A Rant: Dear Commenter!

I’m not afraid of a little criticism from the Internet. I wouldn’t be a blogger if I was, but recently I read a comment on someone else’s blog that really bothered me.

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After Chicago, a blogger I follow wrote about how the decision to DNF a marathon can be just as hard if not harder than running the marathon itself.

The blogger whose post I was reading talked about how one race doesn’t define us, and how DNF’ing because of injury is a perfectly valid reason to do so. Of course most runners know this, but it’s still nice to hear.

The first comment under the post said:

“I finish races no matter what. I don’t have a quitter’s mentality when it comes to racing.” 

Cool story, bro.

Here’s what I want to tell that commenter:

Dear Holier Than Thou commenter:

I hope that you never have to DNF a race due to injury, because I can promise you it’s a really crappy feeling.

I don’t appreciate your words, and I am sure the guy I met who dropped at mile 17 with a freshly sprained ankle doesn’t appreciate it either. He told me he was feeling good and on his way to his first sub-4 finish before he rolled his ankle on a rock in the road. You know who really doesn’t appreciate your comment? The man who had a heart attack on the Chicago Marathon course and DNF’d to have his life saved. This was going to be his 18th marathon finish so I don’t think he has a quitter’s mentality either.

All people have different life experiences. You don’t know everyone’s story and you don’t know what twists and turns your own story will take in the future, so just try and be empathic and supportive if you can. If that’s impossible just try not to speak unless you have something nice to say!

Also, one race does not define an entire person’s mentality or work ethic. That’s just ridiculous!

Love, Kristina

Up until Chicago I had never DNF’d a race, but I had enough empathy to understand why someone might do it even if they were a dedicated runner.

I don’t need to read comments from people coddling me and telling me there will be another race on another day. I know that (although it is nice to hear and I appreciate those comments very much)!

You know what comments and emails I found to be the most helpful right after DNF’ing? Stories from other runners who had DNF’d a race only to come back and crush that same race the next year. There are plenty of stories like that and they are uplifting, motivating and encouraging.

Here’s the thing, most distance runners are dedicated and determined people. It just comes with the nature of our hobby.  You don’t drag yourself out of bed before the sun rises to run 20 miles if you’re not dedicated and determined. That means if the time ever comes where you’re faced with DNF’ing a race it can feel like the world is crashing down upon your shoulders, but then like a phoenix rising from the ashes you get a renewed sense of purpose: to own the race that beat you.

I love that the running community is made up of people who are dedicated and TOUGH. It doesn’t matter how many bad races or training runs we have, you can knock us down 7 times and we’ll get up 8 times.

29 comments

  1. Heather

    From the title of your post I had initially thought that someone had made a comment to you about Chicago….I’m really glad that isn’t the case. I basically agree with everything you said.

    Also that bit about rising like a phoenix out of the ashes…you should definitely put Fall Out Boy’s “The Phoenix” on your Chicago playlist next year. I had it on mine for Grand Rapids this year.
    Heather recently posted…Marathon!My Profile

    1. Kristina

      Even though the commenter didn’t know this, the blogger emailed to tell me she wrote the post with me in mind (although she didn’t specifically name me). I guess knowing that made me extra sensitive to the comment!

      I will have to check out that Fall Out Boy song, thank you! 🙂

  2. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    Man I wish you would have posted that comment as a response to the idiot that left it! It sounds like some dumb 20 yr old guy left the comment- someone with ZERO life or training experience.

    Runners are some of the toughest people I know and we can be tough on ourselves. But no matter how we perform at a race, those couple hours are NOTHING compared to all the training hours we put into the event. THAT is where the determination and dedication came in the most. If you added up all the hours we train and the hours we spend racing, our racing hours would probably equal <5% of the running we go. 95% of what we do is planning and preparation and DETERMINATION. 🙂
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Women: Do you hike/trail run alone?My Profile

    1. Kristina

      Unfortunately the comment was left by a pretty experienced runner who also has a small running blog…

      It’s such a blanket statement to say that if you DNF one race you have a quitter’s mentality. Does that mean if you start a game of Monopoly and don’t finish you have a quitter’s mentality? Or if you plan to go grocery shopping at 6pm on Tuesday and you decide not to go you have a quitter’s mentality? It’s such closed minded thinking!

      And of course it touched a nerve in particular since I just DNF’d. What gets me is that the post is specifically written FOR people who have recently DNF’d. If you’ve never DNF’d wouldn’t you just skip over that post, or try to be empathetic if you really want to read and leave a comment? Why go out of your way to make people who have DNF’d feel extra bad?

