Rails to Trails Marathon

I ran another marathon.

I want to start this post with some background.

Last Sunday, October 25th I ran Haunted Hustle Marathon and proceeded to beat myself up all week because I finished 20 minutes slower than I am perfectly capable of. It’s a hilly, tough course. The course won. By Wednesday I was reading all the blogs, articles and forums on back to back marathons. Maybe I could go do Rails to Trails Marathon a week after the Haunted Hustle. Everything I read said that the second one would be slower and everything would hurt by mile 18. But “I’m different” I thought. My rebuttal was that I really only raced nine miles of the Haunted Hustle and walked a lot in the second half. The second marathon would be flat and on crushed gravel. I was going to be the exception! (Spoiler, I wasn’t).

I talked myself in and out of Rails to Trails Marathon for the rest of the week. My biggest fear was that I’d be making the same mistake I did in 2010, go run a second marathon and get injured.

Sorry, more background…. In 2010 I did Chicago Marathon as my first marathon. My finish was over five hours and I knew I was capable of finishing under five hours. After Chicago Marathon I didn’t take any time to rest and recover, then did Rails to Trails four weeks later. Two weeks before Rails to Trails my knee started to hurt, like knives stabbing it. I was too stubborn to back out, I had to break five hours dammit! I went into the second marathon already injured, making it worse. I broke five, but couldn’t run for four months after.

This past week I had a couple conversations with some friends that I trust, they all warned me that I wouldn’t go get that 4:17 finish that I want, but if I was feeling good go ahead. One friend said just the thing I needed to hear/read “Stop having goals and start enjoying it. You’ll drive yourself crazy”

He was right.

So Sunday morning I woke up at 4:00am and drove to Norwalk, WI to maybe run that second marathon. I was still unsure as I drove there, I could still sign up for the half! Yet when I arrived I forked over the $90 and got a marathon bib. It was happening.

To ensure that I followed my friend’s advice “No goals, enjoy it” I put my Garmin in my back pocket so that I wouldn’t be looking at every split doing marathon math. My marathon math never works out anyway. I ran by feel and really truly enjoyed the scenery. This course is a hidden treasure, it’s so Wisconsin, it’s just beautiful.

Six miles in there’s a 0.75 mile long tunnel that you run through, it’s such a neat experience. It’s lit with lanterns, there’s water rushing down the sides, it’s dark, it’s just awesome.

Photo courtesy of Rails to Trail’s Facebook page.

By mile 12 I felt the fatigue I normally feel at mile 16. The fatigue continued to get worse, and by mile 18 I full on walked for 15 minutes or so (not sure, didn’t look at my Garmin!) I surrendered to the fatigue and enjoyed the beauty that I was surrounded by. This was the plan!


I finished six minutes slower than my Haunted Hustle time and the first words out of my mouth was “I’m so lucky!”

I’m so grateful for my legs putting up with my stubborn ways. I’m so grateful for John coming with even though I told him I didn’t expect him to come. He dropped me off and went fishing for four hours. I’m grateful for my friends that tell me like it is.

I’m pretty stoked to become a Marathon Maniac too!


Photo courtesy of Rails to Trail’s Facebook page.




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