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My Holiday

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Whew. Ok. I've been putting this one off because I wasn't sure how much I wanted to say or how I even felt about things. But here goes --

I've been talking about the Goofy since 2008. I signed up in spring, 2010 when my knee was looking strong and all things seemed possible. Unfortunately, things didn't go according to plan, and my knee has never completely come back. I only walk now, not "wog", and the knee struggles with anything more than eight or nine miles. So my 1/2s are do-able with a bit of teeth-gritting, but not fulls.

I decided not to do the Goofy (1/2 on Saturday and full marathon on Sunday) before we even traveled. I planned ot do the 5K with my BFF, do the half on Saturday, and cheer her on in her first full marathon. It's been ages since we really got to spend time together, and forever since we visited without children around, so I was psyched.

I arrived at Walt Disneyworld very late Wednesday. I thought BFF was arriving on Thursday morning. Unfortunately, she arrived closer to dinner time. The Magic Kingdom just isn't all that magical by oneself, I'm sorry to say. She arrived, we went to the expo, and it was bittersweet to receive all the "stuff" associated with the race and the encouragement from the well meaning volunteers who thought I'd be racing both big races.

We had a blast in the "Best Friends 5K" on Friday. Woody and Buzz hosted, and spirits were high. We saw lots of people in fancy dress. It was fantastic to spend time with my friend, and time limits be darned -- we just walked, took lots of silly pictures, and enjoyed ourselves.

My BFF and I were at Epcot when we finished the race, and it was just too tempting. We played in the park all day, and I logged 28000+ steps. Big mistake. The next day, I could feel that I just didn't have much "juice". I lined up and prepared for a tough few hours.

For some reason, friends who finish around my time received higher corral placements than I did. Because of the wave start, many of them started 30+ minutes ahead of me. Disney said we needed to maintain a 16-minute mile. I averaged 16:07 per miles for the first four miles. ...

... which meant I was mere seconds behines the pacers at the 4-mile mark This did not stop them from physicaly preventing me from continuing the race. For the love of 28 seconds, they frog marched me and those others behind the pace onto a bus, where our numbers were recorded, and then a woman PHYSICALLY CUT OFF MY CHRONOTAG so that I couldn't get back into the race. It was like being drummed out of the army. I was utterly humiliated, and it irritated me even further when I later saw how many other people averaged a much slower pace than I did but managed to finish because they had started earlier. My suspicions? I requested an XL shirt, and they assumed I was slow. Had I requested a S, I might have finished the race. Many people sobbed the whole ride back. I kept up a conversation with another determinedly pleasant women and tried not to think about it.

The bus took us to an area parallel to the finish line and after race area. In a mockery of the finishing ceremony, we disembarked, and walked a gauntlet of silent, solemn volunteers, who handed us race towels and MEDALS. I know what some of you are thinking, right? I'm a bling 'ho. I was happy, right? It's called a Finisher's Medal. You don't get one for showing up. It made me sick. I thought about handing it back to them, but the situation was so uncomfortable -- why make it worse?

When I returned to the hotel, my BFF was on the phone. I thought she would ask me about it, but instead we planned the rest of the day. I tried really hard to not dwell on it and ruin the weekend, and also keep her positive for her big race, but it was a hard for me when she suggested multiple times that I should line up with her for the marathon, even though I'd get pulled. I don't know if she was asking for support, but it didn't make me feel good, and combined with some other things, it left me with the impression that I think more of her than she thinks of me. I hope I'm wrong about that.

The good news? Her race went really well. She finished strong and had a lot to be proud of. I was at the finish line to see her come across and was super psyched when she finished in under five hours.

We had a good day in Hollywood Studios the next day, and then it was time to leave WDW. I was feeling icky. It was a little bit emotional and a little bit physical. Still, I hooked up with DANIMITE2 and her DH and went to Universal.

Wow! I loved visiting with my dear Sparkfriend, and it was huge fun to wander the world of Harry Potter. The only downside? I couldn't fit comfortably into the Hogwarts ride and ultimately opted not to ride rather than face the humiliation of being asked to get off. It's a new ride. One would think it was sized for people today. Still, it was another reminder that I'm not at the weight I should be.

We ate at the Three Broomsticks, and I discovered that butterbeer is one of the great delights in life. Yum!

I felt ill by that night, and by the next morning, it was clear that I was sick. I drove down to the Everglades as planned but spent the whole time in bed in the hotel, too feverish and sick to go anywhere. Keeping to the plan, I flew to Savannah to visit my father. The poor man. I was in bed almost the entire time. We did visit Fort Pulaski, which was fun. The NPS is following history. At this point in the Civil War (Janaury 20, 1861), Georgia was flying a "secessionist flag" but hadn't joined the not-formed-yet Confederacy. So we saw a white flag with a red star flying proudly over the fort. So clever. The NPS is going to show events in "real time" over the next five years. If I lived in America, I would definitely frequent these places to "live" the action. We also strolled through my absolute favourite cemetary Bonaventure Cemetary. I find it relaxing and beautiful, and if I ever wanted to be buries somewhere, it would be there!

