Thursday, March 22, 2012

An Intersting Email - Did I Fail at the LA Marathon? | Read on -

Last night, I received a rather puzzling email.  I felt that the best way to reply would be on my blog, in the hopes that it would help others who have expectations about their first Full Marathon.  

The email said (name removed)

"Hi Charlene, I saw that you ran the LA Marathon.  You finished in a rather slow time for someone who runs so fast, despite your age.  Your teammate did Boston Qualify on his first Marathon, but you didn't.  Do you feel you failed at your first Marathon since you have been often successful in your other race distances?"

I am sure you can imagine I was a little taken back by this email.  I am going to give the person the benefit of the doubt and he/she didn't realize how they came across (that happens in emails).

I will be happy to answer these questions

1.  Slow?  I finished above the middle of the pack of the racers.  Over 9K finished after me.  I know experienced racers, who finished slower than me.  However, if you go back to all my blog posts pre-LA, you would see I never focused on my finish time.  It was about the experience and getting to the Finish.  I had HOPED to finish in a sub5 (which I did) but I refused to kill myself in the process to achieve that goal on my first Marathon.

2. Yes, I have won several awards in various distances.  A racer cannot expect nor compare their performance to a 5K or even a Half to what they can achieve in a Full Marathon.  Because I was not standing on that podium at the end of the LA Marathon certainly does not make me a failure in that distance.

3.  BQ'ing on your first Marathon is tough.  Most don't achieve that goal, even in their lifetime.  My time will come but the LA Full (for me) - was about my experience, period.  The clock was not a barometer of my achievement of that day.

To all of those who crossed that Finish Line - I applaud you.  I saw your struggles, I saw your cramps, your hurt backs and shared in your tears at the end.  I am one of you and I couldn't be prouder.  From the sub3 Finishers to the 7 hour Finishers.  We are LA Marathoners, and no one can ever take that away from us.

(c) C. Ragsdale 2011-12
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Running Coach, Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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  1. Don't know who sent you such a rude email but that's pretty rude. Are they a runner? Have they ever run a marathon? What about a half? Have they dedicated their time, their knowledge and their gifts to helping other people find their running selves and set goals? Do they understand that not everyone is kenyan and will finish a marathon in 2 hours? Do they understand that as we age, our bodies often experience pain that we have to simply run through because our insane dedication and desire to complete our own personal goals? Do they even understand personal goals? Is your emailer a part of the elite 1% (marathon finishers)?

    I'm glad you have more tact and grace then me, because my simple response would have been something like " really? what time did you finish your last marathon in, Butthead?"

  2. If I had replied last night, "Butthead" would of been the nice way to put it. But, I slept on it and thought, HOW do I want to reply?

    I think we all can learn from this - and hopefully the email writer will step back and analyze his/her own thoughts and perceptions of a success.

    Thanks for your input - you actually made me chuckle with your "butthead" comment.

  3. Wow, that is pretty rude if you ask me. I've done two marathons and had difficult times on both of them. My uncle actually made a comment after I finished my first marathon (first race of any kind), saying I was almost doing a walking pace. It shocked me at first b/c for me finishing was the most important thing, not my time. I wonder if the person who wrote the e-mail ever ran a full marathon, probably not. Don't let it discourage you, finishing a marathon is awesome no matter what your time is! I've followed Endorphin Dude for the past couple of years, and he is no speed demon, but to do what he does is awesome, even if he is towards the back of the pack...Keep up the running!

    1. Thanks for the comment and I agree. Never fear, the email writer has not discouraged me, even for a milisecond. I have dealt with so many runner-snob attitudes in the past year, I am use to it.

  4. You have more tact than I would have had. I was always told never to judge your first race at each length. The goal is to finish and get your time from there. I will be running my first full marathon in September and I just want to finish. No time is being thought of. You response is epically awesome!


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