Marathon Season Winds Down

First things first. Happy birthday, Obi-wan! You’re the best Jedi Master we could ask for. Thank you for sharing The Force with us. I love you.

Second, congratulations to all of the 2011 ING NYC Marathon finishers! I saw approximately all of you yesterday (I was at the cheer station until the sweep vehicle came by and the streets re-opened) and you were a beautiful mass of sweaty runners that inspired all of us in the crowd with every step you took. Well done.

I think we were all a little scared when the snow swept in last weekend and decimated our beloved trees.

Oh no! Our poor trees!

Thankfully, it was GORGEOUS outside and the sun shone on all of the marathoners all day long. They even worked night and day to got the park cleared up by Marathon Sunday for the tourists to admire our beautiful fall foliage without fear of a giant branch falling on their heads. Well done, Parks Department.

Cheering was awesome. We were up on 1st Avenue early enough to see the elites.

One of the 4 signs I made. I'm a cheerleader overachiever.

The women’s race was a nail-biter with Firehiwot Dado pulling out the win in the last 300 yards. The men’s race was equally exciting with Geoffrey Mutai setting a course record, beating his own personal best in Chicago. Meb ran his personal best, better than his own win two years ago, which earned him sixth this year. Jen Rhines dropped out of the race and the first women runners from the USA to finish were two newbies to the marathon world, Molly Pritz and Lauren Fleshman. All in all, a very exciting marathon to watch.

The elite men go zooming by us.

It’s great to watch the elites, but the warriors in the pack are the ones I come to see.

         

After the 4 hour marathoners pass, things get fun out there. People are trudging through those hard miles, yes, but I think they are also the ones having the most fun out there. Especially at mile 22 where our lululemon athletica cheer station was, complete with a DJ and awesome signs. We danced until the sun went down on 5th Avenue.

Yes, our signs say: "You're the sh*t" because you totally are.

So, for those of you who are done with marathon-ing this season, congratulations and get some rest. I suggest that if you crossed this:

Thank you, New York!

…or another finish line, you take several days of active rest and stretching before you think about getting all geared up for another race. I suggest two days of walking or swimming or gentle cycling followed by deep stretching and *hopefully* a massage or a good foam roll. Get going with running on the third or fourth day and take it easy. It’s all about the recovery run. Oh, and NSAIDs for muscle soreness is a must. At least, it is for me in the days following a marathon. Advil is my friend. And food. And water. You know, the basics.

Post-marathon depression might be something you experience, especially if you don’t have another race on the docket. Think about picking up a half or a 15K in the next two months or so to get yourself going again relatively soon. There’s nothing worse than loving every moment of your marathon training only to find yourself without any direction immediately after crossing the finish line. Find a fun run in December or January and really make it FUN.

For those of you (LIKE ME!) who are tapering for Philly, hang in there. We’ll be seeing signs like this one soon enough…

Two weeks away. Oy.

…but we gotta survive the taper first.

Again, congratulations to all who finished, especially my friends who rocked. You guys inspire me.

Now go out and run!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Birthdays

Happy Better Than the Alternative Tuesday, everybody! Did you survive Halloween? Do you have a sugar hangover today? I do not because we don’t get trick or treaters in my building. It’s kind of a bummer because there is nothing cuter than small children in costumes. Thankfully, Blondie sent out a picture of my angel baby niece in her ladybug (ladybug!) costume right before I hit the hay last night. Now THAT was what I was waiting to see all day.

This is my favorite Halloween costume Mrs. Obi-wan ever made for me. She's so creative. I fully plan on stealing this idea for my own child someday.

Speaking of the most beautiful baby in the world, our BTAT them this week is birthdays. Hooray for birthdays!

I love me some cake

When you’re younger, birthdays are a thing to celebrate. Parties, cake, candles, presents, cake, guests, singing, cake. It’s all to celebrate the day you came into this world with people who are glad you did. I, famously, love birthdays and love celebrating them.

Hooray! It's my birthday!

As we get older and approach the “big” birthdays, something changes. 18 is a “big” one and so is 21. But as soon as 22, 23, 24 hit, people start to celebrate less and see birthdays as yet another year when they don’t have XXXX in their lives, aren’t yet married and haven’t accomplished everything they wanted to by the time they were 25. Quarter-life crisis. 30 is like an “uh-oh” for so many people I’ve known. “Uh-oh” because they don’t have a house, 2.5 kids, a dog and the perfect career. 40 is still the classic mid-life crisis time and it doesn’t seem to me that, until you get to the big 5-0, people start celebrating again.

Why isn't everyone else happy on their birthdays? There's cake, after all.

Why?

So many of my friends have become depressed around their birthdays and only half-heartedly celebrate with their family and friends.

Why is that?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past ten years, it’s that birthdays are a time of celebration. One more year here with us. I cried on my husband’s (then boyfriend) birthday the year he came home from Iraq, I was so happy he made it home. It wasn’t like it was a “big” birthday, it was his 28th, I think. It was just such a gift to have him home with all his fingers and toes. No birthday was just another birthday after that.

30th birthday? Woohoo! Let's jump out of a plane!

My closest family members having birthdays after battling cancer makes me want to jump for joy to celebrate their LIFE, their being HERE. My beloved aunts and uncles who came thisclose to not being here only to fight back and see another wonderful birthday celebrated with their kids and grandkids. It’s just so beautiful.

Don’t have the life you envisioned for yourself when you were 16? Well, you were 16 and things change. Go with it. Really cool things can happen when you least expect it. Don’t like your job? Start working on a new one. Does that mean going back to school? Don’t be scared. I’m doing it now and it’s nothing to be afraid of. You can change your life, you just have to decide to do it. You are in charge of your own happiness.

Maybe you’ve not experienced losing/almost losing someone so you don’t know what it is to truly appreciate, not just celebrate, birthdays. I get it. Not everyone has. But I hope that doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate and celebrate your own birthday just because ohmygodyou’regettingolder because that’s stupid. Yes, I said that’s STUPID.

31st birthday and there are BALLOONS!

Celebrate. Eat cake (ummm…hello, cake is yummy). Be showered with love by your friends and family. Smile. Say “thank you” when people wish you a happy birthday, not “ugh”. Take a moment and show some appreciation for the life you have had, the life you’re living and all the days to come. Because it beats the hell out of the alternative.

And if it’s your birthday and you want a shout out from me, just let me know. I’m a very good singer of the “Happy Birthday” song.

Now go out and run!