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My First Marathon [With Animation] – Good Day – October 11th, 2015

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Published on , last updated on October 3, 2020

The pre-race tensions, the morning of my first marathon!

I ran my first marathon in October, 2015. It was everything I had expected it to be, and then some. I was overwhelmed by everything: my emotions, the pain, the proud feelings, the joy, everything really. But above all, it was a fantastic experience. I have tracked my happiness on the day of the run, and also recorded my happiness ratings throughout the marathon itself. Therefore, I’m able to show you exactly how I felt during and after the marathon. I want to share this with you!

Let’s not waste any time. The animation below shows my experience in a graph.

This animation shows both my speed and happiness over time during my first marathon
This animation shows both my speed and happiness over time during my first marathon

As you can see, I mentally recorded my happiness rating during my run, as I regularly continue to do throughout any other day. This shows how I felt during this 42,195 meter long run.

I decided at the end of 2014 that I wanted to finish a marathon before the end of 2015. Well, I reached the finish so I was stoked to cross that off my list.

I also had the ambitious goal of finishing this marathon under 4:00:00. Many folks running their first marathon have this goal, and it is actually very challenging. I needed to run the entire marathon with an average speed of 10.55 [km/hr] if I wanted to reach that goal. As you can see, I tried to hang on to that speed for as long as possible.

“This is where  I enter Hell”

After a certain while (between kilometer 25 and 30) I started to struggle. My breathing was perfectly fine, but my legs were starting to fatigue. That was the point where I knew I would not be reaching my goal time. And it didn’t take long before I realised: “This is where  I enter Hell”.

Before I talk about the nightmare that was the last 10 [km] of a marathon, let me first show you how exactly I rated the day of my first marathon!

The data

Below is the data that I entered in my personal happiness tracking journal. This is how I rated my happiness on this day.

Tracking Happiness data on 11-10-2015

DateOctober 11th, 2015
LocationThe Netherlands
Happiness rating8,25
CommentHoly shit.

The Marathon. I've finished and I'm still alive! Fuck yeah!

Let's start from the beginning: I woke up 06:00 to eat a plate of pasta. Drove to Eindhoven straight after finishing. The race started at 10:00.

The first 21.1 [km] were wonderful. I had a pretty decent pace, the weather was beautiful, the ambiance was really nice and the course was great. Fantastic! I even became emotional during some parts of the race. But the good kind. Just the pure feeling of joy. Especially the people along the course that came out to cheer for me. I had never met these complete strangers, and yet there they were. Supporting me. It was amazing.

My parents also came out to support me, which was great. They were waiting around the 20 [km] sign, and followed me along the course on the bicycle. They even brought Frodo with them ๐Ÿ™‚

Running became very difficult from the 30 [km] sign. The last 5 [km] were absolutely hellish. The final 2 [km] were entirely fucked up. I was continuously fighting against muscle cramps. I almost had to stop running on multiple occasions... But I'm really proud that I kept running, even though the last 10 [km] were definitely slower.

I eventually finished in 4:20:00 or something, but I'm not bummed at all! It felt so amazing to finally run this thing. My hamstring was also not painful at all.

I felt like I was dreaming after I crossed the finish line. My body was broken beyong recognition, just too exhausted. Not really healthy, I assume. When I found a place to finally sit down, I looked at my medal and then it hit me.

I fucking did it. I ran a marathon. I felt on top of the world and could not be happier.

According to the app, I ran an average speed of 10 [km/hour] and covered a whopping distance 43.77 [km]. When did that happen? 4.000 calories, according to Runkeeper. I didn't doubt that number for a second, and I still don't. I feel completely beaten down. On my way back home, I stopped at a McDonalds, and quickly recovered a big part of those calories.

But what an event. Man. I'm so happy that I got to do this. Unbelievable. I can barely walk now, and I would not be able to climb the stairs without both my hands and feet. But it was worth it! Without a doubt.

I will probably sleep like a baby tonight. I'm super exhausted. My body is not happy at the moment, but I've never felt better mentally. This day was an absolutely GREAT day. It's pretty strange, considering I only decided to run this marathon a month ago. I'm proud. Going to bed now... Night!
Positive factorsRunning
Negative factors-

I did it!

Running my first marathon has been an unique experience. It was one of the best days in a time where I struggled to maintain high levels of happiness. Even though I did not reach my 4 hour marathon goal, I was extremely happy with what I accomplished.

My first Marathon 2015 while tracking happiness

After my first marathon

It took me quite some time to fully recover from this behemoth of a race. I had only trained a month for this marathon, so I really put my body through a phsyical hell.

I couldn’t really walk throughout the rest of the day. My legs were painful and beaten down to the bones. My heart rate also remained very high: about 25% higher than what it normally was. The next day was not much better. I couldn’t climb a single set of stairs without feeling pain in my knees and shins. Luckily for me, our office came with elevators ๐Ÿ™‚ It took a couple of days before I was completely pain-free again.

You must think I’m nuts. I would agree.

But would I do it again? Hell yes!

In fact, I’ve already done it again! Multiple times. ยฏ_(ใƒ„)_/ยฏ

“Nothing of that compares to the pure feeling of bliss you will experience after crossing that finish line”

As I’m writing this in October 2017, I’ve already completed three more marathons since the first, and I’m about to run my fifth in 2 months. I’ve grown to really enjoy these endurance runs.

If you are thinking about running your first marathon, remember this:

There is an endless list of reasons why you should not do it. Yes, it is painful. Yes, it takes a toll on your available time. Hell yes, you will hate some parts of it (if not all of it).

But nothing of that compares to that pure feeling of bliss you will experience after crossing that finish line.

Just. Do. It.

You can see the results of how I did in the chart below. This contains the same data as what I’ve shown in the animation at the start of this post.

Closing words

That’s it! I hope this helps you better understand how I have been tracking my happiness throughout the years. If this inspires or interests you in any way, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below! If you’re reading this and about to run your first marathon, please let me know as well!


Good days: In the โ€˜Good daysโ€™ post series, I will highlight some of the best days of my life. Not just any days, but the days where I tracked the highest happiness ratings. I will detail some of the journal entries and happiness ratings on specific above-average days. The goal of this series is to show you how exactly I am tracking my happiness. In a best case scenario, it inspires you to determine the added value of tracking happiness and therefore start for yourself.


Hugo Huijer

Founder of Tracking Happiness

Founder of Tracking Happiness and lives in the Netherlands. Ran 5 marathons, with one of them in under 4 hours (3:59:58 to be exact). Data junkie and happiness tracker for over 7 years.

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