Look What 40 Made Me Do: Part One

Who doesn’t love a birthday party?  It’s a day when we get to eat cake, open presents that we pray come with a receipt, and find out just how tone deaf all our relatives are when it comes time to serenade the birthday boy/girl.  Okay, so most birthday parties suck.  But there’s CAKE and that’s enough incentive for me to show up and act like I give a shit.

Lucky for me, no one in my family tries to get too inventive about the cake.  It’s usually round, covered in chocolate, and straight out of a box – just the way I like it.  I don’t want to hear the phrase, “I thought I’d try a new recipe” before the cake is served.  Keep your creativity in your own kitchen where it belongs.  I waited a whole freakin’ year for my birthday, and I don’t want to have to be a lab rat for your raspberry cake with pistachio frosting experiment.  Yellow cake, chocolate frosting – just the way God and Betty Crocker intended.

I bet that homemade cake of yours  doesn’t earn box tops for education, does it?  Didn’t think so.

I bet that homemade cake of yours
doesn’t earn box tops for education, does it?
Didn’t think so.

But I thought I’d shake things up a bit this year…. no, not with the cake – weren’t you listening to me?  I wanted to do something memorable that I could look back on in twenty or thirty years and say, “Oh yeah, I remember turning 40!  That’s the year I (insert crazy and/or possibly life threatening activity here).  That was AWESOME!!”

I figured there were two potential outcomes to this plan: I could fail miserably, and suffer gruesome bodily injuries that would freak out my future grandkids; or I could walk away victorious, with both hands raised up like Rocky Balboa while Survivor sang “Eye of the Tiger” off in the distance somewhere.  Either way, it would make for a cool story to tell around the campfire.

Except I would avoid the fashion faux pas of tucking my sweatshirt into my ridiculously high-waisted sweatpants.

Except I would avoid the fashion faux pas of tucking my sweatshirt
into my ridiculously high-waisted sweatpants.

The hard part was deciding what to do.  Skydiving, learning the trapeze, and rock climbing were right out because of my crippling fear of heights – they also relied a bit too heavily on my non-existent athletic ability for survival.  I was in the mood to be adventurous, not suicidal.  I also wasn’t interested in lion taming, swimming with sharks, or anything else that involved animals with sharp pointy teeth and a healthy appetite because I’m not an idiot with a God complex.  I’ve also seen enough episodes of Fatal Attractions to know how that story ends. Besides, it’s only a good story if you’re still around to tell it – otherwise it’s a eulogy.

As it turned out, I didn’t have to rack my brains for long.  My friends ended up placing two ideas right in my lap.  And like most harebrained plans, these involved peer pressure and copious amounts of alcohol – both of which deluded me into thinking that I was capable of accomplishing both feats in less than two weeks.

The first was a 35-mile walk to help raise money for breast cancer.  Walk?  Hell, I can walk!  I do it all the time on my way to the fridge.  And I can beg my friends and family for money – those people have been freeloading long enough.  They’ve had the pleasure of my company for the last 40 years; the way I saw it, it was time to pay up because this kind of awesomeness doesn’t come cheap.

Save second base!!!

Save second base!!!

Here’s how the LI2Day walk works:  you walk 20 miles the first day, sleep in a two-man tent at a campground overnight, and then walk 15 miles the second day.  What I didn’t fully realize was that even walking, when done long enough (in this case, for two days), takes some stamina and athletic ability – two things I was sorely lacking.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find that out until after the first 15 miles were completed and I had developed blisters the size of quarters on both heels.

I think the bandages make my pedicure look extra sexy.

I think the bandages make my pedicure look extra sexy.

It was while I was having my blisters lanced by a volunteer podiatrist (who, in my opinion, was a little too scalpel happy) that I realized two things:  First, it probably would’ve been a good idea to attempt walking more than 3 miles in the months that led up to the walk.  Second, I wasn’t even halfway done.  Shit.

I sustained myself on water, trail mix and the glorious dream of lying sedentary on my couch at home.  Every time my foot met the pavement, my brain screamed, “STOP DOING THAT, YOU IDIOT!! IT FUCKING HURTS!!”  I told my brain to shut the hell up, couldn’t it see that I was on a mission?  I had miles to cover and boobs to save.

At times like that, when the flesh is weak, you have to dig deep and find out what you’re really made of.  As it turns out, I’m made of something roughly resembling baby oatmeal.  But the sense of humor of my friends and their ability to smuggle alcohol into the campground got me through the rough patches.

Even our wine was fighting for the cause!

Even our wine was fighting for the cause!

Despite the fact that I felt like I was walking on thumbtacks, I had a smile on my face as I crossed the finish line at the end of the second day…. okay, maybe it was more of a grimace, but I was smiling on the inside.  I had rediscovered something about myself that I had long since forgotten – when my soft baby oatmeal center is pushed past the boiling point, it turns into one pretty tough cookie.

