AFC Half Marathon – A Different Kind of Journey

AFC 35th Anniversary Medal

On August 19th, I ran my second half marathon: The 35th Annual America’s Finest City Half Marathon. My experience with this race—in both training and the race itself—has been very humbling.

Before my training runs, I would find something to meditate on during the run. Sometimes it’s a prayer for other people, other times I would focus inward on how I can become a better person. It really helped me along with my runs, especially when going around a track (which I find mundane at times). There was a time where I prayed to ease the suffering for a dying neighbor—I found out later that he passed away that same morning. It’s funny how God works. I essentially prayed for his journey home during my run. The training runs weren’t just for me anymore. It was dedicated to a greater purpose.

Foggy Track Run

Foggy morning on the track

The race fell right after three straight weeks of being out of town on convention and vacation. I doubted my ability to get in my regular routine during this time, especially when it was critical to get the longer runs in. I probably ran 4 times in those 3 weeks. I ran in hot and humid Omaha, NE (where I found that I’m a wimp). I also ran at high elevations in Sequoia Natl. Park and in industrial parts of Sacramento. I missed my near-daily morning “meditation runs” and I sure felt the strain on my body when I ran 12 miles right after I got back from vacation (skipping my 10 and 11 mile runs during the break).

Forward to pre-race week… From my experience with my last half-marathon, I knew that I didn’t carb-load properly nor did I hydrate enough.  Plus, the weather was predicted to be hot and humid on race day (oh no!). So I did everything I could to make sure I didn’t pass out.

On race day, I decided who I’d be praying for—it was for my friend, Bill, who’d been in and out of the hospital for the past few months. Runners were bussed from Balboa Park to  the start at Cabrillo Natl. Monument, where it was a glorious sight to watch the sunrise across the bay. As predicted, the race was hot and humid at 7am and I had to try so hard not to put on my “wimp hat.” Even though the first few miles of the race was downhill, the heat was nearly unbearable. I was happy that some residents brought out their hoses to cool us off. I was also glad Sweaty, beat, and drenched in water. I need a banana.[/caption]

It took me about a week to recover and I’m easing into running at regular pace again. I’m signed up for the San Diego Half Marathon again (March 2013). I’m looking forward to going through the same journey again… and this time without pain!