My First Half Marathon

In January of 2012 a friend of mine gave me the run down on his training for a half-maraton. He and his girlfriend had signed up for the Disney World Half Marathon, held every January in Orlando, FL. Disney holds a number of races throughout the year and each January is their big, “Marathon Weekend.” You actually get a chance to run through the Disney Parks, and characters and bands show up and entertain you every mile or so. It sounded great, and I thought it would be a great new challenge and goal to set for myself.

So I signed up and set myself to train for a half-marathon over the next 10 months. It was going to be a heck of an accomplishment for me. I’ve never been a runner, I mean like ever. Always hated it and never wanted to even think of doing it, “for fun.” I’d also gotten big into Crossfit, and did not want to trade my Crossfitting for the large amounts of miles usually reserved for training.

And then in late summer a few friends suggested another half-marathon, this one in late October in Des Moines, Iowa, my current residence. Even though this was about three months before the Half-Marathon I was planning for, I decided to go for it. 13.1 miles, wow that’s alot. The most I’d ever “run” was 6 miles. As in run and walked and jogged and walked. I did a training run a in early October of about six miles but it was a combination of running, jogging, walking, some more jogging. Basically just to get comfortable.

That's me, passed out on the ground. Look closely...

That’s me, passed out on the ground. Look closely…

Here’s the four runners and two cheer-leaders a few minutes after I finished.

Yes! I finished! I completed the Des Moines Half-Marathon. Since my initial goal was the Disney World Half-Marathon, my first and only real goal for Des Moines was to finish. Like I said, this 13 miles was more than DOUBLE anything I’d ever done before. So even if it took me 13 hours, my goal was just to finish. I just wanted to get comfortable with the distance and the breathing and sheer amount of miles. Going from 3 miles to 5 would be one thing, but all the way up to 13 was a whole different ballgame.

I ran a bit, jogged, walked, jogged, walked some more. I alternated off and on between speeds. I definitely went slow, probably much, much slower than I needed to. But overall I felt great. My final time was three hours exactly. Well, three hours and 40 seconds. That sounds pretty terrible, (well, it is pretty terrible.) But my goal above everything else was just to finish. I mean I had elderly people on walkers passing me during the race and little girls on tricycles pointing and laughing at me. But my lung capacity for running has never been anywhere near a strength, and I wasn’t sure how my knees and feet would hold up, so super slow was the goal. No pride going in, no issue with finishing when it got dark, just pressing towards the goal, “To finish.” I laugh looking back as I would have ran a little bit more than last mile just to cut 41 seconds off my time. Afterward was probably some of the worst foot pain I’ve ever had., but I did it. I finished. And it felt great. Well besides the horrible pain I mean.

Somehow I'm still standing.

Somehow I’m still standing.

I finished! And now I have a goal to beat for my next half-marathon, coming up in just a few days actually. I couldn’t have done it without the fitness routine and drive that I’ve gotten from Crossfit. The crazy thing is I didn’t realize how much I’d want to run the next one. Pain aside, I was excited for the next one in January and started looking for ones in the spring time. Moral of the story? A year ago I wouldn’t have thought even for a second I would be able to run, (or jog and walk) a half marathon. But I did it.

If you think there’s something that’s so outrageous there’s no way you’ll be able to accomplish it, think again. Not only is it possible, but the level of achievement you’ll get from achieving something that seemed to impossible will just make all the sweeter.

The Disney World Marathon is this weekend. I’ll post on it once I finish. Now, at the very least, I have a goal to beat. 2:59, here I come!



  1. January 10, 2014 / 12:09 pm

    One of my goals this years is to get back into running – something I enjoyed with a passion for many years. Best wishes of getting under 2:59 🙂

    • Steve Bierfeldt
      January 14, 2014 / 11:06 am

      Hey thanks for the encouragement Sam. I’m a big fan of your site.