Austin Marathon: My First Official DNS

*For those of you not on the up-and-up with runner-speak, DNS means “Did Not Start”

State # 16, Texas, would have been my 19th marathon. It was just not meant to be I guess. Mother Nature made the decision for me. I was not given too much of a choice.

Valentine’s week we had experienced extreme wintery weather of almost record-breaking proportions. The past winters had been fairly mild with not a lot of snowfall, so I suppose this was the year to make up for all those low-key and unseasonable winters. I was on edge all week, for my fear was that the flight would be cancelled, or at least delayed. After all, a record amount of flights had been cancelled due to winter storm Pax (ugh, who decided to start naming snowstorms?), but I was hoping everything would have been cleared by Saturday morning (the 15th). But I still took every precaution to ensure there would be no issues in case we arrived late on Saturday. I made arrangements with the race organizers to have them deliver my race number via courier. I kept checking the flight status on Friday to see if it was still on time, and fortunately all things looked good. We packed and set up our game plan. And then I saw my first connecting flight, which was ten hours away, was cancelled.

OK, I told myself, no time to panic. I saw the connecting flight from DC was still on, so worst case scenario, we would possibly drive to Dulles Airport, which was a 3+ hour drive. It wasn’t at all an ideal scenario, but I figured I would see what I could do to reschedule the fight and get to Austin on time.

I was on hold with United for maybe 45 minutes (expected), but luckily I could just put their terible muzak on speaker phone as I did other things. When I finally got to speak with someone it was just brick wall after brick wall. Eventually even the flight out of Dulles was also cancelled, so even the option of driving there was out of the question. No matter what scenarios I tried, flying out of different airports, flying into San Antonio, nothing worked, nothing was available.

The best/worst/best again thing that happened out of that entire conversation was that she informed me that they could fly me from Newark to Tampa, FL. Yes, that was seriously given to me as an option, and I almost wanted to start laughing at the ridiculousness of the suggestion. I think she assumed I just wanted to get out of the cold, any destination would be accepted. No, I really, really needed to get to Austin.

So we just never made it. They would have eventually gotten us there on Sunday, long after the race was over, long after it would have made a difference. We still could have enjoyed our time in Austin, but the trip would have been much shorter, not as fun, and I still think the airports would have been a nightmare to get through over the weekend.

So the dream of getting my next medal was dead. For now. The dream of getting to Austin, a city we have both been wanting to visit for a very long time, wasn’t though. In fact, we will be going in the spring for our wedding anniversary, so at least we can still enjoy a long weekend and have fun without any pressure of working our time around a race. And for once, I am OK with that. It’s been awhile since I have done a non-runcation, so I think it’s something we could both use.

I will admit that I was woefully undertrained for this race anyway. I had gotten a horrible sinus infection, had some GI issues for a while, and slight plantar fasciitis in my left foot that really prevented me from putting in some serious miles. The race would have been a “run just to finish” endeavor. It would have been rough I think. It also looked like it was an unseasonably warm weekend in Austin, so perhaps it was for the best that it was delayed for me.

So what next? Several months of just…training. Enjoying the lull a little. Not worrying about super long runs right away. Nothing on the calendar until late May. At first I was wanting to scramble to find another race…but there is a part of me that is OK with NOT having one for a while. I may only get four or five new states this year instead of six. But getting that extra free time is actually something I should embrace. Seeing friends and family, fun weekend plans that don’t revolve around long runs and race schedules. Maybe I need this, maybe it will improve my running if I just step back and enjoy the ride a little.

Until next time!


3 thoughts on “Austin Marathon: My First Official DNS

  1. Bummer about it all, but given your foot issues, it’s probably for the best that it happened this way. There is always next year. 🙂 (I heard it was grossly humid anyway, from another PA’er that suffered greatly because of it).

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