Monday, April 23, 2018

Quitting Boston

To some runners, making it to the Boston Marathon (as a runner) is a once in a lifetime event. To others that are elite or just pretty fast runners in general, it may be more common for them to run the race every year. Regardless of how often one is able to run the Boston Marathon, it is a privilege to toe the line of one of the most prestigious marathons in the world.


You would think that unless something is preventing you from crossing the finish line safely (being severely injured, violently ill, or a disaster), you would want to give it your all and finish the race. THIS RACE of all races!


I write all this because last Monday after Des Linden crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon, she mentioned in a quick interview that she was ready to drop out of the race by mile 5.  I thought WHAT???  It looked like she was doing so well. Although she was not injured, she just wasn't "feeling it" as she put it. Yes, the weather that day was horrible and I don't blame her or any other runner for "not feeling it" that day.  I am so glad that she pushed through and not only finished but won! She is a great example of perseverance.

But this got me thinking  Short of any of the circumstances I've mentioned above, why would any elite choose to drop out of a race? (You know it's been done)  They are already so far ahead of everyone else anyway. Surely they would still finish in time regardless if they are having an "off " race

Is it a pride thing?

Is it because they set a certain time goal and if they can't reach it they don't want to cross the finish line with what they think is a sub standard time?

Is it because they don't want their unsuitable (in their mind) time recorded?

Do you think they have already set in their mind before the race starts that if it doesn't go a certain way than they will drop out at or by a certain mile?

So many questions, right?

What do you think? Did what Des said surprise you too?


                                              We will be linking up with the gals from TOTR.

34 comments:

  1. I think its probably because of one of the reasons one said. It seems like for elites if they are not going to run their goal time they may consider dropping out so they can save their legs for another race. It's so different than the mindset of most other runners!

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    1. I was just going to say what Lisa said- they want to save their legs for another race! Meranda, you gotta read this article, I think you will really enjoy it: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/20/opinion/boston-marathon-women-nurse.html
      Since I didn't watch the race, I didn't realize how bad the weather was until I read this article.

      Damn Des Linden's legs look freaking AWESOME!!!

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    2. Okay, I understand the whole saving their legs thing but at what point in the race does that even become a thought? Like when they realize they aren't going to place?

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  2. Dropping out of a race is fairly customary for elites. Elites typically "save themselves" for one or maybe two marathons a year. I'm glad the planets aligned and it was Desi's day though. I've been waiting for her to claim that marathon victory for awhile. She's so tough!

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  3. You and I were on the same wavelength for today's post!!! I had the same questions.

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  4. I think that elites and others dropping out is pretty common. They have a few goal races and want to run their best. If they know they won't be able to, they don't want to tear their bodies down and plow through. Sort of the opposite of we mere mortals probably do!

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    1. So much for those mantras like " push through" "don't quit", etc.

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  5. I’m no expert on this topic, but I agree with others who have said they’re likely saving their legs. Maybe they can begin a new training cycle sooner after the race to put themselves in contention for prize money, or to get bonus targets in their contract with sponsors. It’s a whole different ballgame for those who are running to make a living.

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    1. I get the saving the legs thing but why not just walk the rest of the way or just run a slower pace?

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  6. I was wondering the same as well. However, Boston would be a once in a lifetime thing for me...as long as they are healthy, elites can qualify anytime!

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    1. Very true! No big deal for them if they drop out cuts they know they can run it again next year.

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  7. They have so much more on the line than recreational runners do. We were actually discussing this at our training group yesterday, too. The coach was saying that dropping out of a race with bad weather like that could allow them to register for another one come up quickly where the stars might align better for them.

    Like I said in my IG post, you gotta show up though! Still, it's their living. All kinds of pressure there.

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    1. I get there is SO Much more pressure with them for sure!

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  8. That's so true = I never thought of that - they'd still finish WELLLLL before 95% of the crowd, but some still drop out. Maybe it is a pride thing. I can understand if its for injury - that makes sense, but just because you won't be happy with where you place? That's kinda sad to me.

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    1. It doesn't set a very good example does it? I'd rather see a runner just slow down rather than quit.

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  9. I think higher level runners have different considerations when it pertains to races.

    As a casual runner, while I certainly train for every race with a specific time goal in mind, in the end, my ultimate goal is to not be swept and finish upright.

    On the other hand, my son's running partner is a former collegiate runner. The last race they ran, she suffered a minor injury late in the race and ended up walking the last couple of miles. She finished the race, but went around the finish line timing mat because she didn't want the time on her race resume. I haven't seen her to ask why a DNF if better than a poor time, but obviously, it does make a difference.

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    1. Kudos to her for finishing instead of dropping out. I have heard of runners running a race but if they are not happy with their time they won't cross the timing mat or they might rip their timing chip of their bib.

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  10. I think a lot of elites drop out in weather like that to avoid injuries. If they injure themselves, say a muscle injury, it could mean months out.

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    1. I'm not even talking about bad weather. I can some what understand dropping out in conditions like last Mondays, but I am talking about just dropping out in general (even in perfect weather conditions).

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  11. It doesn’t surprise me at all - the conditions are just so bad. I think I was hypothermic on course and I just didn’t realize it - it makes me wonder if I was a badass or dumbass for finishing and not getting medical help.

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    1. Those conditions were brutal on Monday . Congrats to you Rachel!

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  12. I would love to hear an elite's response to this question! My guess is the same as what others have been saying, saving themselves to do better in the next one. But like you I wonder, when do they know it would be better to DNF?

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    1. Yea, I wonder why a DNF is better than a slower time?

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  13. I have heard several elite runners address This. Their careers depend in it. A DNF doesn't hurt them too much but a bad time can kill their sponsorships and ruin their overall standings. I once thought the same as you but I get it, its their job, career. If I was one I'd be the same way, it costs a fortune to train at that level so I don't blame them for not wanting to possibly ruin their funding or standings or sponsorships.

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    1. I didn't even take into consideration the Sponsorships! That makes sense now. Although if you really think about it, Is it good to sponsor quitters?

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    2. Good point. But then again any attempt is better than no attempt at all I guess lol They have my respect either way because frankly I could only dream to have talent and be able to train like they do. I probably wouldn't risk my job for a little pride either lol.

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    3. Or I should say not risk my dream job lol.
      I'd risk a crappy career any day of the week haha.

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  14. I totally agree! Seems like finishing is better than quitting. Although the weather that day looked awful!!

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  15. These races take on a completely different meaning when its what you do for a living. That being said, I would have much preferred to see all of the elites push through. I'm so glad Desi didn't drop out, it was awesome watching her win!

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  16. I wonder if it's better for them to DNS or DNF then have a "slow" (ha, ha) finish time?

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  17. That's an interesting question to ponder. I do imagine that the mindset of an elite runner is a lot different from a casual runner. For me, it's really hard to drop out of a race because I'm racing against myself. An elite runners is actually competing with others, so maybe it's easier to drop out when you're not feeling it. I'll never be an elite, so I doubt I'll ever really understand the difference in thinking.

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.