This year, 2015, I will be celebrating a rather large milestone birthday. As far as birthday’s go, this one is the one I’m most looking forward to, after all, 40 is the new 30, right? I don’t feel like I thought I would at this point in life. When I was 10 years old 40 seemed so OLD. Now that I’m staring it in the face, I don’t feel old…I feel like a grown-up, sorta.
I was thinking of ways to celebrate this major life event (it’s major to me so whatever) and knew I wanted to do something that would give me a major adrenaline rush – you know, so I don’t feel OLD. So, like any normal person would do, I looked for good suggestions on Facebook.
Before I give you more details you should know that I have some very unexplainable extreme fears of heights and of the water. Why would anyone want to put their head in the water where sharks and barracuda live? (thank you Finding Nemo for making my fear even more irrational) And jumping from an airplane? Only crazy people would do that – so, call me crazy, I’ve done that. I’ve bungee jumped. I’ve snorkeled – if you want to call it that – I actually put my head in the water just long enough so I could see the coral and had one hand on the boat the entire time because I wasn’t entirely sure if Bruce or some other evil shark was lurking in the beautiful waters off the coast of Jamaica and I’d have to scramble back onto the boat. Comedic relief for the entire crew on that boat was given by me that day. I’ve gotten a tattoo (actually two, but who’s counting). I’ve white-water rafted (even taking my children along because every good family needs to experience an adrenaline rush together). I’ve hiked in places where the edge of the mountain looks like it’s going to break away and I’m going to fall to my death (I hugged the wall/edge of the mountain so tightly that my children were laughing at me instead of encouraging and helping me – mean, very mean, children I’m raising). So, I’ve faced my fears a few times. I’ve done some wild things, the things that look fun, the things that make my heart race.
So, after the very scientific Facebook poll was done, I was still stuck. A Richard Petty driving experience? That would be fun – but I kind of (kind of) experience that twice a day on my commute (especially in the winter). Kayaking in Lake Michigan off the coast of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore? That would be fun, but if I tipped over, well, let’s just not go there. So I thought about tornado chasing? But the cost to chase a giant swirl of uber-destructive wind was more than a Carribbean vacation with my family, so that was taken out of the equation. Zip-lining? Only in the jungle, thank you. What about shark-diving? You know, like getting in a cage and having the sharks “eat” out of your hands, or eat your hands, whichever. Unfortunately, the shark experience wasn’t expensive, but the travel to and from Florida kind of shoots the family budget.
After some significant soul searching, I decided I’m going to try to run a marathon. Yep, 26.2 miles of pounding the pavement for 5 hours straight (or a little longer, we’ll see) without walking (jalking likely, but walking, no). Unfortunately, this will be something that will have to consume my life for the next 8 months or so although I don’t intend to start training until the temperature is about 40 (see what I did there??) and there isn’t ice on the ground. I will be eating differently (but don’t worry, I will still drink Wild Cherry Pepsi every single day – some things are non-negotiable), behaving in ways that I never intended (like running more than once a week), and gaining a new perspective on a sport that will like consume my entire being. Once upon a time I was active and I was fast. I had muscles. I could run a 5k in less than 20 minutes. Now, well, I can run a 5k, barely. This marathon business is going to take a lot of time, energy, and mostly commitment. I’m going to have sore muscles. I’m likely going to get shin-splints and other runners stuff. I’m going to want to give up – a LOT. I’m not the world’s easiest person to deal with when I’m frustrated or hurting (hard to believe, I know). Whatever.
So, please pray for my husband and my children, and maybe even the dog. They are going to feel the frustration, too. They are going to be annoyed with me. They are going to get irritated with the process. They will be forced to eat whatever healthy-ish food I make and like it or starve. We are all in this together, whether they know it or not. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll run the entire 26.2 miles. That is the goal. And while the adrenaline won’t be there every time I run or even likely during the race itself, I know that I can do this, I’m pretty sure I can. Well, I’m going to try – for a while at least.
The best part? I will get new shoes. New fancy running shoes. Because my old ones are old, a little worn, and rough around the edges, like me.
“It is a shame for a woman to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which her body is capable.” ~ Socrates