So, I recently decided that I’m going to run my first marathon and it’s going to be about one month before I turn 40. At first glance, this might seem like a midlife crisis kind of thing, a way of resisting with all my might the “Big 4-0” and all the ridiculous hype that goes along with it. Not so! I have discovered greater health and happiness in my late-30s than I’ve experienced my entire life. It just so happens that my desire and ability to run a marathon are both colliding at that mystical point in a woman’s life when she’s supposed to feel the virtues of youth slipping away. Know what I have to say to that? HA!! Whatever!
A lot of people like to say that age is a number, and they are partially right. There’s no reason a person’s age should keep them from setting and reaching whatever goals they have for their life. On the other hand, I realize that I’m probably not going to want to run a marathon when I’m 80, if I’m fortunate enough to live that long. 80 year-olds have done it, but I don’t see myself being one of them. So, quite simply, there’s no time like the present! I’ve done the work to lose weight, gain strength, and most importantly, gain confidence and a long-lost sense of self-worth. Now is the perfect time to set some crazy goals, regardless of what age I happen to be!
I’m not gonna lie. Only 0.5% of the U.S. population has ever run a marathon. For me to run my first one just before I turn 40? Well, that’s a badge of badassery that I plan to wear proudly! But it’s not just for my own sense of pride or accomplishment that I look forward to this feat. It’s also to demonstrate to others out there (particularly women) that no matter what has been holding you back and no matter for how long, you can achieve whatever you want in life. I’m also running the marathon to raise funds and awareness for an organization dear to my heart, Girls With Sole – an organization that is giving the gift of the “finish line feeling” to abused and at-risk girls in my home state of Ohio.
Running is the only athletic pursuit that I’ve ever been able to undertake with any shred of ability or accomplishment. I’m far from being a “great” runner (whatever that means), but I know that I can do it. What I find so rewarding about it is that although races obviously include other runners, I am never running against anyone but myself. The only competition is with the part of me that says I can’t go another step. Silencing that part of me and proving her wrong gives me greater satisfaction than any actual competition ever could.
I’ve got lots of work to do before I get to the starting line of my first marathon, but it’s work that I tackle gratefully because I know the reward will be so much greater than the pain and the challenges along the way. At the end of the day and at the end of the race, I won’t care about my age. I’ll care about the fact that I accomplished something I never dared to imagine that I could.
When is the perfect time for this journey? It’s always been now.