Why I Ran a Solo Marathon
(with no training)
The National Mall is beautiful at night or, in my case, at 3am
Why Did I Do it?
I hate running. I love challenges.
The journey to my first (and probably only) marathon began simply over a year ago with one question, one word, I sent in an email to myself:
At first, I didn’t take the challenge too seriously.
It was more of a reminder: Get in great shape, find the right opportunity, take advantage of it.
Over the past 9 months, I worked out an average of 5 days per week.
Aided by the Monday/Wednesday/Friday “Push-up Club” and the Tuesday/Thursday “Ab Club” at Webs and over 50 games of co-ed flag football, I met my goal of getting in the best shape of my life by early 2015.
The occasional email to myself became a weekly recurring event. Each and every Friday in early-mid 2015, I was hit with a reminder of my failure to meet the challenge.
Summer offered a good excuse: “it’s too hot to run.” Probably a valid excuse in Washington, D.C., but an excuse nonetheless.
As the summer wound down, the possibility of running became more palpable.
I started thinking about the specifics:
Where would I run?
What time of day would I run?
When would I recover?
On September 14th, 2015, I made my decision:
I would run a marathon within the week.
And, I would run my marathon on the National Mall.
How Did I Do It?
I saw my opportunity: a relatively free weekend, mild weather, and a strong feeling that my body was ready.
Saturday, 9/16/15, would be the date. 3am would be the start time.
I was motivated. The week couldn’t go by fast enough.
On Monday and Tuesday, I did research on my route. Shout out to MapMyRun for creating an easy to use (and fun!) experience for defining my course.
On Wednesday, I did my research on Do’s and Don’ts for marathons and purchased my supplies.
Do: Drink Gatorade (your body needs the sodium to retain water), eat every few miles, bring lots of distractions (music, podcasts, audio books)
Don’t: Wear brand new shoes, run dramatically differently, ignore signs from your body
Friday, everything became real.
I took it easy during the day and night, ate a big meal of pasta (carbo load, right?), packed my gear, and got mentally ready for the run.
Throughout the week, I told a total of 2 people about my run.
Not because I feared that I would fail, but because the challenge was my own and my motivation was purely intrinsic.
The Best Part
The best part of the run was definitely my choice of route.
There’s nothing quite like the solitary beauty and silence of our nation’s capital early in the morning. The location alone was responsible for making a few miles (a little) easier.
The Worst Part
Laps 4 and 5.
At this point, I had made it past the half-way point, but not yet reached the final lap. Even though lap 4 was relatively fast, time-wise, the prospect of 2 more laps (9 miles) was daunting.
My Marathon in Pictures
The Stats (a.k.a. the least important part)
Lap 1: 46 minutes
Lap 2: 49 minutes
Lap 3: 47 minutes
Lap 4: 50 minutes
Lap 5: 60 minutes (woah!)
Lap 6: 63 minutes (double woah!)
Total: 315 minutes or 5 hours, 15 minutes
There’s always another challenge out there in life.
And like this solo marathon, my next challenge will probably start with a simple message to myself:
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