It's hard to find the right words to describe my year of turning 50, but I have always believed that when you lead from your heart you are never wrong..
In January, I hit the BIG 50. I won't lie, I was freaked out and even broke down in tears the days leading up to it. It's a huge milestone that I didn't see coming this quickly. It's like the universe drops down this big red stop sign in front of your face while you are hastily trying to cross the street of adulthood and says, "Are you where you want to be, you know you just used up 50 years, are you living without regrets? There was no way I could not stop and have huge moments of reflection on the 49 years and 364 days that had seem to have unknowingly flown by so quickly. I have to say once I woke up on my Birthday morning, my dad was once again right, "Denise it's just a number, it's no big deal" Feet off the bed and onto the floor, it was business as usual in living my dream.
This year culminated in, I swear two of the biggest days of my life. I know I have had to have had other ones being 50 and all but I can't think of them just yet. As these two moments are still emulating so bright in my heart they can ever brighten the Iceland sky in December..One of those days was my Book Launch party in September. First, off, I still can't believe I am an author and I am on Amazon... a kid from Oak Forest, Illinois!!!!!! It was really important that my parents were there because I wanted them to see and feel the WHY of WHY I chose to take the road less traveled. The WHY, I left a 26-year career with benefits and stability to be a full time running coach. They get it now. Thank you my running family!
That night reiterated why I had to follow my heart instead of my head. Why I was finally doing what I wanted to do instead of what I had to do. I had never been surrounded by so much love and support from my family and my friends. The former I was born in to so they are kinda stuck with me but the latter is a result of putting yourself out there and forming a connection. Some of my friends waited over an hour for me to write in their book. (THANK YOU!) All of these people that were once strangers were there to support me and part of my legacy. 146 pages of Denise-isms to help inspire others to also do things they don't think they can do and also take the road less traveled.
The other moment that George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, I will definitely take with me, is this years Chicago Marathon: My 100th Marathon! From the press opportunities that I was given to share my story and showcase my book, to other runners coming up to me at the expo and during the race telling me how I inspire them, to running my hometown course on the course that gave the 26-year old Denise that first dose of confidence she had always been looking for and also lighting up that internal empowerment engine that has led me to so many other SCITED moments in my life...and more to come!
I could not close the door on 2018 without highlighting some other pretty awesomesurrealdidthisreallyhappentome moments:
1-My runners lit up my phone and email like the Rockefeller Christmas tree the hours and days after the Chicago marathon proud of what they had done and thanking me
2-People I know have bought my book and it's not just my family : )
3-People I don't know have bought my book and liked it
4-I was in an Abbott Commercial
5-I was in a Nike Ad
6-I have been reading Runner's World since the early 90s and I BOOM, I got to be in Runners World
7-I got my 100th Marathon Medal from THEE Paula Radcliffe
8-I met and was interviewed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel
9-I used to work in accounting at WGN-TV and BOOM, I got to be on WGN-TV
10-I used to deliver the South Town Economist newspaper when I was little and BOOM, I got to be on the front page
11-I finished one of the hardest ultra marathons in the world for a flat lander, Comrades!
12-Deathly afraid of heights and all, I bungee jumped in Queenstown
13-I finished my second 100-Miler
14-People I haven't met yet, know me as the Marathon Whisperer...pretty cool
15-The Marathon Whisperer got to share her story on the BBC, NPR, Ten Junk Miles, Dez Runs, WeGotGoals, iRun, Business First AM
2019 and 51, "LET'S DO THIS!"