My 28 Year Old Self

If I were writing a story, this would be the big dramatic climactic scene.  “Girl decides she may not be able to do well at all in her marathon.”  I ran a pace five miles on Saturday, and switched my 20 to Sunday.  That morning, I wanted to stay in bed then eat pancakes with my family, but I had to get it in so I dragged myself out of bed.  It was cool weather- perfect for running- and I set out for two ten mile loops around town.  I was doing just fine, until around mile 16 when the leg cramps set in.  I was so discouraged, and I even had a small breakdown at the bottom of a hill where I decided I was not a runner anymore.  Running had become a chore.  I called Brian and had him come w b and meet me down at the coffee shop so I could end there and drink a chai tea and pout.  That was around 21 miles.  I finished, but honestly, not well.  The only things pushing me to finish were my boys and that tea. 

I am starting to question my abilities- I didn’t even consider anything going wrong when I took on this challenge.  I’m not even talking about qualifying, I’m talking about finishing.  The pain in my hamstrings is so bad at times I want to sit down right there.  I am drinking water like a fish, I’m eating bananas like a monkey, I’m doing everything I’ve read.  Maybe I need to slow down- let go of my high expectations for myself this time.  Just finish this thing- stop psyching myself out.  I tend to do that.  The next two weeks are taper weeks, so in that time I’ll get some rest and really work on my nutrition and my mindset.  Because I can do this.  I love this sport so much- and if it wasn’t such a challenge, I know I wouldn’t.  So here I am…

Today I’m 28 years old.  I’m not going to sit here and write a letter to my younger self about what I’d tell me then because:

1. I am still young.  I work with 90+ year olds and believe me, I have nowhere near their wisdom yet.

2. I couldn’t have told my 16-22 year old self anything– I was doing what I wanted and that was that.  Ask my mom- she tried.

This birthday isn’t a milestone, but I’m not ashamed to be 28.  I’m at the best place in my life I’ve ever been.  Thanks to a few boys, and amazing family, and fantastic friends.

I was having a heart to heart with one of my residents the other day.  I asked her what she’d tell me if she could teach me one thing.

She told me a story about how after she finished raising her babies, she went back to work as a manager for Singer.  She worked there five years and felt it was time for her to move up in the world.  But she didn’t even try- she just stayed at her position until she retired.  She told me there were so many things she wished she had done, but she didn’t because she was afraid of “people making fun of me?  Not being able to do it?  Failure?  I don’t know what.  But I didn’t do so many things.”  She told me to never EVER doubt myself, that if I have a dream, a want, a need- even if it’s as simple as volunteering at a local library- DO IT. 

That’s Anna.  She is 92 years old and she’s as sharp as a tack.  Her generation puts me in awe.  What she was saying reminds me of how I am sometimes- scared.  I may seem confident behind a computer screen, but I’m not in real life.

I cannot take compliments.  If someone tells me I look nice, I will tell them my teeth are bad.  If they say I’m a good runner, I’ll say I am not and give a million reasons why (note- the beginning of this post).

So my goal in the next years of my life?  To work within myself.  To reach for things I might think I can’t- because what is the worse that can happen?  I fall onto the laps of those who love me?  That’s a fine alternative to me.

The thing is- I’ve already accomplished so much.  I married a man who God knows how I got- he’s as close to perfect as I can see.  Together we’ve made a gorgeous, smart, independent child who is the sunshine in our lives.  I’ve kept in touch with childhood friends and I’ve found a comfort in my family I can’t replace.  I’ve become a runner that I would NEVER have thought I could be.  I’m running my second marathon in a few weeks- really 18 year old self- did you think you’d EVER say that?! 

I can’t even imagine a life without these things.  So imagine what else is to come…

Take compliments, give compliments, help more, realize and carry out my dreams , and show others they can do the same- these are my goals.  Even if these dreams are huge- scale it down first and start where I can to make it happen (like running a 5k before a marathon kinda thing).  Don’t be afraid to take chances on things I’m passionate about.  We only get one shot, why not make it a slam freakin’ dunk, right?!

As for the short term- if the saying “Reach for the moon, and even if you miss at least you’ll land among the stars” is true, well then I’ll apply that to my marathon here.  Boston might be the moon, but finishing is the stars. 

And I’ll take stars any day:)

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