Now I'm geting ready to return home. I'm still sick, but at least the fever broke a couple of days ago.

It wasn't the holiday I'd hoped for, but maybe I hoped for too much.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAPLELEAFMOM 2/27/2011 3:18PM

    OMG... I am so sorry that I am so behind in responding to this. HUGE emoticon going out to you. What a nasty experience, and at Disney no less emoticon I would write/call/email them to let you know how it made you feel that they did that and just for them to realize how totally nasty they were.

I must say that I had high hopes for my races in 2010 and it was a horrid, disappointing year for me. Through all my injuries I gained weight and just kind of lost hope and stopped exercising. I am ready to get back and start thinking about racing again, probably more in 2012 than 2011.

You can do anything you set your mind to and we will be cheering you on the whole way

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RAVEN1025 1/24/2011 9:04PM

    Oh honey. I try to avoid giving hugs on the internets, because it always feels so shallow (I will refrain from elaborating here). However, in this case I am making an exception. Hugs, hugs, and more hugs. Because if I were there, I would be giving you the most heartfelt, sincere, full of love hug I could. I understand the feelings of picking up your race packet, knowing you can't do the race. I made my husband pick up mine for the TC Marathon, because I was already so low about it, I couldn't face it. It was brave of you to go! The situation wasn't as dire, but when I did the half last April, and despite finishing in the top half time-wise, due to the poor organization of the race and having started over 30 minutes late I was the second-to-last to cross the finish line. They were already tearing down the finish line, all of the post-race goodies were shut down, they had even opened the course to traffic despite me being ahead of the lowest pace finish time. My husband thoughtfully grabbed some sustenance for me, otherwise I wouldn't have had anything. I chalked it up to it having been a local no-big-deal race. I thought Disney races were better than that. I assumed that they based the pick-ups on when the last folks crossed the start line. With how many entrants they have, and how generous they always seemed with the course fanfare, it never occurred to me that they would pull folks so closely. I am so bummed out for your experience. However, I am proud of you for giving it your all. So proud!! You are such an inspiration to me.

I agree with Foodgirl, and think you should talk to your friend. I get the feeling that she was trying to make you feel better, but didn't know just how to do it. Sometimes when we see the hearts of those we love breaking, we want to fix it and just don't know how. Maybe she thought focusing on having fun at the parks would distract you and make you feel better. Maybe she thought that queuing up for the marathon would give you the momentum to finish and make up for the unfortunate turn of events of the day before. I am just guessing, and looking for the best in human nature. You are such a wonderful person, and you attract good.

I am also so sorry you were sick. It isn't fun to be sick anyway, much less to be on vacation!

Here's to nothing but the best for the rest of 2011!!

Much love your way!!

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ENDUROVET 1/24/2011 4:19PM

    Man oh man.. Late on offering my condolences re: the Goofy-that-wasn't...

(I was actually coming over here to give you that "Beautiful Woman" award, but FunFrog beat me to it!).

I remember the creeping dread as I was trying to "ride my own ride" at the Tevis in Y2K, kept on falling farther & farther off-pace until I was pulled @ 56 mi. I knew when I saw the drag riders come around the bend behind me that we weren't gonna make it past the next checkpoint...

Onwards & upwards, hope you are feeling better soon!

luv Val

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DISPATCH91 1/23/2011 9:02PM

    Cat, I am so very sorry. You so looked forward to this trip,you definately deserved better treatment than what you were given.



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CJBAGGINS 1/22/2011 11:42PM

    Oh boy. So sorry that your well-planned holiday wasn't all you had hoped. I certainly don't think you hoped too much - the pacers could have cut you (and the others) some slack - I remember another race you did wherein the pacers kept stopping, and taking their sweet time tying their shoelaces, etc., to give you much-needed seconds to finish - you know, decent human being stuff. I do wonder, along with you, if you had ordered a different size shirt things would have been different. That is a sad state of affairs if it is true, but definitely a possibility.

Glad you're feeling better. I was feeling ill all during Christmas break. I felt well just in time to go back to work! It seems like it will be the same with you.

I am so pleased that your trip to 'Hogwarts' was a huge success, apart from the ride sizing. *sigh* That's disappointing.

Oh! I forgot to say that the overwhelming thing I took away from your whole blog was your determination to speak with a positive/pleasant woman after you were pulled out of the race. Most of what happens to us is coloured by our attitude - and you set me an example right there. Thank you!

Take care, sweetie.

cj




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BRAVAH 1/21/2011 4:52AM

    Dear Cat!

I am sorry to hear that the race didn't go how you had planned. I sincerely hope that you write to the race organizers and explain how you were rudely hustled out of the race when people with slower times were allowed to continue, just because they started earlier. That is not right!

I am glad that you were able to see a few fun things, and enjoy a butterbeer in the three broomsticks.

I hope you are feeling better!

Cheers,
Heidi

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DEBULACLARK 1/20/2011 7:21PM

    Cat I'm sorry your trip was such a mixture of ups and downs.

Shame on Disney - I agree with Holly...shouldn't matter how fast you go. The fact that you're doing it should keep you in it...

