My feet hurt. My legs are sore and my joints ache. I'm in pain, but I'm smiling.

Last weekend, I finished my first ever half marathon (13.1 miles) and I gotta say, I’m feeling pretty fantastic. Here’s a picture my wife snapped of me and the kids after I crossed the finish line.

me with my 4 kids
Yes, that is a cutoff sleeve on my head. Keepin' it classy, ya'll!

I always like to connect personal experiences to meaningful metaphors I can draw from later and this race is no different.

In July of this year I decided (key word) I wanted to run the AthHalf, an annual half marathon in my hometown of Athens, GA. I’ve never been a runner per se, but this seemed like a good challenge with a deadline to boot. Something to work towards and to motivate me.

After talking with some runner friends and googling around for half marathon training programs, I got started with my official training in July. That provided a little more than 12 weeks before the big day.

There were so many times during training where I missed runs and messed up my schedule, but I’d always try to course correct to stay on track.

A week before the race I ran the course as my last “long run” of my training program. After a grueling time of nearly 2 hours, my solo practice pace averaged at 8:53 per mile for a total run of 1:56.

Fast forward to race day, add in live music at every other mile marker, a slew of fans cheering on runners, and it created quite the energetic atmosphere. I stayed slightly faster than my previous time, but after mile 8 I decided to get out of my comfort zone.

I cranked up my pace by nearly a minute and felt great. In retrospect, I probably could’ve increased my pace earlier.

For my current level of fitness, eight miles is usually the point where I naturally start to get pretty exhausted. During the race this was no different, but something switched mentally.

This moment was what I had been training for. I decided (again, keyword) I’d put in more effort than my body wanted to deliver... until I hit the finish line.

It was during that hardest time of the race where I pushed myself the most and went the fastest. Check out the splits below and you can see where I picked it up.

Strava stats

I finished the race with a total time of 1:45, ten minutes faster than the week before. You can see the full stats on my Strava profile.

I can’t help but believe this race is not some silo-ed event in my life. I believe this training and personal victory will spill over into my family, my relationship with my wife and kids, and even my work.

It’s a nice reminder when things feel the most overwhelming, it’s often because you’re getting close to the finish line. If you can just bare down and press harder, you’ll get farther and go faster than you ever thought possible.

Some parting thoughts...

What have you decided to do even though you feel unequipped? Do you have a strong why? Do you have a goal, a deadline, and a plan?