I started by birthday celebration on Sunday by running the Cherry Creek Sneak 10 miler. Brad re-arranged the plans he'd made for us, rescheduling them to Friday night, to support me. (The eight course chef's tasting dinner with wine pairing at Mizuna was amazing, but would not have been a terrific pre-race meal.) Then he got up at the crack of dawn to drive me to start of the race. Love that guy.
While I was running the Sneak, I kept thinking about how much my life has changed over the past five years.
Five years prior I'd run my first marathon, the Big Sur International Marathon, on my 40th birthday.
Crossing Bixby Bridge with my friend Erin:
Big Sur is not a typical first-time marathoner's choice, particularly for someone like me who'd only started running the summer before. Big Sur is spectacularly beautiful, but it's a hard course, with a two mile long 4.5% grade hill ("Hurricaine Point") just before the halfway point. But the race was held on the day of my 40th birthday, and the finisher's medal was designed by a woman with my same exact name. So I knew, Hurricaine Point or not, it was the race for me.
It was a glorious day; foggy and cool while we ran, then beautiful, bright sunshine for the post-race party. When I crossed the finish line in Carmel, I knew my life had changed forever. Running helped give me the confidence to, eventually, make some long-overdue changes in my life.
Since Big Sur, I've run 10 more marathons, qualified for Boston twice, and run Boston once. (I'll run it again in 2013 if my four minute qualifying time cushion is fast enough to register.)
My most recent, the Rock 'n Roll Arizona in January 2012:
Now I can't picture my life without running. I've met so many great people because of running, including my good friend Alane who later introduced me to Brad.
And I'll soon have a little Ethiopian running buddy.
Five years ago I never imagined my life could be this good, that I could be this happy. Every day I thank God for bringing Brad to me, for helping me create a life I never thought I'd have. But some days it seems more amazing than others.
Sunday was one of those days.