Friday, October 1, 2010

Even the Best Runners Get Tired

Hopefully you're still not shell-shocked over Ryan Hall's announcement to drop out of October 10's Bank of American Chicago Marathon. On Tuesday, Hall cited fatigue as his reasoning for pulling out of the race where he hoped to break the American record. But while some sounded angry over Hall's decision, or disappointed that they'd no longer be sharing the course with the fast American and potentially sharing in his record-setting appearance, his justification simply makes sense. And can show us that even the best runners aren't superhuman--all the time.

Take Hall's blog posts at You could read his most recent entry, the one that followed the official announcement that he wouldn't be running, that essentially explains his take on the reasons behind dropping out. More political, more "hey fans, here's why I can't run in two weeks," more detailed. Deeper, if you will, provided I was asked to give a literary analysis on a blog post. Whether it's just good writing or good story-telling, Hall makes a compelling argument for postponing his next marathon until 2011. He didn't want to end up like Greg Meyer who told Hall not to make his mistake where he ran Chicago to defend his title, wasn't ready to run and he marks it as the beginning of the end for his running career. At 28, I'm sure Hall doesn't want to be done with his glory days--he has too many goals to yet accomplish.

And if you take a look at one of his older entries--or had followed all along from the beginning--it's really not surprising that he decided not to run. He's tired. No excuses about it. Just like any average runner hits the fatigue mark--after all, there is that saying that if you can survive marathon training, you can survive the marathon--so did Hall. And rather than push through it, he's a smart enough runner to know that as he ages, it becomes less and less possible to bounce back quickly from those tough sessions. He cited a 12-mile tempo run and a 25-mile long run within the course of three days. I know that's a lot for me to run--I'd be knocked up for at least a week after running 25 miles unless I walked most of it--and I'm sure it's still a lot for Hall, especially at the speeds he'd take those miles at. Or take a gander at Josh Cox's workouts, Hall's training partner up in Mammoth, which he posts regularly via Twitter and Facebook. How these guys don't get tired with double sessions, hours each, is beyond me. Sure, marathon runners can be deemed superhuman, but it's back to reality--and a little refreshing for the rest of us--when they show they need a break too.

Ryan, we'll miss you along the Chicago Marathon course, but will be looking for you supporting your Hall Steps Foundation runners and are happy you're still coming to the Windy City. And rest up so you can continue toward your American record goal. We're sure Hawaii will help with that much needed R&R--Hall and Cox will be there next week to support K-Swiss teammate Chris Lieto in his final preparations for the Ironman World Championships. 

Update: Liz just posted an awesome interview with Ryan Hall at Time Out Chicago. Check it out here.

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