Sir,

I want to start off by saying it was an absolute pleasure to meet you.  Your
humor and kindness were definitely highlights to this amazing race.  I cannot
say enough good things about the run, well, the part I did....

Just some highlights of the race/race day: First, the ability to stay warm at
Bethel was such a nice touch.  They were too kind to let us stay there before
the run.  Second, the dinner was great.  I made sure to thank those who were in
the kitchen...not sure if they were the ones that made the delicious meals, but
either way - their kindness to help feed our hungry bellies was not unnoticed by
my husband and I.  Third, the singing of the national anthem and pre-race prayer
was amazing; I absolutely loved it.  I haven't felt that surge of pride at the
beginning of a race since Boston.  Please don't ever stop doing that, because it
was truly one of the high points of the race.  Fourth, the help you have along
the course was wonderful.  The aid stations were filled with kind words and
friendly faces (well, what I could see w/ my head lamp...they might not have been
smiling.  Smiling and snarling can look a lot alike).  And lastly, the course. 
It was challenging, beautiful, nicely marked, and nicely groomed (well, for what
was able to be groomed). 

Where I went wrong (in case you were wondering) - sleep.  I have never tried to
run more than a couple miles on a treadmill after staying up all day (the few
lack-luster naps at Camp Bethel didn't do much for me).  I have never run that
far (24.2 miles) on sleep deprivation.  I had been up since 7:30 am (internal
clock won't let me sleep any later) and even after a good 8 hours of rest, and 2
'power' naps...I still couldn't stay focused/awake/alert enough.  After it
really kicked in (mile 15) I was fighting a losing battle with myself.  I had
already learned I was the last to cross, it was pitch black out, and all I
wanted to do is curl up in the leaves and sleep. 

A man of your running background/caliber probably hasn't encountered this kind
of level of wuss - but it is a first for me.  Nothing hurt more than not making
the cut-off with all body parts in tact, and not a single sore muscle.  I just
could not find an ounce of energy to pull thru.  I had more energy after running
the JFK50 3 weeks ago, than I did at mile 15 of this race.

I know this sounds like a bunch of excuses, but I wanted to let you know why I
didn't finish.  I also want you to know I am incredibly sorry for not finishing. 
It bothers me that I took a spot in this race away from another runner and did
not finish.  It also bothers me that you probably went against your better
judgment and took my word over my experience as to whether or not I would/could
finish.  Please don't let my DNF lead you to believe that all entry-beggars are
not qualified.  :) 

I would like to believe that if this race had started at 4 or 5 am, then I would
have had a better grasp on the task at hand.  Not sure if I will attempt this
particular race again due to the start time and my love for 8+ hours of sleep
pre-race, but I do hope to run another race of yours.  That is, if you will have
me....

Once again, thank you for your kindness, laughter, and giving me a chance to
attempt this great race.

I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Respectfully,

Nicole Knutson