I’m turning 58 (58!) in a few short weeks. I don’t feel that age (does anybody, ever?!) except for a few things I’ve noticed: it takes longer to recover from a hard workout. The days of scarfing an entire medium pizza without gaining an ounce? Yeah, gone (dang). And I’m hearing those whispers from the Universe more frequently, subtly & not-so-subtly reminding me “tomorrow’s never promised”.
Another thing? more often & with greater intensity – people seem to feel free to comment on my life. What I “should” be doing, what to value, what to fear (a lot about fear). As if, at a certain point in life you forfeit your ability to make decisions to some group idea of what 58 year olds are supposed to be. It’s odd, & a little creepy.
So when I put together this year’s racing schedule (below), I decided to make it a celebration — of continuing to learn who I am by choosing to do hard things*, of creating a life that makes my heart happy — of being 58.
- a road 50K – I’ve never ever run a 50K on pavement, so voila! instant PR
- 50-mile birthday week run with the gators – because what says “happy birthday” more than racing 50 miles in a gator-filled park, hmm…?
- return to Iceland for 3 days, 125K of self-supported racing – Iceland has a big piece of my heart (& a chunk of my forehead, but that’s another story)
- 5K open water swim race in Lake Michigan – back to my “roots” in distance swim
- 3 days running-racing-training with friends in West Virginia – because friends
- 5 days, 250k self-supported racing @ Namib desert – magic, ancient desert, 5 days of hella’ hard racing in extraordinarily difficult conditions. As my friend said, “that’s some scary shit”.
It’s a mix – road, trail, stage racing, open water distance swim – my training plans looks less like straightforward progression than a Tetris puzzle. Weights, road running, trail running, swim workouts. Yoga to keep some balance & range of motion. Tire pulling (this flatlander’s way to train for Iceland climbs).
And happy. So much happy.
I’ll share what I learn along the way – the good & hard things, what went well & what was spectacularly awful. Tagging photos with #thisiswhat58lookslike – maybe it will help some folks not be so quick to offer unsolicited advice to “older” women. Or not.
I’ll also be raising funds for Moon Dog Farm – an animal rescue organization in Chicago founded by my amazing friend Jill Birnbaum. You can learn about MDF here (http://www.themoondogfarm.com) or, if you see me sporting one of these cool tees or hoodies at a race venue – feel free to ask.
I’d like to think Lucy would be happy about that.
(*Note: From a thank you card received from my friend Amy McCracken, a wonderful writer + athlete + former head of Richmond Animal League. Yep, she’s a rockstar & her handwritten notes are treasures.)