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Dry Martini: on Buses and Birthdays

On the day you read this, provided it is the same day it is posted, I’ll officially be halfway on the journey to my 90th birthday. (If you read this on any other day, I’ll leave it up to you to do the math.)

No, this isn’t a shameless ploy to get more people to wish me a happy birthday — although I’ll happily accept any wishes that come my way — it’s that this day is an opportunity to get all philosophical and stuff. Besides, it gives me a theme. Who doesn’t love a theme?

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It would be more accurate to say "This is what a runner looks like after a long, long day at work."

Will I make it to 90? Eh. Who knows? Genetically the odds are in my favor. I could, however, get hit by a bus this afternoon. That’s the thing about life. One just never knows — and it’s taken me nearly 45 years to really accept that. Actually, I’ve moved past mere acceptance. It’s taken me 45 years to embrace the idea of going ahead and doing something you’ve been merely dreaming about, just because there could be a bus just around the corner.

The bus, of course, is a metaphor, unless it’s an actual bus, in which case, maybe you shouldn’t have had “crossing the street without looking” on your list of lifelong dreams.

While a birthday that ends in 0 or 5 is always a great time to take stock, what really triggered this bout of navel gazing was last weekend’s long run. The weather here had warmed up enough that the cemetery on my route opened its gates for the season. I know opinions differ but I’m a fan of running among the dead. Granted, I do my best to not be a dick about it. If there are mourners actively mourning, I’ll steer clear. Otherwise, I find it peaceful to read the names on the stones I run past, to look at the memorabilia left behind, and to remember that this, in some form, is waiting for us all.

Which I’m finally old enough to just begin to make peace with.

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One of my running companions.

That long run was also the first time in many months that I’d gotten to run by Lolo Reed, whose name sticks with you. I can’t help but think she would have been a BAMR and I smile each time I pass her.

Other than my few moments of mobile meditation among the stones, my ten mile long run was pretty typical for springtime in these parts: I spent the first five miles being pelted by sleet, three in the middle staring into blinding sunshine, and the last two in freezing rain. Fortunately for me, my long run was the day before the epic (and not far from me) Syracuse Half Marathon, which you just have to see to believe.

Go look. I can wait.

*waits*

RIGHT? If you were there, I hope your (bad) ass-icle has thawed by now. You are a freaking Viking. Or slightly mentally ill. Or, like many of us, a charming combination of both.

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I also found a penny buried in the slush on my long run. Ah, spring.

If you’d told me 4.5 years ago (which is when I took my first shaky and wheezy steps in a Couch-to-5K program and was 100 percent certain that I’d never make it through a full mile), that I’d have more than a few half marathon medals on my wall, I’d know you’d spent too much time outside in the sun without a hat. But I’m older now -- and know that the bus you never saw coming is exactly the one that will take you where you need to go, even if you didn’t know that you needed to go there.

I try to keep all of this in mind when I start to think about the New York City Marathon in November, which I’m running under the umbrella of Every Mother Counts.* I’ve spent more time than is seemly quietly freaking out about all of it: the training, the race, the fundraising, the very idea that at mile 20, I’ll still have more than an hour of running left. A recent issue of Runner's World eased me off of the ledge, thanks to this bit of advice from one Mark Remy:

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I’m old enough now to not hide from the fear but, rather, to run through it.

 

* You know what would be a great gift for my halfway-to-90 birthday? Getting halfway-to-my-fundraising-goal for Every Mother Counts. And, no, I ain’t to proud to beg, just like the man sang.

Question of the week: what is the one running-related gift (tangible or otherwise) that you wish someone would give you?

29 responses to “Dry Martini: on Buses and Birthdays

  1. Since I’ll be halfway to my 100th birthday this December, I’m slow on the uptake and just reading your post on 4/14/16. Happy belated birthday, Adrienne. Celebrate the YEAR! I’m not very original in thought,, so I’m copying someone above who wished for her family to sincerely cheer her on at her races. Mine rarely show, but when then they do, it tends to get kinda ugly, so I’m silently wishing they’d just go home. I’d love an encouraging, happy-to-be there, “We’re learning by your example and love you Mom” squad. Yeah, I’m already on my way to senility. I’m thankful for the laughs and lessons you share so generously. Now, how about a link to your fundraising page?

  2. Thanks for all of the birthday wishes, kind words, and EMC donations! I hope that you all get exactly what you want on your special days, even if the space time continuum has to bend a little bit to make that happen….

