The Marathon I Never Talk About 

We all have bad races, it happens to everyone. Sometimes if we just look at someone’s instagram it might seem like every run for them is a PR. Some might look at my instagram and think that. I have bad training runs all the time! Today I am here to tell you about the race I never talk about. I don’t not talk about it on purpose, honestly I think after a while I repressed it that entire time in my life. Here is the story of Maine Coast Marathon, my second marathon. 

I ran Maine Coast Marathon in May 2015, I think it was actually on Mother’s Day. I had run Napa in March and was close to qualifying for Boston so I wanted to give it another go. I know what you are probably thinking, too soon!! I have to say, yes you are completely right. Some people can manage multiple marathons that close together but that was my first marathon and man I really should have given my body a proper break afterwards. ESPECIALLY because I had bursitis in my knee and hadn’t allowed it to fully heal. Looking back it’s easy to see these things in the moment it’s not. 

You might think, oh someone should have told her. Well funny you say that because actually only my parents knew I was running it. I didn’t want anyone tracking me or looking up my results so it was like a secret marathon! 

Anyway, I took time off after Napa and then gradually got back into it. I should add, at this time I didn’t have a watch and ran basically all my runs the same speed, aka too fast, but I was oblivious. While I trained for Maine Coast I wondered why I felt sluggish the entire time. No run felt easy. I couldn’t figure it out. I had taken a week and a half off after Napa and wasn’t running very far. I was basically trying to maintain my fitness and nothing more. 

Well eventually the day came to run. It was HOT. At the start line I also saw my runner friend from work, so the word was out, secret marathon no longer! Haha. When the gun went off I felt good. Like with Napa as the miles passed I heard everyone else’s watches buzz and wondered what pace I was running. Oh well I felt good! Another note I didn’t do any tempo runs so my body did not know what my goal marathon pace felt like. See I have made lots of running mistakes! 

Okay continuing on. I believe, not completely sure, I made it through the halfway point still running. At this point it was getting really hot. We ran through a few cute little towns and I thought this marathon isn’t so bad. Then I tanked. I started to overheat and feel light headed. My first thought was, “if I call my mom to come get me, it will take her two hours, so I might as well walk the rest of the course. I can’t do that to her anyway because it’s Mother’s Day!”. 

So with halfway to go I started running a lot slower. I decided this was not a race to PR or break any records, it was a race to finish with no goals. My new goal, finish without needing to call my mom at church on Mother’s Day 🙂 so I trudged along and it was painful. People were dropping like flies and getting picked up by ambulances on the road. People were handing out sponges to cool yourself off, nothing helped. The sun was just beating down. I started walking. Then I thought about how long it would take me to walk 9 miles, god I would be out here forever. 

New plan walk to certain points in sight then run again, just keep picking new destinations in the distance and try to make it there. Getting to mile 20 felt like years. Honestly, I thought my time was probably five hours by now. Remember I had basically no concept of time. “I am never running a marathon again” I thought. We always say that 🙂 

I told myself to try to enjoy the course and the experience but we were on a long stretch of a pretty busy road and there was nothing scenic about it. I told myself I would never run this course again, and I probably won’t, but more so because there are so many races I haven’t done that I would love to do! 

After what felt like forever of walk/jogging and talking to myself I was close to the finish. I told myself I had to run in so I ran the last .2 across the finish line and was shocked that my time was 4 hours even. My next thought was, “how fast was I running in the beginning?!”. I must have been running pretty fast and faster than I had trained for if I walk jogged the second half marathon and came in at 4 hours. In a way I was proud of that, but I also learned so much from this race that I used going forward. 

  • Going out too fast really does kill you, everyone wasn’t lying 
  • A watch is probably a good investment 
  • Running in a random heat wave is no joke, it does impact your goals and times 
  • I am not invincible, I too have bad races and have certain elements I can’t overcome 

When I got back into running after that race, which took months. I actually took the whole summer off. I was kind of forced to because I got mono really badly, like couldn’t talk or swallow and missed two weeks of work. I honestly think it was my body telling me it needed a break and forcing me to just sleep! You can’t run with mono either, so I just focused on recovering from everything. When the doctor cleared me to run I would go on leisurely runs and only when I wanted to. I knew I had to want to run again and I had to be ready to love it again. 

Around August I did. I wasn’t tired anymore and my old energy was back. The first thing I did was buy a watch! I had no intention of racing in the near future but I knew it would be essential for preventing the massive positive split that happened at Maine Coast from happening again. I ran for fun until February when my coworkers convinced me to train for Sugarloaf with them. I decided I needed a bigger motivator/purpose for the race. I decided to raise money for Lewy Body Dimentia while training. I ended up raising money and getting my first BQ. Then I decided, I really wanted to see what my potential was with running and the marathon. 

You see we all have bad races, but what we learn from them improves our running going forward. I have learned more in my “failures” than any of my successes. I say failure in quotations because I don’t even view it like a failure. I could find a lot of successes within that race even though it wasn’t the result I planned! For example I didn’t call my mom until after, success!! 

Even sharing this now with you all has made me realize that I should have shared it sooner, because it was a defining race for me. Don’t be afraid to have a bad race. Don’t even call it a bad race just try to mentally change focus and look at all the things you are still achieving! We can find successes in everything. 

That’s my Sunday story 🙂 

– Jules 

4 thoughts on “The Marathon I Never Talk About 

  1. I had the same experience last year at the Vermont City Marathon… I was not coming off another marathon, but did have a good training cycle. And then it was horribly hot on race day. I finished, but 45 minutes slower than my goal. I also don’t like to talk about that race, but it was a good lesson that anything can happen on race day, no matter how prepared you are. I hope that you have better weather for VCM this year. The second loop of the course out on the highway was literally a frying pan.

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    1. Oh my gosh! Weather is so unpredictable and it’s so annoying because it’s beyond our control but we always have to try to find a positive. Have you run any marathons since then? I have my fingers crossed for Vermont City because I had friends tell me it was terrible last year, but you finished which is seriously amazing in that heat!!

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  2. Nope, haven’t run any marathons since then so haven’t had the chance to redeem myself! But I’m hoping to run the Maine Marathon this fall. I’m sure you’ll have much better weather this year. Have fun in Iceland! I went there for a class about 12 years ago and it was amazing!

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