I hope you and your friend work things out.

Super duper jealous you got to go to see Harry Potter...how FUN!!! Is butterbeer really that yummmy?!

I'm so sorry you got sick too. Glad you're feeling a bit better...hope you feel like yourself again soon!




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50FITNFUN 1/20/2011 5:43PM

    Cat. I wish I could do something to make your holiday a better memory, but sadly I am just a novice witch at this point. emoticon I am truly dismayed and disheartened by the un-magical, un-Disney-like treatment you recieved from the booking of this trip, through the execution and the race pace nazis. Thankfully you had some bright spots in this trip with Danimite and your father. Try not to dwell on the bad and just hold onto the good moments.

Once you are feeling tip top again and you are ready, think about contacting your BFF. Perhaps she treated you insensitively or possibly you mistook her comments or the context in which they were said. Either way, you should let her know how you feel and give her the chance to make ammends if they are called for. If she really did mean the comments the way you took them, it's better to know now so you can decide how you want your friendship to proceed.

That being said; there are better times to look forward to on the horizon. emoticonYou have another race to do with cool pirate emoticonbling to earn, with a friend who will never treat you with anything less than respect and consideration. emoticon emoticon I can't wait to get to NC in April! We're gonna have a blast, and we're gonna get more bling. (See.. you make me aspire to greatness...I want to be as big a bling whore as you. emoticon)

emoticonHere's hoping you can keep your sunny side up! emoticon

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SUETINGE 1/20/2011 4:18PM

    I can't believe what you had to go through at Disney. I'm so sorry for all of it, and then to get ill on top of it? Yuck.

I'm glad you got to see Harry's World. That sounds like so much fun, but it's sad that the seat weren't a smidge bigger.

Hopefully next time you get back to the States you will have a better trip.

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SLCOLMAN 1/20/2011 2:54PM

    I hope that you are feeling better and that your illness has passed.
I have no words about what happened at the Disney race... I am so amazed by your strength!

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NIGHTSKYSTAR 1/20/2011 11:38AM

    My dear Cat...maybe they called it the Goofy because thats what the people were. I am sorry you had that experience. I am also sorry that you got sick, and your friend wasnt friend-like. That stinks. OK on the pacers..i get what, but i dont get why. In my mind anyone with the guts and determination to line up should be allowed to finish. period. even if its 2 am. Even at that..SECONDS behind? come ON.
And the medal thing..i totally agree with you. winning something doesnt have alot of meaning if you didnt earn it..but in this case i think you MORE than earned it..but it should say..winner of putting up with and dealing with jerks.
I am SO glad you got to see Hogwarts..i would SO love to do that!!! And to see Dani too..thats fantastic!!!
I hope you are feeling better and your trip home goes smooth. Hopefully the next trip to the states will be MUCH better!!!! (i know some of it will!!!)

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FUNFROG79 1/20/2011 11:09AM

    Oh, dear! I'm so sorry you had to go thru that! emoticon Those pacers at Disney are my biggest fear. I'm so glad you got to go to Hogwarts, cool, huh? I LOVE the butterbeer and The Three Broomsticks! I'm sorry you are sick, I hope you feel better, emotionally and physically soon! emoticon

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AMUNET_RA 1/20/2011 10:58AM

    ((HUGS)) Glad that you had some wonderful times thrown in with the not-so-wonderful times, friend!

Boo to the pacers and the VERY un-Disney-like treatment of you and the others!!

Super jealous that you and Dani got to enjoy Harry Potter World together! I hope a bunch of Spark friends can meet up there some day and that we can all fit on the rides! I heard someone else mention that previously; that the rides were kind of tiny considering...

Hope you can rest and recoup now, for a bit, Sweetie!

LOVE you loads!!!
~~Bonnie

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It Was a Dark and Stormy Night ....

Saturday, December 11, 2010



Summer lasted until a few weeks ago, but winter arrived with a vengeance yesterday. I wish I could find the words to convey the energy in the air. The rain falls so heavily that all the roads are flooded, and the wind whips about as though determined to uproot everything on the ground. Everywhere, one sees broken branches and uprooted trees. Every time I see more patio furniture fly by, I think , Aunit Em! Auntie Em!" hahaha

I feel so sorry for the poor sailors on the ships in the harbor down below, braving the angry sea. Giant swells are pounding the shoreline. They're scary but strangely thrilling.



Mr. MacDuff is funny. He has a little slicker, but he simply doesn't care for wet weather. When I take him out for walks, he runs from covered spot to covered sport, looks pathetic, and tries to shame me into bringing him back inside!

Sadly, these storms make Sparking difficult, as I keep losing power, bugger all. Still, I can't help but admire Mother Nature's raw power. Our world truly is amazing!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINGER_LOSTALOT 12/27/2010 10:14PM

    Love the pics! You are so thoughtful to empathize with the sailors and Macduff. emoticon

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ANGELICASASSY 12/24/2010 7:21PM

  I am glad you are well!

