|My last actual IMAZ finish in 2013|
It is an honest question. Truthfully, I hadn't really given it much thought until someone raised it in Ironman Arizona group this week. It struck me personally as I was in a similar predicament in regards to my own race, do I become a Did Not Start (DNS) or a Did Not Finish (DNF)???
But first a little bit of a backstory. For those who are not familiar, I have been racing Ironmans for a number of years. I was fortunate enough to finish 3rd at Ironman Louisville in both 2012 and 2013. In 2014, I went one better and finished 2nd to Chris "Big Sexy" McDonald, losing by only 16 seconds.
In 2015, Ironman Louisville was eliminated as pro race and I instead focused on training for Ironman Mont Tremblant. Unfortunately, in the lead up to the race I got an over-use injury, and although I did start, I ultimately had to DNF.
After that race I took some time off to let the body heal. Fortunately I live one block from the start/finish of Ironman Wisconsin, and as the Ironman parade came to town, I could not help but get nostalgic. Although, I hadn't done the training and I had no idea if I could even finish the race, I decided that there was little to lose by at least starting. After all, I could always pull out after the swim, or stop on the ride if the issue I was dealing with reared its nasty head. Fortunately it never did, and I ended up going 8:59:59 and took the overall win. Now I think back to that day and what if I had never even started?
Fast forward to 2016 and I have raced a ton of Ironman 70.3s, sprints, aquathons, even my first bike race. It has been a long season, and my body has showed signs that it needs some extended rest, but I wanted to close it out at Ironman Arizona, a race that is also near and dear to my heart. A race that was so wonderful in 2013, but then overshadowed by some despair in 2014 and 2015.
|All smiles at the start of 2015 IMAZ but I wasn't able to finish|
As a result, I took Monday and Tuesday off, and Wednesday I went to the Chiropractor for some x-rays and an adjustment. Diagnosis, was don't race. By Thursday, I was not only ready to throw in the towel, I DID throw in the towel. I cancelled my flight, treated myself to a pity party, and then actually gave it some thought. Is it really better to DNS than to DNF?
The answer is certainly complex and is very individual and depends on unique circumstances. I won't go into all things one should consider, but I think a few things stand out. First is that you just never know what will happen on race day. You can be in the best shape of your life, feel like you are going to win, and then have everything go completely wrong. There will be people tomorrow who were in the best shape of their life and they will fail miserably. That is the reality.
|Big thanks to the Base crew in 2015 for keeping me hydrated|
but it wasn't meant to be.
On the flip side, you can go in with plenty of fear and doubt. Believe me, it is easily to get paralyzed by it, but I also have the confidence in knowing that some of my best days have come on the backs of those filled with the greatest fear and doubt. As cliche as it sounds, "You do miss a 100% of the shots you don't take". I realize that there is very a likely a DNF in my future, but I know if I don't start the race, that I will look back and regret it. I'll see you on the start line tomorrow. Giddy up!!!
For those first-timers doing Ironman Arizona. Hopefully, you had a chance to read my article, first time Ironman tips from age-grouper turned professional,. In addition, you should skim over the following article I have written, recovery tips for your first Ironman