I don't know about you, but for me placing 2nd in a large MTT defines bitter sweet.
Over the last few weeks of my online poker playing before my summer job (where I can't play) I played in about ten 150+ entrant tournaments, and cashed in 3 of them. I tripled my $10 once, but in two $5 tournaments I got TWO runner up finishes. One tournament had 329 entrants, and I took $263. The other had 392 entrants, and I took $314. While the return on my $5 was great, I probably missed out on like $400 by not beating that ONE LAST PLAYER both times.
My bust out in the smaller 329 player tournament was entirely my fault. With blinds at about 5,000/10,000, I had 150K chips and my opponent had like 250K. I was on the button with A 8, raised to 35K, and got repopped for all my chips. I was tired, made a bad decision, and called...only to see my opponents AJ suited. I didn't improve.
My finish in the 394 person tournament wasn't my fault, and in fact I find it a testament to my skill that I even finished 2nd. I was the shortest stack when we got to the final table, and I think I only doubled up once...playing very few hands while letting my opponents exchange blows. Sure enough they started being eliminated, and after all the fireworks I was severely short stacked, about 10:1 in relation to my opponent. I had about 10 BB's left, and he pushed three hands in a row. Finally, with 8 or so BB's left, I found K Q and called his all in, only to see my KQ get beat by his 7 5 offsuit. With the size of our stacks I don't mind his insta-push regardless of his two cards, but I wouldn't have minded doubling up a couple times to make a game of it.
Anyway, prior to the last month or so that I was playing cards, I rarely would enter large MTT's because I didn't think I had the patience for it. When I get back to California after my summer stint here in DC I'm going to shift my focus to about 25% Tournaments and 75% SNG's. I guess you all probably don't care all that much about any of this, but I just wanted to comment on what a mixed bag 2nd place is, especially when you grab a couple of them within a span of a few weeks and realize the amount of money you missed out on.