My first DNS

What's the biggest word on that banner? START. That's what 6,000 people did. Trail Boy wasn't one of them. This was my first DNS.

This is the story of sick little Trail Boy, and the race he didn’t run.

On Friday evening, I set out my running stuff. I pinned my number to my shirt and laced my chip to my shoe.

Then I set the alarm for 5:30 a.m. and went to sleep.

When the alarm went off this morning, I felt as if I hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep. My head was heavy. My bones were tired.

After a week of low energy, a cough, sore throat and mild fever, my body was protesting the thought of a long race — in this case, the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  I was registered to run the half-marathon.

Just the thought of walking from a parking garage to the starting line exhausted me.

I didn't need this after all.

Sometimes, you have to listen to your body. This was one of those times.

I rolled over and went back to sleep for another three hours.

It would have been nice to run a half-marathon today. But it would have been awful to stumble through one, with no energy and dead legs.

So for the first time ever, I pulled a DNS. I did not start.

I believe I did the right thing. And even though I wasted $70 in registration fees, I think it all evened out.

Here is why: Last year, I ran this marathon as a bandit. Well, not the whole race. I ran 19 miles as a training run for the Tecumseh Trail Marathon in December.

I ran without a number, jumping in at mile five, and kept a friend company for several miles, then ran on my own for most of the race.

I didn’t touch the water or the Gatorade or any goodies. I didn’t enter the finish area. I jumped out of the race at mile 24, just a couple blocks from my car.

I don’t believe I messed up anyone’s race. But I still ran without paying, and that was, well, probably wrong.

So I will view this year’s $70 fee as a payback for last year’s bandit run.

Things have a way of evening out.

And I avoided a near-certain DNF (did not finish).

That’s easy when you DNS.


Even though the race didn’t work out for me, the marathon expo did.

I was walking through the expo, at the Indianapolis Convention Center, when I saw a booth for my favorite running publication, Marathon & Beyond.

My "Marathon & Beyond" loot.

There was a nice display at the booth, including a dozen or so recent issues. Since I inadvertantly let my subscription lapse earlier this year, I picked up the most recent issue and thumbed through it.

To my surprise, on page 32, I found a feature story on someone I knew, ultrarunner Connie Gardner of Medina, Ohio.

I’ve interviewed Connie a few times, including for a long feature story in the Akron Beacon Journal in January 2005.

The story talked about Connie’s latest exploits, including several 100-mile races, 24-hour races, how she works as a lifeguard and a running coach and other superwoman stuff.

I pulled out my wallet, and was about to pay $6 for the issue, when a saleswoman at the booth told me that if I renewed my subscription for $30, I could take two recent issues with me for free. Plus I could pick out a free wind jacket.

This looked like the perfect sweetener. I signed the dotted line with a smile.

I came home with my loot. (Other expo swag included chocolate drink that my boys loved, a ski hat and chapstick.)

Mrs. Trail Boy, bless her Irish heart, took one look at my kelly-green wind jacket and said: “Now you have something to wear on St. Patrick Day.”


2 Responses to “My first DNS”

  1. When I saw the title I was intrigued because I had no idea what DNS was. How ironic, as it turns out I had my own first DNS on November 7th. Mine was because of car trouble on the way to OPSF 50k.

    • Funny you should comment on that. I just finished reading your post on that very thing. What a disaster, but it made for a good story.

      Sounds like my DNS was a little less expensive than yours. Hope your car is all repaired and ready to carry you to the next race.

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