It's here. A day that has been prevalent in the back of my mind for quite some time. Tomorrow is my 40th birthday. I don't know why we put so much significance on a new decade, or maybe it's just me. In terms of my identity as a runner, I now have a new title: Masters runner. Sounds special, right? As if I've achieved a level of mastery in my running when in fact it just means I'm over 40. Most of the articles you read about success as a masters runner (Runners Connect has a nice one here), have a common underlying theme: you're not as young as you used to be, and you can't get away with skimping on the extras I sometimes like to skimp on: stretching, strength training, cross training, etc. Recovery from hard work outs may take longer than it did in your 20's and 30's. I admit this scares me a bit, but it's unlikely my first run tomorrow as a 40 year old will feel any different than my last run in my 30's did this morning. I will still be that runner who loves to train hard and trips a lot on non-existent cracks in the sidewalk. I'm actually excited about the prospect of a marathon PR in my future. After races, when I obsessively study the race results (you know you do this!), I am routinely beat by women in their 40's. It's inspiring.
When I look back at the last time I embarked on a new decade, it seems impossible that two of the most rewarding parts of my life now hadn't yet made their appearance. When I turned 30, I never had any desire to run more than three or four miles. I couldn't fathom running a marathon. And although at the age of 30 I was already the mother of a wonderful two year daughter, it was unbeknownst to me that my new two month old daughter had a rare chromosome deletion that would test my parenting skills (and numerous other skills!) in ways I never dreamed. Today I can't imagine my life without these things that bring me so much joy and so much challenge. What a difference ten years can make.
So cheers to my fellow masters runners! I am proud to be one of you. Here's to getting fitter, faster, and stronger in my 40's.