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DOTSLADY 12/20/2010 12:34AM

    Intense photos ... and I just know it was more awesome in person. My lab doesn't like to walk on wet grass .. um, she's a water dog? lol She prances. She also cowers at thunder or fireworks .. um, she's a hunting dog? I feel for MacDuff.
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Comment edited on: 12/20/2010 12:35:22 AM

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NIMAWEYGH 12/13/2010 9:54PM

    Oh Cat I love the rain, it is my most favorite thing and I bet I should have been born in the UK cause I would love it there.
My Ninnies doggie was just like that, she was part black lab but she hated for her feet to get wet or cold. I ended up getting her snow & rain booties and as long as she had them on she was fine.
She would have championed MacDuff............... emoticon

The photo's are so beautiful. I would love to be there having a cuppa with you and just watching. But BUMMER on the lost power.

Hang in there and I hope your having a wonderful week so far.

Love and hugs,
Nims

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ENDUROVET 12/13/2010 5:19PM

    One of the benefits to living on our hill is being able to witness beautiful lightning displays - I'll have to try to capture some photographic evidence this spring!

(Great photos BTW)

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FUNFROG79 12/13/2010 2:24PM

    Amazing pictures!!

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SUETINGE 12/13/2010 10:53AM

    Great pictures, Cat. At least MacDuff will go out in the rain. My dog absolutely refuses.

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NIGHTSKYSTAR 12/13/2010 9:17AM

    Such beautiful pictures!!!! thank you for sharing!! Give MacDuff a pat for me and tell him i said...woof!!

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DISPATCH91 12/12/2010 9:31PM

    So glad you are safe

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BRAVAH 12/12/2010 5:05AM

    Hi Cat,

Sorry to hear that Mr MacDuff isn't enjoying the weather. But great pictures! I love nature's majesty (mostly). It is snowing here, but it is so windy that it isn't worth trying to ski. I hope that your power finds a way to stay on. But in the meantime, a bath with candles is always a nice power out activity.

And thank you for your comment on my blog. I am probably painting a poor picture of my sweetie... he is actually a good one for the most part. I use my blogs to vent when I am frustrated. He might be acting a bit selfish here - but then, am I, too? I mean, kayaking is one of his favorite things. Diving is my end all, be all favorite thing. I think I am justifying my selfish thoughts because he gets to stay for an extra week and fish. But is that fair? I shouldn't view our anniversary trip and his trip with his dad together... and yet, he is the one that forced them together. Alas, if I really look at it, I am super lucky to be heading to someplace warm for some diving at all. Thank you for your support, as always!

By the way, you mentioned that it is raining heavily there, but what are your winter temps like? Does it get cold where you are? Stay safe!

Cheers,
Heidi

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JHADZHIA 12/11/2010 11:41PM

    WOW! Sorry you have to endure such nasty weather! Stay safe!
Awesome photos!!!
It surely does make dog walking a trial :( Our dog Bendix never cared one hoot about the weather and is always eager to go out no matter how cold or nasty it gets. He was okay with thunderstorms, but gets scared when kids in the area set off fireworks which they seem to do on a regular basis regardless of the season or holiday.
Enjoy your Sunday!

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REBECKY44 12/11/2010 9:27PM

    Those pictures are amazing! Sparking would be difficult for sure! Whenever we have a lightening storm I shut the computer down... no Sparking until the Sparks stop flying!

Buddy has a slicker too. When I take him out in it he won't do his "business" until I take it off of him. He looks so cute in it though. He sits by the window and watches the lightening. I never saw a dog like him who wasn't afraid of lightening & thunder. How does MacDuff do?
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Comment edited on: 12/11/2010 9:29:04 PM

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LONGWINDINGROAD 12/11/2010 7:24PM

    HAHA! It sounds like we both have interesting dogs! They have such funny personalities! Not only do my dogs go on strike while walking (I liked that comment on my blog, by the way!!), my doberman HATES any kind of precipitation! Except he just sits down and refuses to go the the bathroom...you'd think he'd realize that if he just hurried and did his duty we could go in the house!!

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EPIPHANYANGEL 12/11/2010 3:38PM

    wow....amazing pictures.

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SLCOLMAN 12/11/2010 3:13PM

    Amazing natures fury at times! Gorgeous shots!

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ESBELL 12/11/2010 3:08PM

    Beautiful pictures! thanks for sharing those!

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A Balancing Act

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

When I was racing every weekend in November, I was thinking ahead to the big Goofy race weekend in Walt Disneyworld in January. I know I'm not ready, and I've almost accepted that Goofy is going to have to wait until another year when I'm healed and fit. Still, I had intended to go full monty this month, making training my top priority and go into WDW weekend in the best shape I can be.

At the same time, it's been a strangely crazy intense time in every aspect of my life. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is rumored to be handing over the case to the judge to issue indictments. For those of you who know what I'm talking about, things are very tense here right now. I'm working a lot to get as far as I can as fast as I can in case things turn ugly and works grinds to a stop.

