A Half-Marathon in the Mountains of Vietnam

sapafinish

I signed up because I missed being around athletes. Backpackers are nice people but none of them are waking up at 6am to go running.

I signed up because I missed running.Territorial dogs. Gaping holes in the sidewalk. No sidewalk. Sketchy neighborhoods. Smog. Finding running options became laborious, and that took the joy away.

I signed up because I felt out of shape. I was losing my mojo. I could feel it. I considered imprisonment: no expenses, workout buddies, and access to the prison yard gym.

I signed up because I knew it would be hard. Running in the mountains? Never done that. Running a race without adequate training? Never done that either.

I signed up because I was afraid. What if I don’t finish? What if I fall off the mountain and die? What if I die, then fall off the mountain, and no one can find my body!?! I was scared of this race. Angel, scared? Yes!! I’m always scared. I just never let it stop me.

I signed up because I wanted to be around people. I desperately wanted roommates, bunkmates, running mates, lunchmates, and coffee dates. I wanted people all up in my personal space, at all times. (Side effects of solo travel.)

I had the most wonderful race experience in Sapa, Vietnam. It wasn’t just the breathtaking views, it was the authentic friendships I formed with people across the globe. To top it off, I won 3rd place. I’m certain an angel carried me.

trophyandme

I had no expectations for this race. I was racing to beat my fears, not other competitors. So, when the announcer called my name at the ceremony, my new friends and I stared at each other. I was so shocked I forgot to put my shoes on before walking on stage. My friends were so shocked they couldn’t pull the camera out fast enough to take a quality picture.

sapaward

But, yeah, that’s me, standing barefoot on the podium, looking surprised.

Lessons Learned:
1. If something scares you, do it, do it, do it. Do it!
2. Train properly. (I was sore for a week.)
3. Surround yourself with warriors and with cheerleaders, with people who celebrate you – no matter what.

27 Replies to “A Half-Marathon in the Mountains of Vietnam“

  1. Angel: So fun to follow your travels. I am in Rangoon/Bagan/Inle next week-any recommendations of must eat foods/places to visit?

  2. @Katie. Thank you! I wish you were standing at the finish line. Waiting for me with your brilliant carrot cake!!!

  3. Glad to hear your bright spirit is being shared with others in the world. Also glad you didn’t fall off the mountain!

  4. Congratulations Angel! So inspiring to hear your story. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your humor, your passion and your life with us…it’s a nice way to get infected with some of your mojo.

    When can we get you singing a song?

  5. @Slomo. You aren’t the first to suggest a reality show! And I could make prison work for me. Instead of cigarettes, I’d be smuggling in coconut oil and protein powder.

  6. I love every piece of this post, from the fact that it was in VN to the fact that you won third place (only Angel!) to the line about running to beat your fears, not other people. I miss you coach but am always so inspired by your journey! Congrats on a great race!

  7. You in prison would be an amazing reality show. I have so many thoughts about it. You’d be jacked and always wear a bandana (not too different from now I guess) and have a sidekick named Snugg. Snugg doesn’t say much, but he’s smart, and big. Real big.

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