Sometime last year, I started telling people I was 30. I’m not sure when it happened, or why; 30 just seemed easier than 29. Like it explained things better, somehow. “I still have a stuffed animal on my dresser, and I’m 30” — that sort of thing.
I wasn’t necessarily eager to leave my 20s, but I suppose the looming birthday made it clear how very long a decade is. When I was 20, I’d never lived in an apartment. I was still dating my high school boyfriend. I hadn’t started the career I’d ditch a few years later; I didn’t know that the thing I’m currently doing for work was even a job one could do. My idea of cooking was club sandwiches or whatever I could make in the illegal hot pot my roommate and I kept under the bunk beds in our dorm, and “baking” only referred to slice-and-bake cookies. I didn’t run, or hike, or do anything remotely outdoorsy. I can recognize that version of myself, but she seems very distant now; I can see how I got here from there, but still, she barely feels like me.
Like every other 20-something ever, I spent the last 10 years growing — I drove across the country three times; I traveled abroad; I discovered I liked beer and stopped drinking midori sours; I fell in love; I learned what it’s like when friendships change; I found sports; I moved to the other coast; I met a lot of random people and did a lot of random things that weren’t me in my quest to figure out what was me (ugh, the brief clubbing phase; ugh, adult rec league softball). I had a career; I quit a career; I started another career. There’s not a ton about my life now that I would have predicted at 20, and I’m fine with that, and I suppose I need to remember that any time I think about where I’ll be at 40: Frankly, I have no idea, and why bother predicting? Ten years is so much life to live.
I started my birthday weekend doing one of those things I never would have imagined myself doing 10 years ago: running 12 miles. Pete and I got up early — something I can still do on the weekends, for whatever reason, maybe because it’s a choice and not a requirement — and drove down to my favorite path by the bay. The last time I was there it was to run 11 miles during training for Kaiser last year, and this year I found a way to get another mile in by crossing the water and looping around Seal Point Park. The weather was perfect — I was in shorts and a tank top! — and so hazy that when we looped around Seal Point, the San Mateo Bridge looked like it was fading into nothingness.
I wish I’d taken pictures, but I was too caught up in trying to rock a pacing strategy. My idea for this run was to start out around 9:20/mile, then take the pace down 5 seconds per mile every two miles, ending at 8:55/mile. That didn’t exactly happen, but this did:
Those last two miles were tough, as the end of that run always is for me; as soon as I see the bridge, I feel like I should be almost back to the car, but I also know just how very far away I still am. On Saturday we were running into the wind and straight at the sun for that part, and I wish I hadn’t lost quite so much steam, but I was relaxed and chattering on about the bay cats. And my pace for that last .28 was reassuring; if I’d wanted to pick it up — say, to cross a finish line — I think I could have. We hit the 10-mile mark at about 1:31(including a few breaks prompted by my navigational ineptitude), and I’m hoping to finish around 1:30 at the Waterfront 10-Miler next week, so it’ll be close, but maybe doable? As long as I don’t have my standard mental racing breakdown, that is, but that’s why I’m racing more in the first place. So.
Sunday also started with a run of a different sort. For my birthday, I planned a social run in the Panhandle and park — the First Annual Not Necessarily Annual Jog or Walk the Time of Your Age Race, as evidenced by this race swag I gave finishers:
Saturday evening festivities and a chilly, foggy morning claimed a few would-be participants, but four of us ended up running some number of minutes between 29 and 37, and a few more joined for brunch after. I know I said Not Necessarily Annual, but I’d love to do this again.
Now, who wants to motivate me to run mile repeats for the first time ever tomorrow morning?