I was running a marathon in San Diego on Cinco de Mayo. The decision to participate was a spur-of-the-moment one, fueled by a desire to challenge myself and partake in the festive spirit that enveloped the city on that vibrant holiday.

The marathon was a 26.2-mile journey that would test my limits, both physically and mentally. I spent months in preparation, lacing up my trusty running shoes and hitting the pavement, gradually increasing my mileage under the golden California sun.

As the big day approached, I felt a mix of nerves and excitement. I remember waking up early on the morning of the marathon, the air tinged with the salty scent of the ocean and the faint sound of mariachi music in the distance, signaling the start of Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

I arrived at the starting line, surrounded by thousands of other runners, each of us with our own reasons for being there. The atmosphere was electric, a sea of colorful running gear, and the buzz of anticipation. I did a few last-minute stretches, my muscles primed and ready, my heart pounding not just from the warm-up but also from the adrenaline coursing through my veins.

The race began with the booming sound of the starting gun, and we were off. The course wound through the heart of San Diego, taking us through diverse neighborhoods, each with its unique charm. Spectators lined the streets, their cheers and claps providing a rhythm to run to.

As I settled into a steady pace, I took in the sights and sounds around me. The route offered stunning views of the city's landmarks, including the expansive Balboa Park, where the size of the green spaces and the grandeur of the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture were a welcome distraction from the fatigue that began to creep into my legs.

The miles ticked by, marked by signs at each mile interval, giving us runners small victories to celebrate with every passing number. I remember reaching the halfway point, feeling a mix of relief and trepidation, knowing that I still had another 13.1 miles to conquer.

By mile 20, my body was signaling its protest, but my determination was unwavering. I focused on the rhythmic sound of my footsteps, the steady breaths in and out, and the encouraging shouts from the crowd. I remember one spectator dressed in a vibrant sombrero and poncho, handing out slices of oranges, their juicy sweetness a burst of energy that propelled me forward.

Finally, the finish line came into view, a sight more beautiful than any postcard picture of San Diego could offer. Crossing it was a moment of pure triumph, the culmination of every early morning run and every aching muscle. I had done it, I had completed the marathon, with a respectable time that reflected the countless hours of training I had invested. I celebrated with a cold beer, I paid with my credit card since I did not have any cash.

After the race, the festivities of Cinco de Mayo awaited. I indulged in the celebrations, the music, the dancing, and of course, the food. Tacos, guacamole, and churros never tasted so good as they did while I basked in the glow of my accomplishment.