Ten days before the United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington D.C. Marathon, Sam Doud set foot on a little training run. Twenty-two miles, starting at about a 6:15 per-mile pace, the last 3-4 miles dropping down to 5:40.
“Wow,” said the 21-year-old American University computer science and math major after the workout. “I can do this again.”
Doud ran track and cross country at American but was hardly enamored with his experience, which ended after the 2015 cross-country season.
“It got to the point where I didn’t think it would help me professionally. I wasn’t enjoying it. And I made the right decision,” he said.
Like any distance runner, the marathon idea rattled around his brain. After that 22-miler, he committed to make his marathon debut at Saturday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C., registering on-line on March 1. Practicality played a factor in picking D.C.
“The bus goes right to the starting line,” he said. “It was a natural. I don’t own a car.”
Then he went out and won the marathon in 2 hours, 26 minutes, 57 seconds. Doud passed the lead runner with about 1½ miles to go. Girma Bedada finished second in 2:29:57.
“Afterward,” Doud said, “I felt my calves were going to pop.”
In the VIP tent, he tried putting on sweat pants, his calves tightened and he tumbled, knocking over chairs.
He admits he slowed on his approach to the finish line and not to savor the moment.
“You want to slow down because you don’t want to push anymore,” he said. “The day after, you could have played a guitar on my legs they were so strung out.”
Doud is scheduled to graduate next winter. He admits the idea of running a 2:18 marathon and qualifying for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials has crossed his mind.
“I’ve got three years,” he said.
Asked if it’s now a goal, he said, “For a guy who can hardly plan what I’m doing tomorrow, that’s too far out.”
By Monday night, Doud was riding a train to Fayetteville, N.C. From there he was planning to cycle more than 300 miles over three days with a friend. The legs would be taxed some more.
“My friend’s pretty happy I’m sore,” said Doud. “I won’t be able to hammer him as much.”