Defining “Finish”

With about 10 minutes left Sunday night, I decided to pop in to #RunChat, even though it was Easter Sunday and I didn’t figure the chat was especially active.

“Especially active” or not, one transaction had me apoplectic within seconds. My husband, who develops the same type of apoplexy when one of his fantasy sports players is failing or some other sports-related travesty is occurring, was looking at me as though I were losing my mind.

What was the conversation?

Running Race Rules

Running Race Rules

There were a few more tweets in this back and forth but you get the idea (and I blocked the other individual’s name because although I disagree with her, I don’t want this to be an attack ON her — I’m just still hopping mad and need to rant a bit more!).

Do I agree that someone is a “DNF” if they did not complete a race by the cut-off time? If they completed the race distance, I absolutely do NOT agree!

Running Race Rules

Credit: Pixabay geralt

If you choose to register and participate in a race that explicitly requires you to agree to be “swept” if you do not meet a certain cut-off, then yes I think you are obligated to comply with the race directors’ request.

Otherwise: a finish is a finish is a finish! I understand that race directors may use their discretion in choosing not to list a finisher who arrives after the cut-off in the official results and that they may not award a medal, but the athlete has ostensibly done their best and most importantly, they have completed the distance!

While I could have a lively back and forth with my fellow #RunChat participant about what “finishing” means, it was the “train within the rules” part that had me scratching my head and ranting, especially since she states she is an RRCA Coach.

I would expect a coach to review my goals with me and help me find a goal that is achievable yet a challenge. If I told my coach I wanted to do a 50-mile ultra in four months, I am thinking she would talk me down, because given my current training level there is simply no way to do that distance without risk of injury or other adversities. A coach does so much more than schedule workouts; they help you as the athlete think through and choose your goals, then strive to meet them.

But even the best coaching in the world, combined with the most compliant athletes in the world, will not prevent the unexpected from happening. Ten minutes in the med tent for dehydration, a wrong turn because a volunteer provided incorrect direction, cramps, “bodily waste” issues, the simple fact of grappling with your mental state to push yourself through when it starts feeling impossible. None of those exceptions can be mitigated by “training to the rules.”

When I walked the United NYC Half Marathon in March of last year, my friend Mary Jane and I were within sight of the sweeper bus for much of the race. We watched water stop after water stop being dismantled before we had gotten there. We were “behind” the predicted cutoff. Honestly, I don’t know what the official race rules said about people who arrived after the cut-off. It did matter logistically, because a tunnel in lower Manhattan had to be closed for us and other accommodations had to be made. I was thrilled to get a mylar blanket and a finishers’ medal. I don’t think I have even looked up my official results. I was with my dear friend; I was making a difference via my fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Association, and I was making memories that were so more significant than the miles.

One More Story

My friend Maria set out in 2015 to do our track club’s ultimate challenge. The ultimate challenge involved doing a group of specific races throughout the year, culminating in the Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic in December. At the ultra, Maria missed the cutoff by about an hour but I and many others can attest that she traversed the entire 50 miles.

In January 2016, track club member Mike Martinez said this about Maria:

She has blossomed as a runner, faster times and an incredible range in race distances, from one mile to fifty miles.

(and he said a lot more, presented here for you to see the whole picture, as he presented her with our club’s Female Runner of the Year award!)

I was pretty familiar with Maria’s training and I feel quite confident that she “trained within the rules.”

But what happened at the end of her ultra was not a DNF.

I would call it more of a FWC.

Finished With Class!

Running Race Rules

Attacking the 50 Mile Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic! Photo Credit: Robin Bennett

 

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt

I am running into a definite “deja vu” moment right now!

I decided to blog about the Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt …

Which led me to decide on a title about the fact that the only thing I haven’t found is a garden gnome…

Which sent me back to last year’s Summer #RunChatHunt post …

In which I bemoaned the lack of a gnome.

HMMMmmmm…….

For this year, we were challenged to find the following items while running and tweet pictures of each one with the hashtag #RunChatHunt:

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt

And here is my gnomeless list of “finds” so far:

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt

Body of Water: Wakulla Springs

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt

Statue: Unconquered!

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt

Sunrise!

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt

Something unique to your city: Our FSU Sod Cemetery! (Go ‘Noles!)

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt

Race sticker(s) on vehicle!

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt

American Flag!

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt

Selfie with another runner: my awesome friend Lysa!

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt

Empty beer/soda can!

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt

House Under Construction!

And last but gnot least:

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt

If you haven’t joined in the #RunChatHunt fun, there’s still time! It lasts through June 30!

Each time you tweet one of the scavenger hunt items with the hashtag #runchathunt, you are eligible for awesome prizes! You get a bonus entry for doing a blog post!

Here is the prize info:

For the “fine print,” rules, and all that fun stuff, visit the original post here.

Join me in the #RunChatHunt fun! I GNOW you can do it!

Gneeding a Gnome: Summer 2015 #RunChatHunt