November 20, 2009 at 6:00 am | Posted in My life | 18 Comments

(Or: How My Friend D Made Me Lose My Head.)

(Or, More Truthfully: How I’m Freaking Out About Turning 34.)

Two nights ago, I found myself on the phone, making a hotel reservation in Vermont for the weekend of April 24-25, 2010.

And I said these words to the hotel clerk.

“I’m running the half-marathon that weekend.”

I was fortunate enough to make it through my 20s and into my 30s with NO age-related freakouts.

In fact, I LOVED turning 30.

Maybe it was because 30-something sounded so COOL. Not only was I in my sexual PRIME, but I had also accumulated a bit of wisdom from my 20s-induced craziness.

Without being old, that is.

And over the past couple of years, I’ve conveniently FORGOTTEN my age. In fact, when people asked I’d have to actually DO THE MATH to remember. 31? 33? I never could remember.

Until I first saw my new primary care doctor a couple of months ago.

And she told me that at 35 I needed to get a baseline mammogram, add daily calcium supplements into my diet, and make sure that I was taking care of myself.

And, you know, 35 is advanced maternal age too, so I should probably think about that sort of thing if/when we want to try for another kid.

And then there’s the fact that my friend S, who is close to MY AGE, has cancer. Which, probably incorrectly, I’ve always looked at as an old person disease.

Now see. I’m not TURNING 35 next week. I’m only 34.

But. I’m THAT much closer to 35.

Which is halfway to 40.

And maybe that’s not OLD.

But it’s not YOUNG, either.

I didn’t really realize how much this was affecting my recent decisions.

Until the very moment when I was making a hotel reservation for the Middlebury Maple Run on April 25th. When the words “I’m running the half marathon” came out of my mouth.

I CAN tell you that I have been plagued with feelings of inadequacy for the past few months.

I’ve started to take back control on the weight front, for example. Because I see FAT when I look in a mirror.

I’ve been really hard on myself when it comes to parenting a toddler. With not knowing he was sick with pneumonia. For not dealing well with the tantrums.

I’ve felt like a slacker for not getting my ASS out of bed in the morning to go for a run. But really couldn’t figure out how to make that happen.

And I have had “run a marathon” on my list of Things I Need To Do Before I Die for 10 years now.

I keep making excuses. I’m too busy to train. I don’t know if I can manage it physically. I want to be done with having kids before I start training. I don’t want to train because it gets cold in New England in the winter.

Yada yada.

But yeah. I have A BIRTHDAY next week.

And in typical Serenity way, it triggered a bit of an early mid-life crisis.

I mean, what have I really ACCOMPLISHED off that list?

Lately… not much at all.

So when my friend D signed up for another half marathon this coming March, she inspired me.

Enough to think that maybe I can run 13.1 miles myself.

Maybe I’ve lost my head completely.

Maybe I needed a kick in the ass and remember that I’m living life for ME, too. Not just for O and J.

Maybe this is my way of coping with the fact that I’m getting older, and worried about my health, and giving my belly fat the proverbial finger (because I’m going to run this thing even if it jiggles the whole damn way, thank you very much!).

Maybe it’s an obsession.


I am running a half marathon on Sunday, April 25, 2010. In Middlebury, Vermont.




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  1. Go you! You’ll do great. As for getting older… Well, it’s all in how you feel right?

  2. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, yet hands down one of the top accomplishments of my life, and one that not everyone can say they’ve done. And the fact that I’d doing a second one — with still HATING running — must say a lot about what you get out of it. It’s sort of like parenting being so hard at times, but then you think, well, it must be worth it if people end up having child #2, #3, etc. and doing it all over again. The benefits are quite great.

    Everyone has their own reasons for getting to the start — and finish — line. This one is yours, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It is what is going to keep you motivated through all the training. There will be ups and there will be downs, but ultimately you’ll come through this a better person. Perhaps a sore person for a few days, but overall a better person. 😉

    Good luck with training, and let me know how I can help!


