Before I added this goal to my life list, I asked my husband, Russ, an important question.

Liz: “How would you feel about it if I ran a half marathon on your birthday next year?”
Russ: (shrugs) ”Sure. I’ll do it with you.”

That’s the story of why the last race in my triple crown was the slowest and the hardest, but also my favorite.

The afternoon before the race, I laced a chip timer onto my shoes and took a photo of my bib for posterity:

Then I went to sleep while the sun was still up. Because the next day, Russ and I got up at 4:00 and boarded a bus – full of other runners – to Point Loma, the southern tip of San Diego:

It was still dark when we got to the starting line, and would stay overcast and cool even after the sun began to rise. We stayed warm by dancing in the corrals. Russ took a picture to commemorate his first day of being 40:

San Diego was classy, as advertised:

Full disclosure: I wasn’t really prepared for this race. I spent the summer cross-training (lifting weights and spinning) more than training; I know I’m lucky I didn’t get injured on race day. I added back seven minutes to my finish time, but I didn’t care, because I got the greatest race picture in the history of my life:

Russ was waiting for me at the finish line, where I collected two medals – one for finishing this race, and one for finishing the triple crown in a single year – a half marathon each in January (Carlsbad), April (La Jolla), and August (San Diego):

This is another one of my new favorite pictures of us. I spent most of the time running feeling really grateful – that we’re healthy, that we’re taking on challenges together – and I hope when I’m 40, I’m still cruising across finish lines like it’s no big deal.

I brought the medal collection to San Diego to celebrate immediately:

And framed them for posterity when we got home:

Right after agreeing to do this race with me, Russ postulated that three half marathons in a year would make me hungry for a full marathon. He was wrong. Accomplishing this was empowering, but I knew as soon as it was over that I’m ready to hang up my hat on this distance for a while. I have some new goals now – to run shorter distances (5K and 10K), faster, in fun settings (Color RunZombie Race!), and with friends. Finish lines are better with friends.