root and rolled my ankle and tore all 3 major ligaments. I had to limp and hop on 1 foot for a mile and a half(with the help of my bff and a race volunteer) to get to a spot that a vehicle could get to me. My second DNS came from that injury….I had my FIRST 50k scheduled 3 weeks later….I was still in a boot and just off crutches…..my husband seems to think running is bad for me…..hahahaha

    • Ummmm. Have you considered another sport? Like ping pong? OHMYGOD. That’s RIDICULOUS. I’d say you’re past all of it now. I give you HUGE props for sticking with it. I might have bailed after the BROKEN ARM. Good grief, Girl! I’ve gotta agree with the Hubs! Stay safe please. Or wear a padded suit! 🙂

    • Thank you! I don’t really consider myself a “writer”. I write like I talk- loud, colorful and all over the joint. I’m totally tuckered right now and am hoping Mr. Sandman swings by tonight for a nice long visit. 🙂

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