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AMANDANCES's Recent Blog Entries

15K and being back on the wagon

Monday, September 08, 2014

I actually missed my Spark friends during the time when I was gone, but I got used to using the phone app rather than the website, and there isn't a lot of interaction on that app. I hope you all are doing well and staying positive.

There are so many things I want to say to everyone, but since this feeds into Google, I won't. Lots of changes going on. For the first time in YEARS I'm not actively teaching or performing. I don't exactly know what to feel, but I think I'm okay with it.

Saturday was our 15k, which I mostly walked, but at least I got through it. I hadn't been training seriously AT ALL this year which was a huge mistake because that's how I ended up gaining weight again, and I just didn't have the endurance in my legs to run the whole thing. Ah well. I'm determined to get a treadmill this fall, so I can keep running even when it's snowing and freezing outside. I'll be back at those endurance races next year, at the top of my age category.

It feels good to eat less and work out more. It feels good to get more vegetables. Life feels good right now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEOMALLEY 10/14/2014 4:51PM

    Missed you - glad you're back! Give Little Bear an extra hug from me!

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PATTI_PAL1 9/9/2014 5:11PM

    Good to see you are active again. You actually RAN a 15K. WOW!!! Kudos. My first 5K WALK was a few weeks ago.


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    Welcome back. It is good to hear from you. Best Wishes in reaching all of your goals. YOU CAN DO IT!

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MARGARITTM 9/8/2014 4:27PM

    Welcome back!

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First day of MANY!

Monday, September 01, 2014

It was an interesting summer, to say the least. Little Bear and I planted tomatoes and green beans, and it took a while but we're seeing the "fruits" of our labors now. Daddy learned how to make roasted tomato appetizers, and we grilled squash a few times. Bear now eats corn on the cob, although I have to "start it" for him by taking a bite out of the center. :)

In July I had to stop teaching dance because of, as usual, studio troubles, and it looks like I may not be going back to it. I've been teaching for so long that it almost feels like a piece of me is being left behind, but honestly the pressure of it being my "business" has been so great that it's nice to be free of that. I'm actually just training and dancing for myself right now, trying to finish up some outstanding projects, and I'm enjoying the lack of pressure.

Also in July I went to Chicago for my certification training in SharQui, the bellydance-based workout! It is SO much fun to do, and I'd always wanted to get certified as an instructor, so when I saw they were bringing the training program to Chi-town I jumped at the opportunity. So now I'm officially a licensed and certified SharQui instructor, and the plan is to start trying to teach fitness classes after the first of the year. I think this will give me a chance to transition back into teaching and also allow me to help people who want to get fit in a FUN way!

September brings two new projects. I started one years ago -- it's Keti Sharif's A-Z personal techniques certification. In the spring and fall, she offers an 8-week intensive for people who haven't around to certifying. Yeah, that's me. So that started today, so hopefully by October 31st, I'll have that certification and can begin either the teacher training or the advanced version of the personal techniques next year.

The second project I'm super excited about! I'm going back to school! Sorta. I'm actually planning on trying to get started with my MFA next year, so I'm taking a Story Intensive class this fall. It's all short story writing for four months! Yippee! Summer was good for me on the writing front. I sold two stories, wrote a bunch more, and developed some good habits. The future looks bright. :)

So today also begins another attempt at 100 days of fitness. I'm going to try to get a 100-day streak of getting my "glow-getter" award, as well as doing a little bit of resistance training every day. I do still want to lose some weight, especially what I gained over last winter, so I'm back to tracking food. I haven't run nearly as much as I wanted to this year, and I have a variety of excuses, from the ice on the ground into March, and now an extremely hot, rainy summer. I have a 15k to run this weekend, which I may actually walk instead, since I haven't exactly been training. I'm sort of taking it easy on the running, mostly just because I haven't been training, and I hate coming in last for my age group :/

For the next 8 weeks, I'm going to be busy making positive changes in my life, and trying to develop good habits. After that, I'll have another 8-week goal, and then it's the end of the year and will be time to reassess. I'm going to try to be more regular on Spark since I have always seen greater success when I hang around here.

HUGS to you all and thanks for reading!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEOMALLEY 10/7/2014 5:36PM

    Sounds like you've been busy and productive. GREAT! Keep up all your good work and don't lose touch with us here.
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    Hello AMANDA, It is nice to hear from you. We've missed you on the Fitness Instructors Team. Congratulations on getting your SharQui instructor's license and certification. I wish you the BEST in reaching all of your goals. Take care, and keep in touch with the team.


Comment edited on: 9/1/2014 8:23:57 PM

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Been busy!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

So yeah, it's been a while. Things have been slightly crazy, especially since I've kicked up the writing so much. I feel like I don't have time for everything I need to do. Yeah, I sound like my mom.

For the past 8-9 months I've lost a little and then gained a little. It drives me crazy. I know what I need to do to stay energized and keep the weight off, and it's called EXERCISE! I make all kinds of excuses why I'm not doing it (being tired is the main excuse) then I realize I'm tired because I'm not exercising. Vicious circle.

