Races #30, #31 and #32 - From Santa to Surf City and Participant to Pro

Melissa Mueller (left) and Deb Johnston (right) hold up their first half-marathon medals with Rahbin Shyne.

Melissa Mueller (left) and Deb Johnston (right) hold up their first half-marathon medals with Rahbin Shyne.

So much changed over the course of three races. On my 29th race I discovered that I was a pro at walking half-marathons. By my 32nd, I turned myself into an ambassador. An advocate.

My 29th race was in Ventura. The Santa to the Sea half- marathon began in the city's outskirts, with the first few miles of the race adjacent to farmland. It was invigorating to walk past row after row of growing vegetables in the early morning hours, away from traffic. I kept up a brisk stride across mostly flat land set against a cloudless sky. It was a perfect morning.

As I passed mile 8, the inner monologue was familiar. "Mile 8? Wait. Is that 4 more. No. Five more. Five more? This race seems longer than usual. No. I think that at mile 8. Wait a minute. I think the same thoughts at the same miles..."

I'd noticed that before. This time, though, it was like listening to a cassette tape that runs 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Race #30 was the Pasadena Half-Marathon, starting and ending in the Rose Bowl Stadium. Somewhere around mile six I noticed that the usual inner monologue wasn't playing in my head. I wasn't concerned about the mile markers. This was the first race that my level of certainty and confidence superceded the monologue. My focus was solely on my race experience. 

This represented a profound shift in my self concept. Race #29 opened my awareness to the uselessness of continuing to run the doubt-based monologue of early races. In my 30th race, that monologue disappeared. I accepted that I was a pro at walking half-marathons.

All of that explains why it was such a pleasure to take care of my two friends at race #32 in Huntington Beach. I’d walked with novices before, multiple times. In prior races with friends, I thought of myself as a slightly more experienced novice. At Surf City (#32), I owned that I was a pro at walking 13.1 miles. I was able to give my full attention to their experience, rather than entertain any worries, concerns or considerations of my own race.

In short, the transition through races 30, 31 and 32 helped me realize that I’ve moved beyond a focus on my own races. I’m ready, even eager, to share the fun and joy of walking half-marathons with others.

My first online course on walking a half-marathon will be available on June 15, 2019.



Rahbin Shyne