The holidays are a magical time; a cornucopia of festive celebrations, both religious and secular, that culminates with the beginning of a new year. For me, the season has become a carefree period where I temporarily abandon my usual running routine along with any sense of dietary dignity. I treat the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s like my own personal Rumspringa. During this time, “It’s the holidays!” becomes the gluttonous mantra I use to rationalize second helpings, daily desserts, and significantly bumping up the regularity with which booze is consumed.
Now that the holidays have passed and 2016 is upon us it’s time to pay the piper. Much like an Amish teenager, I have returned, tail between my legs, eager to renounce my wanton ways and rejoin the life I knew before. In my case, this means healthier foods and regular running, rather than horse and buggy travel and weekend barn raising.
I definitely have work to do. While my Rumspringa was truly delightful, it has left me with a solid 8 to 10 pounds that needs to be lost. But make no mistake about it… I will lose these pounds! I will lose them the same way the Cleveland Browns lose football games, slowly and painfully over the course of a few months.
The plan is to lose this excess weight, not by shackling myself with half-baked resolutions I would undoubtedly abandon by February, but simply by returning to form. I will begin running regularly again. I will continue playing soccer and basketball each week. I will rediscover green vegetables. And eventually, I will decide which spring half marathon to run. This decision will lead to a training plan, which will lead to a steady increase in mileage, and, by the time April rolls around, I will have lost this holiday heft and proudly returned my body to a state that can be best described as, “not entirely horrible for my age.”
After my half marathon is run and the temperatures rise, I will fill my summer with a multitude of races. I will run 5Ks, 10Ks, and, who knows, if I’m really feeling saucy perhaps I’ll even sign-up for an obstacle race. (Though truthfully, the obstacle race would really only be run to impress my 9-year-old son who loves American Ninja Warrior.)
My stellar running year will peak in the fall when I run my second half, which is sure to be a new PR. The exact time and city for this triumphant moment is still TBD, but make no mistake, it’s going to be freakin’ awesome.
Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here, which means another well-earned break. Once again, the reward for 11 months’ worth of hard work will be allowing myself to spend the remainder of 2016 adopting the sluggish lifestyle of the average middle-aged American.
Races be damned! Mileage be damned! Weight be DAMNED!
I’m already looking forward to it.