Last year, on my 49th birthday, I set a goal to lose 50 pounds by my 50th birthday. 50 by 50 was my mission. With my birthday just a few months away, it is with some regret I admit many of the 50 pounds I intended to part ways with will still be hanging around come April 27th. They're like the 25 year old child that refuses to leave home and me the parent that just can't find the courage to tell them it's time to get out.
The mission has not been a complete failure, however. I've managed to lose and keep off 10 pounds. So maybe I've at least packed the child's bags and placed them at the front door. I've also taken on a vigorous exercise routine that I've stayed committed for the past 8 months. The reality is if lifting weights wasn't such a big part of that routine I would have lost more of the 50 pounds I set out to lose. Then again, the same could be said of my nightly bowl of ice cream - also part of the routine. All I know is I feel healthier than I've felt in years and the selection of jeans I can actually wear in my closet has doubled without me purchasing new ones.
As you will recall, the diet I was using was the 5-2 diet, which involved eating normally 5 days a week and fasting to the tune of 600 calories the other two days. I wrote several times about how the diet had made me more aware of those living in extreme poverty around the world, people living on fewer than 600 calories each and every day of their lives. As a result, our family committed to sponsoring another child through an organization we support to fight world hunger. So again, I'm not going to achieve my ultimate goal of losing 50 pounds, but some greater good - some deeper understanding - can happen even in a battle lost.
Finally, another part of my goal was to prepare myself for the 2014 Virginia Senior Games, which I became eligible for at the start of the new year. Who on earth wouldn't be excited about turning 50 years old when something that's been out of reach your entire life is now yours for the taking. A Virginia Senior Games gold medal! So I made it official this week. I registered registered to run the 50, 100, and 200 meter dashes May 17 in Norfolk, VA as part of the 2014 Virginia Senior Games.
Participating in the games is one part of my set of 49th birthday goals I've attacked with increased commitment and passion the last month or so. I've written several posts lately about the young runner from our community, Meg Menzies, who was killed by an alleged drunk driver while jogging earlier this year. Since her passing, I have been following the online community of runners who have rallied around her death to share with others their passion for running and to also raise awareness of the dangers of all forms of distracted driving. My short sprints will be well short of the distances many of these runners take on - significantly shorter than Meg's marathons. But the big thing I've taken away from Meg's death is how far and how fast you run aren't nearly as important as seizing your opportunity to run at all, and being grateful for it.
With that in mind, I've chosen my uniform for the big day. Although it will be a size or so bigger than I had hoped to be wearing by the big day, I figure it needs to be to make room for the angel who'll be hitching a ride as I fly toward the finish line. With any luck, or maybe even a miracle or two, it will be a gold medal ride.