Earlier this year I ran the Canyonlands Half Marathon in Moab, Utah. Before training and running that event, I had never run more than a mile in my life (the only reason I ever ran a mile was to pass high school PE). So I knew it was going to be tough for me. My thoughts on running up to this point in my life were, “I hate running!” Period.
But my sister, Kristin –who also does not consider herself “a runner”, but has run a full marathon and several half marathons — invited me to come do this event with her. She and I live in different states and we don’t get to spend a lot of time together, so I thought it would be a good thing for me to do. It would challenge me physically, and give me a way to connect and communicate with my sister about a common goal.
And, hey, it’s in Moab, Utah — right next-door to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, two places I had never been. It fell on our spring break, to boot! I had to do it!
I would like to have trained with Kristin, but living 800 miles apart makes that a bit impractical. Nevertheless, we were able to grow closer through sharing our training experiences and difficulties. She gave me lots of good advice and encouraged me in my progress. She gave me tips on how to relieve muscle soreness and how to prevent injuries. We laughed while sharing anecdotes of our training runs. My husband, Drew ended up training for the race along with me. When race day came, Kristin prepped us with all the details about the race — where to catch the bus to the start, what to expect on the course, what the weather is usually like, etc. — things we wouldn’t have known without a veteran to guide us.
It turned out to be a fun and rewarding experience! (I don’t hate running anymore!) The race course ran through the spectacular red-rock cliffs banking the Colorado River, which inspired me as I ran. Kristin and I now have a shared accomplishment and memories to go with it. Our children cheered us on and got to see their mom, dad and aunt struggle through something difficult and finish it.
Afterward, we spent a couple of days exploring Arches National Park and some amazingly beautiful places. I thought it was a great way to combine a personal challenge and relationship building with family travel to a location full of some of nature’s most spectacular creations! Sharing it with my favorite people — my family — was icing on the cake!