A number of people have asked me what was harder: the marathon or Leadville 50? I never considered dropping out of the marathon, and I finished strong. The thought of dropping out of the Leadville 50 did enter my mind, merely as a way to end the suffering. But the truth is you can't really "drop out" of a race like that. If you're riding near other people, they won't let you. And if you're by yourself, well, what does it mean to drop out? Stop riding? And sit there at 11,000ft waiting for someone to pick your sorry ass up? That's not gonna happen out there. So you just keep pedaling, and do what you need in order to keep moving forward. "Dig deep" they say.
What bothers me about my Leadville performance - and what a lot of people don't understand when I say that I'm dissappointed in that performance - is that my suffering was not due to improper training. It was due to nutritional mistakes, and poor bike fit. Tactical errors that could have easily been prevented, had I planned a little bit more carefully, and paid attention to anomalies during training.
That's not to say I was not suffering during the marathon. It hurt. But by paying attention to detail during training and on race day, I was able to control my suffering, and achieve a good result.