I finished my first half marathon Saturday March 16th in Asheville North Carolina. I completed the 13.1 mile journey in 2 hours 56 minutes and 59 seconds. That averages out to 13:30 minutes/mile pace. Run along with me in this six minute YouTube video!

On the one hand this is not a "good" pace. It is slow. Most people complete a half marathon in two hours or so. The average pace for half marathon runners is around two hours.

But that isn't important. What is important ultimately is whether I am doing something that I am enjoying and if I am getting better at doing it through an intentional plan.

I am not a good planner. I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants and just try and make forward momentum. My feeling on these things has always been that if I just keep consistently trying to do something that my subconscious will figure out how to get better at the activity. I think that is ultimately true - I completed the NYC marathon just with the understanding that forward momentum will eventually get you to your destination.

But that doesn't mean that it will get you there in the fastest or safest way.

So I went into running this half marathon with some kind of a plan;

  • Do two long exercise days: one distance run (3 hours) and one leg strengthening day
  • Continue my gymnastics strength training
  • Do one light recovery running day just to get miles under my belt
  • Stretch daily even for five minutes

Simple enough goals. I didn't always accomplish them. But in having the goals I accomplished them more frequently than I did when I just was trying to work out for the nyc marathon whenever some free time popped open. I stretched every day. I definitely continued my gymnastics training. That helped with the running indirectly but I think having the separate activity helped keep things fresh and interesting.

I didn't try and increase my speed. I didn't try and set a goal for how far I got on my distance runs. I didn't try and set a personal record for my squats or anything like that.

This means I missed out on some potential gains and improvements. Keeping good records and setting precise goals would have helped me do better. But for whatever reason I still resist getting that granular. And if I am resisting that level of specificity then I am not going to push that. It is enough that I am doing something good for me and deriving tremendous personal satisfaction.

What now?

I didn't plan on doing the half marathon originally but I am grateful for the set of circumstances that forced me to change from a marathon to a half marathon.
I don't have to worry about injury or not being able to complete the race. I am a bit sore but more than able to carry on the rest of my life. And I will go running this coming weekend. If I had completed a marathon I likely would make the same mistake that I made after the NYC marathon and stop running.

So I think my goal is going to be to sign up for future half marathons and continue to optimize at this level. I will improve my form and pacing and speed. Once I can do a half marathon closer to the two hour mark I will consider stepping up and doing a marathon.


I never got into competitive sports. I still struggle to understand why people get so emotional when their team wins or loses. Being an awkward kid and all the negativity around being the kid who couldn't pull his weight on a team sport reduced the joy of that kind of interaction away for me. I get it - you want to win and you don't want to have dead weight on your team. But this means that there is no entry way for people who are going to be bad at an activity for a long time because they have a lot of catching up to do.

I think this is probably true for most people who were obese during their childhood. Most of us never got into sports for that reason.

But as I discovered the possibility of running I see that this is a non competitive community. I love the fact that the people that finished the marathon went back out to cheer people on who were still running. At the beginning of the race I made three new friends and we talked the whole way through - helping each other battle the cramps and aches as we moved forward.

We can do that because this activity is not a zero sum game. I didn't need to beat anyone to the finish line; I am only competing with past versions of myself.

Thoughts and feelings

I got unexpectedly emotional at the end of this half marathon. In 2017, when Adam was about two years old, I had sprained my ankles. I was basically unable to walk more than a block or two without significant pain. This was a terrible situation - I couldn't walk just as Adam was eager to walk everywhere! I was a stay at home dad who could barely get off the couch. My weight swelled up as I was sitting at home keeping him alive, which only made the ankles worse! I felt like I wasn't going to be able to get out of this cycle of injury.

That was about 6-7 years ago. Going from being about 400 pounds and unable to walk to 220 pounds and running a half marathon is a completely different life and a completely different man.

I've spent some time since finishing this marathon processing the emotions that I am going through and trying to figure out what my intuition is telling me.

Part of why I write is to figure out and crystalize these things. One thing my intuition is telling me right now is that I have been granted another chance to live a life of adventure and joy.

I have been given a tremendous number of gifts in this life and the gift of health in my middle age is the most important one as it will allow me to enjoy all the other gifts. I would like to try and pay that forward by helping anyone who would like to get healthy and accomplish a project that they thought was impossible.

I want to help someone who would like to lose weight and do a half marathon or any kind of distance run.

So I am putting this out into the world; If you want to lose weight and want a coach and partner to work with you I am happy to serve.

I want to find someone who has struggled and failed to lose weight and is ready to try again. I want to work with people who have said "maybe someday I'll do a 5K" and help them make that idea a reality. I want to help hold both of us accountable and grow together. We can talk weekly and keep ourselves going and motivated.

If you:

  • Have tried and failed to lose significant weight
  • Are committed to eating real food
  • Are willing to work for 4-6 months towards a long term physical goal

Reach out to me and let me help you get clear about how to do it and work with you. Email me and let's make a plan to become the best versions of ourselves together!

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