I gave birth for the last time in October 2011.
I was 42 years old.
A little less than three months later, on New Year’s Day, I ran a four mile race in town.
It’s a race that’s held every year.
Since I had just given birth a couple months ago and hadn’t run while I was pregnant at all, I just wanted to finish the race.
I finished in 42:30 and averaged 10:38 per mile.
The next year, in 2013 I ran the race again. I was 43.
I finished in 44:05 and averaged 11:02 per mile.
I was overwhelmed by life with five kids who were seven years old and younger, and I had totally stopped taking care of myself at all.
The next year, at 44 years old, I ran the same race in 38:10 and averaged 9:33 per mile.
I had committed to working out and getting into shape that year.
I did the NYC Triathlon a couple months earlier.
And I ran my first marathon.
That was the best running shape I had been in ever in my life.
Compared to other runners, I was average. But for me, holding a 9:33 mile for that 4 mile New Year’s Race was pretty good.
I didn’t run the race in 2015 when I was 45.
In 2016 at 46, I ran the same New Year’s Day race and I finished in 38:39 and averaged 9:40 per mile.
I had run the Boston Marathon nine months earlier in 2015
And I was just beginning training for the 2016 Boston Marathon which was three months later.
So I was still in fairly decent running shape.
I didn’t run the race in 2017 or 2018.
Last year, I was having issues with my internal organs falling out of my body, and I had stopped running for a while until I had surgery in February 2018.
It wasn’t minor surgery — I had a hysterectomy and then surgery to correct bladder and rectal prolapse.
So by April of 2018, my body had mostly recovered from surgery, but I had gained a ton of weight, and I had not been working out due to the prolapse issues before the surgery and then six weeks of recovery after the surgery.
In May of 2018 I got back on the running wagon as soon as I was allowed. I was heavier than I had ever been (while not pregnant).
I felt terrible physically and committed to getting myself back into shape and losing weight.
I was on and off with the running over the summer with all the kids home. Things did not go the way I had planned.
Rather than saying screw it because I hadn’t done any of this perfectly, I just kept going.
I ran the Hartford Marathon in October.
It was the slowest of all the marathons I have done. I finished in 4:55.
Considering the lack of training and the surgery six months earlier and the weight gain, I was happy with that.
But then I was on a mission.
I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon legitimately.
The two times I had run it before, I had run it with a charity and not as a qualifier.
I raised $5,000 in 2015 and then again in 2016 so I could run that race.
But I really want to run it as a legitimate qualifier.
And at my age — I’ll be 50 (or older) by then — the time I need to do is a 3:55. Which is a full hour faster than the time I did this past October.
An hour is kind of a lot to drop.
But I’ve never really been one to aim low.
Maybe it’s too big of a drop. Maybe I’m shooting not just for the moon, but waaay past it.
But maybe I’m not.
In December I issued myself a challenge to run 100 miles. It would be the most I had ever run in one month, even on those months in the years I had run marathons.
I ended up running 107 total miles.
I didn’t really run them fast.
But I ran them.
And then today, I ran that New Year’s Day race again for the 5th time.
My goal was just to break 40:00 and hold under a ten minute mile.
I ran the race with Number 3.
And when I say I ran it with him, I mean we both started at the same time, and then he just blew me away.
But it was nice to do it with him.
(I hadn’t showered, so my hair was a little out of control).
This year, in 2019, at 49 years old, I finished in 37:55 and averaged 9:29 per mile.
It was my fastest race so far.
At 49 years old.
And I’m really just starting to consistently run.
I know for a fact that I could have run a marathon today in my fastest time ever (which is a 4:37).
I wouldn’t have run anywhere near that Boston qualifying time, but it would have been my best time so far.
And I’m just getting started.
Getting older is not a reason to give up and let things go.
It’s not a reason to lower the bar.
It’s not a reason to stop doing shit and to make excuses and to slow down.
You know why people stop doing stuff when they get older?
BECAUSE THEY STOP DOING STUFF WHEN THEY GET OLDER.
For most of you, this is the time when your kids are older. You have more freedom.
YOU CAN DO SO MUCH AND THERE IS SO MUCH LEFT TO DO!
Now is when you actually have time and you CAN focus on yourself.
Do NOT use your age as an excuse!
I am nine months away from 50 years old, and HOLY COW, I am just getting started.
I’m faster than I’ve ever been.
At almost half a century.
And I am thinking maybe that Boston qualifying time isn’t such a long shot after all.