Monday, July 22, 2013

50k at 50: Great Cranberry Island Ultra Marathon

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”  ~ Andy Warhol
In 5 days time I will be running the Great Cranberry Island Ultra Marathon which is also RRCA’s 2013 National Ultra Championship and the last year this race will be held.

So I suppose that's all a pretty big deal, and yet none of that really matters to me, because I suddenly realized that this little race is a much more personal journey for me.

19 years ago I moved to Colorado from Maine. Most of my prime racing years were spent in Maine. Most of my PRs were set in Vacationland. When I was 26 I stopped racing, just like that - burned out from the pressure I put on myself. When I was 30 I decided to run the Maine Marathon, my first marathon, on a whim and minimal training. It remains my fastest. I wouldn't run another marathon for another 16 years.

Now, almost 25 years after those racing days of my youth, I return to Maine for another first.

And I have just turned 50, and well, running a 50k seems appropriate. It's been a while since I've attempted to do something I am unsure that I can actually do - as in, I never have, so who knows - right?

Time changes everything 
except something within us 
which is always surprised by change.
~ Thomas Hardy

And now I am a very different person, and I am exactly the same person. I love Maine - and it will always feel like my second home, or maybe even my first home, because it was the first place I chose to live - To make my home. No one understood why I would move to Maine, way up north, where it's freaking cold, in the middle of nowhere, with a population equal to one block in Manhattan. Why would this Jersey girls do such a thing? Why? Because that place spoke to me and I fell in love instantly and deeply. The only reason I left was because it is a tough place to make a life as a young person. Educational options were limited, and so I had to leave or forever stay stuck in service jobs. That's how saw it then, anyway. I always planned to go back.

And so this all seems very fitting to return in the month of my 50th birthday, a birthday I tried to ignore. A birthday I shrugged off with the usual glib saying "Age is just a number".  But the reality is no glib saying. And it turns out that the reality is more akin to that tuned in Talking Heads all is 'same as it ever was'...but it is never the same... 

 ...You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?
Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground
You may ask yourself, how do I work this?...
Time isn't holding us, time isn't after us... 

Letting the days go by, letting the days go by, letting the days go by, once in a lifetime (?) 

It feels right to return now to do another 'first' in Maine.

And all of these thoughts, and my past self and my present self, and I now know (because age has brought some insight from reflection), that my future self, will all be there on that small island ushering in the next stage of this life...

I feel like I am watching everything from space 
And in a minute I'll hear my name and I'll wake
I think the finish line's a good place we could start
Take a deep breath, take in all that you could want 


  1. So exciting! I know you will do great, and I can't wait to hear about it. And Happy Birthday! I'm right behind you to that simple "number". Good luck!! :-)


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