This is printed on the back of every WISH team running shirt. The WISH team is a group of folks, like me, who share a love of running, a love of Disney and a desire to get and stay healthy. The group started out of an on-line bulletin board of Disney fans (The DIS boards). One of the forums is called the WISH forum (We're Inspired to Stay Healthy) and the WISH team grew out of folks who had become acquainted online via these forums - although now we mostly communicate via a Facebook group page. I met several of the folks in person when I ran the 2013 Walt Disney World Half Marathon and have become friendly with several others on-line in the months since then.
DLF > DNF >> DNS
That's what was going through my head at 6:00 this morning.
So here's what happened. I had signed up for the Liberty Run Half Marathon which was supposed to happen this weekend but was cancelled a few weeks ago. As I was prepared to run a half marathon I figured I'd just run the distance on my own. Then I remembered hearing about virtual marathons. A virtual marathon is where you sign up, agree to run the distance, post your time and distance and you receive a medal, t-shirt, etc. I found a Memorial Day Virtual race and decided to do that. Then my chiropractor told me about 10K & 5K in a town near me that had a challenge whereby you sign up to run both races. I figured I'd add on 4 miles to that and I was covered!
Everything was great until the Sunday before the race. We had had some lousy weather but it was clearing on Sunday and race day Monday promised to be a gorgeous day. Then On Sunday I was doing a few things around the house I wanted to get done. One was to fix the flat tires on my daughter's and my wife's bikes. I fixed my daughter's bike with no problem. I was also able to fix the leak in the rear tire of my wife's bike with no issues as well. Then I went to ride it to test it out. What I did not know was that the rim on the front tire was warped. Our driveway slopes downward, and when I applied the brakes the front tire seized up and I was thrown over the handlebars.
The first thing I thought when I landed - I kid you not - was "Crap! I hope I can do the race tomorrow!"
It could have been much worse. I scraped my left knee and got a very impressive bruise on my right thigh (I bruise very easily and this sucker is impressive! I won't post a picture - you're welcome.) I also injured my left elbow in some way - it was very sore.
I went on with my day although my left arm and hand were pretty much useless. Still, initially I thought I would be able to do the race. I even did early packet pickup that afternoon. But as the day progressed it kept getting worse. Finally around 6:00 my wife took me to the emergency room. Usually you can get in and out of the emergency room in our local hospital quickly but on this occasion it took a while. Eventually they took x-rays and told me that nothing was broken. I was very relieved - by this time I was pretty convinced otherwise. They gave me a prescription for Percoset and sent me on my way.
I had decided that the race was out of the question. Without the pain killers my elbow hurt like crazy, and I wasn't about to run 13 miles - or 9 or 6 or 3 - on a Percoset high. I'd end up taking a nap on the course. So at 11:00 I took the pill and went to bed, my arm propped up on a pillow, firmly convinced that I would not be running the next day.
I woke up at 3:30 and it was time for another pill. I realized that, although the pain killer had worn off about 30 minutes earlier, my elbow didn't feel that bad. Sure, it hurt and I couldn't really move it but it wasn't sending sharp screaming pain down my side. I decided not to take the pill and see how I felt. If it felt the same later that morning then maybe I would try to run the race after all. I went back to bed without taking the pill and woke again about 6:00. My elbow felt about the same - not great but not that bad. And then I thought about what was written on those WISH shirts.
DLF > DNF >> DNS
Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish which is MUCH greater than Did Not Start. I thought to myself "Dammit, I'm going to start. Even if I don't finish at least I tried!"
So I told Andie I was going to do the race. She looked at me like I was nuts. I did not do the extra 4 miles. I'm not that crazy. And besides, I did a 4 mile run a few days ago that qualified for the virtual race. Now, my regular race day breakfast includes - among other things - toast with butter and preserves. No preserves for me this morning; I could not get the lid off of the jar! I changed into my running clothes - including the tech shirt I got from the WDW Half Marathon - and off I went. And get this: as I was driving around looking for a spot I saw someone wearing a WISH shirt! I yelled "Yay WISH team!" to her. I saw her later as well but she was talking to someone else and I did not want to barge in on here. As it would turn out I was not able to find her later but we did connect on the Facebook page.
I had decided to run in a sling. Excessive movement would set off the pain in my elbow and I figured using a sling would help restrict the movement. I think it was a very fortunate decision - I'm not at all sure I would have finished without it. And having the sling on led to several conversations. A typical one went like this: Them: "Now that's what I call dedication!" me: "Either that or stupidity!"
As small races go this one is pretty well organized and all of the volunteers and folks working the race were absolutely terrific. The 10K started promptly at 8:00 with the 5K due to start at 9:30. The course meanders through the town and makes it's way around a small lake. The course is hilly - something I have no issue with as my neighborhood is also hilly - and the neighborhoods we ran through are lovely with lots of trees, lake views and gurgling streams that were swollen by the recent rains.
So, remember what the "DLF" stands for? "Dead Last Finish". Well, in the 10K that's exactly where I ended up. Dead last (with a time of 1:21). But I finished!
My late finish meant I only had a few minutes between the races - probably a good thing actually. By the time the 5K started I have to say I was feeling the pain - not just my elbow but also the bruise on my leg. But I just told myself "It's only 5K" and trudged on. The 5K route went back over a part of the 10K route - the part that circled the lake - but it went in the opposite direction giving it a very different feel. The same folks manned the water stations and they remembered me from the 10K - it's hard to forget the guy wearing a bright yellow tech shirt with Donald Duck and a sling. They wee impressed.
My time for the 5K (46 minutes) was awful, but I was not last!
Would I do this race again? Absolutely! I would like to do it at full health and see what my times are. It is a terrific and friendly race with a very nice course. And being able to do the challenge made it even better.