Today, at 10:17 p.m., I turn 50 years old. In the life of a runner, it's a big deal to enter a new age group. In the life of a woman, 50 is just a big deal. Still, I feel better today than I did at 30; I'm sure it has a lot to do with child-rearing sleep deprivation and lack of any time to exercise adequately and eat properly. I emerged from the funk when I turned 40 and, frankly, things have improved ever since. Herewith, in no particular order (because who can prioritize such things?), are the milestones of my 40s, both good and bad.
1. I saw my two children through graduation from high school and into college.
2. I ran my first, and then my second, marathon, coming tantalizing close to qualifying for Boston the second time around.
3. I broke my left foot and had surgery on my right foot, the former revealing that, not only do I possess an incredible tolerance for pain, but osteopenia is a problem I have and there is little I can do about it--I am white and small-boned after all.
4. After many niggling injuries, I concluded that I needed to stop training exclusively for marathons and diversify. As a result, I discovered the joys, challenges, aches and pains, and ultimate triumphs of triathlon. After two years of training, I completed the Syracuse 70.3 Half-Ironman an hour faster than I thought I would.
5. I drank too much wine.
6. I met and married my incredibly supportive husband, who stands at the finish line, camera in hand, at all of my races. Being a stepmother is a challenge I have yet to master, but I haven't given up!
7. I found a cyst in my right breast that, after a sonogram, was deemed to be benign. Phew!
8. I developed some incredible friendships with women who have seen me through my fitness challenges and goals; among them: @Jade Barth Mills, @Patty Hendry and @Mary Fitzgibbons Klee.
9. I became a grandmother twice; OK, a step-grandmother, but still. . .
10. I ran a 6:59 mile three years ago in the Festival of Races.
11. After losing 30 pounds in 2004, I uncovered the muscles I had worked so hard to sculpt in my 30s. I had finally learned portion control.