On Sunday I will run my third half-marathon. The Long Beach Half Marathon will be a special race for me because it will conclude my California Dreamin' Racing Series, which means I'll get a jacket and special medal. Having ran the Surf City Marathon and the San Francisco Marathon, this race was almost a no-brainer in order to get the jacket and medal.
But this race isn't special just because of that. Like all the other races I run, this race is special because I am participating. For me, showing up and running the race is a victory.
It's been right around three years now that I completed my 120-pound weight-loss journey, and about two years now that I became a runner, but I never take anything for granted. In some ways, it feels like just yesterday that I was wearing XXL shirts and size 44 pants.
When my wardrobe featured such clothes, I never thought I'd run a race. Never thought I'd run a marathon. Or a half marathon. Or a 10K. Or a 5K. Or a mile. Or anything.
Now, distance running is part of my life. It encompasses so much of what I strive to do and what I try to emulate in my life - perseverance, determination, motivation, grit, mental strength... so many things that I can and try to carry over to my personal and professional life. And I get a nice set of runner's legs for no extra charge.
Still, what running races reminds me the most is that I have come a long way, and I know that if I can get to the start line of a half marathon for the third time, that there are others in a similar situation that I was at who can do so as well. All you have to have is a little faith in yourself and a little determination.
So when I set out to conquer Long Beach and try to get my PR, I will walk away with my glory no matter what time I finish in.