Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Birthday reflections on running and other good things

Generally, I'm neither especially dismayed nor especially excited when another birthday rolls around - except, that is, when my new age ends with a "9". There's something about knowing I'll have a milestone birthday next year that makes me want to reflect on my life so far and my hopes for the future.

On the whole, I have to say things are looking up since my last big birthday. Sure, I'm older, greyer and a little more battle-scarred, but I'm also wiser, healthier and more appreciative of the people and things that give my life meaning - so it seems like a pretty good trade all in all.

I decided a few months ago to celebrate this birthday by travelling to Hamilton to run the Around the Bay 30km Road Race with a few running friends. I'm so glad I did. The weather, the company and the race itself were all fantastic. And, though I'll always be more a tortoise than a hare, I posted a time I could only have dreamt about a decade ago - if I'd ever dreamt about running a 30km race one day - which I most certainly did not!

I took up running shortly after my 40th birthday when, dismayed by the fact that I'd put on 20 pounds in a matter of months and suffering from painful back issues, I went with a friend to a Running Room "Learn to Run" clinic. Four marathons and eight half marathons later, I still can't believe I've become a runner - a slow runner, but still a runner. And I'll always be more grateful than I can say to my friend and to the instructors who got me through my first year on the road when - despite all the laughter and camaraderie - running mostly just felt like hard work.

Nearly nine years later, running (even on bad days) is a lot more fun. And it's given me so much - improved health, great new friends, and a sense of accomplishment - not to mention the opportunity to make a difference by raising funds for worthwhile causes and encouraging others to be more active.

If I have my way, I'll still be running 40 years from now. I understand the Boston Marathon qualifying time for women over 80 years old is a reasonable 5 hrs 25 mins. (Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?)


  1. Jan, you're terrific. I admire your aspirations, your stick-to-it-iveness and all! Keep it up! And by the way, in your blog you speak of the Boston Marathon for the 'over 80ers' ...doing only 5 hours and 25 minutes. Would that be 5 hours in the rocking chair and 25 minutes running, Jan???? ~~~lol! Aunt Marg

  2. With a little training, Aunt Marg, I know you could do Boston in that time. Hugs, J