Bigger And Better

Those of you who know me best are aware of my constant strive for the bigger and better. I am a firm believer in the idea of goal-oriented contentment. I never reach a point where I think, "this is it. I'm done." And I doubt that I ever will. When we have something to aim for, that is when we are at our most content. Settling into mediocrity (also known as "stagnation" in this biz) is a sure recipe for malcontent. I hold onto this philosophy regarding the aging process, as well. Being in a constant competition with yourself to be a little bit better, wiser, stronger, healthier every year truly keeps you young. Birthdays don't bother me, because I am in a better place now, at 37, than I've been in any year proceeding. I am wiser, stronger, more self-aware at this point than I was in my twenties or early thirties...and I plan to continue this trend. I have no patience for those woman who sit around with their Cosmos, bemoaning the fact that they are in their 40's. Newsflash, ladies: it isn't age that is making you miserable. It's just you. If you aren't happy with where you are in your life, get up and do something about it. You are not a victim of your age, so stop using it as an excuse. Your age should be a measure of your growth and progress and accomplishments, not a reason to give up and spend your free time bitching and moaning.

All this being said, I recently read a letter written by a friend of mine who is going to be running in this year's Boston Marathon. It impressed me enough to want to post it here, so here it is:

Dear Family and Friends, As some of you already know, I am training to run the Boston Marathon on April 15th. This brings a host of challenges including training through a New England winter, constant soreness and feet issues, hours of running each week, attempts at ice baths and ultimately, completing 26.2 miles. But another challenge is raising $5,000 for College Bound Dorchester. Some may remember that I ran the Dublin Marathon in 2000, a total fluke as well as a huge accomplishment considering I was no athlete growing up and couldn't run 10 feet let alone a mile before the age of 23. Being a slow runner who got slower with each added mile meant hours devoted to long runs and recoveries each weekend and a marathon time of over six hours. Afterward, I knew marathon running was not for me, quit running for six months and was happy to make my first marathon my last. With the impending 4-0 and the realization that work had hijacked my life, I recently left a job to which I was very attached for one with less stress that left me more time to live life. The opportunity to run Boston came soon after changing jobs, at just the right time, in one of those meant to be type of moments that was impossible to pass up. Although up to then I hadn't considered another marathon, for the past 17 years the Boston Marathon has had a special place in my heart (as it does for most runners in Boston and many around the world) and having the opportunity to run it suddenly seemed like a gift. The Boston course is unique, iconic, challenging, full of history and the only marathon to require a qualifying time for entry, except for charity runners like me. I figured what better way to celebrate (and distract myself from) turning 40 than to run the Boston Marathon, and run it faster than the one I did at age 27. I am eight weeks into training now and have nine weeks left. My long runs take place on the course's infamous "Newton hills" every Saturday morning with the Marathon Coalition, a team of charity runners supporting 13 different youth mentoring and educationally focused agencies. One Saturday I ran 14 miles starting in 14 degrees; at times my lips were so numb I felt like I had been to the dentist and my hands were so cold I needed to borrow a 2nd pair of gloves. But that was a good run, unlike the 12 miler two weeks prior. Having started out too fast and not eaten enough, I ran out of fuel half way through and spent the last six miles hobbling along on what felt like lead legs, completely discouraged and wondering how I was going to get through months of training and 26 miles on race day. But as Coach Rick says, "Marathon training is about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable", and I know that as long as I can stay injury and illness free that I will be well prepared and crossing the finish line on April 15. As long and hard of a journey it is to train, the fundraising is the most intimidating and overwhelming part of this experience. Although College Bound Dorchester is a wonderful organization with a mission in which I truly believe, raising $5000 is no easy task. It is not comfortable for me to ask you or anyone for money, especially in today's economy, for a small local agency that most have never heard of and won't be personally affected by. It is not easy to have to rely on others. But just as I rely on a team and coach to get me through training and will rely on crowds and friends to get me through marathon day, I need to rely on the support of friends, family and colleagues to help me raise $5000 for an organization that supports those same families and neighborhoods with whom I work. You can read more about College Bound Dorchester by clicking on the link below or checking out their website. Please consider supporting me. You can donate securely on-line by following the link below or make checks payable to College Bound Dorchester with my name on the memo line. Checks can be mailed directly to me at 753 Boylston St. #3 Chestnut Hill, MA 02467.

www.crowdrise.com/TeamCollegeBoundDorchester/fundraiser/aliciastraus

Sincerely,Alicia Isn't this awesome? Go, Alicia! Turning 40 doesn't mean that you can't be better than the person you were back in your 20s, and if this doesn't prove it, I don't know what does.

She's still trying to raise funds for College Bound Dorchester, and while I am normally loathe to do any sort of fundraising on my website, this really is a great cause!