The Day After I Failed

I woke up still totally depressed about the race yesterday. I was totally dreading going into work. My coworkers may not know much about marathons, but that I know that I do one or two every weekend, and they’re used to me coming in on Monday mornings and coloring in another state on the marathon map that hangs over my desk. And it’s not just my close coworkers – I’m constantly being asked about it by random passersby who see it and want to know what it is. We joke that you can tell which state I’ve done most recently because the ink on the pink highlighter I use is always darker when I first color it in, and it takes about a month to fully fade. And this morning, I wasn’t going to get to color in a state.

However, I had a mission. Right after I showered, the first thing I wanted to check was the date of the Rhode Island 6 Hour Ultra that I knew a few people were doing (like Steph). The verdict? November 15 – the day after I’d be pacing the Sun Trust Richmond marathon. Well, at least it wasn’t the same day as another race. I’m in!

From there, the details started to fall into place. I can fly from Richmond to Boston on Saturday afternoon, and my mom will meet me at the airport and we’ll drive together to Warwick, RI. I snagged a nice hotel room with a Starwood hotel, where I have platinum status and can therefore guarantee a 4 PM checkout. There’s even a choice of two flights back to New York that night, either of which give me plenty of time to hit up the post-race party at a local bar. Nice!

Now I just had to deal with my lingering feelings of failure. I couldn’t believe I was the only one who quit, but a preliminary look at the results showed a lot of my friends finishing the race (albeit slower than usual). I updated my Facebook status (“I feel like a total failure right now. Rhode Island 2, Laura 0.”) and also posted a topic on the Marathon Maniacs’ bulletin board, asking “Have you ever quit? I had a lot of reassuring responses on the bulletin board, but most were in regards to quitting due to injury. Meanwhile on Facebook, I was getting comments telling me that it was probably smart to quit… but they were mostly from people who had run Rhode Island and actually finished. However, when I got home from work, I had the best reply waiting for me, from my friend Tim (whom I had seen at the start of the race):

I bailed on Rhode Island at the half marathon finish and I was stupid to wait that long! Keep in mind that I have finished 35 marathons since the beginning of the year. You’re only a failure if you don’t try again. You are listed on the maniacs calendar as running the 6 hour ultra in RI next month. The FIRST thing I did this morning was to register for that run. I will see you on November 15 and we will finish that stupid state together! I would be willing to bet that the weather will be nicer this next time around. Sunday was insanity, glad I wasn’t the only one I know who recognizes that. I counted an awful lot of blue marathon bibs in the tent at the half finish. Many people bailed on this one!

Just knowing that I didn’t make a silly, wimpy, amateur decision has made me feel loads better. See you in Warwick, Tim!!!


  1. YES! Glad to hear it.

    Wow, as I reread that post, that is in 1.5 weeks! Niiiiice.

  2. Sorry to read about your debacle. Add adnother vote to the fact that you did the right thing.

    gotta be functional to run the rest of your marathons.

    It wont help though. Keep your head up and go like hell at the 6 Hour

  3. A DNF means you are an experienced marathoner. You know how difficult it is to finish a marathon – especially in horrible conditions. You did the smart thing by getting out. Don’t think of it as a failure, it’s another learning experience.

  4. Your boy is right….and since U ARE raching that Ultra…sounds to me like you are definitely still a winner…good luck!

  5. YES! Good for you, Laura! I am so proud of you for jumping right back on the horse, so to speak :) I can’t wait until you and Tim crush Rhode Island together next weekend! ‘atta girl! :)

  6. I’ve read a lot of race reports on that race and it sounded HELLish!!! You’ve put your body through a lot this year– that was just too much. Don’t be sad… glad you signed up for the 6-hour!!! Get excited for an ultra!!!!! YAYAYAY

  7. hey! just wanted to stop in and say hi. i randomly stumbled across your blog today! i just started running about 6 weeks ago… training for my first half marathon in the spring. anyway, love your blog.. i’m sure i’ll be back! =)


  8. I live in Richmond and I am running the marathon. Which group are you pacing?

  9. Great read, last two posts! I ran the BayState Marathon in Lowell, MA same day. It wasn’t as bad as your weather, but close.

    I finished, but with a lousy time and beat myself up all week over it. Your posts helped me appreciate the experience and now I’m over ut, on to the next. Thanks

  10. I don’t look at it as quitting, simply changed strategy mid way through; you finished a half instead. It is not even an issue whether you can do it or not, it was a safety issue. Sometimes conditions are so bad, you need to change things mid stream. Go get em Girl!!

  11. Way to get back on the wagon and get ready to tackle RI again! You can do it this time girl!

  12. Hey, in response to your comment on my blog, I am running the Richmond Marathon on November 14. I will have to try and find you with the 4:45 pace group. Is this your first time running Richmond?

  13. Maybe you should make a reservation at a restaurant before you go? That might help a bit, too! :)

  14. Funny that you will now have run the most in the smallest state–and you don’t even live there!

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