Just Jana

Two Firsts: A DNF and Cop Car Selfies

I sat in the Blue Bird bus, made in my hometown, with my legs hitting the seat in front of me. I wondered how I’m THIS much bigger than I was when I rode nearly the same bus to and from school. I was on the “hump seat.” You know the one. The one that sits over the rear wheel and you have a built in footrest. I always loved that seat and tried to get it every day.

The bus took us to the church for the start of the Tartan Trot 5k/10k. I was signed up for the 10k — ready to take on the 6.2 miles that I had run last year as my first 10k ever. It’s a rough course, but this time? I was prepared.

I met up with Faith and Sharon and saw Lindsey and Stephen. I checked out guys in kilts with fabulous legs, because YES, you wear kilts to run this race if you have one. Sharon and I made our way to the start, snapped our official pre-race selfie and hit the pavement.


Things were going great. I was having my best race ever. Was running a pace a good minute faster than normal. Passed my house and my boys were sitting out with water and a smile.

Strangely, in spite of running the fastest time ever, I was running in the last 3 or 4 people the whole time. That’s ok. Small race and all.

About the 5k mark, I noticed my breathing was very labored, however, I had just posted my best 5k time at 39:00. I trudged on. But by the time I got to the top of a horrible hill, I couldn’t breathe.

Not a dramatic “I can’t breathe” but a full on “I think I may black out, I can’t breathe” kind. Like the scary kind.

Of course, my inhaler was in my bathroom drawer.

The good news is, I was almost last, which means there was a police escort right behind me. I kindly asked him if he had an inhaler. He didn’t (why would he?) so I trudged on for about 20 more steps.

Then I gave up.

I quit.

At 3.91 miles and 49:59, I quit my first race ever. I got my first DNF.

I hopped in the back of the car with the officer, which was another first.

And I snapped a quick selfie, another first, because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?



The officer was nice. He asked me over and over if I needed to go on to the finish, but I was ok once I was able to get a really deep breath and had coughed for about 10 minutes straight. We followed the end of the pack and I was deposited safely at the church where the officer kindly opened the door for me. I mean, he kinda had to because I was locked in like a convict, but I’m going to just go on thinking he did it because I was special.

Sharon walked around with me as I bypassed the finish line and got my t-shirt and banana.

People said “congratulations” and I just said “thanks.” It’s a strange feeling to not finish. The logical part of me says it could be worse, that I’m healthy and it’s good I DID stop when I did. But my heart is mad at myself.

We didn’t take the Blue Bird bus back to the parking lot. We moseyed the .83 miles back to our cars. It was nice.

There’s a first time for everything. And I’m blessed that my first time to not finish a race was close to my house and close to someone who could help. And I’m even MORE blessed that my first time in the back seat of a cop car was for an asthma attack and not something else.


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