Tag Archives: Saskatchewan

How to get over a DNF heartbreak: part I

I came off the Queen City Marathon course at the 15k mark with injury to my left upper calf: the “popper” muscle I call it (popliteus).

I had been for a run last Monday when I developed a tight calf muscle. I wrote about it earlier. I was hoping for the best but knew I might not be able to cross the finish line yesterday.

I was fine until 14.5 k. The pain was a dull roar, a tightness, and I was about 10 sec/km off my pace, which was OK by me. After 50 minutes on the course I was just getting warmed up and starting to enjoy the run. I had re-adjusted my goal and I just wanted to finish in 5 hours or less.

Then, on Assiniboine Avenue right next to the cemetery and across from an Apostolic church, I felt a sharp pain that drew me up into a limp and slowed my pace by about 30 sec/km. Another 500 m and I knew, with 25k to go, I wouldn’t even finish within 5 hours and this could only turn into a miserable death march.

It was really heartbreaking – I have never, ever DNF’d before and it feels like crap. But I made the right decision- I had to stop running or risk a really crippling injury. There’s “fatigue” pain you can run through and then there’s sharp, localized pain that is bad news. Smart runners know the difference. I want to be a healthy runner and I want to run the 8k in Victoria in a month’s time.

So how do you get over a DNF heartbreak? I dunno – you tell me.

I’m still in Saskatchewan for a few days – the bright light of my day is when I visit with my friends, my son, my daughter and her baby. Otherwise I’m still glum, missing my finisher’s medal, feeling incredibly fit and raring to go; except for that damn “popper” muscle in my left leg.

Part II of this series is the post where I get over my DNF heartbreak, then report back on my findings. I’m open to ideas – can any runner out there who has bounced back from a DNF please tell me how you did it?

PS: race course volunteers are saints. Especially Patty and her daughter Becky, who gave me water, a place to sit and cry for a while, and a ride to the 25k mark where my son and his dad were waiting for me with extra water, motivational signs written in Greek (um – my son is a Classics major…) and a flask of Irish whiskey.


Queen City Marathon: how to help a runner

Queen City Marathon day is one week away – September 12! I have done all the training (including a couple of long runs when I was in Regina over the summer) and I’ve been tapering for two weeks already.

I’m excited to finally be running the full 42.2 km marathon in my *hometown. It will be great to see friends and family on the course to cheer me on – but I have a need for some extra race support. I’m hoping I gather a crew for that day:

1.     Gear/layer shedding.

  • It’s always chilly at the start of the race and I bundle up. At the start line and at the 3 – 4 km mark it would be great to have someone on hand to whom I can hand off my extra layers. Running gear gets expensive and I don’t want to lose it!
  • Likewise – if the weather turns bad – it would be nice to have someone at the 25k mark or so to hand me a dry, warm layer if needed.

2.    Water bottles/gels.

I carry my own water usually, that way I can carry my own electrolyte concoction, plus I can avoid the bottlenecks at the aid stations (I haven’t mastered the art of drinking enough liquid out of those paper cups.) I have four bottle holders on my fuel belt plus a spare set of four. If I can trade empties for full ones with someone at about the 20 km point, have them refilled, and then pick them up again at the 35 km point, that would be ever so wonderful. (Neil Balkwill Centre – 2420 Elphinstone Street is Kilometer 20 and 35 I believe.)

3. Finish Line!

  • Chocolate Milk 500 ml — I think my daughter Pocketbuddha has offered, but she will have Oliver with her, so perhaps some help for the mama of a 1-year old is in order? (PS I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW STOKED I AM THAT MY SON, MY DAUGHTER AND MY GRANDSON WILL BE AT THE FINISH LINE CHEERING ME ON!)
  • Red Breast 12-year old Irish Whisky in a flask. My son Aidan has this one taken care of I think – it has become somewhat of a tradition for me to swill some whisky after Halfs and Full Marathons, thanks to my Victoria drinking buddy Tim (@Howlabit on Twitter). By the way – if anyone has any 15-yo Red Breast – talk to me. I’m sure we can work something out 🙂
  • A warm blanket – those plastic ones they hand out to all racers are OK – but they just don’t do the trick.

4. Après-Finish

I’m getting a really big meal that day, thanks to Margaret Levett who is going to stuff me full of jug-jug, rice ‘n peas, and other Caribbean and British delicacies (including the sorrel. Mmmm the sorrel!).

Of course if people just want to come out and cheer, make me a sign that says “Go Tori” or just yell and scream when I run by, I’m up for that too. It will be a huge help. Did I mention running a marathon is freaking hard? Every little bit of encouragement helps — except don’t say “you’re almost there” until I’ve hit the 39 km mark.

The race web site (http://runqcm.com/marathon/course/maps_narratives_startfinish) has a handy “Spectator Zone” guide for spectators and includes information on the best spots from which to watch (that are easier to get to given the traffic restrictions that day).

*Swift Current, SK is technically my hometown, but I lived in Regina for most of my adult life: 18 years.