Writing this on the eve of my 50th birthday – eek!
And what will be in a further three days, the eve of my 50th marathon – EEK!!
Fifty. Crikey! Where have all the years gone? Where have all the miles gone?
In my head I’m often 9, 19, or sometimes 90 – feeling like a child who’s never grown up; a teenager full of the mixed optimism, expectation and emotion of youth; and occasionally sage-like, wise, full of aches and pains and very, very old.
Marathon wise, it’s pretty much the same. Each time you set out on 26.2 miles, it’s a new journey of discovery – the heady excitement of gathering at the start line, finding your feet and a pace that suits, perhaps getting carried away and going too fast, only to rein it back later as it all becomes somewhat harder going, the sensation of having travelled an age and still no finish line in sight.
I remember starting this blog two years ago, my first post titled “Halfway”, when I was then on 25 marathons.
In reality was it really halfway? Halfway to what? Halfway through a notional challenge I’d set myself yes, but nothing more.
There’s lots of talk about the 50-plus age group, as if they – come tomorrow, we – are another species, a sort of sub-group of humanity, over the hill, the best years gone, the bloom fading.
But life no more starts to end at 50, than it begins at 40.
A marathon is no more just the thrill of crossing the finish line, than an accumulation of every step along the way.
Reaching 50 tomorrow, and hopefully the other 50 on Sunday, are simply mile-markers on the road of life – the highway continuing up ahead, a new view awaiting – the route yet un-marked, but waiting to be travelled.
50 – it’s just a number on a particular day. It’s every moment that counts.