Name:  Evan (The Wannabe Chef)

Location: Washington DC

Age: 20

Race:  National Marathon in Washington DC

Personal Tidbit: Hates cilantro, but loves Vanilla Bean GU


In His Own Words:


I’m not sure where most people’s race stories begin, but mine began on Twitter. I had long been considering training for a marathon when a few bloggers threw around the idea of The National Marathon. It was 3 days before my 20th birthday; it was in scenic DC; other people I knew would be running it. What more could I ask for? I was sold. And since I was already running 30-40 mile weeks, marathon training didn’t seem so bad. And then things changed…


November 16th, I stood up after lunch to find a sharp pain in my leg. I shrugged it off as "just one of those pains" and tried walking it off. When I ran four days later and could hardly walk afterwards, I knew something was really wrong. I had ran myself somewhere between a shin splint and a stress fracture.   For 6 weeks, I stopped running and stuck to strength training, short yoga sessions, and some other low-impact cardio. 


My first run post-injury was 12 weeks and a day before the marathon. I ran 2 1/2 miles huffing and puffing and pushing through pain towards the end. I know some people are able to take a break from running and keep their fitness, but I was clearly not one of them; I felt like I was starting from scratch all over again.


I continued to train for the National Marathon even though in the back of my mind I was convinced I’d only run the half.  I chipped away at my long runs.  And then, 9 weeks into training, just when I thought things were turning around, I had my 20-mile run–the pinnacle of any marathon training plan–and it went awful. I over-dressed; I under-hydrated; and I realized just how out of shape I had let myself get due to injuries, the holidays, and overeating over the past 3 months. I was ready to throw in the towel right then right there for the whole marathon. 


But I didn’t. I kept with the training plan in my head and watched what I ate.  A week after trying to turn things around, I ran a 6.5 mile loop a full minute faster than before and that was good enough for me. Suddenly things seemed possible. And with practically every blogger in town for the National Marathon, I knew I’d have all the support and motivation I’d need to push through 26.2 miles even if I ended up walking the second half. 


The actual marathon was rather anti-climactic after everything I had gone through training. The first 10 miles were easy breezy until I stopped to use a porta-potty and lost my pace group. I tried catching up for the next 5-6 miles but realized I needed to run my race even if that meant not hitting the time goal I dreamed of wayyy back in October. I used the run/walk method for much of the second half which I truly think helped me finish as fast I could and not cause injury. 4 hours 19 minutes and 37 seconds later, I was done!


Here are other things Evan’s first marathon taught him.


What has your training recently taught you?  I’ve learned it’s okay to walk!


Want more Race Recaps?



  • chelsea April 3, 2011, 9:32 pm

    Thanks for the great recap Evan! However, I feel like we could never be friends since you don’t like cilantro….j/k! I know what its like to suffer from a stress fracture so I feel your pain. I think 4 hours and 19 minutes is awesome 🙂

  • Allison @ Happy Tales April 3, 2011, 9:34 pm

    Aw, what a motivating story!!! I am one month away from my first marathon and I just love reading about other peoples’ first experiences. Congrats to you, Evan!!! You finished with a GREAT time!!!!!

  • Lee April 3, 2011, 9:47 pm

    I’ve learned that not every race is going to be a PR and that’s okay.

  • Kristina @ spabettie April 3, 2011, 9:48 pm

    great race and great recap, Evan!! and I don’t like cilantro either… did I know this about you?? 🙂

    and Caitlin I’ve been meaning to tell you I LOVE the race recap series!!

    • Caitlin April 4, 2011, 9:38 pm


  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday April 3, 2011, 9:58 pm

    Congrats Evan!! That’s an amazing accomplishment!

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food April 3, 2011, 10:01 pm

    It’s so great to read these stories1 My marathon seems like it was so long ago and I really am itching to run another after reading this! 🙂

  • Baking 'n' Books April 3, 2011, 10:01 pm

    I agree with Samantha – and what a time! That’s a great story and shows that it doesn’t have to be perfect or go to plan. Just doing it (and kick-ass too by the way!) totally counts.

    I have no idea what cilantro tastes like. But I’m pretty sure anything vanilla bean has to taste good.

  • Sophia @ Raven Waves April 3, 2011, 10:07 pm

    What a motivating story! Great recap!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg April 3, 2011, 10:11 pm

    I love reading these recaps — And Evan I love your attitude — that you had to run your best race, whether that meant hitting your time goal or not. You finished a marathon which is a huge accomplishment!

  • Wendy April 3, 2011, 10:23 pm

    Great recap Evan! I’ve learned in the last few months that you DON’T have to run a ton of miles to train for a half marathon. I guess I’ll see how my Crossfit + one long run + 1-2 short speed sessions approach works next weekend!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 3, 2011, 10:49 pm

    Evan your post here and your own post on your site about it last weekend are awesome. I love your attitude and who you are and that you ran YOUR race and finished, despite the possible “barriers” that you faced.

    Great race, Evan 🙂

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 3, 2011, 11:08 pm

    Awesome Evan! I had a stress fracture last fall/winter, so I have an idea of what that’s like. Sounds like you handled it so well and truly came back with a bang! 🙂

  • Laughter-Loving Stacy April 3, 2011, 11:12 pm

    Nicely done, Evan!

  • Laura Smith April 3, 2011, 11:18 pm

    great job! My first marathon (last year) I also finished in 4:19 at the age of 19. Way to get out there!

  • Emma (Namaste Everyday) April 3, 2011, 11:20 pm

    I just started reading Evan’s blog, and I had no idea he was 20 years old, just like me! Thanks for recapping his race here 🙂

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife April 4, 2011, 12:20 am

    You have to switch it up OFTEN- is what I’ve learned. No boredom around here 😉 Nice job Evan!!

  • Jumanah @ Healthy Living in the Middle East April 4, 2011, 4:28 am

    Great recap Evan! Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down) April 4, 2011, 6:23 am

    Great recap! 😀

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 4, 2011, 7:47 am

    Congrats Evan! That’s so awesome how you pushed through post injury and didn’t let any obstacles stop you. Great job! 😀

  • Amy April 4, 2011, 7:47 am

    Great job Evan! Awesome time considering you were dealing with an injury!

  • gwen April 4, 2011, 8:07 am

    Learning that it’s ok to walk was a huuuuuge one for me! I used to consider that a failed run if I had stopped to walk a little…in a few weeks I’m doing a half marathon that has about 3,000 ft elevation change and I’m definitely ok with walking!!
    Congratulations and great first marathon Evan!

  • Katherine: Unemployed April 5, 2011, 7:09 am

    great job Evan! snaps!

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