In Which I Turn 30

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.

There are no digital pictures of me turning 20, because I did not have a digital camera yet. Here's a picture of me turning 22. I am making a phone call under a table at a karaoke bar. Classy, always.

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:

I own a sticker maker. One of my top 10 all-time best purchases.

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?

9 thoughts on “In Which I Turn 30

  1. Kelly says:

    happy birthday!! that sounds like an excellent start to a birthday weekend.

    So, I’m turning the big 3-0 in May and I wish I had the same outlook as you. I know I’ve learned a ton in my 20s and wouldn’t wish to relive a lot of it, but there’s something about turning 30 that freaks me the heck out. It just sounds so old! I don’t know. Hopefully I come to peace with all of this in 5 months. heh. Hope you had a wonderful rest of the weekend!!

    • Kimra says:

      I think it helped that I was the last in a particular group of friends to turn 30. It was very “let’s just get this over with, already!” But I know what you mean — it still sounds old. But I don’t feel old, so 30 can’t possibly be old, right? Right??

  2. katie says:

    AWESOME way to celebrate your birthday, girl!! congrats and happy day!

  3. Angela says:

    Oh, I LOVED turning 30. It wasn’t until then that I felt like a real adult. 🙂

    I also love & really miss running at Seal Point Park! I used to run there all the time when I lived on the peninsula.

  4. Diana says:

    What a fantastic post, you’ve inspired me to do some of my own reflection in advance of the big 3-0. I never feel like I’m old enough to actually be my age and/or be charged with the amount of professional responsibility that I have. So maybe the number isn’t that significant. And yet, somehow it is because I keep thinking in my head “I’m almost 30” as opposed to “I’m 29!” And I’m so honored that I knew you at 20! I would’ve loved to participate in your first annual run. Next year~

  5. Diana says:

    PS–and how cool is a sticker maker?

  6. Diana says:

    PPS– I also remember your 20th birthday as a celebration of “I’ll never be a teenage mother!” Ok, I’m done now.

  7. Beth says:

    Happy birthday! I love the event stickers 🙂

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