Before the 2012 Olympic Games, Ryan Hall had never dropped out of a race, he said.
In fact, until a few years ago, marathon runner said he had never even failed to finish a workout, so to drop out of a race at the Olympic Games was shocking for Hall, he said.
"I've never dropped out in my life, so to have my first dropout be in what I was considering to be the best opportunity for me to medal in my career … for me, it was just shock," Hall said during this Flotrack.org interview. "It's like you stop, and then you realize what you just decided to do. It sucks. It's a terrible feeling."
After the race, Hall took a few days to remove himself from running, he said during the interview. He didn't cool down, he didn't watch the rest of the race, and he didn't even think about running for three days. He refused to wear running clothes or even a running watch, he said, and he simply allowed himself to decompress from the event.
Hall was so disappointed after the race because he considered the 2012 Olympic Games to represent his best shot at a medal. His prime age of 29, combined with his physical training, allowed him to believe he would reach the medal podium, he said.
But one disappointing performance won't stop the California native. He is definitely planning to continue to run through the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, even though part of him believes that the 2012 games represented his best shot at winning a medal.
That doesn't mean that Hall plans to quit improving. Performance doesn't always depend on age, he said, holding up American teammate Meb Keflezighi as an example. At 37, Keflezighi qualified for his third Olympic team and finished fourth in the 2012 Olympic marathon. In fact, Keflezighi was the only American man to cross the finish line in the race.
Like Keflezighi, Hall would be competing in his third Olympic Games in 2016, should he qualify for Rio de Janeiro games. Hall plans to be there, he said.
"I'm still going for Rio. I'll be 33 then," Hall said during the interview. "I have every intention of continuing to improve."
Hall dropped out of the 2012 Olympic marathon near the 11-mile mark because of a hamstring injury. The marathon was his second at the Olympic Games, and in 2008 he finished tenth.
Hall is next scheduled to compete at the 2012 ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 4, 2012.
Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46