Ten Reasons Why I Ran an Early Season Marathon

Posted on by Martin Stam

Here are the reasons. Read to the bottom to find out what happened…

Ten. My friend Spencer was doing the half, so we encouraged each other along the way and did a few workouts together. It really helps to have someone to talk with, to share your ups and downs.

Nine. I googled “Can I run a marathon in 4 weeks?” and a lovely “4-week Marathon Training Plan” popped up. It seemed to make sense, so I took that as a sign that I should go for it, even though my triathlon guru friend advised against it.

Eight. This was the first winter where I continued to run, bike and swim a little each week. Previously I have taken a few months totally off to rest my body (and catch up on emails). Keeping the fires burning during the off-season gave me confidence that I could run a decent race. Would my aerobic base from the end of last season carryover at all??

Seven. I live right next to the course. I literally run on this course every time I go running. I know every mile intimately, every hill and undulation.

Six. This time of year (February and March) is a wonderful time to run. It is not so cold that you need to wear your ski gear, but it is still cold enough to use all of your fun/cool winter gear. I love using my imagination, letting my mind wander when I run. If I have layers and fancy technical clothing, I pretend that I’m on a mission, like special ops or something.

Five. Curiosity. I have never run a standalone marathon. Also, I am curious to see how I can perform with such short time of specific preparation. This can give me an idea of how I could do with the proper amount of time and a training plan etc.

Four. I decided to do more run volume this season, compared to last. So this was a great way to get some miles in the legs early on. We’ll see if I can stay injury-free…

Three. Positive results from Nov.-Jan. physical therapy for a knee problem has given me even more confidence that I can push myself and still be in-tune with how my body is responding. The knowledge of specific issues gives peace of mind that I can stay aware of them and manage any flare-ups etc.

Two. This race is a qualifier for the iconic Boston Marathon. I have two friends who recently moved to Boston and assured me I could sleep on their couch next April, should I finish within the qualifying time.

One. My wife was pregnant with our 2nd child (who has since been born. 4/28/18 Christian George Stam! 9lbs!), and she strongly encouraged me to sign up for the race because it is much easier to spectate/cheer with one child than with two. And did I mention the race course goes literally right by our house?

So what happened??? I felt great! I ran faster than predicted for the first half! Then I decided to put the pedal to the metal, which was not smart because I began to fall apart in the last 8K, losing quite a bit of time, BUT I QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON (yay!). I was incredibly sore for a long time afterwards. 

I fell short of my rather modest time goal by only 1 second, which was disappointing, but it was a valuable lesson learned; Stick to your race plan and don’t go guns-blazing in the middle of a marathon.

The Tobacco Road Marathon was a wonderful experience and a very well-run event. The race organizers, communication, expo and volunteers were all top-notch! I highly recommend it, but register early because next year is the 10th anniversary and promises to be the biggest and best yet.


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