Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

My First DNS

This has been a bit of a tricky blog post to write. My feelings are kind of all over the place regarding this and I’ve been putting it off, but I can’t do that forever. I suppose it was only a matter of time until this happened – every runner has to experience it eventually – but unfortunately I DNS’d (Did Not Start) my race on Sunday; the Petrofac Challenge 15 mile Trail Race.

For the last two weeks or so I’ve been having mild-to-moderate ITB pain in my left leg. Not enough to stop me running, but enough to have me spending concentrated time with my foam roller and using an ice pack when I can. Since I’m getting well-versed in dealing with my problematic left ITB, I was happy to just keep training and running as normal and manage the pain myself as I saw fit. This Saturday however, I completed my progressive run as planned by running to Parkrun and then running the 3.1 mile Parkrun route hard (I finished 5th lady in a time of 24: 58) but was feeling pretty acute pain in my knee when walking around after I finished. I took advantage of a lift home from a friend to avoid running home again and quickly got ready for the Brewdog AGM which I was attending that afternoon.

I was quietly concerned about my throbbing knee but took some ibuprofen and hoped that like it had done after  other recent runs, it would calm down within a few hours. Unfortunately the AGM involved a lot of standing around and as the afternoon went on, my knee became increasingly sore and the familiar ‘creaking’ feeling of an incredibly taut ITB became more acute when I bent my knee. I realised I was going to have to make a decision – was running a 15 mile trail race for fun the next day really the best decision I could make for my body?

It was obvious really – of course it wasn’t, but I was reluctant to accept that this was the case. If I ran the race then the chances are it would either finish me off in terms of being able to continue training hard for Baker Hughes, or I would end up injured on the course and face the prospect of a DNF (Did Not Finish) and the end of my sub-50 hopes. Also as an Aberdonian, the notion of wasting money entering a race which I wouldn’t run was galling!

My furrowed brows and deep thoughts had not gone unnoticed at the AGM and my friends wondered what was bothering me but I was embarrassed to admit what was going on in my head. How does the saying go again? “DLF (Dead Last Finish) is better than DNF (Did Not Finish) which greatly trumps DNS (Did Not Start)”. Great, thanks. Now, I’m at a Brewery’s AGM – where’s the damn bar?!

That is not a real tattoo unfortunately, but does anyone want two tickets to the gun show? The Fitness Yoga classes and weights I’m doing have been shaping up my arms very nicely recently I feel!

Here I am with three of my best buddies and fellow Aberdeen Brewdog regulars; Scott (my flatmate), Fiona and Niall.

Representing Brewdog Aberdeen.

Needless to say I enjoyed the rest of the AGM very much – as a shareholder I’m proud to have been able to invest in a brewery and attitude I believe in and am a proud, card-carrying Equity Punk.

The next morning I was wide awake at 7am, brow furrowed again wondering if I’d made the right decision. One step out of bed when I put my weight on my knee confirmed it, and I promptly slathered the joint in ibuprofen gel, turned my alarm off and went back to sleep.

I spent the rest of the day in a tremendous huff; disappointed in my body, embarrassed to admit that I didn’t run to my friends and parents, and gutted at how my training was falling to bits so quickly. (And also trying to figure out how to blog about this disappointment). I KNEW it was the right thing to do, but to not even start something goes against everything in the standards I set for myself in life – always try your hardest, always give it your best, don’t wimp out in the face of adversity… In this case I have to adapt my train of thought however; it was a preventative action, I have to keep my sights on the bigger picture and my goals for the rest of Spring and beyond.

So what now? Well yesterday I returned to the SPEAR Performance clinic at Aberdeen Sports Village who treated me for my ITB issues after the Loch Ness Marathon, and had my first experience of Sports Massage. I had booked an hour-long appointment and I have to say I was a little unsure of what to expect at first but I really enjoyed it! I knew to expect some discomfort to say the least, but I found the pain to be good pain – a release of sorts. The whole experience was oddly exhilarating and I left feeling totally flushed out and about 10 feet tall! I have not experienced any pain so far today and I’ve been advised to train as usual, with religious foam rolling and icing after runs, and to come back in 10 days for a follow-up. This will allow my therapist to examine the muscles in more detail and perhaps establish whether this is an injury related to something to do with alignment or whether it’s just a reaction to my change in training.

Tonight I’m going out for 6ish miles in between day work and evening work, and will hopefully be able to throw in a few tempo miles in the middle depending on feel. It’s safe to say the wheels have come off my previous training plan entirely, but I refuse to let go of the sub-50 goal yet! Perhaps it won’t come as easily as it might have done, and it may even be a fluke on the day; but it’s happening. 17 days.


  1. So now you know it really does take more courage not to run than it does to run and break yourself! You have plenty years running ahead of you so relax. I’m already looking forward to out sprinting you to the Baker Hughes finish!!

  2. Discretion is the better part of valor.

    The only thing worse than missing a race you signed up for is missing days or weeks of running because you ran a race injured and made it worse. Been there, done that, hated it. You should be proud of yourself for making the tough choice and keeping to your bigger goal (sub 50).

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