Do you believe in coincidences? The marathon that was not to be!

Marathon course last Sunday

I trained hard and I trained long! I had the flu and it kept coming back for three weeks before the marathon date – I still thought that I will run it; or at least that I will start it. Then about a week ago I checked the forecast for last Sunday; Lausanne, which is on the lake side (Lake Geneva that is) was to be very cold (-5C down from about 12C) and snowing. I still thought that I’ll start and run till I enjoy it; knowing myself by the time I stopped enjoying the run – at about 17 miles – it will be too late to give up.

Next my trainer’s warning came – running after/with a virus is very dangerous, particularly in the cold. Run for a bit a stop – there are always other races. Right, I thought, this is serious. This guy is tough and he has never told me to be careful before. A warning sign!

Last Friday, we packed and got ready to go. My bag included: three layers of running tops, compression stockings, long leggings, running shoes and a backpack with two space blankets in it. Long runs keep you warm, true; but you need layers at the start and in decent weather these are discarded on the run. In this cold, I was thinking that I’ll need to carry them with me – if I stop, or even when I finish, I’ll need to put warm clothes on immediately. Oh, and Vaseline – not many people realise this but Vaseline is the long distance runner best friend.

Off to the Airport we went and…our flight to Geneva was cancelled; for the first time in eight years. We went back home where the first thing John did was to get all my running stuff out of my bag and announce:

‘This is it! You are not running! You are not as fit as usual, it will be very cold and slippery and you will be shattered from the trip. No way, I am going to be freezing my b*tt off waiting at the finish and worrying that I may be claiming your life insurance.’

For the first time in my life I didn’t argue – John says that this was my first adult reaction. We arrived in Lausanne the next day, dropped our stuff at the hotel and went for a walk with our friends. I went to registration and got my t-shirt; feel embarrassed because of it but my friend convinced me by pointing out that I have already paid for it.

The next day we woke up, looked out of the window and everything was covered in snow. I went to watch the run – very few people ran the full marathon and many got hurt really seriously. I was standing on the pavement, cheering on the runners and crying – deep down I still wanted to be on the street being cheered on.

Feelings aside, though, two are one too many coincidences to be ignored: a) a cancelled flight for the first time in eight years; and b) snow at the end of October for the first time in twenty years. It is like the Universe was sending me a warning. Even worse – this is the second time I am trying to run Lausanne marathon. The first time I got injured three weeks before it.

It may be time to give up Lausanne! There are many other races, as my trainer told me. And the first thing I am going to do is to run Hit the Trail on January, 2 – it is hard, cold and muddy; but at least one is expecting it to be.

11 thoughts on “Do you believe in coincidences? The marathon that was not to be!”

  1. Well done John – a good call.

    Yes I DO believe in coincidences and am so glad you didn’t run in the end – remember your plans for world domination can’t happen if you are in hospital with hypothermia.

    If its nay consolation – New York marathon is looking a bit iffy for this weekend too – hope the hurricane doesn’t do to much damage.

    1. @Elaine: Yeah, bad things are happening in New York. John leaving my running stuff behind probably saved our marriage and me from an injury.

    1. @Krant: I am quite good in cold weather but…this was really bad. It wasn’t only the cold, it was the difference from double figures to negative. Also it is hard to run in very cold and slippery conditions – you have to carry too many things. So, altogether a good decision not to run.

  2. I’m the opposite of KC. Give me the cold any day. But snow and 26.2 miles? Not a great combo. Great call by John. (I would have made that call just for this reason: “No way, I am going to be freezing my b*tt off waiting at the finish.” 

    1. @AverageJoe: I cope with cold better as well: this is why I run autumn marathons. But this was bad – at 8K most people were on the gels. Which tells me they had already run out of energy and this is too early. Anyway, I am thinking about the next run.

    2. @Average Joe – that thought did cross my mind, having waited at the finishing line a number of times with our son!  However we had taken our skiing jackets, hats and gloves. 

      But the weather was terrible!  Watching the runners pass the 8km from finish line from our friends’ apartment, those who had been out 4+ hours were really suffering.

  3. Good idea to listen to the universe!  Sometimes the stars just don’t line up.  I agree that listening and changing the plan was a very mature thing to do!  

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