My high school swim coach used to swim his age in the number of 100s on his birthday and I started doing birthday workouts, in 2013, when I turned 40. For the most part, my Birthday workouts would be geared towards events I was training for that year.
I also do Epic Swim Workouts on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, and a treadmill marathon on Thanksgiving Eve and for a few years, a track marathon on July 4th. I retired from the track marathon in 2017.
The year I turned 40, I read an Ultra runner blog about running their year in miles on their Birthday. Being an endurance junkie and training to complete the Run Rabbit Run 100 miler, I decided I wanted to run 40 miles on my Birthday.
Plan A was to start at my house, run to the top of Horsetooth Rock,down though Lory State Park, over the dams of Centennial road then home. All week the weather forecast for an EPIC snowfall the morning of March 9th. I mentally was ready to implement plan B. to complete 40 miles on the stepmill and treadmill at the Fort Collins Club.
I started on the stepmill at 90-95 steps/minute at a nice aerobic intensity for me and the 2:30 went by fast. These mills showed distance so I was at 16 miles. The next 8 miles were completed on the treadmill. The feeling in my legs running after stepping is very much like the feeling my legs have off the bike. It took my legs about 15 minutes to get into my stride. I bumped up the pace to 8 minute miles. Legs felt strong. I wanted to keep running but since the FCC was busy I needed to let others use the treadmill. I stepped another 8 miles. back on the treadmill for another 6 miles, saving my final 2 miles of running with my dogs. Completing that challenge felt amazing.
The next year, age 41, I wanted to do a non-fitness related challenge so I started a Birth Month Gratitude group. My goal for 31 days was for me and my friends to post at least 41 things we were grateful for.
Age 42, I was into weights and spent the day doing a variety of activities, check out My Spa weekend.
The following year, age 43, I was training for the Boston Marathon, so I ran 43 kms on the Spring Creek and Poudre Trail in Fort Collins.
Now, 2017, age 44 and living in Georgia, there was an indoor charity 100 mile ride on my Birthday, so that was my goal workout for the day, plus running 4.4 miles and swimming 44 lengths.
In 2018, I was training for an Ironman Chattanooga so my Birthday workout consisted of 45 X 100 meters on the 1:30, bike 45 miles on my trainer and run 4.5 miles.
In 2019, I was not training for a big event, so my workout was shorter, 46 minute bike, 4.6 mile run and swam 46 X 50’s meters.
Age 47 (2020), I was back training for Ultras, specially the Crewel Jewel 50 miler, and ran 47 X 1 minute hill repeats. That was fun!
Age 48 (2021) Back to triathlon focus, and keeping it shorter, I swam 48 lengths, Bike 48 miles and ran 48 minutes
Age 49 (2022) Training for the Georgia Death Race, I ran up and down Kennesaw Mountain road, to accumulate 4900 feet of elevation gain, and that ended up totaling 26.3 miles
Age 50 (2023). I debated for weeks what I wanted to do. My training is focused on Ultras and Spartan races. The last time I swam was on January 1st, I have not been cycling. I had Plan A, B and C, weather dependent. Plan A, run a 50k, Plan B complete 5 hours of activity, Plan C stepmill/treadmill combo like I did 10 years ago. The outcome: Most important was two treat myself to a Mountain Challenge, so on March 7th, I ran at Fort Mountain State Park and ran 5050 feet of elevation gain. Then on, March 9th, I followed my training plan which was a 4 hour run and ended up running 26.2 miles, in 4:30, plus a 50 minute strength workout including 50 burpees, assisted pull ups with band, lunges, 50 second planks which totaled 5 + hours of activity for that day. Goal completed.
Don’t turn away from challenges. If you want to get better at anything, you’ve got to stress yourself. Just make sure that you follow these challenges with periods of rest and recovery. Whether in sport or in life, too much stress without enough rest leads to injury, illness, and burnout. The equation you need to remember is: Stress + Rest = Growth. I like creating fitness challenges for my mental and physical wellbeing and it keeps me young at heart! Ten years later, I am ready to retire some of my physical activities, like my New Year Day Swim.
Join the chatter in our t2endurance Facebook group and comment how you like to spend your birthday.
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