How (Not) to (Not) Train for a Half-Marathon

  1. While in Nairobi, on your way to Ethiopia, agree to go for a run for a friend. Do not be deterred by the fact you do not have running shoes. Tell yourself that “just one run” couldn’t do any harm.
  2. Learn that there is a half-marathon in three weeks. Figure that since you are living in Kenya, you may as well “look in the mirror and say ‘when in Rome’” and agree to run in it. Resolve to train for the half-marathon.
  3. Spend one week in Addis Ababa. Do not train. Tell yourself that since Addis Ababa’s elevation is high, it’s “basically like training.”
  4. Return to Kenya, now two weeks before the half marathon. Run two or three times that week. Be sure to avoid running a distance anywhere near the 21 km length of a half-marathon. No more than 5 km is best.
  5. Plan to play soccer several times in Nanyuki as a form of conditioning. Discover that your busy work schedule largely prevents you from doing so.
  6. The week before the half-marahon, plan on trying to get a car out of the mud by pushing it, barefoot. Get stabbed with an acacia thorn. In order to let in recover properly, do not run that week.
  7. Work on Sunday the week before the marathon so that you can leave work on Friday afternoon, to arrive in Nairobi the night before the half-marathon, which will be held on a Saturday. Tell your friends in Nairobi that you will be coming down, but cannot hang out Friday evening, as you have to run the next day.
  8. Travel to Nairobi. While stuck in Nairobi traffic, see a billboard advertising the marathon. Learn that the half-marathon is not on Saturday, as you thought, but instead on Sunday.
  9. Call your friends in Nairobi, inform them that you can in fact hang out with them on Friday night.
  10. On Saturday night, set your alarm for 5:45 in the morning, in preparation for your 6:30 departure from the apartment where you are staying. Mistakenly use the “weekdays” setting, so that it does not go off on a Sunday morning.
  11. Let the person with whom you are staying wake you up when your alarm fails to go off, at 6:25.
  12. Make your way, by combination of cab and foot, to the start line.
  13. Run half-marathon.
  14. Resolve not to follow steps 1-12 the next time you run a half marathon.

For an account of how step 13 went, check back tomorrow!

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3 Responses to How (Not) to (Not) Train for a Half-Marathon

  1. N P says:

    Very entertaining, Nate, but I imagine your time running the half marathon without training was still about twice as fast as my time walking after training of and on for several months. Looking forward to the rest of the story tomorrow. NP

  2. Bobby Marathon says:

    You’re a legend!

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