The America’s Finest City Half Marathon was canceled due to a weather event that’s completely unheard of in California. Here’s what I ran instead…
I was registered to run the America’s Finest City Half Marathon in San Diego, California this weekend. I was excited about it for several reasons including but not limited to: half marathons are my fave distance, there aren’t a lot of half marathons in the summer, I was going to stay in San Diego and had a bunch of fun plans for before and after the race. But, none of it happened because the race was CANCELED LAST MINUTE.
Let’s take a few steps back to the days leading up to the race…
I think Wednesday someone mentioned there was a hurricane off the coast of western Mexico and it was headed to Southern California. My response was something along the lines of “No. Hurricane? Ha!”. I’ve lived in SoCal my entire life (outside of that one cute year in Maryland). Hurricanes are not a thing here. Actually, rain in August isn’t a thing here. The average rainfall for August is 0.0 inches. ZERO.
So, I figured it might rain but I didn’t think a real life hurricane was going to hit San Diego.
Thursday morning I heard the local news talking about it and I realized – we’re not in Kansas (or some other place that doesn’t have hurricanes) any more. At that time it was a pretty sizable hurricane and they weren’t sure how quickly it would move or how much it would change in size. The weather forecast for the weekend was estimating a tropical storm would hit the San Diego area overnight Saturday right into Sunday morning race time.
Naturally, I took to Instagram to share this race weekend update and asked for runners familiar with hurricanes and tropical storms to chime in with their thoughts. Since I’m not familiar with this type of weather – I wanted to know if this is the kind of thing you hear before a race is canceled. A lot of runners messaged me saying the weather would be ROUGH, potentially dangerous and many were surprised it was canceled yet.
The thing is… if you’re not familiar with hurricanes (like myself and I’m assuming the race organizers) – it’s hard to believe that there’s suddenly going to be super wild weather when it’s currently gorgeous out.
Also, runners talk about mental strength a lot and one of our favorite brain exercises is called “Denial”. We often do several reps of “Denial” when we’re not feeling 100% but still want to run. You may see runners exercise “Denial” in the summer when the humidity is 100% and they’re wearing all black doing a long run at noon.
My point is = no one wants to skip a race or a run. And race organizers definitely don’t want to cancel a race unless the government is forcing them to (see: 2020).
Thankfully, I have the BEST followers in the world and many of you messaged me saying it would be unsafe and/or the race would be canceled. And you were several steps ahead of the race organizers!
Friday morning runners got a confirmation email that the race was ON. Saturday morning America’s Finest City instagram was posting videos of runners coming to pick up their packets for race day.
That was giving me FOMO because I’d already decided I wasn’t going to drive down to San Diego for the race. The traffic from Orange County to San Diego is always JAMMED. I didn’t want to be stuck in that traffic during a bad storm on the way back after the race.
Plus – I was having flashbacks from the Holiday Half Marathon I ran in December that was during a torrential downpour. I considered taking a DNS and going home as I was freezing waiting for the race to begin after being delayed several times. I stayed and ran the race, but promised myself that I wouldn’t force myself to run a race in a storm ever again. And this was starting to sound like the AFC Half Marathon was going to be even worse.
This is the Instagram update the race organizers posted 7pm on Saturday the night before the race:
What I Did When My Half Marathon Was Canceled
I still wanted to run a half marathon this weekend even if the race was canceled. On Saturday morning I set out for a solo long run of 13.1 miles.
Pre run fuel included oatmeal, banana and coffee:
What I listened to on my run:
I saved the end of my audio book for the run (this is one of my favorite long run hacks to beat boredom). I listened to ‘For Better and Worse’ by Margot Hunt and then turned on music. The last few books I’ve listened to have been good (after a string of ‘meh’ ones) and it makes me extra happy. I recommend ‘None of This is True’ by Lisa Jewell too. And I think that one is best as an audio book since there are different narrators and part of the plot involves a podcast. I have a monthly Audible subscription and think I discovered Jewell from one of their sales for subscribers.
Long Run Recap:
I tried a new route since my usual long run routes have become boring and feel tedious. It was great! I found an amazing new pedestrian path that was just the right amount of busy. I passed by a store that I heard actually has Sriracha (but didn’t go into check because I was so sweaty). I spotted a water fountain towards the beginning of my run, but didn’t need it at the time (my lil bottle was still full). I know there have to be more water fountains along the route, but I must’ve been in the zone and didn’t see anymore after that first one. I ended up running out of water – which is a reminder to plan long run hydration better next time!
When it got to be the turn around point I decided to keep running and I’d just call Ben to pick me up wherever I was. In my previous life I used to do this all the time, but haven’t in years. So, I just kept running and running until I hit mile 12. I planned to ask him to pick me about a mile from my current location so I’d hit 13.1 miles total.
But, overnight aliens had kidnapped him and replaced him with a Ben look alike because – he was on a walk with a friend??! Ummmm… sounds like a lie, but okay.
At that point he was a long walk back to his car plus a 30 minute drive to get to me. I was NOT happy about it, but it was 1000% my fault for not actually planning this out. I was about to start crying, but realized I was already dehydrated and couldn’t afford to lose the water from my tears. So, I rallied and got back to running.
I ended up running 15 miles total. I haven’t run this long in a while, so I was secretly happy my plan to get a ride didn’t work out. I needed this reminder that I can run this far. 16 miles used to be my go-to distance for long runs just to stay within a few weeks of marathon shape. I missed that feeling of runner’s high tired accomplishment. (Do you know what I mean? Please say you do…)
I started this post talking about America’s Finest City Half Marathon being canceled due to Hurricane Hilary… but got sidetracked by my long run recap. Oh well. Let’s cool down.
Reminders for Runners Facing Race Day Challenges
It’s sad when your race is canceled. It sucks when the weather on race day is super hot or cold or stormy. It’s frustrating when something out of your control hurts your ability to run your best on race day. You have a right to feel all the things when life hands you a lemon instead of a banana on race morning. But, after a five minute cry – shake it off and focus on what YOU CAN DO.
Let go of the things you can’t control. Do your best with the things you can control.
I didn’t focus on the ominous weather forecast or how much money I’d be out if I decided not to run the race last minute or if race organizers would cancel or defer or something else. I can’t control any of those things.
I focused on what I could control. I was able to control what I did the day before the storm hit. I was sad about not running the race, but I could still get in a good long run. And I did.
I realize this is a unique situation and doesn’t apply to runner set backs like injuries… but whenever possible, it does help to to focus on what you can do (not what you can’t).
YOU GOT THIS.
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