Whidbey Island Marathon, the good, the bad and the ugly…


I don’t have race photos, but I can assure you this picture of Jasp is much better than a picture of me.

The good:   I try to always celebrate running a marathon.  It means I am blessed with good health, and good people in my life to allow me to such things.  So I don’t want to be too negative, but spoiler, I wasn’t happy with my race.  The course was knock out gorgeous.  Views of mountains, ocean, and forests.  Running through pine tunnels and along a beach all in the same race.  The volunteers were gracious local folks who were extremely kind.  The main purpose of the trip is a family visit and my parents were beyond generous to drive my butt to the start at 5:30 and watch my hyper little child while I ran.  Anytime you are running on a beach with family supporting you ,  you really shouldn’t complain.

The bad:  I had a short training cycle, but I really felt like I put in some work, but I don’t feel like my result reflects that.  I knew the course was challenging.  All the reviews I read said so, and the course profile indicated it was hard.  I guess I was being stupid that I had convinced myself it wasn’t going to be that bad and that maybe I’d slow on a couple hills but not that much.  Stupid, stupid me.  There were three hills that were a mile and a half in length plus some smaller ones.  The first long hill wasn’t that bad, but it did make me realize this course really was a difficult one.   It came early and I realized this would not be the course to run a BQ on, which would be my fastest time in five years.  I quickly turned my goal into my first sub 4:00 in two years.  I really wanted to see my finish time start with the number “3”.  And I was on track, consistent 8:45-8:50 miles.  The second long hill came and I had two 10 minute miles in a row and still thought I could recover and lock back into 8:45s.  I felt good other than a headache I woke up with.

The ugly:  mile 17 hill is best described as WTF.  It went until mile 18.5 and was extremely steep and brought me over 11:00 min mile.  Walking may have been a better way to get up this thing.  I made it up and never got my legs back.  My headache was a full blown “I’d feel better with an eye patch” type of headache and I spent the next few miles desperately trying to get back to 8:45 but running 8:59, 9:02, 9:05 and doing horrible mental math in my head about how I could still break 4 hours.  If nothing else slowed me down, I had it.  Then a shorter, maybe half mile hill hit at mile 23, this one ruined any chance I had.  My legs were hitting 9:25-9:30 now.  I could still get 3:58-3:59 but a beautiful stretch on the beach kept me in the 9:00s as it was rough unused asphalt road and then some boardwalk.  I ran as hard as could and did some half marathon walker dodging at the end and sadly saw my watch click past 4:00, and crossed in 4:03.  Bummer.

I felt happy at first since I worked hard and other than the hills had some very good miles in there, but overnight disappointment seeped in.  Yes, the course was really tough, but I really thought I could manage a sub 4:00 even with hills.  I liked my training plan and thought it was the right thing for me, but maybe I should have done more big hills.  I actually passed people on the hills but then never got my legs back coming off them.  I’m not sure what I need to do differently to be honest.  I realize this is just a hobby and I’m always just happy to run, but this is sorta my one part of life where I set big goals.  One plus is I’m very motivated to keep trying to improve.  Another good thing is I know on a flat course I would have had a race in the 3:50-3:55 range.   I’m thankful I got to run and happy to tag it onto a nice family trip, but I’m just a little disappointed.  

I aimed high and came up pretty short, but there will be another day and another race and that makes me happy and fills me with gratitude.

A big thanks for my friends and family for encouraging me.  A extra big thanks to my angel for being just that.  

Cheers.  🍺


2 thoughts on “Whidbey Island Marathon, the good, the bad and the ugly…”

  1. Anyone who can run 26 miles up and down hills, over rough pavement, with a throbbing headache, is a gold medal winner in my book!!!
    You ran a great race, not really knowing how difficult it was.
    Jasper was such a good boy the whole day.

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