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I will be thirty-six on Saturday. I am very excited. I don’t usually get excited about my birthday, but this year is different. I feel older this year, in a good way. I am more at peace with my life and more confident in the person I have become. I am proud of my family. I love my friends. I am focused. I am happy.

In the past few weeks I have been privy to some conversations about “wanting more”. Seems wanting more, bigger, better, (or in the case of athletes, wanting farther, faster, more extreme) is the American way. On 60 Minutes there was a segment about the happiest people in the world. Americans…not so much. We are never satisfied; we always want more. We have trouble being happy.

I have realized over the past 12 months that I am actually pretty happy right where I am. I am not the smartest, prettiest, wealthiest, person I know. That is ok with me. I don’t train the hardest, run the farthest or the fastest, achieve the most. That is ok too. I do my best and laugh a lot and that is good.

I have learned a lot about myself this year. I finally learned to balance work, family, friends and running. I learned that when the call for volunteers goes out, I answer. I learned I can run farther than 26.2 miles. I learned to simplify. I learned that when I focus on my passions, and not do everything, things turn out better. I learned that when a friend unexpectedly struggles during a race that I stick with him. I don’t run ahead. I am proud to know that about myself.

I don’t worry so much about being #1 anymore.

I didn’t used to be this way. In fact, I have been very competitive my entire life. But at some point this past year, I started thinking, “You know what? That was good enough.”

I don’t really know how my mellowing will impact my running. Maybe not all that much. I have always run for the joy more than the victory. It isn’t like I am going to stop competing. In fact, I am running a race for time on my birthday!

It may change how I look at training with others. Some of my friends now far exceed my capabilities. I haven’t really figured out how to train with them, but we are working on it.

It is impacting my 2009 race calendar. I have decided to go for balance: three or four key races where the results (time and/or distance) are important to me and I train hard for them; two or three challenges where I put in a solid effort, but the results are part of a bigger picture; and the rest are just for fun.

For time/distance, I know AR50 is a goal. For effort, I know Way Too Cool 50K is a goal. For fun, I know the Big Sur Marathon is a goal. Other than that, I am not sure but I am confident I will find the right mix and I will enjoy them all.

I like getting older. Happy birthday to me!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Nicole Hawker says:

    You have always amazed me and I know why you are my friend. As I read this story I began crying. I don’t know how much of it is because I truly miss you or that we are so similiar and it is an eye opener for me. In my book you are the smartest and prettiest (inside and out); I don’t know about the financial wealth but you have wealth.

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