DNF X FAILURE...and running naked.

The letters a runner loves to see: PR. PB.


The letters of every runners nightmares: DNF.


Did Not Finish.

Failure.

Fake.

Fraud.


You know you've though it.

But you don't need to believe it.

Let's re-evaluate DNF.

Let's re define it.

Because you're more than 3 letters.

Your competition experience is far from being a failure.

And you're definitely NOT a fake.




For the longest time I would (and let's be honest, sometimes still do) quantify my own runs with a "PR" or a "DNF". And it was defeating. Because mentally, in my own thought-scape, even the PRs weren't....*fill in the blank*

Frequent enough.

Good enough.

Fast enough.


And after a while, all the fun and the joy of the run were lost.


So I stopped.


Nothing made sense. Even when I was running by myself, I was still losing. Even when I was having a great run, it wasn't good enough. Eventually, this mental low manifested as a physical low too. I couldn't even tell you long it took for me to realize how heavy this mental burden was and how needlessly it impacted my running.




What I can tell you is a story.


During a short winter vacation to Florida, I packed my running shoes hoping I'd get out for at least just 1 run in the sun and escape the snowy inches of Michigan. With expectations left behind in the frigid artic, I got out the door for 4 runs.


And the best part, they felt great.

I know I ran slow.

I know my pace was laborious.

And the hill over the bridge completely kicked my butt.

But I didn't care.

Mentally, it was a freedom run. And that felt wonderful.


I took down the "DNF" and the "PR" signage hanging in my mental trophy case. I timed my run for total run time rather than mile splits. I could still track progress but not as obsessively. I could run free again.




Can you relate?

Do you find yourself judging your splits? your effort?