Location: Peoria, Arizona
Half: Freedom Run – Teen Challenge of Arizona Half Marathon
Date: December 29, 2018
Finish Time: 1:36
Who’d I travel with? Mom
Pre-run meal? Cookies &… a SALAD…??
Racing for a REASON
So usually I start with some background on the travel details, or mishaps, and explain how and why I chose the state/race; however, for this one, I’m just going to jump right in.
Picture this: my mom and I visiting my sister in California during the week following Christmas. We decide to road trip to Arizona for a quick half marathon visit. On our road trip… from California… to Arizona… we find some dispensaries. I’M NOT GOING TO SAY WHETHER WE STOPPED AT SAID DISPENSARIES OR NOT. But. What I will say. Is that we acquired some interesting cookies during this road trip. Some cookies that I really loved. Some cookies that led to discussions about the continental plates shifting, California potentially falling off of the United States, and how dinosaurs became extinct. Some cookies that I ate WAY TOO MANY OF. Some cookies that still happened to be in my system the morning of my race. Some cookies that had me SICK TO MY STOMACH, PALE AS A GHOST, AND COLD SWEATING AN HOUR BEFORE MY RACE.
As I looked at my mom from the starting line, she asked me for the fifth time, if I was “positive that I didn’t want to sit this one out, or at least just walk it.” Obviously that wasn’t going to happen. Although, I was unsure if running was an option either at this point.
As I began to run, my mind was racing and my breathing was out of control. The first three miles: absolute torture. But then something happened. I remembered why I was running. I remembered what this race was about. I remembered what the money that I had paid to run 13 miles through the Arizona desert was going towards: teenage addiction recovery programs. If you know anything about me, you know that this cause is very close to home as my sister is two years clean from a 6-year battle against heroin. And, as I remembered why I was running, everything got better. I felt stronger. Happier. Clearer. Before I knew it, I was at mile 10, waving hello to my mom as I passed by her on my way towards the last three mile stretch.
2nd female finisher. 3rd place overall. 1:36 finish time. None of it mattered. What mattered was the reason behind the race. The fact that my running supported teens and families fighting the same fight that my family was lucky enough to win. As I left state #20, I felt rejuvenated, lucky, and thankful that this race meant so much. And that those cookies were out of my system.
On our way back home there were less cookies consumed and more adventures to be had. We explored Joshua Tree Park (although it took us literally 3 hours and 4 attempts to actually correctly identify said “Joshua Trees”). We found cacti, desert sand, and more dispensaries that I can proudly say we didn’t stop at – however, state #20 was definitely one we would never, ever, forget.