  3. Happy birthday!! As someone who also uses that bus analogy, thank you for again making me feel normal. I would like the gift to be injury free. And not just running injury free, but the rest of life injury free, so that I don’t hurt myself like falling down the stairs or strain something lifting so my running wouldn’t be affected. And I love when you post. You make me laugh, nod in agreement, and cheer you on even harder. You go birthday girl.

  4. Late but better than never, Happy Birthday. I love birthdays that end in 5 – mine with that ending is in September – or 0. I think the philosophical turn to these dates fits us all as we get older. I’m racing on my birthday.

  5. Happy birthday Adrienne!
    As far as my one running related gift, it’s intangible – to have my family eagerly act as my cheering squad at all half marathons and marathons. Right now I think it’s more inconvenience level for them, but to have them spectate like they wanted to be there, all encouragement and big signs they make on their own, would be the best thing ever.

  6. Running is a gift, every time I get to do it. My goal is to run 2016 miles in 2016. A weekly massage would be ideal.

  7. New running socks. I ordered them for myself and daughter took them back to college with her. My birthday is 3 weeks away. I need to order more for ME

  8. Happy Birthday! Loved your post. This was my first year not running SYR Half due to injury, so I was in the chute giving out medals. We DID, in fact, have a Viking cross the finish line! It was an unreal event. Love this race!

  9. Happy Birthday! Loved the post. I would love to have a personal chef to help me provide better pre/post run meals for me and my family.

  10. I wish you the happiest of birthdays! I absolutely love reading your posts, they are so relatable!
    I’d wish for just an ounce of speed. I’d only use it when I do something stupid like sign up for a race with speedy coworkers.

  11. My wish is for you (it’s your birthday, after all): fearlessness, strength, patience and an iron stomach while you train this summer. Happy Freaking Birthday, Adrienne!

  12. Happy birthday!! So excited for you to run NYC. As a former New Yorker I can say the city is electric for that race. As for a gift for moi (if you are asking a few months early;-) I’d love 2 freakin minutes to go back, not grab the darn tiara and feather boa and get my sub 2 hour half.

  13. Happy Birthday, Adrienne! Love the healthy dose of humorous and insightful perspective you bring to your writing.
    Good luck on your fundraising- did a little to help you support the moms of the world. Great cause… I can imagine the powerful drive I would get from being able to run my first marathon in support of such an inspiring charity. 🙂

  14. Happy birthday! Just love reading your posts! My running gift right now would be some mental toughness. I’m 3 1/2 weeks out from my half and those inkling of self-doubt are starting to creep on me again. Grrr…

  15. I absolutely love this post….all the metaphors…. Happy happy birthday!!! Do not worry about New York…you will be just fine… I have no doubt about it. The one running related gift….such a good question….maybe that I didn’t have so many GI issues on long runs, although I have to say that overtime, they are getting better….. I think slowly my GI system is adapting to the long runs, just like everything else.

  16. Happy Birthday! What I would love is some kind of gift certificate for hot yoga or a set of spin classes. I know I need to do more cross-training to help my running but I’ve been too lazy to get it done. This kind of gift would motivate me to put my heart into it!

  17. Happy birthday. EMC donation done. Best of luck as your training progresses. A gift for me would be my husband’s support as I train for marathon #2.

  18. Happy Birthday! And happy training!

    I was one of the crazies running the Cuse half. Gotta say, the real troopers were the volunteers and spectators. There was an amazing number of spectators.There were guys handing out craft beer samples and guys handing out Dunkin donuts. And the more practical woman handing out tissues.
    My running present is next week, when I run the Star Wars half at Disney w/ my sister. I am fairly certain there will not be snow.

  19. Happy Birthday- I am halfway to 126 this year and have been running more than twice as long as the number of years I have not run. (Now there’s a math problem!) Let’s just say I have been running more years than I haven’t. And I continue to do so. Running present? Maybe a trip to the Grand Canyon so I could run across it one more time before I hit 90….

  20. Happy birthday! I’m hitting the big 5-0 this year and can relate. What I would like is a Visa gift card with about $500 on it. I love getting gift cards you can use anywhere. I always talk myself out of buying running gear because I feel guilty about making more expensive purchases. If I get cash, I always end up spending it on the kids or something for the house. With a gift card I think of it as guilt free spending – all on me – and 99% of the time it’s on running gear. So if you know my husband, in-laws or siblings, please let them know.

  21. Happy birthday! Nothing like running through a cemetery to put it all into perspective. And what a great cause to raise money for. I would like a Garmin, please.

  22. The only running-related gift I wish I could get is time (as in, I wish I had another hour to sleep in the morning and and extra hour to run before I need to leave for work @6:30).
    Happy Birthday!

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