I have been excited to share this story with you since it happened. I hope to hear from some of you who have already run this “different kind of race” and/or some of you who plan to in the future.
San Antonio Half Marathon Sunday Dec 6th 2015. Somewhere into mile 2 I see a guy jogging backwards. I joke with him “hey did ya lose your running buddy already?” he mumbled “no, legs cramping up” to which I reply “yikes.” By this point I had already just about passed him. I noticed his bib was red indicating he was running the marathon, not the half. As I ran a few min I thought “why didn’t I stop and help him, maybe I could have offered him some stretching ideas or at the very least some support. ” I couldn’t stop thinking for the next mile that I should’ve slowed down and run with him. Now is the part that might get a little “hokey” but I’ve really been working on my relationship with God the past few months. And that includes trying to “talk” and listen more to God vs the rote prayer I was used to growing up Catholic. I have since proclaimed myself of the religion I like to call, “a person who believes in God.” So we had this convo in which I continued asking if I stop now and turn and look if I’ll be able to find him. And, isn’t that just a dumb, stupid idea? Shouldn’t I just keep running the race? This went on for about a mile till God just said “stop” what’s the point of you running this race? You think you can run 30 sec faster than your last half? Who cares? Nobody cares but you. Just stop, walk and look for him.
So, I stopped and walked for about 2 min and then started 2nd guessing myself thinking, there’s no way I’ll see him. Do I even remember anything about him other than his shirt? So, I decided to redirect my efforts. I started looking for someone who needed a spirit lift. Hmmmm? At mile 3 everyone looked pretty good. Some were looking at me like I had 3 heads because I was walking backward looking at them. I started to jog slowly and saw a guy over to the side walking. I asked him if he was ok. He said, “yep, just have some knee troubles sometimes.” I asked him if he wanted some company and he seemed ok with that. And so forged my friendship with James, a 27 yr old native Texan now living in Dallas. He is an exercise physiologist and a new running coach. He recently coached his girlfriend to complete her first 5 k. He completed the Las Vegas Marathon a few weeks ago and this half was a training run for another marathon he has slated for next week. And he really looks forward to getting the best feel for the half and the marathon distances so he can be a better coach to his clients.
When James mentioned Vegas a nearby runner’s ears perked up. He said “You ran Vegas, so did I, wasn’t it awesome, except for the wind that literally lifted a woman off the ground at mile 23?” and so began the ‘Paul, James, Allison San Antonio Trio’ for the next 7 or so miles til Paul veered off to run the rest of the marathon and James and I hammered out the last 2 of the half. During our time with Paul we learned that he was also a native Texan who lost over 100 lbs and found a love for running in the process. Paul is a REAL race enthusiast following in his dad’s footsteps (his dad was also running the marathon). WOW, Paul has been doing races every month (many of them marathons) and loving it. Both of these guys were super inspiring and I am so blessed to have “run” into them in San Antonio. Making friends (for me) blows making a PR out of the water. And so this was my first “different kind of race” and I know it was the first of many.