How Running A Half Marathon (That I Had No Desire To Run) Changed My Life Forever

Last Sunday I ran the America’s Finest City Half Marathon in San Diego.

It was the 10th year anniversary of me running my very first half marathon… which happened to be this very race.

I committed to running my first half marathon 10 years ago in honor of my dad, who at the time, was in the fight of his life, a fight he would lose 3 months later to cancer.


I’m Done With Running

When I ran my first half marathon 10 years ago, I had no intention of running any other races.

10 years later, I’ve ran 11 half marathons, 2 full marathons, 1 ultra marathon (A 50 miler), and countless 5K races and other fitness events such as Spartan races.

So much for no intention on running any other races.


What changed?

I changed.

What I thought changed.

How I felt changed.

What I did and how I lived changed.

That first half marathon challenged me, both physically and mentally.

Physically because I had never ran that distance before and mentally because I wanted to give it my all and do my absolute best for my dad.

Running the race didn’t change my dad’s fate, but it changed my life forever.

When I crossed that finish line 10 years ago, I bawled my eyes out.

Along with bawling my eyes out, I also felt a feeling of empowerment, confidence, energy, and aliveness that I had never felt before.


The Power That Is Exercise

Regardless of what may be going on in our lives – sick loved ones, hard times, career challenges, relationship issues… when things seem to be out of whack and out of control…

There’s exercise, there will always be exercise.

There is no better high than the high we feel from exercise.

There are many things we can’t control, there are many things we’ll be told we can and can’t do, but one thing is clear…

No one can tell us when and when not to exercise.

No one can tell us when and when not to feel great.

No one can tell us when and when not to live our best.

We decide this for ourselves, no one else.

Not our family, not our friends, not our spouses, not our co-workers, not our neighbors, not strangers, not haters, no one.


We Decide When We To Feel Our Best Because We Decide When We Exercise

Run, hike, walk, bike, swim, jump, throw, skip, roll… I don’t care how or what it looks like, so long as you’re moving yourself with energy, effort, and conviction.

Conviction that YOU are in charge of you, no one else.

Conviction that YOU are in charge of how you feel, and no one else.

Conviction that YOU are in charge of how you think, and no one else.

Conviction that YOU are in charge of how you act, and no one else.

Conviction that YOU are in charge of how you live, and no one else.


Limits? What Limits?

I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and push your limits.

Not because you have to, but because you can.

Because when you do, there’s a good chance you’ll never be the same again.

Life will never be the same again.

10 years from now you’ll look back and ask yourself, “man, did I really do all that?

And the answer will be, “Damn right I did.”

“Today is your day… to start fresh, to eat right, to train hard, to live healthy, and to be proud.”

You’re awesome!




  • Your story is truly inspiring. I am a marathon runner myself and I can attest to the changes it can make in a person. Keep up at it.

    • Thanks Lisa – I appreciate you reading and your feedback as well, you’re awesome! Being a marathon runner yourself, you know the effects (not just physically either) that running (exercise) has on us. Keep it up as well… Cheers!

      • I know it may sound odd, but I think the psychological mental effect is even bigger! Or maybe it’s just the increase in released endorphin and other body chemicals that cause that change.

        It can be argued that any sport done to the extreme could be more physically damaging, if that makes sense. Looking at elbow problems of tennis players, knees of runners etc..

        That may be true, but that’s part of the game and the mental changes are far far far make it worthwhile.

        While you definitely get benefit from even doing light cardio like daily walks and there’s nothing bad to say about it.

        The MENTAL benefit and the huge increase in VO2 Max far exceed any potential superficial physical damage. Marathons, Ultra marathons, Iron man etc.. And any hardcore competitive makes your mentally stronger like nothing else.

        Keep up the good work. Cheers.

        • No question Lisa, the psychological mental effect of putting ourselves in a position that challenges us physically is incredible. No question, light cardio workouts are definitely a great starting point to build upon to help us gain more confidence (physically and mentally) so that we’re then more comfortable stepping further and further out of our comfort zones. Marathons, Ultra marathons, Iron man events… intense events such as these most definitely makes us mentally stronger like nothing else. It’s also the intensity of these events that keeps people from attempting them. That said, I go right back to the point you made that starting somewhere (anywhere) even with light cardio and moving up from there is something we all can do, feel good about, and reap both the mental and physical benefits of exercise. Cheers to you!

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