Milestones, sometimes they loom large in front of us and sometimes they sneak up on us and surprise us. The origin of the term milestone originally comes from the word mile, plus the word stone, literally meaning a stone functioning as a milepost. This might imply that milestones occur at regular intervals, but in life I have rarely found this the case. To quote directly from the dictionary definition, a milestone is a significant event or stage in the life, progress, and or development of a person which can happen at any time; sometimes we even miss the moment and realize later its significance and other times the event is a slap in the face, so very profound you could never miss or mistake it for anything. If you’ve lived at all, you’ve experienced milestones and you know what I am talking about.
Currently two milestones are converging upon my life that has prompted a decision on my part – one has been looming larger and larger in the near-ish future for a while and one I almost missed its passing. The big one is turning 40, or as everyone seems to say, “the big four oh”. Over a year ago, a running acquaintance told me that she registered for her first marathon because it was on her list of things to accomplish before turning 40. I’ve never had a ‘before forty list’, but those words, that thought, well, it stuck with me, over and over in my head I’ve found myself thinking “before I turn 40…” I’ve found myself looking at marathons and thinking how old would I be for that one in 2016 or in 2017. This girl, who said, “I’ll never run a marathon” and who said, “The training commitment is just too much for a marathon”, found herself thinking about marathons more and more, all thanks to Amy turning 40.
Silently sneaking past, almost being missed completely was the realization that I’ve now run ten half marathons, and by the end of April, I should have an even dozen completed. It’s hard to imagine when I decided in July 2013 to run my first half in February 2014, that less than 3 years later I would have run so many more. I’ve learned something from every one of my half marathons, including my tenth, perhaps especially my tenth; during my last half I remembered my calm even when my initial reaction was to freak out when I lost my pace around 15k. I lost my pace and I did not panic, I was able to breathe deeply and maintain until I found race pace again and kicked strong to the finish line – I’m proud of this because the harmony of my brain and body working together without argument does not always happen for me in a race. I am sure this is a lesson I can stand to learn and practice again, after all practice makes performance.
So ten half marathons in the book, 40 on the foreseeable horizon, my friend’s words echoing in my head, “before I turn 40, I wanted to complete a marathon,”…and as these pieces of my life converged together, I bit the bullet, pulled on my big girl panties, bought new running sneakers, and registered for my first full marathon. I made sure it was a full with great race bling! 2016 will be my year (as well as fellow blogger, Sarah’s) to push my body and my brain farther than they have gone before; 26.2 miles. This race may be 26 mile stones on the road, but it will be one great big milestone of accomplishment in my life; from the girl who never ran growing up to marathoner.