After years of working in a dingy, grotty dump of an office, I finally found some cash and had it redone. Good-bye gross stained poop-coloured capet - hello gorgeous PVC flooring. So long furniture I -- literally -- swiped off a rubbish heap, and hello brand spankin' new fancy furniture. I have a big L-shaped desk with a matching triple bookcase, and a hot red sofa and matching chair. My old coffee table was, I kid you not, a lump of wood that we'd lacquered black. Now it's an ultramodern, super cool little number. Aiyeee! I also cleaned up all the random junk, and my office is clean, beautiful, and uncluttered for the first time in ... well, since I started. I've noticed that I have more energy when I work now. Isn't it funny that my environment affects me so?

It got me to thinking. My home and life are also cluttered, and they drain and distract me. I don't want to lose focus on my fitness goals, but re-doing my office has made me see how much my environment affects me.

I'm cleaning and decluttering my house. It's exhausting. I feel how unfit I am because I get tired so easily, but it's more than that. Just looking at all the "stuff" sucks the energy out of me. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not a hoarder by any stretch. It's just that I live in an open loft that has no storage space. Everything is out in the open, and it is just all too much.

Finally, I have a long mental to-do list. Constantly running it in my mind to try to stay on top of it is draining and distracting me as well. it just seems never ending. Again, it's not time management. I have great time management skills. What I lack is the energy to make the best use of my time.

Sooo, I'm trying to balance my need to clean and de-clutter my home with needing to get those things on my mental to-do list done with the fact that I only have a few weeks until I try to complete the race I've been gunning for since I first began training for races back in 2008. It isn't going to be easy, but I'm trying to make a plan to get a little further on each goal every day. I want to welcome 2011 feeling better about myself mentally, physically, and emotionally. emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAVEN1025 12/15/2010 6:43PM

    I hear you! I've realized how much all the clutter affects me. I am working on decluttering our place.
I am happy you got to redo your office. It sounds hot! Best of luck with everything. You are amazing!

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GINGER_LOSTALOT 12/10/2010 1:16PM

    Celebrate your many accomplishments! As far as decluttering goes, I was a hoarder but last year I decided to experience the pain and let it all go. I don't miss any of it. Well, maybe this one sexy size 16 outfit I had. But, we have to sacrifice for the big picture. Be patient with your energy level. All you can do is eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. I find that sex increases my energy level. emoticon

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ANGELICASASSY 12/8/2010 1:37PM

  decluttering is good! I am trying to do that as well!!! Good luck to us both!

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FLFITBEE 12/7/2010 4:01PM

    I'm exhausted just reading all that you are accomplishing! You are definitely making strides!

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SLCOLMAN 12/7/2010 2:08PM

    Good luck!! You can do everything you desire!! Just remember that even when it doesn't feel like it you are moving forward one step at a time! Eventually you will look back and be like "wow!!" I accomplished so much with my environment!

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LONGWINDINGROAD 12/7/2010 12:58PM

    Environment has a HUGE impact on how you feel. I suggest, for your home and mental decluttering, that you write lists! I'm sure you're already a list maker...it sounds like it, anyway...but I LOVE seeing things crossed off...I feel more accomplished and productive. Also, for your home decluttering, try setting a timer for 15 minutes...work on something until the timer goes off and take a break (I usually set the time for breaks, too...or I end up never getting back to work!!). You'll be amazed at how much you can get done in such small bursts...and you won't feel overwhelmed!

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ESBELL 12/7/2010 10:51AM

    Working on the decluttering will definately help in all facets of your life. Less stuff really frees up your mind! Good luck!

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NIGHTSKYSTAR 12/7/2010 10:23AM

    I know exactly what you are saying..environment can elate you or suck the life out of you!! good for you for doing it...what a big difference it will make! As usual, you are wonderful..i am in awe of your training and perseverence!! Hugs

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DISPATCH91 12/7/2010 9:15AM

    Yeah on the new office and yes, clutter does suck the life out of you. If you get the time (ha ha) order the book off of Amazon "Does this Clutter Make by Butt Look Fat?" by Peter Walsh. He address being overwieght and clutter.

Baby steps until you can run like the wind with all of this. Don't get discouraged, just look at all that you have already done. You can do this.

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FUNFROG79 12/7/2010 9:06AM

    My husband and I are in the same process! We are trying to do a project every weekend to de clutter. Making over your work environment is a great idea! I wish I could have carpet and bright walls, but being in a MD office, it doesn't really fly! Great job! emoticon

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ENDUROVET 12/7/2010 9:03AM

    Sounds great! & I know EXACTLY how you feel, w/the clutter sucking the life & energy out of ya...
Unfortunately, seems like "Life" always interferes in my clutter-busting efforts - getting ready to post about MY supposed "day of rest", last Sunday...

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FLORIDAFAN 12/7/2010 8:29AM

    Way to go! I find with my youngest when the house around him is in choas (like now with Christmas stuff everywhere) he tends to melt down more. Good luck with the house, it will all work out in the end and you will have a great enviroment around you!

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BRAVAH 12/7/2010 8:05AM

    Dear Cat!

Wow! Good for you for re-doing your office. That is a huge start. Yes, noticing that you also need to do the same for your home... well, at least the office is done, right? I hear you about just getting up the mental energy to do things. That's why I'm sparking right now and not tackling the projects I need to do. The irony is that I could be out skiing, but I'm not, because I have too much to do here - and I'm not doing that either. So, I admire you for getting your office done. That is a great accomplishment.

