I ran my first marathon the year I turned 26. Though the timing was accidental, the numbers gave me a sense that 26 was an age at which I would challenge my concept of what I could accomplish.
I have tried to mark each birthday with some sort of milestone event, or at least a workout that cleverly incorporates my new age—completing my first open-water swim at 27, a timed 29-minute swim as part of my 29th birthday workout.
One would think I’d have something Big planned for my 30th birthday. Instead, I’m marking the milestone not by challenging myself to do something crazy and cool, but by working to foster a sense of acceptance of where I’m at right now, and gratitude for how far I’ve come. Milestone achievements and busy days are cool, and I’ll likely have many of both throughout the next year (starting with outdoor emergency care classes for ski-patrol training starting in August!). But on this particular day, I’m leaning toward taking things one day, one hour, one moment at a time.
In the fall, I might feel ready for my next marathon. Rather than getting my hopes up for a particular race for which I will train with single-minded focus and absurd inflexibility (which I’ve been guilty of in the past), I’m going to see how training goes and up the ante only if it feels right. And this evening, I’m going to celebrate my milestone birthday with a chilled-out trail run with my running group, then a lovely post-run outing at Adega, our favorite wine bar/restaurant.
This all sounds so relaxed and reasonable, right? It’s certainly much smarter than I’ve been about training in the past. But since only three months ago, I couldn’t run at all, the simple miracle of being able to hit the trails feeling healthy and strong seems like enough to fulfill me.
Older and wiser, right?