I turn 50 years old on February 28, and I want to do a lot of great, fun things as I head into my 50s. First up: I am running the NYC Half in three weeks. This is my first time running it; it is very hard to get into unless you do four of the six borough races in the previous year, which I did in 2016.
Then I have my biggest challenge of the spring. As I have mentioned previously, this April I am running my second marathon — the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon, down at the Jersey Shore. (Click here to read about my day running my first marathon, the TCS NYC Marathon, back in November.)
Incidentally, if you’re interested in joining me in running the marathon or the half-marathon held that same day, you can save $5 on your admission through Subway Squawkers. Simply go to http://www.thenewjerseymarathon.com/ and enter the promo code 17njmSubSquawkers there, and you’ll save some coin.
Anyhow, I’m mostly okay about heading into AARP-land now. Earlier this month, I got a little freaked out about it, and it made me want to rethink my life, and the people in it, and how I wanted to live the rest of my days.
So I made some tough decisions, and changed my attitude on a few things. Strangely, two things Tom Brady, of all people, said really resonated with me. He talked to Peter King of Sports Illustrated after the Super Bowl, and said this:
“I don’t want to give my power away to other people by letting my emotions be subjected to what their opinions are. So if someone calls me something, that’s their problem. I’m not going to give away my power.”
I really liked the talk about not giving away one’s power to others that way. It hit a nerve. (It also makes me a little nauseated that I can relate to something Brady said, but that’s a whole other story!)
The QB also talked about the sacrifices he has made in order to keep on doing what he’s doing at age 39, and how he won’t stay out late with his friends anymore. When King asked him if that were a sacrifice, he said: “Not really”:
“Because I know what I’m getting on the other end. I know I can enjoy other experiences with my friends that don’t have to happen at 1 a.m. I can have my friends at a Super Bowl game as a 39-year-old. That’s a pretty amazing feeling. So it doesn’t ever feel like a sacrifice to me … That’s making lifestyle choices that support dreams and goals that I have.
Granted, I’m never going to play in a Super Bowl, but it is going to be a pretty amazing feeling crossing the finish line of the New Jersey Marathon in April, or doing my first triathlon this summer, or running the NYC Marathon for the second time this November. The training for these things takes a lot out of me, mentally, physically, and time-wise, but the sacrifices will be worth it in the end.
And to be in the best shape of my life at 50 is a pretty darn good feeling. Especially considering the alternative. I can’t really complain about getting older when I remember that my closest friend from high school, one of my first boyfriends, and one of my cousins who was my age are no longer with us. You can’t take turning 50 for granted. Or even being in good health for granted.
Anyhow, I did my longest run of the year this Sunday, two weeks after running 16 miles in the rain, sleet, and cold and hurting my feet by wearing trail running shoes. This time around, it was cold but sunny, and my feet were a little sore, but survived 18 miles.
I spent a lot of my run trying to figure out what my running theme song should be for this year. Two months into 2017, and I still don’t have one!
So I was listening to Frank Sinatra trying to come up with something apropos, as I ran in Conference House Park. “That’s Life” came on, and I found myself singing along to these lyrics:
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate
A poet, a pawn and a king
I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race
And I’m thinking, “This is it! This is the song for me!”
Then I get to the last part of the song:
That’s life (that’s life) that’s life
And I can’t deny it
Many times I thought of cuttin’ out but my heart won’t buy it
But if there’s nothing shakin’ come here this July
I’m gonna roll myself up in a big ball and die
Not exactly the most uplifting ending, eh? The ending killed the idea of using that part of the song!
I also burst into tears when I heard Sinatra croon “September of My Years” later in the run, specifically the line where he talks about never pausing at wishing wells. It then occurred to me that I am now at the age Sinatra was when he was singing those songs for the first time. That made me feel very old!
(An aside: doesn’t 50 seem younger now, though? Sinatra at 50 was marrying Mia Farrow, where he seemed ancient. Later on that day, I was watching MLB Network specials on the 1977 and 1978 seasons, and both George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin were under 50 them. They both seemed much older!)
Anyhow, I still don’t have a theme song yet. I have listened to Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” several times at the end of races this year, because a lot of it resonates with me. Especially this part:
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Because I always say that when it come to running, it is just me, myself, and I out there. Due to my lack of speed, I am always running by myself when training, and the only chance I can ever see my pace as compared to others is during races.
I also listened to U2’s “Pride (in the Name of Love)” while running, but that will not be my finish line song again. I do get emotional hearing it, because it reminds me of the amazing feeling I had when I knew I was about to cross the finish line of the NYC Marathon!
So I’m still on the hunt for a theme song for 2017. Feel free to weigh in with ideas!