Today was my first DNF. I've had quite a few DNS in races, and there were races that I barely completed, but I've always crossed the finish line. Not today. My heart was not into this race, because I'm still healing from a nasty cold and because I was sore from yesterday's 9-run-run spectating.
I wasn't sure if I would even start the race, but when I got up this morning I was feeling fine, so I thought I would go and do my best since I've paid for this. Also, the race being held around a hospital, I felt like I owed it to the people who are currently in the hospital to run for them. I'm sure these people would much rather be doing a run than being on a hospital bed.
I usually have a game plan for races: a time goal, an expectation for a joyful race, that kind of thing. This morning, I was just running to see if I could find something in myself that would motivate me to be a more consistent runner.
The race started off fine. At first, my calves and right ankle were stiff, so the first 3 minutes were a bit painful. The second running interval was much better, but by the third one, I was getting asthma-like secretions in my lungs and I started getting heart palpitations. At first, I ignored them because I often get them for a few seconds and then they go away. Today, they were more persistent and I even got them when I was walking. I knew they were not dangerous. Nonetheless, I asked myself if I was ready to die today and I pondered that question. I'm under a lot of stress at the professional level: my dream job has been cut and I now have to find something that will be good enough until I can find another great job. There are a lot of doubts in my head: will I ever be happy at work again? Will I contribute to improving the state of our cities and environment again? I feel like my work has been like a vocation these past 12 years working in the environment field and I don't want to settle to "just a job".
These are dark times for me, trying to find a brilliant idea to continue doing what I love. The emotions are extreme: I can go from being completely despaired to being hopeful, from feeling sad to angry to helpless.
So, I wondered this morning if I was willing to take the risk of pushing through the discomfort, knowing it could lead to serious problems. Is my life worth that much right now that I will stop and not push it? In the end, I chose to stop - the ever so hopeful little voice in my head hinted that I would find a solution, that everything would be alright and that I should not take those risks. It told me that I would find my balance and that I would emerge stronger from this challenging time like I always do.
At the 2K sign, I stopped and walked back to my car with tears in my eyes. My first DNF. I'm pretty sad about it, but more sad to realize how difficult the current stress is on my heart and my body. Time to roll up my sleeves and focus on self-care.