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Dutch Oven

April 14, 2013

14-04-2013 ABN-Amro Marathon Rotterdam  Nederland Atletiek   Foto: Kees Nouws:

A big fat DNF for Rotterdam.  My first DNF in a marathon and my second DNF ever. Both DNF’s have come a few days after being quite sick. Sick to the point where a few days out I didn’t think there would be any chance of racing and then convincing myself the day before the race that I was ‘good enough.’

After being sick three weeks ago I never totally got back to 100% as my cold lingered, although my energy levels felt pretty good over the past two weeks. Perhaps it was the dry air on the airplane that caused my congestion to cloud my lungs again. By Wednesday my body was fighting pretty hard and I felt shelled. On Thursday I couldn’t even think of going for a slow jog and just laid around all day thinking about trying to get into the Hamburg Marathon a week later. On Friday there was some life coming back and decided that if I saw more improvement on Saturday then Sunday could be OK.

On Saturday night I committed to racing Rotterdam and decided I was not going to budge with my goal of sub 2:10. Up until then I hadn’t cared about weather, pacing and other stuff that I normally think about because it seemed trivial compared to feeling like complete crap.

The race went off at 10:30 under cool conditions and I quickly got into the pack which was targeting 65:00 for the first half.  The plan was to pick up the pace at 21km when the wind would be at our back. We split 15:25 for the first 5km. The next 10km was 30:24 and it felt very good.  We were heading into the wind again after 16km and we had a few slow km splits but because we were ahead of pace at 15km it was fine. Well I thought it was fine but a Dutch coach didn’t and yelled to the pacers to run faster at 19km.  They picked it up and ran 2:56 for that km which caused Koen to fall off a bit, myself a bit more and Gotcher a little behind me. Gotcher ran that km in 2:59.

I didn’t think running the second half of the race solo was going to get me the time I was shooting for so I made a big effort to catch back up to the pack.  I hitched back on but it was a lot of effort and when I rolled through halfway in 64:50 doubts started to creep in.  I fell off the pack, the ‘elastic broke,’ as they say, but I was still able to keep it honest until the bridge (uphill) just past 25km. That hill took the wind out of my sails and I started recalculating my goal to a sub 2:11 if I could get back onto a decent pace. I had some good patches and some rough ones. The rough ones started lasting longer and longer.  It also started to get pretty warm, especially relative to the recent Canadian weather.

By 30km I was feeling rough and when I saw 1:33:19 at 30km I lost my motivation and could tell by the way I was feeling it was going to get ugly. Before it got too ugly I decided to just jog back to the finish. I jogged 5km but then my SI joint was getting a little sore and I decided it was not worth injuring myself or digging a hole.

I walked the rest of the marathon, stopping to watch the race on a big screen and grabbing some drinks. I actually came by the finish line at 3:04 although I didn’t actually go over the finish line.  The Dutch guys who have PB’s of 2:09 and 2:10 ran 2:13 and 2:12 today. Brett Gotcher (PR 2:10) also stopped running around the same time as I did.

Maybe I shouldn’t have started the race, I knew it was a gamble considering how the last month had gone but sometimes you just have to see what you got. Now it’s time to take a proper break and get a full recovery.

Thanks for tuning in. And thanks to Mike Morgan for suggesting the blog a title.


  1. Reid Fan permalink
    April 14, 2013 11:29 am

    Seems like you can’t catch a break with either unfavourable race-day conditions or unlucky setbacks at the wrong time. Still believe you have the Canadian record and better in you. Excited to see you come back with authority this spring/summer.

  2. Annette permalink
    April 14, 2013 11:38 am

    Hi Reid – thanks for the quick unedited report! Your winnipeg fan club is at our Sunday post long run coffee and have discussed your experience. In short, do not sweat the dnf. You did the right thing by starting the event and giving a great run the opportunity to show up. It turns lit that great run was t there today so you were smart to back off when you did. Definitely not the day to risk an injury or long recovery. Embrace the post event days because you will be back on the road soon enough. Way to go!!! Annette

  3. April 14, 2013 1:46 pm

    Hey Reid, Take a rest and heal ! Don’t worry about the dnf and stop counting. Just know that there are people out here who feel lucky just to be running in the same race as you, never mind being close to performing the way you do! Still cherishing the memories of meeting you at The Bay in 2012.

  4. Dan Littleton permalink
    April 14, 2013 2:09 pm

    The joys of being a runner Reid. Some days you have it and some days you just don’t. You will beat that Canadian record! There’s always another day another race.

  5. April 14, 2013 2:25 pm

    The nature of the beast in all sports. Nothing lifts you up like the good days and nothing can diminish your spirits like the bad ones. Then again we’d never know just how amazing the good ones feel if we weren’t reminded now and then by a tough experience. Come back strong Reid! The record is waiting for you.

  6. April 14, 2013 2:31 pm

    Sorry to hear about the race but absolutely love the title! Safe travels!

  7. Nikki permalink
    April 14, 2013 2:46 pm

    Love the title! Glad to see you still have that amazing sense of humour:)

  8. April 14, 2013 2:49 pm

    if you truly felt that way,you shouldnt have started..common sense should have told you it wouldnt go shiould have waited a week,but oh well.take the rest and get back at er!

  9. Ido permalink
    April 14, 2013 4:05 pm

    Don’t take it too hard and come back stronger next time. 2:10 is impressive as is!

  10. Alison permalink
    April 14, 2013 6:18 pm

    Sorry it was such a rough morning, Reid. Looking forward to seeing you race (and set that new record) again when you’re ready.

  11. Brenda Scott-Thomas permalink
    April 14, 2013 8:52 pm

    Reid, you are as tough as nails. You went into today headstrong and ready to put up a fight. These are the times that help you measure performance in the future – there is value to what happened today even though it sucks!! I am looking forward to seeing the positive that you comes out of this experience! You rock Big Reid!

  12. Viv Pieon permalink
    April 14, 2013 9:53 pm

    Hang in there Reid! It’s going to happen for you when you’re ready. You are awesome!

  13. Chris Duke, guelph permalink
    April 15, 2013 9:33 am

    It was a dedicated effort and a smart decision by the sounds of it. Save the legs for a better day. De Canadese record wordt naar beneden!

  14. April 15, 2013 2:45 pm

    Tough race and a let down for sure but you will recover quickly and use this as fuel in motivating you to faster training and racing. Hope you recover quickly. A fan from the Yukon.

  15. April 16, 2013 10:25 am

    Reblogged this on Devin Wittig – Elite Triathlete.

  16. Rejecting the tyranny of conformity permalink
    April 16, 2013 11:58 pm

    Hi Reid, Sorry about the DNF. But remember, there is no failure: there is only the next race! You go Reid!

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