My First 1/2 Marathon: Done


Yesterday I ran my first 1/2 marathon. 13.1 miles is something to be proud of and I am very happy to have completed that milestone in our beautiful city of Chicago.

Back in October I set a goal for myself of running 10 miles. In December after talking to a friend about it – she convinced me to run a 1/2 marathon. Let’s be honest, if you know me you knew I had already picked out a training plan which was for a 1/2 marathon so that the 10 miles would have felt easier. Since the Chicago Spring 1/2 marathon was set for the weekend before my 10 mile race, I decided I would sign up and give it a shot.

The Training

I put in 283.38 miles while training for this race. I started running 5 minutes at a time and ended up running 12 miles before tapering down before the race.

I followed a running plan by Robin Arzon because I believe and trust in her training style. Training was a time commitment. I put in 4 runs a week with my Saturday run being a long one. I put boxing and cycling on hold for a few weeks in order to focus on my running. I kept a journal of all my runs which review the highs and lows of the runs. I spent time in my car mapping out longer runs and dropped coconut water at my friend’s house. Not all runs felt great but I got them in.

I ran in hotel gyms, in 30 degree weather, and on days where I did not want to run at all. I put in hour runs on the treadmill, ran during my lunch hours, and after long work days.

The Learning Curve

I worked my way through six different pairs of shoes until I found shoes (and socks) that worked for me. I had major toenail issues and blisters. I ended up in the ER with a stomach ulcer. I had to learn how to run with little food, being nauseous as well as painful toenails.

For the shoes, I ended up going with a pair of Hoka Gaviota 5sAsics Gel Nimbus 25s that were sent to me by the very person who convinced me to do the 1/2 marathon.

I found the fuel that worked for me: Untapped Pure maple syrup which was always the highlight of my long runs. I consumed one after the first 45 minutes of my runs and then evert 30 minutes after that.

As for hydration, my go to was coconut water and soon realized that I needed hydration before 7 miles. I then made sure to have some available at my friend Stacey’s house where she would not only have it ready for me, but cheered me on as I passed by to pick it up.

Music is extremely important to me and after making a few playlists, as well as having a Madonna hour mix on hand, I went with listening to DJ Escape’s Global Groove Dance 6 which allowed me to focus on the race and get into the steady state mindset.

Pre-Race Day Night

The day before I was calm and felt ready. My head hit the pillow at 9pm and I was excited for the next day. I woke up at 11pm and soon started to panic when I could not fall back asleep. I saw 12am, 1am, 2am on the clock and with a 4:45am wake up alarm I knew I was in trouble. I moved downstairs on the couch and my cat faithful companion Pepper joined me. I rested his paw on my hand and I slept for another 1-2 hours. Giving me 3-4 hours of sleep before the race. I got up, chugged a Yerba Mate, ate a 1/2 english muffin with some peanut butter, and drove down for the race. I felt good as we entered the corral and even ended up talking to someone randomly who I was at a party with (without realizing it) months before.

The Race

It was a beautiful day in Chicago and the course went along the lakefront which was beautiful. The first 4 miles went great and I felt great. My lack of sleep started creeping in at the 1/2 way mark and my pace slowed, more walking happened, but I made it through. My faithful wife cheered me on a few different times and even ran/walked the last mile with me as I was out of steam at that point. I sprinted the finish and felt very happy to have had the opportunity to finish.

The Why?

I feel it is very important to lead by example. I wanted my kids see that hard work pays off and that working through adversity will make you mentally stronger. People think running is more about being able to physically run, but it is actually much more about mental strength. Being able to calm your breath, believing in yourself, and being able to stay positive and focused when things get hard…that is not only helpful in running, but essential in life. The physical pain will go away in a day or two but that mental skillset and toughness is forever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Soldier Field 10 Miler Completed!

Back in October 2023 I set a goal to run 10 miles and signed up for the Soldier Field 10 Miler. Over the past weekend I followed through on my goal and ran the race.


Listen Loudly Podcast

There is a new fitness podcast that I am listening to by one of my favorite Peloton instructors: Joslyn Thompson Rule.