Last month, our family ventured to Crested Butte, CO.
Not a bad place to turn 40, right?
However, many know that I have been saying, "Well, I'm almost 40..." Since I was 32.
It was self preservation, I guess.
My 30th was so melancholy. I was uber focused on my career that included travel ad naseum, family strife and having to withdraw last minute from a hard core triathlon "Escape From Alcatraz" I had wanted to do for my 30th birthday.
I think convincing myself that 40 was merely around the corner seemed to lessen the blow.
After spending the rest of my 30s meeting the man of my dreams, having his children, living around the country, and traveling adventurously - an active weekend in a stunning location with our HEALTHY family seemed like the perfect way to ring in a new decade.
The Verdecchias - amazing family and survivors.
In addition for a weekend away with our family, I wanted to do something for ME! And I'm totally okay with that.
Before having kids, I did races and specifically loved Triathalons. I decided I wanted to do another one before I turn forty.
So I began training (with the support of my husband).
However, one week before the race in Denver, CO (in May!) this happened...
Needless to say, I was very discouraged. The Colorado rookie in me signed up for a race assuming May would be warm - especially for the swim. Never did I plan for the decade's largest snow run off!
So physically ready but still slightly nervous, I left Michael and the boys at 4am that Saturday morning. The race was almost 2 hours away. Michael and the boys would follow, allowing me some time to get registered and set up.
I think I cried three different times on my way up the mountain.
1) An overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. Even if I sank, I still had managed to steal a few hours each week for myself.
2) I felt proud. I had chosen a goal, demonstrated committment and worked hard to get to this moment.
3) I was an example to my children. It was important to me for my kids to see that I am more than just their Mom. I don't mind wiping bums and cleaning spills all day, but that's not all of me. I wanted them to see more of me.
4) I also probably cried because I was so darn happy to just be alone in the car, blaring music and singing inappropriate lyrics to the top of my lungs.
My husband surprised me with a Bee Mighty visor. I wore it like a Purple Heart, beaming with pride and reminding myself how these little warriors push through undeniable odds.
All of my love and attention has gone to my family and Bee Mighty the last four years. It felt so good to be doing this FOR ME!
As far as the race, the swim will be etched in the part if my brain that remains frozen for my lifetime. However, during the bike and especially the run, I had such an opportunity to reflect - to be grateful - to feel loved - to Thank God for our experiences and our health and ability to chase goals.
As I narrowed the last stretch and turned the corner to see the finish line, I could hear them.
"Go Mommy Richter!"
"Go Mommy Richter!!"
They chanted over and over again.
It carried me to their faces and over the finish. These sweet faces that we sacrifice our heart and soul for. They carried me!
I gave Michael a long, winded embrace and the tears flowed. All I could sputter was, "I'm still in there!! I'm still in there!!"
And it felt so good.
Forty is a blessing.