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Four Days Later I Ran a Marathon

By Cody |

If I had a bucket list, I would finally be able to cross off running a marathon. Had you asked me two weeks ago if I would ever do so, I probably would have replied, “I would like to, but I probably never will.”

Several years ago I decided to run Indy’s 500 Festival Mini Marathon. The Indy Mini, as many Hoosiers call it, is America’s largest half marathon. It is held every year a few weekends before the Indy 500 and is part of the Indy 500′s month long Festival. Thirty-five thousand people run the race each year and ever since I moved to Indiana, I have wanted to be one of those thirty-five thousand people–I just never had the guts to commit to running the seemingly impossible distance.

Something changed last Tuesday.  I was on my way to work when a local radio host announced that he would be running in his second Mini Marathon on Saturday. It just clicked right then. I decided I would run the Mini Marathon that Saturday too. This meant I only had four days to train for the marathon. I quickly developed a five step training plan so I could complete a marathon after only four days of training.

Step 1: Get permission from the wife. I called her and asked if she had anything going on that Saturday. She said, “No.” Step 1, done.

Step 2: Find someone else to suffer through the race with me. I called a friend and pretty much told him he would be running the marathon with me. He agreed thinking that I was playing a practical joke on him.  Step 2, done.

Step 3: Find a Mini racing bib to buy from another participant. My friend and I found two bibs to buy from two girls who were injured and could no longer run the Mini. My friend still believed I was playing a practical joke on him. Step 3, done.

Step 4: Do not get injured at basketball on Tuesday. I went easy during basketball to make sure I wasn’t the recipient of a freak broken bone or knee injury. Step 4, done.

Step 5: Research the best way to avoid bloody nipples. Not wanting to take any chances, I combined two methods to prevent the dreaded bloody nipples marathon runners sometimes get. I used some chub rub and band-aids.  Step 5, done.

That was it. My five step program to train for a marathon was complete.

Saturday came and I completed the marathon. My time of 2 hours 27 minutes was slower than I wanted it to be, but I am still amazed I actually finished the thing.  I had never run any where close to that distance before.

Why would I run a marathon with only four days of preparation? The main reason was to prove to myself that I could. I also like a good story and four days of training makes for a good story.

I also want to be in good physical shape so that I can still participate in physical activities with my children when they are in their 20s. When my daughters get older, they may become interested in running marathons or triathlons or other physical activities, and I would love to be able to participate in those events with them. Who knows, maybe one of my girls and me will be a father/daughter team and participate on a season of CBS’s The Amazing Race. I also want my kids to understand that they can do anything they set their minds to.

Here are a few pictures from the day that I ran a marathon:

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I Ran a Half-Marathon After Only Four Days of Training

Me and Addie Aligator Hunting

That is not the body of a runner. Look at those short legs.

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About Cody



Cody is a father, husband, practicing attorney, and loyal football fan who is outnumbered by girls in every area of his life. He's also been known to drink maple syrup straight out of the bottle. Read bio and latest posts → Read Cody's latest posts →

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9 thoughts on “Four Days Later I Ran a Marathon

  1. Regan says:

    WOW! You must run on a normal basis because I know from experience (twice) that the Mini is a beast. I wouldn’t suggest this to the average Joe.
    Also, I hate to be picky, but you technically ran a half-marathon, not a marathon. The Mini is 13.1 miles. A full marathon is 26.2 miles. I also suggest “BodyGlide” for chafing. It’s the best! Congrats on completing the Mini!

    1. theycallmecody says:

      I am on a pretty strict exercise regimen, but running long distances is not part of that regimen. I run 2 miles per day 3 days per week, 1 day of basketball for 2 hours per week, and one run of 3 miles per week. The friend who ran with me, however, had not been doing any exercise. I am very impressed with how he did in this marathon. I do know that the Mini is only a half-marathon (I’m pretty sure I mentioned that in the post), and some day I will run a full marathon–just not on four days notice.

  2. heidi garner says:

    do the full next year. train for 8 days! ha ha Wait, it is just a half offered and not a half and a full. Right? Well choose a different full.(sometimes it is hard to find races on saturdays, and I don’t race on sundays) I am an avid distance runner with 6 full marathons and I don’t know how many half marathons under my belt and am impressed that you could pick up and run a full 13.1 miles with such low mileage weekly. You will do great picking up and training for a full. The funny thing is that I had a training program for a half that was 18 weeks and a program for a full that was only 16 weeks. I’d have to say that by the end of that long of a training program I get pretty burnt out. So you totally missed the burn out stage by making a last minute decision to run! I am hoping to keep up a strong base (10 miles on Saturdays all the time) so I can just pick up and “finish” a half when ever, and then maybe train for less than 16 weeks for a full so I do not burn out. And i agree with commenter number one. I know that you mentioned that the mini was a half in your article, but as a runner of full and half marathons I always clarify that I just ran a half and always reference my half marathons as “halfs “EVERY time I mention them. So if I am writing up a race report on my blog I never call the half marathon a “marathon”. If I am wanting to shorten it I call it the “half.” When it comes to snobby marathon runners this is a big deal, and I guess I’d have to say I am a snob about running. Maybe nicer marathon runners that are not as up tight do not care as much.

    1. theycallmecody says:

      Running a full marathon seems pretty daunting. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to run two of those Minis in the same day (the pain the day of or the day after). I have committed to running the Mini next year, only next time I plan on training for it. I’d like to see if I can drop 10 to 15 pounds and reduce my time to 2:10 or under 2:00. If I can get to the point where I’m running a half-marathon in under 2 hours, I’ll take the next step and sign up for a full. As for the use of “marathon,” that’s the lawyer in me. If we were talking in real life face to face, I’d just call it the Mini. In writing, I’m trained to define things by one word. It took everything I had not to write, “Several years ago I decided to run Indy’s 500 Festival Mini Marathon (hereinafter ‘Marathon’).” I know it’s weird.

  3. heidi garner says:

    i’d suggest runner’s world training program break 2:00:00 or bust. Or the training program from the book “run less run faster.” In fact the latter would be ideal for you. You can keep your basket ball days as cross training, as you only run 3 very high quality runs a week.

    1. theycallmecody says:

      I took a quick look at reviews of the “Run Less Run Faster” book, and I’ll definitely be buying a copy of that book. Seems like it would fit in perfectly with the rest of my exercise regiment.

  4. heidi garner says:

    Beware. The training program we used for the half was like 18 weeks. But i liked it. My 3 half marathons have all been under 2 hours. I used run less run faster for the last 2 (i actually ran one of them while training for the other). Beware, the long run in the run less run faster program is 15 miles!

    1. theycallmecody says:

      That’s perfect. It seems to fit in perfectly with what I’m already doing. It just adds purpose and improvement to the running portion of my routine. I have goals with the rest of my routine (weight training and swimming), but I’ve never really had any purpose or guidance with my runs other than to just try to run faster. I can sub out the purposeless runs and insert in the runs from the book. Thanks for the tip.

  5. heidi garner says:

    sorry. before using a training program with speed work I did not care about my time. My previous half marathons were all very much over 2 hours. My last one (in march of this year) was about 2:21:??.but I was 11 weeks pregnant and certainly not running for time.

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