Dirty German 50M D.N.F.- ’15

D.N.F.- That stands for “Did Not Finish” for those that didn’t quite get that.

If you want to read a blog post that has positive words and vibes, you’ve come to the wrong post. You may want to read the first and last paragraphs for some positive words.

The Dirty German Ultras(25K, 50K, and 50 Miler) are in Pennypack Park, which is located northeast of Philadelphia. The park runs north to south for about 20 miles, with a creek running through it. There are multiple trails within it, including a paved bike trail, and flat, dirt single track trails. For being so close to the big city, the park is well-kept. There were a few parts of the trail that had a bit of garbage along it, but overall, it’s a nice park for a weekend type event.

The trail is very runnable. There is hardly any elevation change and the trail itself is well-groomed, with hardly any rocks and roots. It is a very “easy” trail to run on. Of course, this thinking is exactly what caused me not to finish the race. FIRST MISTAKE

Leading up to a 50 mile race, one would think that in order to complete it, the runner should be mentally and physically prepared. I thought I was. After all, I did the Hyner Challenge and a marathon on back to back weekends a few weeks prior and succeeded. The elevation gain in Hyner was over 7,000 feet. The New Jersey Marathon was flat and fast. Heck, I was going to take care of this Dirty German 50 miler without an issue…easy peasy.

What I did was take a 50 mile race for granted. SECOND MISTAKE

It was a humid day, but when you sign up for an outdoor event, mother nature doesn’t stop and give you a cloudy, 60 degree day, just for you. She continues on.

The 50 miler consists of three loops around the park. The first loop was a good one. I felt good and my legs were well rested. I was conserving energy while running 9:30-9:45 minute per mile averages. This was just what I wanted for a 9 hour finish. THIRD MISTAKE.

How could I go into a 50 mile race without thinking through exactly the game plan. If I was thinking clearly, I would have: 1) not have had a finish goal time, 2) realized it was humid and would have adjusted my finish goal time to something respectable, 3) not planned the 50 mile run like it was a marathon by running straight through the first 12 miles without a walk break

I tend to sweat more than the average runner. So by about mile 14, my shorts, shirt, socks, and sneakers were soaked. I was staying fairly hydrated at the beginning, but at one point, it all changed. By the beginning of the second loop, around mile 17 or so, bad thoughts slowly crept into my head. FOURTH MISTAKE

I started walking more and was taking more salt, sodium, and water. At one point the thought of running about 32 more miles seemed impossible. I had traveled over 18 miles, and seemed like I had just started my run, but felt drained all at the same time. Sounds confusing, right? Yeah, I was too. At that point, I really started to “disconnect” from my run. The task of running 30 more miles really hit me hard. My mental preparation for this race was non-existent, so it was so easy for me to give in.

I certainly talked a big game coming into this race, thinking I could run a 50 miler with ease. And there I was at mile 24, going through how I was going to type this very post about my first D.N.F. FIFTH MISTAKE

How messed up is that?! Here I am not even half way through a race and all I could think of was how I was going to start this D.N.F FU*KING blog post. Yeah, exactly. As you can see, my mind was so far away from the trail I was running on.

It was a very long last 7 miles on that trail. At one point, my hydration seemed to be back on track, but my mind was so set on stopping after the second loop, that I didn’t even care. I crossed the start/finish line without a care in the world except I just wanted ice water. I didn’t care it was my first D.N.F. SIXTH MISTAKE

Adjective descriptions that best describe my 50 miler on Sunday: Carelessness. Uninterested. Not determined. No guts. Not willing to fight. Heartless. Close minded. Lifeless. (other words also come to mind, but I’ll refrain from sharing them)

There were some positives that came out of the ultra on Sunday. My trail running friend Matt, and his buddy Jay, fought through and completed the 50 miler with great will power. My other running friends Becky and Mary Lou, both succeeded in completing the 50K portion. Both of them are considered more road runners, than trail runners, which makes their accomplishments special. Even more special is that Becky won her age group and Mary Lou came in second in her age group! Another trail runner from my area, Rick, earned second place in his age group in the 50K!

For me, this race was a learning experience. Hopefully I’ll bounce back on my next run.

2 thoughts on “Dirty German 50M D.N.F.- ’15

  1. Jeremy, another positive from the day was seeing a familiar face (yours) as I nervously entered the park for my first 50K. And yes, a very humid day. Before we reached mile 2 of my 31 mile (50K) trek, the shirt of the man ahead on the trail was already totally soaked. I would occasionally feel drops of water thinking rain – but no. It was sweat dripping from my ponytail. I hope to do another ultra and hope to see you out there again.

    Liked by 1 person

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