My Journey from 50 to 26.2: The Day The World Changed

Participants in the 2014 Chicago Marathon
Participants in the 2014 Chicago Marathon

Not many of us can remember the exact day and time that something changed our lives.   I not only can remember this latest occurrence, but I have the proof saved for posterity. It all started out like many things I seem to get myself into, “I’ll enter my name in the Chicago Marathon lottery and if it was meant to be, then it will be.”   Never before was it “meant to be” so I figured I was safe and I’d never actually be accountable for running a full marathon. Aside from the fact that I have zero luck when it comes to lotteries, I was about to become 50 and running my first marathon at that age would just be silly.

When I saw the email arrive from the Chicago Marathon, my heart stopped. Is this good news or bad? Do I dare look? Okay, if it’s bad news then I’ll find something else to run. If it’s good news… well I can’t use that language here. I held my breath, opened my email and silently read the words… ”We have secured enough 2015 Chicago Marathon bibs to accommodate all of the runners that have expressed interest in joining the team.

I kept reading the email over and over, trying to take that statement in. I remember staring at my screen, not able to hear anything but the beat of my heart. I’m not even sure I was breathing at that point. Soon a co-worker walked up behind me and asked me if I was okay. Apparently, not only was I not breathing but I had lost all color from my normally pale skin. The only thing I could manage in response was to point at the screen. I’M RUNNING A MARATHON!!! Actually, what I remember saying was, “I’m going to be a marathoner.” That email is hung with pride on my training wall.

Don't forget to believe in yourself today.
Don’t forget to believe in yourself today.

Why is running a marathon so emotional? If you think about it, lots of people do it every day. And by the time I cross the finish line in Chicago on October 11, 2015, there will have been thirty or forty thousand people who will have already crossed the in front of me. Seriously, that is more people than live in my town! So is it really all that special? I guess it depends on who you ask.

Completing a race of any distance means you have not only set a goal, but you have worked your butt off to get to that goal. I once heard someone say when you cross the finish line of your first half marathon, your life will be changed. For some reason I hold that statement very close to my heart and I keep looking for that life changing race finish but it has eluded me. I want that Cross the Finish Line moment when I’m in tears from joy, arms raised to celebrate that moment in time. Maybe Chicago will be it, maybe not.

Show me the bling!I hope you’ll follow me on my Journey from 50 to 26.2. I’ll be detailing my experiences, random thoughts and musings as I train for the 2015 Chicago Marathon. Expect moments of sheer joy, anger, frustration and defeat. I also expect moments when I realize that I am stronger than I ever thought I was.

 

Laura Bailey

About Author:

Laura began running in November of 2013. What started as an innocent treadmill workout has evolved into a life of training, racing and new friendships. Laura is currently in the midst of the early season race registration for 2016 (run them all!!!) and will be targeting the 2016 Marine Corp Marathon and the 2017 Dopey Challenge as her upcoming goal races. Aside from running, Laura enjoys diving amidst tropical islands and fantasizes about being a real gardener. She shares her New England home with her husband Doug, two step-sons and five (yes 5) dogs.

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