I’m heading into my sixth birthday since we started the blog. I’ll do the math for you: Sam and I were 48 when we began. So yes, I’m about to turn 54. Birthdays always make me reflect on where I am. And this year I have to say I’m in a really good place mentally and physically.
Though more relaxed about my workout routine than I used to be, I feel as if it’s efficient and effective. For the past six months or so, since my not so great winter, I’ve been consistently putting in three runs a week, two training sessions, one yoga class, and either walking or riding my bike to work at least some days.
All that consistency and sense of routine has contributed to a sense of well-being and energy that I’ve not experienced quite like this in a long time. It’s as if I have gained a kind of momentum in my life that makes everything seem easier than it used to seem.
As regular readers know, the consistency culminated in a personal best 10K a couple of the weeks ago. And though it had a lot to do with the stars aligning for me on race day, including perfect weather amidst a season that has presented sauna-like humidity regularly.
As I reflect on the past year, it really only fell into place in the last half. Last winter I felt kind of aimless and off centre. I had no solid goals, no races planned, until I decided sometime in April to focus on the 10K distance for the upcoming season. This was probably a good thing because the cough that wouldn’t leave me stuck around for at least six weeks last winter. Coupled with travel to places where I found it hard to train, I consistently missed more workouts last winter than I have in years.
But I’ve developed the capacity to see the long game. It’s possible to recover from a few missed workouts, even from many of them. I like this shift from “all or nothing” thinking to a more realistic approach. Life happens and though it can feel discouraging at times, rolling with it makes it easier than railing against it.
I’m glad I feel that way because this past week has been a wash. With a cold and way too much to do, I’ve lost the high of my personal best 10K and managed only the barest minimum of a workout schedule. I can live with that without feeling totally derailed by it. I feel a lot better than I did last week, so I’m going to get those three runs in again this week, and yoga, and weight training. Back on task for my half marathon training.
That’s my next big thing — a half marathon on October 22nd with Anita. If Anita has her way, we will be doing an event a month for the next few months. I’m not sure where that idea came from and we’ll have to see. After that half I have one more 10K to close out the season before the end of October.
If I don’t want a repeat of that rudderless feeling I had last winter, it would be wise to set some sort of goal — not necessarily an event a month, but something to train for that requires consistent commitment. I am toying with the idea of the Around the Bay 30K, but will see how far the half marathon feels before I make a decision to up my distance. Maybe Anita’s idea of an event a month isn’t so bad after all, if those events are more moderate.
Finally, I’ve got a few things to say about turning 54. I’m actually not bothered by it. An old family friend of ours used to say of these sorts of birthdays, “It’s not a special birthday.” Special birthdays are mostly the tens and I’m way far from a ten birthday at the moment. I can truly say I feel better, more vibrant, healthy, and emotionally grounded today than I did six years ago at 48. I’ve got some exciting things lined up this year, and before my 55th birthday I’m going to China, India, the Bahamas, and moving aboard the sail boat for a year. I’m working on a new book project that I’m excited about. And I feel connected and supported in my friendships, relationships with family members, and the larger communities that I’m a part of (including the communities around this blog). If this is what 54 is all about, I’ll take it!