I ran my first half marathon (Seattle Half Marathon) in 2009. It was Thanksgiving weekend, cold and painful. During the five months leading up to it, I was only haltingly getting into the practice of regular running. Even after the event, I would not say I was really enjoying the training that much. But, I finished that race and that’s what mattered. My final time clocked in at 02:24:10.

Over the years, I kept practicing and participated in a few more races. A goal emerged over time and I had hoped to accomplish it prior to running my first full marathon in 2016: Run a half marathon in under two hours! I actually did come close that year (Lake Sammamish Half Marathon, 02:01:19), without quite making it.

Last weekend, I ran the Beat The Blerch Half Marathon. The race featured a very flat course throughout and pouring rain for a good portion of the time. One is helpful for maintaining good speed and the other, well, I found it strangely exhilarating. I found a good flow that day, things worked out.

As I finished mile thirteen, looking forward to finishing, my five-year-old daughter ran towards me, a big smile on her face, screaming “Daddy!” We shared a high-five and I continued for a bit further, past the finish line.

So, after almost nine years of inconsistent, small improvements, I finally ran a half marathon in under two hours. In the evening, my daughter told me, perhaps next time we could run a race together. She also had a question: “How much did you level up today?” I couldn’t help but laugh.

Perhaps it is time for new goals.

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