My First Marathon, Part 1

by Scott Kingsley

scott kingsley marathon

Congratulations! Your application for an entry to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been selected.

Oh crap…

See, there is a reason why I uttered these words out loud at my desk last December when the email arrived in my inbox. I’m not a runner, I’m a cyclist. My wife, she’s the runner. 56 half marathons, six marathons, and two 50k trail races (in a three-weekend period), all of which were completed in a four-year period. I’m a cyclocross racer. I should have one of those 0.1 magnets on the back of my car, not a 26.2. But somehow, she is turning me into a runner.

I’ve followed her around (on bike) with a camera taking pictures at races all over the Mid-Atlantic region. Caesar Rodney, Steamtown, New York City, Blues Cruise, it all kinda seemed like fun. We enjoy supporting each other in our activities, so I decided I wanted to try running with her.

It started with a four-mile run late in March of 2016. It hurt, and was a struggle, but I made it through with her. That May, she started a run club with the local Lululemon, so even though I had hurt my back earlier in the week, I went out on the first day and ran another three miles. That weekend, on a whim, she signed me up for the Turkey Hill Half Marathon and two and a half hours later, I struggled my way across the line with her help. I completed my first half!

I hated it. It hurt, it was slow, but I did it. My body was in pain for a week, but there was that feeling challenge and accomplishment. Damn it, I was hooked.

Vee Fit Run Club
photo by Scott Kingsley

I started running weekly with the run club and we added some runs on the weekend. We ran the Reading Hospital Half Marathon, which went much better. I was still sore, but it actually felt almost easy. When Thanksgiving rolled around, we started the Runner’s World Holiday Run Streak, running a mile a day, sometimes more, well into 2017. A week before the 2017 Garden Spot Half Marathon, a friend had to back out due to injury, so we transferred his registration, and I finished in just over two hours in my first solo half marathon.

That was when I decided I wanted to run my first full marathon. I still don’t know why. I think it has to do with seeing her after she finished the New York City Marathon, and how proud I was of her. We missed the application window for Chicago, and we didn’t get selected for New York, so we tried for Chicago again, and here we are, a little over three months from the start.

So the bad part is we haven’t been running regularly in about a year. My wife has been focusing on her fitness instruction and yoga certifications, and I’ve been busy with cyclocross, cycling journalism, and starting a small organic beard balm company. Knowing we have a lot of training ahead of us, we freed up our schedules a bit to make training a priority.

There are two important tools we will use to prepare for the event, accountability and a training plan. It has been proven that people are more likely to succeed in a workout program if they are accountable to others. We will be training together, making sure we are getting the miles in. As for the training plans, there are a lot of great options and many big events offer them on their sites. My wife took the Nike Chicago Marathon training plan and adapted it to our busy schedule based on her experience as a runner and personal trainer. We’ve added each day’s workout to a shared calendar that we use to keep track of our busy schedule. That way, we can plan our week in advance and make sure we are staying on track.

Over the next 15 weeks, we’ll share more about our training and my journey as a relatively new runner on my way to my first full marathon. We’ll have some product reviews and articles about our gear of choice and stories on the mental and physical struggles along the way.

I guess that means it’s time to get out and start running. Let the pain and suffering in the name of journalism begin.

Scott Kingsley does more than a little bit of everything. A cyclocross racer who found his way into running through his wife, he’s also a journalist, photographer, mechanic and creator of the handcrafted organic beard balms of Lancaster Beard Company. Scott is also the tech editor at and contributor at VeeFit4Fun Fitness.
Scott is based in Lancaster, PA and is a Veggie Powered Athlete.


  1. Remember, cycling does not translate to running as running does to cycling. Keep running. Keep a running log. Keep testing yourself with a race as often as you can. That should keep you motivated. Have fun, run in the rain, run in the darkness (be carful). have fun.

  2. I’m in Chicago this year too but I went from runner to couch potatoe to cyclist and eventually brought back in cycling so I could do triathlon. That meant I had to learn to swim. My problem for Chicago is that I have 2 half ironman races, one of which is a World Championship race. I will not be doing traditional marathon training. Anyway one insight I can help you with is that cycling a few miles, easy bike can really help your running. I always run faster off the bike. So you can have both. I have 26 marathons 1 full ironman and about 12 half ironmans to my credit. The marathons hurt more.

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