356. Just Missed with Julia Lucas


“There are so many times you start on a journey and somewhere along the way you realize, this isn’t where I wanted to go. The beginning of this was right, and then somewhere I took a turn or didn’t take a turn, and I ended up somewhere entirely different. And it caused a meltdown. Do I love running? What in running do I love? Can I get back to what I love?”

What happens when you set big, dreamy, lofty goals — but when it counts the most, you fall short? That’s what this series, “Just Missed,” is about. For the next three weeks, these conversations are about dealing with disappointment. They are reminders that progress is never linear, and that it’s not always the big wins or the losses that define us, but the moments in between.

First up: a conversation with former professional runner Julia Lucas. Today, Julia is a writer and a run coach in New York City. But in 2012, she was running professionally with the Oregon Track Club, and her goal was to make her first Olympic team in the 5K. She lined up at the start line at the Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, OR, as the hometown hero. She wanted the win. She knew she could win. She made her move early and she held it — for a while. Ultimately, though, it was the fourth-place finish seen around the world. That day at Hayward Field, Julia missed becoming an Olympian by one one-hundredth of a second. On this episode, she recounts that day and the emotions surrounding it — the buildup, the pressure, the expectations, and the aftermath. She talks about the role running plays today, and answers the question of how — or whether — that day at the 2012 Trials defined her.

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What we mention on this episode:

“A Race is a Race,” by Julia Lucas for Freeplay

“The Inspiring Endurance of Coffey, The Leader of New York City’s Protest Runs,” via GQ

Running to Protest

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