      1. Megan @ Meg Go Run

        Oh my I hope I don’t read that blog. I probably don’t. But feel free to private msg me the blog if you feel like it because, well, you know some nights I like to hate read!!
        Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Women: Do you hike/trail run alone?My Profile

  3. Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor

    Oh geez. “I don’t have a quitter’s mentality when it comes to racing”?

    Do these people listen to themselves talk? Running is a HOBBY. Racing is a HOBBY. I mean, yeah, people should take marathons seriously and there’s nothing wrong with working really hard to a achieve a big goal but jeez, people, lighten up. No one is paying you to do this and no one’s life depends on you finishing your marathon. Have a seat, please.

    Besides, elite runners sometimes DNF races. Are we really prepared to say that some of the best runners in the world have a “quitter’s mentality”?

    Anyway, this person clearly doesn’t understand what it’s like to be in your situation and let’s hope they never have to find out. Good for you sticking up for yourself!
    Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor recently posted…When I was little, I thought…My Profile

    1. Kristina

      Haha, so true! Definitely a case of taking oneself too seriously.

      I mean DNF’ing does suck really hard – I think runners know that even if they have never DNF’d. It’s one of those things I think we all secretly tell ourselves “oh yeah, she did it and I understand why, but I would NEVER do it” until we’re actually faced with an issue!

    2. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

      This is a great point. Most of us race for fun, not to place. It’s not worth the risk of injury is imminent.
      Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…Sanibel Race for FISH 10k 2015/Virtual Runner’s World Hat TrickMy Profile

  4. Sam

    Seriously? Wow. Great response, I hope he reads it 🙂
    Sam recently posted…Monday MusicMy Profile

    1. Kristina

      I think the worst part is that it was a comment left by a fellow run blogger!

  5. Jesica

    Amen! This may be my favorite post you have ever written, and I’m SO SO glad you did. I had a similar reaction you did when I read that comment. No one should ever finish a marathon at “any cost.” The long-term health and safety concerns of trying to push through when your wellness is at stake is incredibly dangerous. There is a massive difference between quitting because a race gets mentally/physically hard and deciding not to finish because continuing would put you or another runner in physical danger. I am so proud of you for the decision you made, and the days after the race showed a big indication that you made the right decision given the pain you were experiencing. There are no guarantees in running, and running isn’t a place to judge others. One of the most interesting things about running is that we are all different. What works for one persons doesn’t work for another. That doesn’t make it right or wrong, just different. That commenter had no right to say what they said and I was disappointed to see the lack of compassion given how supportive the running community almost always tends to be. Hold your head high and know that you will be one of those women sharing the story of triumph and success when you cross that finish line next year and smash your previous expectations. xoxo
    Jesica recently posted…What Not Running Looks LikeMy Profile

  6. Lauren @ Lauren Runs

    Wow! It’s definitely important to weigh what “finishing v/s not finishing” might mean. So yes, maybe you finished and got the medal and had a lot of mental toughness experience, but you also would have worn yourself out from walking/running for so long, and probably exacerbated the injury- making your recovery SO much longer. I can’t believe the idea that it’s ALWAYS smarter to finish… NO!

    Good for you to call out whomever on that. Go F** yourself commenter– and lucky that you haven’t had to face that level of adversity and negative outcome!
    Lauren @ Lauren Runs recently posted…Your Ironman FAQs, Answered!My Profile

    1. Kristina

      Thanks Lauren! It’s really surprising to see such a lack of empathy from another runner, especially another marathon runner.

      Quitting because a race gets hard is so different than quitting because of an injury or illness. I didn’t feel relief when I had to pull out, I felt totally demoralized.

  7. Katrina

    Yes! I read the same blog (although now I can’t remember for the life of me whose blog it was) and being shocked when I saw that comment. Such an unnecessary comment and it is so insulting to insinuate a DNF means someone has a “quitter’s mentality.” So glad you posted this.
    Katrina recently posted…Chicago Marathon 2015: Race Recap!My Profile

    1. Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor

      Okay now I’m dying to know who this person is!!!

