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My Favorite Healthy Birthday Traditions — Tri ‘Em!

In honor of FBG’s Sixth Birthday, each of the FBGs this week sharing their healthy birthday traditions — or lack thereof! Read on for Kristen’s favorite ways to celebrate a new year …

So, I might have been the one who suggested this line of questions for our birthday week. I’ve been celebrating each age increase in similar ways for the last seven or eight years, and it’s a tradition I hope to keep up for the rest of my life. Basically, I run, bike and swim my age. (I’m such a triathlete cliche, I know.)

birthday traditions swim bike run

It started with running. When I was 25 or so and had really gotten into it, I kicked off my birthday morning with a run. The length wasn’t set or anything, but I figured starting the day on a healthy note was a good way to begin that year.

A few years ago, after I’d begun swimming, some of the folks I swam with did what they referred to as a “birthday swim.” A group would meet up at the pool, and we’d do an interval for every year of the birthday guy or girl’s age. If we had a group consisting of faster and slower swimmers, the speedier ones would do 100 yard laps while the rest did 75s or 50s on the same interval. That way, we all start together, we all finish together, and we all talk about how much we love cake together. It was really fun, and I immediately adopted it.

But hey, why stop at swimming? I realized this could easily be used for running, too, so I started aiming to run my age … with one decimal point moved, that is. So, at 30, I ran three miles. This year, I ran (well, as a run/walk) 3.4 miles. This is one I know will become significantly more challenging as I get older, but I’d like to think I’ll be up for the challenge (even if it becomes more of a walk with an occasional running interval thrown in).

A couple of years ago, as my biking mileage started to increase, I decided to make this a trifecta and added the bike in as well — one mile for each year. It might be a wee bit time consuming in a few years, but that just makes it feel like even more of an accomplishment, right?

Now, to be clear, these things may not all occur on my actual birthday. Partly because, you know, I work, and also because one of my other traditions is meeting friends for copious amounts of Mexican food, and you just can’t always fit it all in. Thankfully, I don’t have much trouble finding people who are totally game to celebrate with me in all of these ways, and when their birthdays hit, I’m more than happy to return the favor. (Although, of course, there are times when some quiet contemplation is in order, and a solo birthday run can be pretty good for that, too.)

Does this sound nice or nuts to you? What kind of healthy b-day traditions do you keep? —Kristen

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1 Comment
  1. Sandy says:

    It sounds like the best kind of nuts! I love the idea of combining fitness with birthdays so it’s like you are celebrating both accomplishments. Usually my birthday means ingesting WAY too much food and celebrating with family/friends. Something close to (but probably not) is that i try to buy myself a book I am excited about on my birthday each year and a new fancy journal to write it.

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