I’m proud of my team and myself.  We accomplished something amazing and we helped raise over $25,000 for a really good cause.  Would I do it again?  Ask me again in a few months, after I’ve had the chance to put on my rosy-colored glasses….

Here’s my incredible team - thanks for the mammories, guys!!

Here’s my incredible team – thanks for the mammories, guys!!

Tune in next time for Look What 40 Made Me Do:  Part Two, where you’ll find out what other crazy shit I did to help celebrate my 40th birthday.

(To be continued….)

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14 thoughts on “Look What 40 Made Me Do: Part One

  1. Way to go girl!!! I love oatmeal! I eat it everyday for breakfast. Ick. That absolutely has nothing to do with you and oatmeal however so no worries. You are my inspiration and I am so glad you are back at the writing. I can now come out of my black hole of despair where there are no posts from Linda and rejoin the very crazy and fucked up life that is mine. Um, thanks?

    40 eh? (That’s the Canadian version of “huh”) Well, you little young and perky thang. If I had known that I would have started calling you names and making fun of your shapely figure earlier. You have ten years to go before you really know what the result of gravity and childbirth look like. Bitch.

    Congrats on the run. (Ya, I know you walked but 35 miles–shit you could have said you’d sprinted the whole thing and I wouldn’t be anymore impressed–YOU FINISHED!) Sigh, just another reason to hate you. You have raised the bar so high I don’t think I can keep up. I think I will have to re-think our virtual friendship. Although those wine bottles in the campground do give me hope…

    • Hey Bels!

      I know it’s been awhile since I posted a blog entry – nearly two months. That’s the longest I’ve gone since starting my blog. I guess I lost the desire to write, and rather than turning out crap that read like it was forced, I just stopped. In hindsight, I probably should’ve at least attempted to write every week – even if it felt like nothing was going to come out because you never know what’s lurking just under the surface.

      Onto your holes. Are these family despair holes or work related despair holes? Either way, we can talk it out and see if we can figure out a way to plug them up a bit. Unless you’re not into plugging. I know some women were REALLY into plugs during the Fifty Shades of Grey fad awhile back…. but I guess those were DIFFERENT kind of plugs…. I better digress before I have to slap a XXX rating on this comment.

      As for turning 40, I wasn’t perky before the big milestone birthday, so I’m not real likely to be perky afterwards. But thankfully, there are underwire bras so I can fake it. Oops, there I go talking about my boobs again. Another subject change….

      There will be no rethinking our virtual friendship because without you, I would only have ONE friend up there in Canada….. besides, I’m probably the only one you know who would watch videos of your dog licking himself.

      XO
      Linda

  2. Happy freaking 40 my friend! I still laugh at walking the last few miles and ofcourse our camp site rebellion! Your writing is just like you FABULOUS! XOXO

    • Thanks!! I think it’s far more inspiring to think about me walking 35-miles than to have actually SEEN me walking it. Hobbling across the finish line wasn’t exactly the “Rocky” moment I was looking for, but later on that night when I had a cold beer in my hand, and an even colder beer on my feet, I yelled “YO ADRIAN, I DID IT!!!” Scared the crap out of my husband, but it made me feel better.

  3. I had a baby and decided it would be a good idea to run a half marathon. It is in 14 weeks and the farthest I have run is 5 miles. If you can walk 35 miles, I should be able to drag my carcass a third of that distance. You are an inspiration.

    • I give you major props for running a half-marathon. MAJOR. Not just because you’re doing it post-kid, but also because you saw the advertisement for the marathon and believed it was something you could do. I know it may sound crazy from someone who walked 35-miles, but the thought of running a marathon, half or otherwise, never crossed my mind. Ever. Running takes a level of commitment and endurance that goes far beyond anything I’d be willing to take on.

      I did a 10K once….once. I fully expected to see the grim reaper waiting for me at the finish line. So I think YOU’RE the inspiration! Good luck!! I’ll be thinking of you running your half marathon while I’m stuffing my face with Halloween candy.

  4. Where the holy hell have you been…oh wait, in a campground drowning your blisters. You have pretty feet if that helps at all. I have been a driver for the Hood to Coast Race (http://www.hoodtocoast.com/) a few years ago one of our runners who was running the first leg down the mountain basically took his heel off the blister was half his foot. It was disgusting. Thought you’d want to know.

    $25k!!! Wahooo!!! Bet you do it again!

    Glad yer back! and happy birfday

    • Hey Mags –

      Yeah, the two month hiatus was a bit longer than anticipated when I decided a break was in order. I found it amazing that once the first few weeks passed, how easy it was to stay away. But now that I’m back, I realize how much I missed it – not just the act of creating, but also connecting with other bloggers.

      It feels good to return to WordPressland…. though I’m a little disappointed to find that no one was holding a vigil or erecting a memorial statue in my honor.

      Linda

      P.S. – I guess knowing that some poor bastard is “walking” around out there without a heel makes me feel grateful about only losing 1/4 of my heel. So thanks for that.

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