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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Couch to 5K

I used to be one of those people who was naturally thin all through high school, college and med school. Physical activity was built into my day. Walking 1.5 miles to junior high and high school (our lovely posh suburb touted itself as a "walking community"), dance classes 5 days a week and drill team in the afternoons, musicals in the spring kept me active. In college, you walked everywhere. My undergrad campus lack of parking meant you almost never moved your car except for when absolutely necessary.  In med school and most of residency, I lived in the city and walked daily.

I would kill for those legs again...

 And then the "creep", as I like to call it, started.

Late nights in residency ordering junk from whatever pizza and sandwich joint is open. Collapsing in sheer exhaustion after working an 80-hour week (not a typo - 80 hours). Not getting enough sleep or nearly enough exercise.

Forget the Freshman 15.  I got the Post-Marriage 10 and Post-Baby 15. And back fat.  Please understand that I am not one of those people who obsesses about her weight. Through some miracle of good parenting, having been a dancer and probably a little bit of ego, I usually think I look pretty good. I just buy whatever looks good and the numbers be damned. But then when you start feeling a little squishy around the edges and noticing that you just can't eat like a glutton all the time without consequences, you need to have a reality check. For me it was either restrict my diet (pfft!) or get my tushie off of the couch where there is usually an imprint of where I sit.

Enter Couch to 5K.  It is a gradual program to build up your endurance so that you eventually, after 2 months are up to running 3 miles or more. I have been doing it long distance with my friends from Pittsburgh. Running is a weird thing. Some people love it. Some (like me) think it is a necessary evil that tests your mental and physical abilities. Here's why we run.

From an ex-long distance runner recovering from an injury:  
"I'm eyeing 5Ks as a stepping stone to getting back into half marathon shape after my injury...it keeps me hungry!"

From a mom of two turned runner:
"I was merely motivated by my friends who were chatting it up. That inspired me along with wanting to be healthy and being unhappy about how my clothes were fitting." She has a lot more to say here.

From a friend who never would have called herself a runner:
"I was more interested in challenging who I thought I was. And whatever I had classified myself as, it certainly wasn't someone who ran. Let alone a "runner". To take better care of myself, and to push myself to try something new. Rather than complain that my butt is flat and legs flabby I could do something about it. It just so happened that thing was run."

I run so that I can eat cookies. BTW, I will be doing a health-related giveaway coming up soon...

What do you do to stay active?

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