Today is July 5.
29 years ago, in 1977, I came into this world rather uneventfully…my Mom went into labor after the fireworks that night and I was here by lunchtime. I joke today that I just wanted to see what all the commotion was for.
Almost 7/7/77. But not quite.
I like to think of myself as the “encore” to the fireworks. You know, when you think they are done, and you’re just about to grab your keys and try to find your car, BAM—here comes a huge unexpected burst of noise and color? That’s me. :)
My first word was “no.” As in, “No—don’t you dare tell me I can’t do something.”
Sometimes I can’t believe I’m already 29. When my parents were 29, they had been married for almost 7 years and had both of their kids. It makes me realize how young they were.
I’ve been very blessed with this life of mine. This training has me feeling pretty reflective lately, and the more I train and the more days go by, the more I realize how lucky I am to be able, both physically and emotionally, to do this. 29 years is a long time, but still not that long.
29 years old.
That’s the age that, when I was a kid, I heard a lot of people my parents age joke that they were turning on their birthdays. “How old are you, So-and-So? Why, I’m 29—ha ha ha.” I remember hearing that when I was a kid, thinking, “No you’re not. I know you’re 37.” I always wondered how 29 became this arbitrary line, as if no one wanted to be any older than that. As if after 29, everything goes downhill.
I look at my parents lives and see how much happiness they have had since they were 29, and I just don’t buy it. I don’t buy that it goes downhill from here.
So in my 29 years, I have experienced a lot of things, but not nearly as much as some people.
I’ve gotten to cross the finish line in 2 marathons, smiling both times, family by my side.
I got to go to college and make some of the best friends I could ever have hoped for.
I’ve been to Disney World twice.
I’ve watched too many loved ones lose battles with Alzheimer’s, Lymphoma, heart disease, and cancer.
I’ve backpacked the Grand Canyon with some of my closest friends.
I stood under a waterfall in St. Lucia and Puerto Rico.
I married my best friend.
I’ve leaned against the Berlin Wall.
I’ve been denied an opportunity I really wanted.
I received my M.A. on a full scholarship.
I’ve caught a ball with my face and broken my nose in a softball game, hit one career home run, but never any triples.
My big toe was bitten by a crab in Cape Cod when I was 5, and my Dad didn’t believe me until we got out of the Atlantic Ocean. We still laugh about it.
I have a picture of me in front of the Twin Towers—the same tower I and so many others lost a college classmate to on September 11, 2001.
I’ve been really scared.
In my short 29 years, I’ve felt unbelievable pain and loss. But, the joy I’ve felt outweighs the pain. For every setback I’ve had, I’ve been blessed and lucky to have what feels like 10 good things happen.
This Ironman is coming up, faster than I ever thought it would. I know that this day will be full of challenges and probably a lot of pain. In fact, it will probably be the most painful and challenging day I’ve ever had in my 29 years.
But if that’s the case—if on September 10th I feel the most pain I’ve ever felt in my entire life—then on that day, (to paraphrase the great Lou Gehrig)
I will be the luckiest girl on the face of the earth.