So I'm setting some low goals. 30 minutes of intense activity per day. Not just dancing -- this means step aerobics or bicycling or Tae Bo or something intense. Anything to get my heart rate up. It doesn't have to be an hour or more. Less is more if it keeps you on target. Then I can dance for the other 30, and still have time to write/read/study for the other 1.5 or 2 hours that is pretty much the entirety of my free time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EJB2801 7/8/2014 9:59PM

    I finally got over to your Spark page to see what's happening. I like your goal, and I wonder how it is going. I did see your activity posts for today. Looks great!!


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JOANNEEMERALD 5/17/2014 12:38PM

    Missed you on our dance team! Glad to know your are doing well. Remember, you can combine Tae Bo and dance. I like to put on a playlist of songs I like and then alternate between Tae Bo moves and dance moves. It helps me to not be too tired and keep my heart rate up longer. Its fun to just let the music guide me. I listen to my body and when I feel like I am getting really tired, I slow down a bit and then speed back up when I am ready.

Joanne emoticon

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    emoticon emoticon

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BRADMILL2922 5/15/2014 12:37AM

    Sounds like a great plan! Hard to find time sometimes but you can do it!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 5/14/2014 11:30AM

    Sounds like a good plan!

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PRINCESS_SOFI 5/14/2014 10:21AM


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Little Bear's First Hair Cut - pics

Friday, March 07, 2014

Once there lived a Little Bear
He had some crazy, CRAZY hair!
His Mommy thought it looked just fine
But he did resemble Professor Einstein.

His curls were so boingy
All spiraling down.
He looked like a lion
With his big fuzzy crown

So he called up the stylist
And he said, "Could you please
Trim up my locks
Before they hang to my knees?"

The stylist she said,
"Just sit down in the chair.
It won't take but a minute
And you'll love your new hair!"

Mom held her breath.
She said, "Save me a curl!"
The stylist said "Relax,
Soon he won't look like a girl!"

She trimmed and she cut.
He made little noise.
He sat in the chair,
Just playing with toys.

Mommy took pictures
And gathered the hair
That fell from the head
Of her sweet Little Bear.

It was over quite quickly,
Just a few dozen snips.
And when she was finished
He got a kiss on the lips!

Daddy made him some pudding
For a first haircut treat.
Now his hair's still very curly,
But slightly more neat!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANNEEMERALD 3/16/2014 2:42PM

    This could be made into a little children's book. Very cute.


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WALLAHALLA 3/13/2014 1:48PM

    Precious! Love your creative writing style!

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    Isn't he just the cutest little guy! So sweet both BEFORE and AFTER the haircut. Thanks for sharing the pictures of this Memorable Event.


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EJB2801 3/7/2014 10:30PM

    No wonder the folks at the rehab center enjoyed his vists! He's a handsome little man.

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USMAWIFE 3/7/2014 5:32PM

    what a cutie..

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GRACEOMALLEY 3/7/2014 2:25PM

    He is SO ADORABLE! I love his hair, although the cut looks cute. Thanks you So much for sharing this!

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MIKENIKES 3/7/2014 11:54AM

  What a doll!!

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GINNABOOTS 3/7/2014 11:36AM

    OMG that is soooooo adorable. What a handsome boy! Love your poem!

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1GROVES2 3/7/2014 11:32AM

    Made me smile...thanks

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C8TSON 3/7/2014 11:22AM

    emoticon He's soooooooooo cute!!! What a precious little baby boy you have there, and I do love that angelic, fair curly curly hair!!! emoticon

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March 1 - First Trail Run!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

(What this photo shows is me coming across the finish line, 4th from last, but still finishing. What it does not show is all the MUD!)

February was a bad month. Little exercise, little motivation, little anything for me. We had snow and freezing rain just about every day, and I couldn't bother myself to care about doing much of anything. I spent most of my free time visiting my Mom in the rehab hospital where she was recovering from a knee replacement, and letting Little Bear entertain the residents.

There was one race I was planning on attempting, but the morning of the race found ice all over the roads so I opted out of it. Besides, I'd only run about three whole miles the whole month, and I wasn't sure I was in any kind of shape to try to run those all at once.

So in the last couple of days of February, I saw a note for a Trail Run called "Bound the Mound" which takes you on a course around Angel Mounds, a local Native American archaeological site. Having never done a trail run, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I decided -- pretty much the night before the event -- I was going to try it. All finishers got a hat at the end, and since I don't have any racing head-gear bling, it sounded like a good investment.

My Mom is my big running supporter, taking me to all my races, acting as parking attendant, hair-braider, water-bottle-keeper, and general morale officer. She's my biggest fan, and I can't imagine going to a race without her. I texted her the Friday night before the race and asked if she wanted to come with. "I'm game" she texts back. She's always game :)

Morning of:
It's cold, but not ridiculously cold. It's actually probably slightly warmer than the last October race I ran. This time I remember to bring gloves. There's a line at the same-day registration tent. I hand them my money and they hand me a race bib. These days, your timing chip is built into the bib, which is cool. I have my SPAT firmly attached to my laces, and I'm ready to get those little lights a blinking!