      1. Kristina

        Haha, I’ll email you 🙂

    2. Kristina

      Thanks Katrina! When I first saw it I was really surprised but I moved on. I thought I could let it go but I’ve been thinking about it ever since! Rawr!
      Kristina recently posted…A Rant: Dear Commenter!My Profile

  8. Lisa @ TechChick Adventures

    Good thoughts on this topic!! Honestly, running should be for yourself, so who (outside of yourself) really should care or judge if you drop out of a race? Things happen to everyone. People have to right to make their own decision without criticism, on their own state of being – whether it’s physical OR mental reasons. Not like we’re getting paid to run or anything. Geez!
    Whew, glad I got that off my chest 🙂 Hope you are having a great day!!
    Lisa @ TechChick Adventures recently posted…Columbus half marathon recap 2015My Profile

  9. Bianca @ Mitten Runner

    What on earth?! I can’t believe someone would actually make a statement like that. How rude & completely insensitive! As if the results of one race completely defines you. You’re so right — everyone has their own backstory and nobody has the right to imply anyone is a quitter for a DNF. Stuff happens! I absolutely love your response and wish you’d post it as a reply to the actual commenter. I hope they see your post. That being said, most of the running community is so wonderful and that’s why I LOVE it so much! Love your blog too! 🙂
    Bianca @ Mitten Runner recently posted…Weekly Workout Log – Oct. 11 – 17My Profile

  10. Kristen @ Glitter and Dust

    This is a great response, Kristina. I never quite understand why people feel the need to respond negatively or critically to others via social media. I would say that this individual is very self-absorbed and narcissistic. I hope this person experiences what it is like to DNF… not that I wish that on anyone, but sometimes it’s the only way to grow and learn about the world.
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted…And Then I Went On A RunMy Profile

  11. Heather @ GirlGoesRunning

    Yikes! I am stunned at some of the things people post on other people’s blogs. I’ve read through some commentary on pretty big blogs and it amazes me at how rude/ignorant/inconsiderate (and I’m not even sure it’s on purpose) some of the comments are.

    I had to drop out of a race once. And it was hard. I cried in the car with Lola while waiting for Matt to finish. But I PR’d a month later at another 1/2. I may have told you this already???

    Try hard not to let someone else’s ignorance get to you. It truly sounds like inexperience. 😉
    Heather @ GirlGoesRunning recently posted…Friday 5: The RUNfession Version 😉My Profile

  12. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    This guy sounds like a troll. I wonder how the original poster responded?

    Newsflash, wise-ass: REAL runners know that one race isn’t the end-all-be-all. Running is a lifetime commitment, and if you’re facing an injury or other health concern, a DNF is the right choice in order to make sure you can run for years to come. How many runners have pushed through an injury because they felt like a DNF was shameful, only to make the injury worse and never come back in the way they once were? It takes real guts to drop out of the race because you know that the bigger picture is more important. And I think that’s what makes a real runner: keeping the bigger picture in mind and going for your long term goal, not short-term glory.
    Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…Sanibel Race for FISH 10k 2015/Virtual Runner’s World Hat TrickMy Profile

  13. Bae @ the riley recap

    Wow, people are really bold when they get to hide behind a computer screen. Great response, Kristina. I haven’t been a good blog-commenter, but I’ve still been reading your posts and following along. I too have had piriformis syndrome, and I had it at the same time as a herniated disc and SI dysfunction. I totally 100% get why you DNF’d and think it was SO SMART! I’ve had that pain, it was totally unbearable, and the docs and PTs at the time told me NO running and minimal impact exercise- basically just yoga and stretching. What you, and many other DNF’ers did/do, is treat your body with respect, listen to the signs your body is giving you, and make the SMART decision to have a healthy running LIFE. People like that jerk-face don’t understand that running is a lifestyle for some people, not just a way to tout accomplishments and belittle others.
    Bae @ the riley recap recently posted…Monday Mumblings #2My Profile

  14. Helly

    Ohhhh, heeeeellllll naw!!!!! Lemme at ’em!!!!

    You know about my awful DNF at Phoenix earlier this year and how it put me into a serious funk. I don’t need someone like douchbag trying to make me feel worse. EWWWWW!!!! Seriously, that person will have a DNF at some point and then think about the ass-hat comment they made.

    LOVE this post <3
    Helly recently posted…Chicago Marathon Fun!My Profile

  15. Lizzy

    Sometimes I wonder if internet commenters stop to think about the real life human beings to whom they direct their comments. Would they say the same thing to the person’s face? I doubt it.
    Lizzy recently posted…Upcoming races and my goal for 2016My Profile

  16. Jennifer @ The Final Forty

    Ugh, hate people like this. That was a perfect response! By definition, runners are NOT quitters. But, sometimes, despite all of our determination and commitment to our sport, our body fails us…and that’s just the way it is.
    Jennifer @ The Final Forty recently posted…Race Recap: Halloween Half MarathonMy Profile

  17. Jennifer

    Wow, some people. Perfect response.
    Jennifer recently posted…2015 Chicago Marathon Race Recap Part 1My Profile

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