This one requires a bit of background and a throwback to 2001 when I was eight months pregnant with our second child and four weeks into modified bed rest. What began as a welcome, princess and the pea opportunity to be catered to while I put my feet up to ensure the full gestation of our son, became pure, unadulterated boredom. And so, when my brother came for a visit I seized the opportunity to complain to a new set of ears, and in so doing I declared that as soon as this whole pregnancy thing was over I was going to run a marathon. (Side note: my longest race up to that point was a 5k). Dear brother's response: "let's do it. I'm in." The deal was sealed, over the next few months we snookered others including my husband into joining us, and in 2002 we all successfully completed the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon while my in-laws watched our then 9 month old and 4 year old children.
Bucket list item, checked. Marathon? Been there, done that, never to be repeated.
The organizers of the NYC Marathon announced that the first day to register for the lottery would be on January 15, 2015. That day also was the exact day of my brother's 40th birthday and the one-year anniversary of our father's death following his battle with cancer. Surely, it was a sign. We would throw our names into the lottery on the 15th, we certainly would be chosen (forget that there's only a 12% chance of getting in), we would run in celebration of our father's life, and after the race with our shiny finishers' medals we would sit on the orange couch with the Today show anchors talking about our journey to race day because, after all, who doesn't like a lemons to lemonade feel good story? (Ya, the last little bit about the Today show cameo, all mine ... but the rest was a shared vision).
The joyful enthusiasm with which I greeted the morning of the lottery turned to pathetic agony by mid-afternoon. I was transformed again into a love sick teenager sitting by the phone waiting for that "special boy" to call, except this time I was holding my breath for race organizers. And then it happened ... the phone buzzed, my Golden Ticket hit my inbox. My heart soared and then sunk in a matter of minutes with the realization that while I was in, my brother and sister-in-law were out. I was going to run this thing. Alone. Or, let me re-phrase, "alone" running with 50,000 of my closest friends, while my family waits at the finish.
This whole thing played out differently than envisioned, but the reality of it is that the NYC Marathon could not have come at a better time, and I could not feel more grateful for the opportunity that fate has thrown my way. It reinvigorates me. And it reminds me, daily, that it's not just about the bucket list items. Just like training, life is about embracing all of the little steps along the way with the people that you love, punctuated by those big, awesome moments, that together combine to equal a life well lived.
Let my next midlife adventure begin ...