Best wishes for your race goals. I know that you can do it. You have already accomplished soooooo much!

Cheers,
Heidi

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JHADZHIA 12/7/2010 8:04AM

    Having a makeover is always a big boost! Your office sounds wonderful now (not sure about red furniture LOL wouldn't be my choice). Sorry you don't have the energy to tackle your house. All you can do is whatever you can, one step at a time..
Good luck with it.
Stay safe..
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HOPEFULANGE 12/7/2010 7:49AM

    De-cluttering sounds like a good idea! You've got the right attitude and the determination - I know you can do it all!

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Philadelphia Half Marathon

Tuesday, November 23, 2010



Continuing my race-a-weekend pace, I raced the Philadelphia half on Sunday. I had such a severe migraine the day before that I was unsure I'd race. I went to bed in the afternoon, slept through dinner, the night, and my 3 a.m. get up time, waking instead at 4:45 for a 5 a.m. departure! Yikes! I dashed around, and my poor mother drove me into the city at o-dark-hundred. I didn't even have time to get nervous, but I did start to feel excited when I saw Boat House Row.



I lined up with nearly 23,000 other runners next to the Art Museum, where Rocky famously ran up the steps.



Mayor Nutter greeted us at the start and made it clear that Philly is aiming to win the coveted Best Host City title this year. I was in the last corral (surprise), but the race was very organized (lots of port-o-loos at the start!), and my corral crossed that starting line 30 minutes after the first wave. Walking purposefully through Center City, the spectators were kind of done with the cheering and we looked sort of lame just walking or shuffling after the faster runners had dashed by. Still, I was stung when a stereotypically attired South Philly chick loudly complained in a nasal voice, "Look at them. They aren't even running!" I wanted to step off the course, grab her by her faux leopard lapels, and give her a shake!

Most of the spectators were super friendly. One man was handing out bananas. Down on the waterfront, I ran into some revolutionaries, dressed in period costumes. (Yeah. No idea, but they looked cool.) One of them was eating a famous Philly soft pretzel -- and he gave it to me! Sweet! Having not eaten either dinner or breakfast, I was really feeling the caloric expenditure!

The race route was fast, hilly, and scenic. We ran all on the waterfront,



up some beautiful old streets,



past Betsy Ross' little house,



past the Liberty Bell and City Hall, along some delightful shopping areas that made me want to peek in all the windows as I passed them, next to the zoo, through stunning Fairmount Park, and down along Boat House Row before finishing where we began.







Great race! The volunteers were amazing, there was great race support, even though I fell behind the pace car. Technically, the roads were open, but there police at every intersection, and they'd stop traffic so that I could cross. The sag vans never even hassled me. They were just there for runners who couldn't continue. The pacing monitors who were on bikes were super enthusiastic and encouraging, and even when they broke down water stations ahead of my arrival, there were always cups of water remaining for laggards like me.

When I crossed the finish line, I received a gorgeous medal - and in true South Philly fashion - it was wrapped in plastic to keep it from getting dinged or nicked. I've never seen that before, but it's a great idea! Most races offer a slice of orange or a piece of a bagel. In Philly, every person who crossed the line was greeted by a team of medics with trolley beds waiting. The medical tent was right across the line - along with more port-o-johnnies. We then received a BAG of food - including water, two bananas, and a Philly soft pretzel. WOOT!

The blues band playing just beyond the finish line was terrific, and I examined my many bloody blisters as I listened to them. My wonderful Philly friend met me at the finish line, gave me her coat because I was hypothermic, and then got the car and drove right to me so I wouldn't have to take another step.

Philadelphia really is the city of brotherly (and sisterly) love!

My friend I ate lunch and then headed over to the Four Seasons for massages. I so needed one, too! And then we were off to see the new Harry Potter film at the local IMAX. emoticon

No complaints. It was a wonderful weekend! Oh, and I burned 7000+ calories for the day!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCHNOOGLES 12/23/2010 11:08AM

    WAY TO GO!!!! I'm so proud of you! When I get back into race form, let's totally do a race together somewhere!

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DOTSLADY 12/20/2010 12:29AM

    emoticon
emoticon

How do you do it?! I love your descriptions of the events Cat. It makes me want to be there to shop with you (well, maybe even run one day?!). Love the Boat House Row. A pretzel sounds good right now ...


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SUETINGE 12/6/2010 5:09PM

    Cat, it sounds like you had a great race and you make Philly sound wonderful. I need to put it on my list of places to visit one of these days.

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IZZYBUBBLES 12/6/2010 3:19PM

    Looks lovely!! I've never been to Philly but your description of the race makes it seem so good, I might have to put it on my list! Congrats on finishing yet ANOTHER race - you're a racing maniac and I love it!

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NMUDDIE 12/1/2010 3:31PM

    You are an amazing woman! I wish I could take even an eyelash worth of credit.
I am, as usual,, very proud of you. emoticon

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DEBULACLARK 11/28/2010 5:58PM

    Great job Cat! I missed this blog.

