Don’t let a DNS or DNF define you

This past weekend I was in France, Chantilly to be specific, and it was gorgeous.


My husband and I were there for the Castle Triathlon weekend being held at Chataeu du Chantilly.  I was signed up for the 10km run and my husband was signed up for Le Gauntlet which is a middle distance triathlon.  Let’s just say our weekend did not go to plan.


The day before we were due to go I had a hospital appointment following a fall a couple of weeks before on my bike.  I have a haematoma on my left thigh that is giving me problems and until I have an ultrasound I was advised not to run – the conversation went something like this:

Me: so I have a 10km run on sunday, can I still do it?

Doctor: yes if you want to potentially make it worse but if you want it to get better then no.

Me: fair enough

That pretty much told me and I knew it would be stupid to run – it was very unlikely I would be able to run and that it would be more of a long walk to the finish, probably seeing me finish in the same time it would take some of those taking on the half marathon route.  And so I had my first did not start (DNS) and I am fine with that as it was the sensible option.


When we arrived on Friday we made our way to the Chataeu and got Brett registered.  The grounds were simply stunning and I could see why it would attract so many taking part in the Castle Triathlon series.


On the Saturday we headed to the Chataeu once again to support two friends from our cycling club who were taking part in the Super Sprint triathlon – well done to both Joel and Mo who were superb and loved the event.


We then got our bikes ready and took them for a short spin to check everything was ok for Brett’s race the following day.  One of the great things about travelling to different countries is experiencing cycling in each of them.


I should note that four weeks ago my husband was in hospital with a recurring leg issue and on IV antibiotics for six days and for a while we had assumed that this weekend would not even take place but Brett felt that he could still participate and that his strategy would just be amended and instead of racing this would be a training event.

The Le Gauntlet event started on Sunday at 7am and the plan was for me to drive the short distance to the start and Brett to cycle though neither of us had been expecting it to be so dark.  I mean it was early but it was pitch black so last minute change and both of us in the car we set off.

Brett racked his bike and left his cycling and run kit in transition and headed out to put his wetsuit on.  Yes, there was an awkward moment avoiding eye contact as sudo cream was applied to avoid chaffing on the bike (yes you can guess where), though most people who take part in triathlons or cycling would not bat an eyelid at this.  The briefing was held and after a good luck kiss he was in the water, which was a large T shaped pond in the grounds, and they were off.  He took longer to finish than he usually would for this distance but the pond is more shallow with most being able to stand and there are a lot of reeds, which caused quite a problem for some.  I saw him heading towards transition in his wetsuit and he stopped and spoke to me commenting that he felt it was a tough swim but I was confident that once on his bike he would be in his happy place.

I saw him leave transition on his bike and with a mouthful of food he didn’t say anything but was on his way and I went for a walk in the grounds.  Lucky I did as I came across a swimmer who had cramp and got out of the water dazed and confused with the onset of hypothermia.  I took off my dry robe and gave it to him and walked him to the medical tent where the staff there were taking care of those who were in similar states.  Don’t get me wrong the water was not cold and wetsuits were optional so many were opting not to swim in one.  I waited to locate this mans girlfriend and was on my way.

Some time later I decided to head to bike in to see Brett return for the run leg but as I walked up the stairs I noticed the striking Havering Tri kit walking towards me to see my husband.  I could see from his face he was devastated and knew in that moment that his race was over.  He said he didn’t know what had happened but something was not right and he had pulled out of the race.  He was extremely cold, with purple hands and lips and I think had the onset of hypothermia but being the stubborn old goat that he is refused to go to the medical tent.  I know you are probably thinking why didn’t I make him go – I get that, but you don’t know Brett and those reading this who do will completely understand.

We got his bike and kit after he had sat down and composed himself and left the grounds, heading back to our apartment.  He could not remember talking to me after the swim, seeing me before the bike and another cyclist had pulled up to his side to ask if he was ok as his speed was decreasing and we think he was swerving on the road, which could have been dangerous to himself and others.  On further investigation we can see from his ride stats that at the 10 mile point his heart rate plummets for the remaining 18 miles, as does his speed and power.  In his swim out pics he looks a bit dazed (though this is not unusual for some coming out of the swim), and his helmet is not on properly, which is extremely odd for him as he is usually so anal about things like that for himself and others (at a recent race he was supporting and actually shouted to a friend that their helmet was not on right).

He was understandably upset and it took a huge amount to withdraw but I am 100% confident this was the correct decision and have the upmost respect for him for doing so.  I know it would have been a hard thing for him to decide to do but health comes first and in this instance was necessary.  And so he got his first did not finish (DNF).

So our weekend started with a DNS and finished with a DNF – not the best weekend for the Thake household but undeniably the correct decisions.


Thank you Castle Triathlon for the opportunity to take part in your events, as always the venue was stunning, the staff were amazingly helpful and we will be back.

We’ve both learned a lot from the weekend and neither of us will let it define us, we can look at what went wrong and learn from it.  It’s true what they say ‘don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.’

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