So, last Sunday, I ran a half marathon.

Under normal circumstances, most folks would report on their half marathon training online, especially someone like me. After all, I am the guy that told you everything I ate for four months. So first of all, I apologize to you, my internet friends, for not sharing this information months ago when I began training. Believe me, I really wanted to tell all of you, but there were other considerations here. This half marathon was not only a huge milestone for me personally, it was also the biggest and most elaborate prank I’ve ever pulled, and because of that secrecy was necessary. This post will explain all of this, but first, the backstory.

I had a roommate in college named Mark, we’re actually still really great friends. Mark is one of those dudes that can’t really just sit still and relax for more than about 8 minutes per day. He always has “a plan,” and that plan usually includes climbing something tall, staring at something through binoculars, or running a very long way. Mark’s idea of a vacation usually involves canoeing to a deserted island, pooping in a bucket for the weekend and hunting birds (but only to look at them, not shoot them). For those of you that know me personally, you know that my idea of a vacation has more to do with fruity beverages, lying prostrate beside bodies of water and pooping in well maintained, super-fancy facilities where the towels are always folded into the shape of circus animals for you.

As you can imagine, this difference of opinion when it comes to leisure activities has often led to a ton of jokes at each others’ expense. I accuse Mark of working too hard, running even when he’s not being chased and not stopping to smell the roses (even though Mark has probably seen and smelled many more roses than me while he was busy staring at birds). Mark accuses me of being lazy, never exercising and generally being a slacker. This has gone on for years, and it’s especially fun when it involves Mark’s favorite hobby, running.

Anyway, Mark called me back in March and said that he and his wife Shelley wanted to come out in September to run the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon. I was already a couple of weeks into the Couch to 5k plan, and I immediately thought, “wouldn’t it be hilarious if I trained for this half marathon and ran it with Mark? And wouldn’t it be even more awesome if he had no idea until he got here?”

So, that became the plan. I finished the Couch to 5k plan in late May, and I started Hal Higdon’s half marathon training on June 1st. That essentially gave me just enough time between then and Labor Day to finish the training and run the half. I’ll do some other posts this week offering more detail on all of this, but I made it! I totally ran a half marathon, and I never thought I’d be saying that.

Of course, that’s not the best part. The best part is that we completely pulled off this prank, and it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. First, I had to basically keep my mouth shut about this since March, which was torture to be honest. Second, after they got here, we had to go pick up our race packets, but I had to make sure that Mark didn’t see this happen. Celine had to pick up the packet while I ran interference by asking Mark about his favorite race goo. Did you know you’re supposed to eat goo during a long race? Pretty gross, but true. ┬áThen we had to spend two entire days with Mark before telling him on the morning of the race, baiting him into picking on me about not running all the while. It was awesome, but not anywhere near as awesome as the actual reveal. Here it is in all its glory (fair warning, there are some awe-inspired curses sprinkled throughout):

I could watch that video about a million times.

After that, we drove to the race, and I actually ran the race. Photographic evidence:

The final mile!

Mark, always the good sport, came back and ran the last mile with me (he’d been done for quite a while). That was really nice of him, and almost made me feel bad about having these t-shirts made:

Suck it, McNeill!

Almost. Those shirts say, “Suck it, McNeill!” He didn’t see those until this moment, after the race was over. It was the perfect end to the perfect punk. After this, we drank wine and ate pizza and celebrated our race. By the way, Mark finished almost an hour before I did, so he technically gets the last laugh, right?

Nah, I’m just saying that to make him feel better. I totally owned this day! More posts soon to cover the training, how we did in the race, more pictures, etc. I think this is long enough at this point, don’t you?