Did Not Finish.
The three little words that strike fear into the hearts of all endurance athletes. Seeing a DNF listed next to your name after an event, particularly one you’ve trained all year for, can make you feel like you’ve failed, but the failure would have been in not daring to try.
Things don’t always go to plan, that’s a bit of a given, but how do you get over the disappointment?
I spoke to Giselle Lannas and Brett Coutts who both crossed the finish line this weekend after several DNF’s between them over the past few years. Giselle was going for her 4th Comrades in 2016 but battled with her chest from around 40km. She made the cut at Drummond but then had an asthma attack at 56km and was taken off the course by the medics. In 2017 she battled with nausea between 50km and 70km and made it to the cut off at Polly Shortts but knew she wouldn’t make it to the finish in time.
Brett had two DNFs and one DNS before crossing the finish line this year. On his first attempt he struggled with the dreaded ITB, don’t most of us know that one too well?? The second year he had a sinus infection which saw him taking his last antibiotic on race morning. Last year he entered, but never got to run his qualifying race as he cut his foot the day before the race.
But despite Giselle finishing just about all the ice spray at every stop on a sore foot, and Brett’s blistered toes that made him look like a wounded buffalo, they both crossed the finish line this year.
So, how do you get back to trying again?
Focus on rest first. After a DNF your first inclination might be to HIT.IT.HARD. to prove to yourself that you still got it. But the biggest focus should be on rest and recovery, particularly if your DNF was in the later stages of your race or due to injury. Don’t focus on the race result itself and overanalyse the “why” feeling. Take the time off from running to rest, enjoy things that aren’t running related and take care of you!
You don’t have to talk about it. Seriously, you don’t have to put it on Facebook, Twitter, whatever.
But talk to someone who’s been there when you’re ready. The non-runners in your life don’t necessarily understand how you may feel after a race is over, no matter what the result. Talk to someone who really understands: another runner!
Get back to your normal routine. After the rest is over and you’re ready to get back out there, get back to normal and stick to a routine you’re used to. Look to the future! Pick a new goal, whether it’s running another race or another attempt at the original goal, it’s great to have something to look forward to.
But know for certain, your Randburg Harriers Supporters will always be here to help you along the way!
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill