A couple of weekends ago, I ran my 4th half marathon, the Napa to Sonoma Half. What’s interesting about this one is that I’ve been trying to get into this race for the last couple of years and last year I finally got in not knowing that I would actually be living in Northern California! My training hadn’t been on point and I even worried that for the first time, I might not be able to finish a race. In fact, I almost chickened out because of the fear of possibly not finishing. I decided to go for it anyway and woke up at 3:30am the day of the race, made the one and half hour drive to Napa and ended up making one of my best half marathon times and unexpectedly having one of my best running and travel experiences, yet.
I had been to Napa and Sonoma a few times before to visit wineries. This time around it was cool to visit the same area while doing something else I love to do – running. The race course ran through vineyards, wineries, ranches and several beautiful neighborhoods. In addition to that, there were runners of all races, ages, and athletic abilities that came from all over the country. The vibe was so amazing and inspiring that I didn’t have time or the desire to think about not finishing!
I’m no expert at running, but I have come along way in a short amount of time. I started consistently running about 4 years ago. Day after day I’d drive to a different park or trail and walk/run for at least 30 minutes. At first, I couldn’t even run 5 minutes. But, I kept pushing and pushing until I was running 10, 15, 20 minutes and eventually 45+ minutes at a time. Now, I have run 4 half marathons (13.1 miles) and a few 10K’s (6.2 miles). It’s given me so much peace and purpose and has become a part of who I am and how I identify myself. Running has also given me an outlet to travel to new places by signing up for races in other cities, as I did with the Napa to Sonoma race.
If there’s an activity or hobby in your life that you feel this way about, I encourage you to keep doing it and figure out how your hobby can get you on the road to check out new places! Activities that bring you joy or fill you with passion are hard to come by in life and you owe it to yourself to be able to spend time doing things you love to do. Give it all the time, effort, and money you are willing to and can afford to give. Think through how your hobby could be an outlet or reason for you to travel. Whether it’s running, singing, meditation, or anything else you love doing, explore options for the places you can go to learn more about, improve upon or just experience your hobby through a new lens.