The announcer tells us there are three categories: 5k, 10k, and Half Mary. The 5k runners will do one lap, the 10ks will do 2, and Halfers do 4 and then an out-and-around in the parking lot. It's not crowded, but there's a good number of people milling about. The announcer tells us this is a hard course because of the mud (wait, mud? Who said anything about mud?) and the divots already in the frozen ground. He says this is no time for a PR run. I don't know what that means, but I assume personal record? I line up at the back of the pack and we set off.

Everything is fine for about a half mile. I'm keeping a slow pace because I don't know the terrain and the road is narrow enough that the brambles and branches are reaching out to scratch me. Still, whatever. No snakes. It's cold, but not uncomfortable. The frozen dirt is uneven, with divots from older footsteps mottling the ground and forcing you to pay attention, lest you twist an ankle. There is a little mud, which I run around. We're on grass, then wet and marshy grass, and then suddenly, up ahead, is the mud pool.

It's like something out of a horror movie, a gaping brown maw with hard rock teeth protruding at odd angles. Surface water gleams in the morning sunlight and you can see bits and pieces of dirty ice scattered around. The other runners have already broken the surface, leaving behind a thick goop of rocky and sticky mud. I try to go around it, but it stretches long past the trail. Following another runner, I pick what appears to be the path of least Disgusting, but I still find myself stepping down ankle-deep in cold, sticky mud. The other runner is actually stuck, her foot buried so deep in the muck that she can't get it out. Several of us stop to help her. There is a sign attached to a tree that reads "You actually paid money to do this!"

A few paces later there is more uneven squish, and I succumb to it. My right foot steps down into a suction cup of mud, and I can't pull it out in time, so down I go. My knee hits the mud, then I feel myself tumbling forward. I feel my face scrape against brush, but the mud holds me in place, preventing me from doing a full-blown somersault. I stand, and assure the other runners I'm okay, which I am. But I'm dirty and muddy, and now I can feel the dead leaves in my hair. Is this thing over yet?

"Packs" have now been defined, and my pack consists of a middle-aged man, two newer runners my age, and a younger but new runner, who is pacing me. We all introduce ourselves and make jokes and chit-chat as we blaze our trails. It is difficult to talk and run at the same time, but I'm enjoying the company. None of us thought to bring a machete, which at this point seems like extremely poor planning.

Less than five feet after the 1-mile-marker, we see the creek, which some of the more experienced runners call the "foot wash station." My pack groans, and we look for a patch of ice, a canoe, something. Seeing no alternative, I take the lead and step into the icy water. My feet are completely submerged in the frigid water, and now my tibia is cold, but I try to look at the bright side: I'm not as muddy.

It is at this point that I pretty much give up on the concept of "race" and instead the embrace the companion concept of "just finish." I walk with my pack, as we carefully navigate more mud and fallen branches. On the clear and dry areas we run, but it's a lope, a slow jog. We aren't thinking of medals (and they were only awarding bling to the overall finishers, so who cares anyway.) We are thinking of the pots of chili and chicken noodle soup that await us at the finish line. We are thinking of dry shoes and clean socks, and I especially am thinking of how happy I will be to see my SPAT's lights fully lit before 9am.

44 minutes after beginning, I sprint the last 100 yards or so to cross the finish mat and receive my ball cap hat. I smile for the cameras, but I'm sort of "over it" and ready to eat. Mom is there, proud as a peacock, even though I'm 10 minutes over my worst 5k time ever, and get mud on her coat when I hug her. She has made a friend in the volunteer tent, so we go over to the tables and sample the hot chicken noodle soup which is pretty delicious. I check my time, groan, but shrug it off. This was not the race for a PR, right? A man tries to hand me a trail-runner magazine and says he hopes to see me again. Not bloody likely, but I take the magazine anyway.

It's just past 9am and all the lights on my SPAT are lit up. I'm freezing, I'm muddy, and I'm ready for a hot shower, but I did something difficult today and I'm proud of myself. That fact alone is enough to warm my heart :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PDQ1203 3/8/2014 8:57AM


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TXPATRIOT 3/8/2014 12:18AM

    Congrats for finishing!

My 1st 5K was an adventure 5K (trail run). I had no idea what that meant or what I was in for.

I can say that I finished, as well. emoticon

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GETULLY 3/6/2014 5:42PM

    You go Girl!!! A mud run in these temperatures! I am surprised you did not freeze instantly when you got sucked in! emoticon emoticon

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EJB2801 3/6/2014 3:00PM

    Wow! You got an amazing activity re-boot. Thanks for telling about it. Maybe it wasn't a personal record, but it definitely is an inspiring account.

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GRACEOMALLEY 3/6/2014 1:47PM

You did fabulously well as i see it. GOOD JOB, LADY! emoticon

Definitely setting a great example for Little Bear about following through and commitments andall that jazz. Lets hope the warmer (and maybe drier?) weather will make you next outing of this type a bit more pleasant!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 3/6/2014 11:34AM

    Hilarious! Well done! You actually have me interested in doing something like this now - up til now I've avoided anything that says trail.

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    emoticon emoticon

Congratulations! GREAT JOB!


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ONMYMEDS 3/6/2014 10:45AM

    wow, good going!!! Outstanding job!!

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