birthday gift

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After most of a year of debating the exact method in which I would get in shape I was no closer to choosing one, let alone sticking with it. I had sampled a few different options and discarded most of them as impractical, prohibitively expensive, or both. All I could decide on was the fact that I hate the popular usage of “regime” for “regimen”.

Last summer, after a friend mentioned Jillian Michaels’ “30-Day Shred” workout DVD, I read some reviews, mostly favorable, and decided to buy it. I managed to stumble my way through the first level a few times, following the modified exercises for beginners, and thought it wasn’t bad. Then my illness interrupted my routine, as was the case for much of 2009, and the DVD and hand-weights went untouched for the rest of the year.

While I skipped the jumping-jacks, time marched on. I felt lumpier and weaker than ever. During our Portland vacation, I went on a 5-mile hike with moderate elevation and thought I was going to die. A friend and I talked about running, but I did not see myself as a runner. My trainers were ancient, purchased long ago on deep discount during another fit of athleticism while I still had my bicycle. I tried a few times to go running but winded myself almost immediately and, dejected, walked around the block a few times before returning home.

I could not tell you why Monday the 28th was any different. Perhaps I was finally fed up with hearing myself make excuses and then feel sorry for myself. Perhaps I was simply too tired of spending so much time thinking about it. Whatever the case, I got home from work, ate a banana, read email for a few minutes, and then I went into the living room and flailed awkwardly for a while. Calories were burned. Epithets were hurled. Push-ups, even “modified for beginners”, were barely pushed up.

Heady with my sweat-soaked achievement, I decided that the next day I would go running. The Couch to 5k program had intrigued me when I first heard about it, so much so that I promised myself I would do it if I ever got back in shape. But I was tired of waiting for that, and the program is for beginning runners. So I downloaded the nifty C25k iPhone app and set my alarm for 6:00 the next morning.

Surprising myself, I didn’t hit snooze. I staggered out of bed, ate a bowl of cereal, and stared at RSS feeds for about twenty minutes. Then I donned my sad old trainers and what passes for “exercise clothing” in my closet and went running. Well, heavy walking with brief flurries of jogging. And I have done so six times now. The second week was less painful, thanks to new trainers, but was far from easy. Good thing I am stubborn, and also newly addicted to endorphins.

For someone who doesn’t see herself as a runner, it is strange to be excited about running. I am far less excited about flailing with Jillian Michaels, but I am doing that on the off-days for lower-impact cardio and strength training. And I still can’t do more than a few push-ups, but changing that is my next fitness goal.

The last week of C25k begins on my birthday. All I want is to wake up on my birthday and run 5k. Wish me luck!

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10 thoughts on “birthday gift

  1. Impressive! Good luck for the next few weeks.

    Incidentally—”I could not tell you why Monday the 28th was any different.”—I am finding this more and more with goals I always wanted to achieve and never got around to doing. Suddenly I wake up one day to find I’ve started them without trying.

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  2. meredith

    I ran a 5k run last spring with very little preparation. 5k races are abundant in the spring. If you have interest in running a race, they are very exciting and if you start training now, you’ll probably be well prepared. I also find that my Nike + little gadget helps keeping me motivated by tracking my runs and such. Good luck and remember to drink lots of water! (That’s something I am very bad at.)

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  3. Sounds great, good luck! I do the Jillian MIchaels DVD too, but be careful… A woman I work with tore her meniscus doing the the warm-up knee rotations and had to get surgery. Yikes.

    And agree on the Nike+… I’m sucker for gadgets and data, so it really works for me.

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    • Thanks for the luck, Eva. I did notice that the knee rotations are a little uncomfortable, and I tend to do a modified version. Interesting to see that my gut instinct may be warranted.

      Ditto here on the gadget-suckering. 🙂

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  4. Anonymous

    Because you’ve tried this, I became aware of it and started last week as well. I’m struggling a bit with an injured knee that’s not 100% yet, so I’ve had to take the easy week and make it easier already. But I’m not giving up! Thanks for letting me know about it and for trying it and for your enthusiasm! Good luck towards your 5k!

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    • Wendy, I am so impressed and encouraged that you are doing this along with me! It makes it so much easier knowing I am not struggling with all of this alone. You and I are going to run the hell out of those kilometers!

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