Last Sunday, I ran my seventh half marathon, America’s Finest City, in the beautiful city I call home–San Diego. I’ll start off by saying that this was a very different race for me–unlike any half marathon I have done before.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about making time for what is important to me. With so many emotions, responsibilities, and “wants,” I decided that in order to find balance, training to PR for the AFC half marathon would not be a priority of mine. As difficult as this decision was for me, I knew that it would be quite a long while from now if I ever decided to stop running races, and there would be multiple opportunities for me to PR, but not multiple opportunities for me to throw myself into the other activities and priorities I have had on my plate. Nevertheless, I still had a goal to run the best race I could.
Avery and I at Harbor Island after the race expo
When I took out the pressure of beating my personal best, the race–and the training–became something completely different for me. A few months ago, I did not even know if I was going to run this race. I had hoped I would be elsewhere, and as such, postponed signing up. But of course, God works wonders and because I signed up for yoga teacher training (the last day of training was the day of the race), I knew I would be in San Diego. There was no reason not to sign up anymore.
The view of America’s Finest City from Cabrillo National Monument (the start)
While running, a number of different thoughts and emotions rushed through my head–reminders of where I thought I’d be, thoughts of people I miss, joy in running. But something that I always came back to was how grateful I was that Avery was running the race too. I never could have guessed or expected it, but this race strengthened a new friendship.
For the six half marathons and one marathon I had run before the AFC half, there have been few times that someone has come to cheer me on and watch me finish. My parents have come to watch my brother and I finish two of our races, and of course, having them there is incredibly special. But all of the other races? My first half marathon? My second? My third? I came and left alone–and I was fine with it. I run for me.
Also, I’m not one to enjoy a running buddy; I usually run alone. But I enjoyed running with Avery and I took advantage of that. From morning runs after our nights watching The Bachelorette, our trips to the Little Italy Mercato, and our adventure scavenging through the race expo to find free swag, even my “training” (the little training I did do) for this half was transformed.
AFC Half Marathon: check!
After crossing the finish and finding Avery and Erik, I could not help but cry. I always tear up during races (simply out of pure joy and my runner’s high), but this is the first time my emotions completely took over post-race. The disappointment that I did not run my best race, the reminder that I had thought I would be somewhere else on this day, but the realization that I had the most amazing friend and overall support system was overwhelming. It is no surprise that for this race on this day, I was not alone, unlike the countless number of races before.
Later in the car on the way to grab brunch after the race, Avery and I talked about what our favorite part was. After some thinking, I responded with, “My favorite part was doing this with you.” Because it’s true! The overwhelming sense of gratitude that Avery was at the race was indescribable. I couldn’t have done it without her there. So thanks, Aves :)
That’s what I love about running. I learn something new each time, and with each race. I could love nothing more.