The fall season for me is less about football and more about running, especially half marathons. It’s become my favorite distance, and I’ve resolved to run one in half the U.S. states over the next 2-3 years, and given my penchant for international living and travel, I may branch out to continents as well (I’m already planning to do the Two Oceans Half in Capetown, South Africa, next April). Some people do all 50, but my thinking is that this way I get to pick the states I want to go to as well as the time of year. So far, I’ve rolled through most of the states in New England (still have Rhode Island and Connecticut, though), as well as Michigan, Alabama, Washington, and New York. Next up is Pennsylvania. It’s fun seeing different parts of the country, visiting relatives or friends as part of the weekend, and meeting new people before and during the races. Marty often comes with me and is there at the finish line, which is nice as well. (Especially the time last year I became dehydrated and wound up in the ER, but that’s another story).
I’ve joined a group online and Facebook called Half Fanatics, which is comprised of people arguably a lot crazier than me about the number and frequency of races they run. I won’t even try to explain the “moon” system, but as you do more races, in more places, more often, you “moon up” around the solar system. It’s a bit wonky, but what the heck. I met some nice people at a race a few weeks ago who were sporting their Half Fanatic shirts, and they were very friendly and welcoming, so I decided to join myself. People encourage each other on line and in person in their respective goals. Together with the friendly running group I’m part of in Keene it is a nice community to be part of.
What is interesting to me is my own process in not only becoming interested in this, but deciding to set a goal around it and then plug away at achieving it. As I have grown older I have found the ability to take pleasure in small things, as well as to create pleasure by challenging myself in areas I might not have considered before. I am reminded of an incident many years ago where a friend of mine was consoling another mutual friend who was prone to negativity and depression. The friend doing the consoling was not himself without problems–from my perspective rather more challenging ones than the depressed friend– but always seemed to have an upbeat attitude about things. In the course of the conversation, he mentioned that not all was gloom and doom –that very day our mutual friend might come home and find that the new L.L. Bean catalog had arrived in the mail! His ability– and counsel–to take pleasure in small things was something I never forgot. Equally important to me is to continuing to challenge myself as I grow older. Diana Nyad was right–you are never too old to chase your dreams.
So here I am, at 62, running half marathons in half the states. When I’m finished with this, there will be something else, I’m sure. The main thing is to keep chasing.