It’s an absolutely beautiful day in downtown Los Angeles, where thousands have gathered to run the rock n roll half marathon. Here I am among this crowd with 2 of my best friends who stand with me on this early Sunday morning, just to watch me take off at the start line.
The race is now run, the medal put away, the shoes not yet retired and I live again to tell my tale of 13.1 miles.
My bags lay unpacked as I sit in the hotel room on the last night of my stay. The room overlooks the city all lit up, making it a spectacular view, but for me I just can’t stop thinking of this week and the old and new friends I will be leaving.
I have done a few half-marathons, but by far this has been the best one yet. It has nothing to do with the time I took to finish the race but about the friends who were there at the start and finish line to support me and the new friends I made during this trip.
Like I have said before, I always run alone, because I like doing it alone, however, I am at the start line when I start chatting with another runner. We get talking and decide we are going to run together. For a moment I was hesitant, wanting to do this alone, but yet I chose to agree with her plan.
The race starts, we take off mile after mile keeping pace with each other and as usual my mind starts taking off on its own race. Fortunately my new friend was there to talk to me and get my mind back to the race. We continue to keep pace together, encouraging each other, sometimes stopping to grab some Gatorade or water and even indulging in moments of laughter when we see those who were brave enough to run in costumes.
Around mile 9, we get to a bridge and instead of running up, we chose to walk up the bridge. We stop to enjoy the view and take a couple of pictures as well. After all running and finishing the race in decent time is important, but for me this race was all about spending time with friends, even if they were friends I made during the race.
The countdown to the last mile starts and I suddenly feel a burst of energy, knowing I am almost at the end and ironically this song comes on, motivating me to get to that finish line.
I look to the side and I see my friends cheering me on…what better way to end 2 hours and 25 minutes of running, than knowing that I have old and new friends who have driven hours just to see me cross that finish line.
This race not only restored faith in myself that I can continue the running, but mostly that I have the capacity to move on and make new friends and comprehend that true friends will always be true to you. Those are the friends who will drive hours just to watch you cross a finish line and be there for moral support and help you celebrate a personal goal. That is what I have learnt from this trip.
There might have been a few bad experiences with friends, but the good experiences definitely outweigh any of the bad ones. People are who they are and no matter how hard they try to be decent and nice, at some point their true personalities will surface.
It might have taken me years to see some for who they are, despite that I have learnt who my true friends are and those friendships will last the test of time.
I might have said it many times before, but thank you my old and new friends for being there to help me celebrate crossing another finish line.