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The most wonderful time

posted by Byline to Finish Line
Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:16am EDT

A chronicle of a sports reporter who ditched the sideline to discover her own power and strength by taking up endurance sports in her 30's.

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Ah, welcome Memorial Day weekend, the best holiday weekend of them all. Why you ask? Because Memorial Day weekend coincides (almost always) with my birthday weekend. Granted, this means little to anyone other than myself and perhaps my parents. In elementary school it did mean some pretty entertaining slumber parties complete with a young Sarah Jessica Parker in the cult-classic movie Girls Just To Have Fun, pizza, ice cream and prank phone calls. But I’m guessing that combination doesn’t hold the same attraction for the rest of my friends as it still does for me.

This weekend, however, is no less action packed than a classic Matthew Broderick movie marathon.

Memorial Day weekend, along with being my birthday weekend, has turned into race central weekend.

It starts with the annual Buffalo Marathon, which seems to have taken up residence on this weekend. Last year, this marked my first foray into the 26.2-mile adventure and while I won’t be there this Sunday to enjoy the marathon and half marathon fun, my thoughts will be there on Sunday. I have no shortage of friends who are looking to use the race as way to qualify for the Boston Marathon — the holy grail for many distance runners. Then some of my best friends are running the half marathon, looking for personal best times. I’m especially sending positive vibes to Karyn and Jessica because (a) they ran the half marathon last year and stuck around to watch me finish my 26.2-mile trudge, (b) they would probably enjoy and evening of junk food, gossip and Girls Just Want To Have Fun and (c) have talked me off more ledges than most people find themselves on in a lifetime.

Others I know will be doing their first ever triathlon on Saturday at the PUNT Foundation Sprint Triathlon in downtown Buffalo. Hosted by Buffalo Bills punter Brian Moorman, the event features a pool swim then goes outside for the bike and run portions. Part of the fun will be seeing if you can actually beat Brian Moorman, which considering that when I interviewed him for a story about the event he noted that he’s not a “distance runner” when referring to the 5K is within more people’s reach than you may suspect.

Me, however, I will be on the road, in Central New York State, at Watkins Glen International (affectionally known as “The Glen” in auto racing circles) to participate in the Fly by Night Duathlon. This will actually be my first duathlon and my first Formula 1 race. A duathlon involves just two sports (usually running and cycling) and Formula 1 events are like lather-rinse-repeat (in this case run-bike-run-bike-run). Each run leg is 1.75 miles and each bike leg is 10.2 miles. The course is on the actual race track and the transition area is in Pit Row. My auto racing knowledge is slim to none, but still, being on the track sounds kinda cool.

So will be racing on my birthday.

Really. I think that’s rather cool. I’ve never done a race on my birthday before and it seems fitting. Endurance sports has become my lifestyle, part of who I am. And what better way to commemorate rate my coming into existence than to do something I love — all while trying something a bit different at the same time?

Celebrating successes and near misses with friends, being outside and active, finding new adventures — nothing feels more authentic than that.


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