5lbs for 5k: A Birthday Gift to Myself


Well, my fortieth birthday is upon me and those pesky 5 pounds are still hanging around.  Sigh…so…I guess I could set a new goal:  swimsuit season.  I could spend the next two months meticulously counting calories; I could even try a fast.  I could continue to get on the scale every morning, celebrate if I’ve lost .3 lbs since yesterday and spend my day frustrated if the reverse is true.  In other words, do what I’ve been doing for the last decade.

It was Steven Tyler who sang, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”  (Actually Mark Twain said it first, and he used proper grammar, but I like Steven Tyler’s version much better.)  Inspired by that memorable Aerosmith lyric, I decided to give myself a birthday gift.  I’m not going to spend my birthday feeling bad or complaining about the 5 pounds I didn’t lose.  Instead, I’m going to trade in my obsession with losing 5 pounds for a better goal.  In 5 weeks, I’ll be able to run a 5k.

Honestly, it is a relief to give myself a break from the endless mental energy I spend thinking about how to lose weight.  But maybe it is not just a gift of a more peaceful mind; perhaps it will also be a gift of better overall health.  A 5 pound weight loss for most of us has little effect on overall health.  However, preparing to run a 5k by doing 30 minutes of cardio 4-5 days a week can have several positive effects.  I will reduce my risk of heart disease, increase endurance, and help make me happier.  These things are more important than fitting into skinny jeans…right?

It’s not that I don’t exercise, I do.  In fact, I ran a very sluggish 5k race last summer.  But in the winter, I normally avoid 30 minutes of sustained cardio.  I’d rather do cardio bouts or circuit training.  Racking up 3.2 miles on a treadmill is not my idea of a good time.  But now that spring is here, and I can run (ok, slowly jog) outside, I can commit to being ready to achieve a respectable time in a 5k race to be run on July 4.  I do well with rules and programs.  A training schedule like this, I can follow.

So starting next week, (sorry, this week I’m busy “celebrating” being a 40 year old) I will begin week one of my five week training schedule.  And I will exchange a rather meaningless 5-related goal to one that really matters.  A 5k in 5 weeks.  Who’s with me?

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