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Happy Birthday to me!

Birthdays are a funny thing. As you grow older they mean less and least from the viewpoint of "fun things are going to happen on my day." They still hold significance, but mostly for the things you want to accomplish and your interest in celebrating the birthdays of others. I look forward to my daughter's birthday and it, frankly, has more meaning than today.

Not that I won't be doing some celebrating. My DLP (Domestic Life Partner for those not familiar with our tongue-in-cheek way of referring to our living arrangements...I know I have a lot of newbie readers lately) went out this morning and got me donuts from a local bakery just like she did for the first birthday she knew me.

So much has changed since then.

When I turned 30, my goal had become "bucket list" style finishing a marathon...little did I know it would become an endurance sports lifestyle leading me to my 5th race. Kids really weren't on the radar. But a year later in 2010 my new son was being carted around the marathon course.

Last year at this time, it's hard to believe I hadn't met my daughter yet. But here she is this morning chewing on old paperbacks as I write this. She loves marathons's become the theme of her birthday party because the day she was born I'd just finished my volunteer shift at last year's event. We were having pizza one minute then in the NICU the next day.

Maybe this birthday just seems boring by comparison because so much of my early 30's has become...for lack of a better phrase "me becoming me." A birthday is somewhere far down the list of important days in my life. Almost an afterthought about turning a year older in the midst of so many other things that fascinate me right now. I suppose that's a good thing finding yourself newly refreshed and ready in middle-age. Rather than having a mid-life crisis, I'm hoping to spend my prime years feeling focused rather than depressed about the decline of some former self.

My real birthday request won't happen until next weekend when we pack the kids in the car in the middle of the night to drive to Madison to see my first Ironman live. Obsessed maybe isn't the right word...ok, maybe it is. It's one of those things you have to experience--perhaps firsthand someday soon. Cheering on some of the people I currently respect the most will have to be good enough for now.

I was really proud awhile ago to learn that someone I know had been inspired by my return to running from years away. She wrote me that part of the reason she's taken to marathons was hearing me talk about it. That's so humbling to think that what you've done or said has influenced someone's life for the better like that.

But then, I often imagine that every single day is like that as a parent. And every time I get frustrated with my kids I try to remember that it's supposed to be hard and frustrating. So is running 26.2 miles. So is anything in life worth doing.

As for what's next and what I plan to conquer next, I'll leave that for another post. I will say this: the older I get the less inclined I am to let obstacles stand in my way.