"The miracle isn't that I finished.
The miracle is that I had the courage to start."
Yesterday, Friday the 13th, marked 7 months until my 40th birthday. For the past year or so, I have been thinking about how to mark the milestone. A piece of me thinks that it really is just another birthday and questions why everyone makes such a big deal of it. But a larger piece of me really wants to put a stamp on it. I remember my 30th clearly, and not for good reasons. It was not the best time in my life and, in the 10 years since, everything has changed. Everything. I am not the same person I was then, and I want to celebrate that. I want to celebrate the growth and, whether it was painful or joyous, I want to remember it.
Many ideas had come into my mind. While I love a good party, I'm just not the "rent out a catering hall and celebrate my life" kind of girl. Let's save that for my funeral. Yes, there will be a smaller get-together with all of those I am lucky enough to love, complete with good food and Patron, but that's just not the only mark I want to put on this day. It needs to be introspective, grounded and deep.
I thought about doing "40 Fun and Fabulous" things over the course of this 40th year, an idea inspired by a friend and some other blogs. I loved this and sat down and tried to make my list...too much pressure. I think I came up with 26 and it ended up looking more like a life "bucket list" than things I, a divorced mom of 2 kids, working part time, on a tight budget could actually accomplish in one year. I have checked some of them off, but 40 is just not going to happen.
Over the past 18 months, I have become much more of a runner than I thought I would ever be and I love it. Running has always been a challenge for me. I like doing things in which I excel. Running is not one of them. It humbles me, reminds me of my humanity and pushes me deeper than any other physical activity. I wrote a bit about my early steps into running and my first marathon at my original blog: Leave it on the Bike. Now, I find myself training for marathon #2, devouring information on endurance running and beginning to think, "I could do that...slowly, but I could do it." The seed was planted and I have just let it sit there for a while, not quite knowing what do do with it, only knowing that it feels right. I want to run 40 miles (straight) for my 40th birthday. One for each year. I've seen other blogs about endeavors like this and a film about a woman who trained for the Western States 100 for her 40th ("100 Miles to 40"). It was a while before I even shared with Tim, a veteran distance runner and inspiration, that I had this idea. I preferred to live with the fantasy. However, I also know that having the vision is only the first step. I had to start putting up the sails in the wind to get the boat to move.
This journey needs to be all mine. While I know that running an organized race can still be a deeply personal experience, there is something about doing this by myself that appeals to me. I want to look back over each year, as I cover each mile in my own space, with the freedom to experience whatever surfaces, in whatever way I need to experience it. With my steps, I want to cut the cords that hold me back, that are direct connections to all of my limiting belief systems.
Then there are the logistics. Besides needing to be mentally and physically supported, my birthday is in March and I live in New York, which means heavy-duty winter month training. The dreaded treadmill is sure to become my best friend. However, I am also ok with doing it as the weather gets warmer. No attachments.
At the end of this post, that's where I'm at. I'm at the start line, with a idea, completely unaware of how it will develop and, especially, how it will feel at the finish.