Friday, May 3, 2019


There’s an old saying in the running community:


Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish is much greater than Did Not Start. In other words, it’s better to come in dead last than not to finish at all, but both are way better than not even starting.

And last Sunday I Did Not Start. And it has shaken me up a bit.

Now, I have Not Started a couple of races before – a local 5K on a morning with terrible weather, that same local 5K in a different year because I just didn’t fancy it. And I guess there was a 12K that got cancelled due to snow on the course, but that probably doesn’t count because we got ourselves to the start line. But this was different – a half marathon that I had registered for and even traveled for … albeit only 2.5 hours of driving in my own state.

Because I wanted to see the lilacs, we decided to combine it with running the Blooms to Brews Half Marathon – a super cute race that has always been on my local race list, but I have never run. So I signed us up, booked a room in town, and made plans.

As we walked around the lilac gardens on Saturday morning, I got a sharp pain in my right foot, under the ankle bone. I get that sometimes – usually after wearing non-supportive shoes or going barefoot for too long. See, I pronate like crazy. Ever go to a running shop and had yourself videotaped running on a treadmill? It’s almost sickening to watch my foot completely collapse, stride after stride. As such, I run with really supportive shoes, and spend most of my days wearing supportive shoes, too. (I’m standing at my desk wearing Dansko clogs right now.) And, usually, if I treat my feet right, they don’t bug me too much. Still not sure why my foot was hurting so much – perhaps the long drive, which is a lot of repetitive foot motion?

Anyway, I winced and limped around the garden, and Wil said, “You probably shouldn’t run on that.” But, being stubborn and determined, I said, “We’ll see.”

We went to packet pickup and saw their cute start / finish area taking shape. Cute, gender-specific tank tops. Beautiful customized bibs. A sticker! A souvenir edition of the local paper dedicated to the race! A run past lilacs and tulip fields in full bloom! Beer from local breweries at the finish line! This race is a beauty, and it breaks my heart not to have run it.

As we meandered slowly around the town on Saturday, we couldn’t help but notice that every business in town had a poster for the race in the window, and even our hotel had race flyers at the front desk. I love when I see a town really embrace a local event.

We took it easy on Saturday night, having dinner at the Fat Moose before going back to the room.

I took a hot bath and rubbed my foot, hoping it would feel fine in the morning. The start was a very civilized 7:30, so we decided to make a game time decision.

In the morning I got up walked across the room … limping. Not exactly how I hoped to start the day. Wil said, “I support whatever you want to do.” I wondered if it would be possible to drop down to a 5K, since we were already there … but then realized that was nearly as silly. Now, if a new state was hanging in the balance, it would be a different story, but the grown up, smart thing to do was to back out. So we got up, had breakfast, and took the long way home.

It made me really sad – still does, nearly a week later – even though I know it was the right thing to do. I’ve just looked at my lifetime list of races and it would have been my 99th half marathon. Maybe I’m resisting hitting 100? I don’t have any races on the calendar, either.

I mean, is this it? I don’t think so – I do still want to finish my 50 States project, but … when? There’s so much else to do, so many other places to go.


  1. So sorry to hear that your foot acted up at the wrong moment! It sounds like you are reassessing everything, but a I think that you have some more races in your future. We have been in that mode at our house. DH had quite a scare recently, and we have had to take a serious look at how we handle things in the next few years. A little time and perspective will change the look of things, for you and me!

    1. Thanks Kathy - I'm too old to be having a midlife crisis ;) -- but it feels like mortality just gave me a nudge. I just need to remind myself to be more gentle and patient with myself. I remember during a 7-hour race a few years ago I was struggling, and a fellow runner reminded me to "be proud of your all you have accomplished so far ... and you should be kinder to yourself." So I'm holding on to that. Hope you and your DH are well.