On Finishing My First Half-Marathon

I ran my first half-marathon last week. I had several goals going into this 13.1-mile romp along the Pacific coast:

  • Don’t walk. Just don’t.
  • Don’t go to the bathroom at mile 8.
  • Don’t resort to running shirtless because of nipple-chafing.
  • Do keep blisters to a minimum because they will inevitably happen.
  • Do break the 2-hour threshold.

Well, I can proudly say I accomplished all of my major goals — thanks in large part, no doubt, to my free pre-race massage. Someday I’ll analyze how much better all of life’s grueling challenges would be with a pre-gunfire massage.

TMZ: Half-Marathon Massage

It was drilled into my head that I wouldn’t dare walk, so I never even thought to do so. Ran 13.1 miles straight for the first time in my life.

No harrowing intestinal issues to report. Thank goodness, because there weren’t even any port-a-potties out in the middle of that winding canyon. WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE?

The dusting of rain combined with the water being handed out that was supposed to go down my throat but instead mostly landed all over my chest made the conditions ripe for nipple-chafing. By the end of the race, my right one was a tad ripe, but nothing like poor Andy Bernard.

Andy's NipplesBy mile 7, I was feeling great. Just look at my doofy smile in the video (conveniently located at the end of this post). By mile 9, however, blisters were starting to sprout on my soles like the Mucinex blobs move into one’s nostrils.

I wasn’t going to let those mucus blobs blisters ruin my run though. I pushed through the blistering pain and by mile 10, I was ready to knock this thing out of the park with a mad dash to the endzone and an alley-oop to the bank. Charge.

When I reached the final .1 of my 13.1-mile journey, I was ecstatic to see a “1” leading the numbers on the clock.

I finished my first half-marathon with a time of 1:56:36.

Upon crossing the finish line, I was handed a medal that said “finisher.” Sounds like a silly trinket reserved for teeny tee-ballers who successfully complete their first game without running to the playground by the 3rd inning.

But to say that I finished my first half-marathon without stopping, without de-shirting, without quitting? That’s huge.

I finished.

Until the day I die, I can proudly proclaim having finished that particular race of my life.

Just like I finished the half-marathon of high school.


Studying abroad at Oxford University for six insane weeks.

Eleven insaner weeks with YouthWorks last summer.

I love running so much for all the spiritual/life metaphors. Paul totally nailed it throughout his New Testament letters.

I so badly want this to be my legacy: that I answered my call, that I gave it my absolute all, and that I finished my race.

Maybe it sounds trivial, but crossing that finish line under two hours really was a big deal. I never could break 20 minutes in my 5Ks throughout high school, so this was a huge redemption moment.

It’s cool to remember when this whole half-marathon idea was just a faraway dream. Well, dream fulfilled. I did it. Finished.

Here are some pictures of the race, followed by a video with my dear sweet Polish mother videotaping 4 minutes of my 116 on the running trail.

TMZ: Half-Marathon 1

Here I come!

TMZ: Half-Marathon 2

There I go!

Finishing my first-half marathon

FINISHING! Brought to you by the fine folks at Massage Envy.

TMZ: Half-Marathon 3
Father and I.

TMZ: Half-Marathon 4

My Polish mother and I.

Gosh, my doofy smile; it’s everywhere. Now to look at it in video-form:

What’s something you’re proud to have finished?