As I got off my bike on Sunday, I felt happy. Not because I just finished up a solid 3 hour ride. But because I loved every second of that 3 hours. There have been seasons I have forced it, seasons I have cut it short, seasons I broke it up, but these days that love has returned.

I spent the better part of my 40’s battling myself in this sport. Cortisol that was so high my doctor was stunned, the result of chronic overtraining through my 20’s and 30’s finally caught up to me. Add into all of that competing against a Tour de France winner (later stripped of that title) which brought on more of a circus than I could have ever predicted, building a new coaching buisness after leaving another one, realizing that a career in academia wasn’t who I am…. there wasn’t much left for my soul.

Soon I get to enter a new decade. I might be the most excited woman on earth to have ever turned 50. Don’t get me wrong I loved my 40’s also, but I feel like right now is an amazing time to be a 50 year old female athlete. I have plenty of inspiration all around me, coupled with knowledge and research being published all the time that shows plenty of evidence that 50 isn’t the new 30, it’s the new 50.

I do not fear it. My best friend did not live past 47, so if nothing else, I live these days for her as much as I do for myself. I am in a new phase of parenting, I am in a really cool position that is something I never knew existed, and I get to coach on my terms.

I have been coaching for 20 years this year, and over the past few years, we have actually downsized our company. I could easily make a great living doing it full time, and I keep the switch ready to flip if we ever needed to do that. But truth be told when my entire life was multisport, I didn’t feel the way I love to feel about it. I now work with a small group, we cut our camps, we don’t run monthly deals or challenges, and it’s allowed me to find my sweet spot as an athlete and as a coach. And as a nurse.

This season I am hitting the road again to a few 70.3 events that I have come to love to much. I have a core group of friends whom I travel with, girls weekend looks a little different with us. I will be announcing a few local races (Silver Serpent and Finger Lakes Tri thus far, anything else will be TBD, I am still seeking the balance with announcing). I am publishing again.

I have worked hard, and I don’t have to hustle anymore. I don’t have to be everything, everywhere and with everyone. Maybe that’s something that came with age, experience, or reaping the rewards of so many years of work. But right here, right now is a good spot to be in.

My body is in great health. At the beginning of December I had an accident, causing me to sustain a grade 2 MCL sprain. Luckily it was just that and with increased strength training, the pool, the LEVER, I am only getting stronger.

It feels good, to feel good. To feel stronger physically, mentally, spiritually. I want to preserve this feeling forever. I will settle for cherishing it today.

The easy path to take is to state that 2024 is going to be epic, but I really feel hopeful about year 50 in so many ways. One thing is for certain, I am right here, where I am, by design. 50 is a good place to be. I don’t want to be anyone but myself, and I don’t want to be anywhere else, but here.

That happiness I felt as I got off the bike, I have been feeling that a lot lately. Life feel beautiful again. As I came up the stairs and looked out the window at the gorgeous snowglobe outside, a red cardinal caught my eye. It was sitting in the tree outside the big kitchen bay window. We locked eyes for a moment, and I felt it. Dad knows I am okay. He’s proud of what we have done. And whether we are on or off the race course, he’s never left my side.

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