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ABSOLUTZER0 11/27/2010 2:39PM

    Sounds like Philly needs to be on my list, too! This was an awesome post and you made me feel as if I was there with you! Woohoo! Congrats on another great race and experience!

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ENDUROVET 11/27/2010 9:48AM

    That's terrific - love your pix too! Unfortunately my camera was MIA for the Trot...

They were handing out coupons for $10 off our Dallas RNR Half in March, which I asked my boy to do w/me... He's undecided but I need to get myself registered before it sells out!

Great job!
emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/27/2010 9:49:41 AM

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KARBRUCE 11/24/2010 9:23AM

    Wow - that is awesome!!! You GO you rockstar! emoticon

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FUNFROG79 11/24/2010 8:25AM

    Philly is on my list! I love Boat House Row! So pretty! Where's the picture of the medal? emoticon How was HP?

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BRAVAH 11/24/2010 5:06AM

    A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

Cat, you are a rockstar! Congrats on yet another fabulous race. Good for you! Keep up the amazing journey!

Cheers,
Heidi

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ANGELICASASSY 11/23/2010 10:04PM

  you are a machine!!! goood job!!

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50FITNFUN 11/23/2010 8:30PM

    emoticonYou are on fire! I am amazed and in awe of your stamina and determination to compete in all these races. emoticon Like others beore me; I had last weekend off and wish I had realized you were doing the race. I would have definitely made it to cheer you on through the race. I grew up in the burbs outside of Philly and like to go back every once in a while. Loved the photos you took on course. Where's a shot of the bling you earned?? What's the next race on your agenda? Inquiring minds want to know. emoticon

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FLORIDAFAN 11/23/2010 2:27PM

    I wished I would of paid Attention!!! I actually had this weekend off and I could of run down to the city and cheered you on for a bit. I am def not a sterotypical South philly chick....LOL. I love to see Boat house row lit up.

Congrats again on another race Cat!

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SLCOLMAN 11/23/2010 2:03PM

    Amazing :) So excited to see you doing this! You rock!!

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WESTIEGAL1 11/23/2010 12:22PM

    What a wonderful experience and such beautiful scenery too! We visited Philadelphia a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing with us!

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NIGHTSKYSTAR 11/23/2010 12:07PM

    I am so proud of you...you are AMAZING!!! i'm glad you had fun..now..pix of the bling, please!!!
Love you!
Holly

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MOM4407 11/23/2010 11:50AM

    Sounds like a wonderful. How did you get all those wonderful pictures while you were walking. Amazing.

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AMUNET_RA 11/23/2010 9:15AM

    Sounds wonderful (except for the stereotypically attired South Philly chick)!! Great photos, too!! Thanks for sharing! I'm so proud of you, Cat! What else is new?! LOL
~~B

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FORTHEGIRLS 11/23/2010 8:58AM

    Beautiful pictures! It sound like you had a great time and the race support was awesome. I think I may need to put this on my list. I'm a PA native and I've heard great things about both the half and the full. I have a friend who was supposed to run the marathon but got a stomach bug on Friday. Sad for her.

You're setting a blazing racing pace. What's next?

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Outer Banks Half Marathon

Tuesday, November 16, 2010



emoticon YAR!

As many of you know, I was supposed to be in Harrisburg this weekend. It would have been great, but some other year perhaps. In the meantime, on the spur of the moment, I decided to do the Outer Banks 1/2 Marathon because I was in Washington, DC for work and thought that North Carolina was "close". What can I say? I live in a country the size of a bread box, and it's distorted my sense of distance. emoticon

The expo to pick up my racing bib closed at 6 p.m. At 5:30, I was pulled over by an extremely handsome, very polite state trooper who courteously introduced himself before inquiring as to why I was doing 75 in a 45 zone. So I told him. And he let me off with a warning. emoticon Clearly this man understands women and their need for bling!

In fact, I didn't get to the expo until half seven, but thankfully, there were still a few people there. I got my bib and set off to find my hotel. Mapquest obviously hates me and sent me up a flooded back road, but I eventually located my temporary home.

I'd never visited the North Carolina before and was unprepared for how lovely everyone is. So polite! Such a cute accent! And everyone is very friendly here. I hadn't been sure what to expect, what with names like Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head and Pirates Cove! emoticon

I popped awake at 3 a.m. and got ready to race. I drove all the way from Sanderling to Manteo to park at the finish line and then shuttle back to the start in Kill Devil Hills and line up by 6:30. The weather was perfect, and the sunrise was one of the prettiest I'd ever seen.

Now it would probably be overstating things to call myself a veteran, but I have raced enough times to have a sense of things, and this was an interesting crowd. I am usually the largest competitor, and not only was I not the only super-sized racer, in general, it was something of a ... how should I put it? A crowd that knew well what biscuits and gravy taste like! They weren't *fat* per se, but they were all a but curvier than I'm used to seeing. The atmosphere was relaxed. We half marathoners knew that there really weren't pacing requirements because the marathoners were starting 13 miles and 20 minutes behind us, so there would be course support for us for at least six hours. It felt great not to worry about being swept for a change!