    • I am turning 40 in about a month’s time–and I feel you on the whole age/accomplishment thing.

      Good for you on the marathon!

  3. Did you watch Cougartown the other night? Courtney Cox was turning 41 in the episode, but she kept telling strangers that it was her “34th Birthday” to see if they would believe that she looked that young. It was hilarious! I remember feeling so old in my 30s, and now at 41 – the 30s seemed so young!! haha. Age is just a number and remember that with ear year comes more wisdom, more life lessons, more love. Happy Birthday Serenity!! Savor it!

  4. Okay that is supposed to say with “each year” not ear year. Oops.

  5. Dude, if I can do this, you can sooooo do this! It helped me get ME back – it gave me confidence, control, and dropped the weight. I’ll send you the running schedule I used if you want it. There’s lots out there so you don’t need mine, but FYI in case you do cuz mine’s a 3-days/week rather than 4-days/week plan (4 days might be hard for you to squeeze in).

    Very very exciting!!!

  6. I so totally understand where you are coming from with the birthday induced life crisis. Unlike you, I am not excited to be turning 30. As a matter of fact, 12/15 could never come this year, I am freaking the freak out. I think we all have that age that hits us funny. The age that we never saw coming.

    I hope 34 turns out to be a great age, though.

  7. I don’t know, Serenity, but from the limited pictures of yourself you’ve posted, you are SO NOT fat!! I know it’s your own opinion that matters, but I just wanted to tell you.

    And I am totally in awe that you’re finding time to train for and run a half marathon when you have a toddler and a fulll-time job. I don’t even have time for the dishes.

  8. Inspirational as always, GOOD LUCK sweetie.
    I turn 40 in Feb and I’ll tell you that as long as I can lose about 15lbs by then (please, please) I’m going to feel like I am living a good life. Age is not getting me down yet and 34 isn’t OLD…not at all. 🙂

  9. Huzzah! I’m so thrilled to hear this! Having run two half marathons now, I think it is a great distance- long enough that you really do have to train for it, but short enough that you can still have a life while doing so (i.e. your long run isn’t taking up the whole day). The best thing about your first one is just getting over the line automatically gives you a personal best time!

    Running the half marathon this year was enough to drop the 10 pounds I’d been carrying after treatments. And it gave me back to myself- it was SO good for my mental health.

    I am super proud of you! And if you’d like a schedule, I use the Running Room one, which is five days/week, but I only ever really managed four, and I did just fine. 🙂

    PS. I hear you on the age freak out…mine was at 30, this summer.

  10. One thing I wanted to intervene on. You are so not a bad mummy for not knowing O had pneumonia. Children are incredibly robust when they are ill and it’s often very hard to know when they are just off colour for a day and when there is something more serious going on. Please let yourself off the hook a bit!

  11. Can’t wait to hear about it and see the pics! (You can’t back out now, can you?)


  12. Wow!

    You’ve got my respect!

    Can’t wait to hear about the training and the race!

  13. You can absolutely do this. All it takes is commitment and a good training program You are making a commitment to yourself that you deserve. Good luck!

  14. Frankly I hope you’re too pregnant to run it by then. But thats me being selfish and wanting to see more Serenity dancing babies in the near future 🙂

    Either way I’ll be incredibly impressed!!!

  15. Good for you! And happy birthday!

  16. Wow! I’m totally impressed that you signed up. So impressed taht I might just make the trip down there to cheer you on!
    IAbout the age theing… I totally hear you. I have always been one of those people who thinks “age is just a number”, until… This weekend my husband turned 35, and it’s my turn in just a few weeks. All of a sudden I felt “old”. And then I was driving in the car with my mom and I looked over at her and she seemed so old all of a sudden.
    Ok, so given all this- I really applaud your decision!

  17. I’m so impressed that you signed up. I wanted to run one last year, but of course V came along at the beginning of the training. You’re gonna kick ass.

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