From B.C. to Bikini

January 20, 2011
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The year was 409 B.C. It was a brutal, bloody battle. Corpses littered the ground, friend and foe alike. Mourners wept over the locals from the village, but soldiers celebrated to know that they’d won—that the town of Marathon was safe. News of this victory had to go to Athens, and young Philippides was chosen to make the 25-mile trek to Athens. He ran the whole way there, delivered his message, and promptly flopped over dead from exhaustion.

This is the Greek myth surrounding the tradition of running a marathon. I’m not here to speak about running a marathon, however, or maybe I am: a 5k Marathon.

Ye who grunt and groan at the thought of running, hold on and listen to me for a moment. I know it’s winter. Winter isn’t conducive to running, you may argue, but not exercising isn’t conducive to getting in the pool in 5 months. Yes, I said it: you only have 5 months before you’re expected to hop in those trunks or that bikini and have a beach bod. So what if the heat’s still on? The pressure is, too.

Before you ask, I’m not one of “those” runners. I’m 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weigh 195 lbs. But the difference between me being a couch potato telling the rest of you to run and me being a runner asking you to join me is there in the form of 3 weeks. I’ve spent these weeks training for my first 5k marathon and cutting bad carbohydrates out of my diet, and I’ve lost 8.5 lbs. It’s not that much, but it’s there. Already, my jiggly leg muscles and not so hot-or-crossed buns are firming. I went from running 60 seconds to being able to run for 5 minutes straight. There is progress.

I’m following the Couch to 5k (c25k) program from Cool Running. Google it. It’s manageable workouts three times a week, and it’s kicking my butt into shape. Yes, I still have 6 weeks to go, but I’m a third of the way through a training program. I have bragging rights, and the knowledge that I look better in my swimsuit than I did 3 weeks ago. I have energy. I have confidence. And I have a new belt, because my pants are starting to fall down.

The bottom line is that I’m going to be ready for swimsuit season for the first time in my life this year. Are you? Are you really going to let this fat girl look better than you do come June? I think not. Get up and move. You don’t have to run a marathon (or a big one, anyway), and I promise you won’t flop over dead from the exertion like Philippides. You’ll only feel like it, but I think that’s a worthwhile price for looking and feeling great this summer. Don’t you?

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