Timberline Marathon – The Unrace Report

On June 1st I ran the Timberline Marathon. It’s a gorgeous course and the weather was absolutely perfect. My friends Laura and Travis also ran it. So what happened? Truth is – I don’t know.

Laura and I started off together and I felt good. I ate a good amount of food at home prior to the 1.5 hour drive out to Timothy Lake. I had gotten a good night’s sleep. In a weird decision I decided to wear my tank top with my new pack which I had never done and would ultimately regret. I also pulled some of the gels out of my pack as well which I also regretted.


At the 6.2 mile mark, Laura journeyed ahead wanting to see how fast she could run a trail marathon. I was sorry to lose the company but feel that everyone should run their own race. I plugged along at a fairly steady pace for the next 6 miles or so. I saw Andy fishing, ran with one of the trainers from my gym for a bit and saw Travis by the porta potty.

The marathon is two loops around Timothy Lake. When I got to the beginning of the second loop, I was on track to finish the trail marathon before the 6.5 hour cutoff but I didn’t want to continue. I wanted to be like the half marathoners and go up the hill to the ranger station. I didn’t want to hike up the rocky hill to do the same loop again. Truth be told, I actually stopped and thought about what a DNF (Did not finish) would mean to me. I thought to myself that I wasn’t a quitter. (I’ve actually quit a lot of things in my life but you know..) I wasn’t hurting. I mean yeah I was tired and my underarms were really getting chafed from my pack and I had ripped one of my moles off but nothing was aching so badly I couldn’t continue.

So I turned on my music and walked for a bit. The second half of the course was lonely. One woman passed me and I chugged along behind her for about 5 miles. I should actually thank her as she kept me going. But eventually she disappeared. It was only me and my super negative thoughts. I lost the trail more than a few times and got pretty frustrated when I saw that someone had ripped the course markers down. I found more than one pink ribbon on the ground.

Eventually I saw my friend Travis behind me. She’s faster than me so I suspected that she was having a rough time of it. I didn’t want to be last in another race so I picked up my pace and tried to widen the gap between us. Later I read her race report and she wasn’t interested in beating me. Eventually I made it to the finish line where Andy, Laura, and her husband Joe were waiting. I was really happy to finish. I didn’t want to run anymore. I wanted to sit in the shade or go sit in the lake for awhile. But we went to Mt. Hood Brewing after Travis finished about a minute or so behind me.

One of the things I remember thinking during the race is that long distance running can be like an abusive boyfriend. But sitting here, I think that’s kinda crazy. I think I thought that because I felt so slow and fat. And I have gained weight and I am slow. I’m not sure when I started feeling so low about my running. But when I finished Timberline I knew there was no way I could finish Mt. Hood 50 in 13 hours. And I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn’t even write this report because I knew that I would have to admit that to all of you. I told Laura and Travis that I wouldn’t be running Mt. Hood this year.

Fact is that I need to work on speed and endurance. I should have started training pretty seriously for Mt. Hood in September of last year. So I took this last week off from running. I biked a few times and attended two workout sessions at the gym but no running. I’ve felt really lost the last week. And tired. And kinda sad. But I’m getting back to my normal happy self.


One response to “Timberline Marathon – The Unrace Report

  1. Hi I haven’t read your blog before but I just want to say how sorry I was to read how sad you sounded. Don’t be down its just a little setback. I have never run more than 6 miles yet, so I admire you so much just for being able to finish! Even though it sounds like you didn’t meet your own expectations you showed great strength both physically and mentally to keep going. Well done and I hope that your spirits lift soon!

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