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My Second Marathon [With Animation] – Good Day – April 10th, 2016

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Published on , last updated on April 29, 2021

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Ah, my second marathon! It was another fantastic experience, and this post is my attempt at explaining how I felt during that day. I have tracked my happiness throughout this day, and also during the race itself. Before trying to explain what this experience did to me, I want to show you a quick summary of what happened.

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

This animation shows both my speed and happiness over time during my second marathon
This animation shows both my speed and happiness over time during my second marathon. I’ve tried to capture my emotions in the little pictures πŸ˜‰

I ran my first marathon back in October, 2015, and I liked the experience so much, that I signed up for my second marathon shortly thereafter. I didn’t want to stop at just one marathon. No! You see, I had a goal, and that goal was to finish this marathon under 4:00:00. It was actually on my list of goals for 2016.

As you can see, I mentally recorded my happiness ratings during my run, as I regularly do throughout any other day. This shows how I felt during this 42,195 meter long run. If I wanted to reach my goal, then I needed to run the entire marathon with an average speed of 10.55 [km/hr]. Just like the last time, I tried to hang on to that speed for as long as possible.

Before continuing, I want to show you how exactly I tracked my happiness on this day. How did running my second marathon influence my happiness?

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.

DateApril 10th, 2016
LocationThe Netherlands
Happiness rating8,00
CommentI went to Rotterdam this morning with my sister for the MARATHON. My sister wanted to finish within 5:30:00, I wanted to finish within 4:00:00. My brother, who was also there, wanted to finish as close to 3:30:00 as possible.

It was such a great experience again. The route was fantastic. Crossing the Erasmus bridge was very cool. When I crossed the 10 [km] point, I saw my girlfriend, my parents and a friend of our family. It was nice to see them. This friend yelled – with his typical hillbilly accent – “”You’re almost there!””. That had a couple of us runners chuckle. I bet some of them didn’t find it funny.

My uncle was running the marathon as well, so my aunt and cousin where also spectating. The first 30 kilometers were absolutely great. I really enjoyed it. My pace was alright. My heartrate was a tad too high, but eh… who really cares?

At kilometer 27.5, just before crossing the Erasmus bridge again, I saw my aunt and cousin cheering for me. Just 50 meters later, I saw 2 of my best friends. Fucking awesome! I didn’t expect them to be there. I hadn’t seen them for a long time, so it was really great to have them there. Another 50 meters later, I saw another good friend as well. Awesome. So I crossed this bridge with a BIG smile on my face. I was loving it.

At kilometer 33, I saw my parents and my girlfriend for the second time. It was good to see them again, but it was at that exact point where things started to get very hard again. I was about to enter hell. Good to be back, right?

I entered the final loop of the course, and I was faced with the runners who had already completed the loop and were on their way to the finish line. The lucky bastards… This final loop was the most boring, dreadful part of the race, and my legs started to feel like they were filled with lead. Just like last time, my pace dropped and I knew I wasn’t going to hit my 4:00:00 target. My morale was gone, and I really, REALLY hated this part.

I eventually regained myself during the last 2 kilometers, after having my good friend run along with me. Even though I was running like a new-born baby deer, I crossed the finish line in 4:08:01. Damn it! But the euphoric feeling of having finished another marathon was MUCH bigger than my disappointment. The next one is definitely going to be under 4:00:00! It has to be!

My brother eventually finished in 3:43:00, what a champ. He completely destroyed himself, and started to hallucinate during the final part of the race. After finishing, he sort of blacked out and had to be taken to the first aid. He’s never doing this again, lol. His words, not mine.

And my sister… I don’t know how she did it, but she finished under 5:00:00. I’m really clueless here, as she had a terrible preparation. And she’s already feeling fine again and wants to sign up for next year.. Fucking hell…

Anyway, this was a fantastic day. Really great!
Positive factorsRunning, Family, Relationship
Negative factors

I did it again!

As you can see, I went through hell during the last 10 kilometers. I knew this going in, as it was exactly the same as what I experienced during my first marathon, and yet I still did it. You can call me an idiot, I won’t mind. πŸ˜‰

The thing is, finishing this marathon made me feel extremely strong and confident. Even though the last part was god-awful, as soon as I crossed the finish line, I had a permanent smile on my face.

Running a marathon was one of the toughest things I had ever done, and I still decided to run and enjoy another one.

After 33 kilometers, my legs were absolutely killing me. But I was not going to stop running. No way in hell! I made it to the start, so I was going to reach this freaking finish line. No matter what it took.

Running my second marathon in Rotterdam
Running my second marathon in Rotterdam

Life after my second marathon

After crossing the finish line, I was filled with joy again. I finished in about 4:08:00, so I obviously didn’t reach my goal. This was my second try already, and I still couldn’t get there fast enough! Damn it!

But I wasn’t disappointed. No way. I knew I gave it my all, and that was really all I was capable of. I was still extremely proud of myself. Being able to run a marathon is a privilege. Not everybody is able to run these kind of distances. Knowing that my body was able to power through such an intense event made me really proud. Screw this 4:00:00 goal, I was still on top of the world!

It was nice to know that both my brother and sister also ran a great race. Having my friends, my girlfriend and family along the route was also fantastic. It all added to this amazing experience.

How did my family do?

My brother and sister both ran a great race. My brother quite literally destroyed himself, by pushing his body to the limits. In hindsight, he really pushed it way too far. He was feeling miserable for a couple of days after the marathon, and swore to never run one again. We’ll see about that πŸ˜‰

My sister miraculously finished within 5 hours. And I say miraculously because of this: her preparation wasn’t the best, and she really struggled during all her prior long distance runs. We all expected her to have a really hard time, but she actually liked it a lot. Consider my mind = blown.

And for myself, I was already looking forward to my next marathon. As much as I enjoyed the Rotterdam Marathon, I still wanted to finish this damn race within 4:00:00. I decided to sign up for a new marathon as soon as possible, as I WAS GOING TO reach this goal before the end of the year. It was non-negotiable!

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. It may be good to know that this data was recorded on Runkeeper with my smartphone. This smartphone struggled with the GPS signal on some occasions (you can see the spikes). Therefore, the speed and distance data is not the best. πŸ™ According to Runkeeper, I ran 43.900 meter, instead of the official 42.195!

Closing words

That’s it again! I hope posts like these help you understand what tracking happiness means to me. If you’re considering running a marathon right now, please JUST DO IT. The human body can endure a lot, and it will obviously be very hard. But the feeling you get when crossing that finish line makes it all worth it. I want everybody to have the opportunity to experience what that feels like!

If this inspires or interests you in any way, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below!

Have you finished a marathon before? If so, let me know if your experience was any different from mine! I would love to know! πŸ™‚


Good days: In the β€˜Good days’ 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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