I started in the back, settled into a comfortable pace, and chatted with other racers. Nancy Griffin of Manteo cruised along with her son, who sported a t-shirt that read, "Nancy turns 64 today" and had an arrow pointing to her. He also carried a sign wishing her a happy birthday. I wanted to get a picture of them, but Nancy was moving, and I couldn't keep up! Somehow, during the race, I got ahead of them and never saw them again, but Nancy finished in 4:34, her son finished one second behind. So sweet.

For several miles, I chatted with Lana from North Carolina. She used to weigh 500 !!! pounds and was down to 300. She had attempted this race last year but failed on the bridge in the 10th mile and was seeking redemption. She seemed to be struggling, and after a while, I needed to move on. I waited for her later on but didn't see her again.



The course was flat and fast, and the spectators were very kind and encouraging. In mile 6, I got passed by the elite runners, who were in their mile 19!!!! Talk about humbling! Plodding on, I faced the bridge, with its steep incline late in the race. My knees were really unhappy by then, but thankfully, no blisters this time. Maybe I've finally found the right shoes?

In mile 11 for me/24 for the marathoners, a one-legged women raced past me. The crowd went wild. Someone told me that she was just recently voted off Survivor, so maybe you know who she is? Anyway, she looked great and was running easily, finsihing with a sub 4 time. Amazing.

In mile 11, I got a bit of a jolt. I saw some of the finishers wearing their medals -- which were completely different from last year's and not nearly as nice! I was so disappointed that I almost quit! No, I'm not joking. I actually walked off the course for a few minutes. Last year, we got pirate gold. This year, it was a generic sort of medal. So lame.

I continued because I've never quit, but I wasn't nearly as excited. I finished in 4:10 and checked out the after party. Fun! Lots of people in fancy dress, free beer, good music, and dancing in the streets.

Later, checking the stats, I saw her! Lana Lambert of Sylva, North Carolina - good for you! Lana DID finish at the 5:10 mark. It takes such courage and perseverance to push through pain and fatigue for more then FIVE hours. I am so tremendously proud of her and hope she likes that medal more than I do. Well done, girlfriend!
emoticonGO, LANA! emoticonGO, LANA! emoticonGO, LANA! emoticonGo, Go, GO! emoticon

Overall, the race was so much fun that I already signed up for the Flying Pirate next April, after I was ASSURED that the bling would look like this:



WOOT! Can't wait!





  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOTSLADY 12/20/2010 12:21AM

    emoticonYAR! emoticon emoticon emoticonWOW ... YOU A.MAZE ME! I'd treasure that medal regardless of its lack of goldness. You earned it. GREAT story/run/feat.


emoticonI'm so behind on my reading/sparking!

Comment edited on: 12/20/2010 12:21:32 AM

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ESBELL 12/6/2010 11:27PM

    Bummer on the bling - but what a cute race name! I have got to try that one one day - the course sounds great! And the after party - Arr-mazing (I crack myself up sometimes)

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IZZYBUBBLES 12/6/2010 3:23PM

    I just love your race reports - this is why I miss Spark and should come back. :-) Wish I was going to be in Disney World in January to see you and Dani again, but traveling just isn't always in the cards!

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RAVEN1025 11/21/2010 11:42PM

    You are so incredible! Also, even though I don't know Lana, that is an amazing story!
These are the kind of things I need to read to remind me to hang in there.
Love you darling! I am so proud of you!!!

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BRAVAH 11/19/2010 7:33AM

    Hi Cat!

Congrats! You always find the best races. So awesome! I'm glad that you finished the race, and didn't give up due to the lameness of the medals.

Thanks for your comments on my page. Yes, I avoided the confections in Basel... but the holiday season is upon us... and in Europe, that means outdoor markets with goodies and gluhwein! A definite pitfall for me too - however, if I limit amounts and get good exercise, I'll be okay. Best wishes for us all for this holiday season!

Cheers,
Heidi

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GINGER_LOSTALOT 11/17/2010 5:59PM

    Whew! That was a close call on the speeding ticket.

I'm so proud of you that you didn't quit! You are Incredible!

Lana's story is sooo inspiring. I hope she writes about it! emoticon

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DRB13_1 11/17/2010 4:17PM

    Glad you got to visit our little piece of heaven here in North Carolina - yes, the people are (generally) friendly/lovely - and I know you must have been shocked if you thought it was "close" - the Outer Banks (OBX) aren't really close to anything! LOL If you liked that, try an event in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill & I'll add Cary) or the Triad (Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point) in the future.
Keep going and improving, never stop. emoticon

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FLOWERDALEJEWEL 11/17/2010 5:46AM

   

Doesn't matter what time, or how well others ran, it's you that mattered and you finished it.

Excellent work Cat, very proud of you

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ENDUROVET 11/16/2010 10:11PM

    Congratulations! I was trying to select a nice "destination half" for myself - time for a road trip...

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FIRENUT34 11/16/2010 9:28PM

    Good job at not quiting and finishing what you started. I saw that in you at the Disneyland HM in 2009. Can't wait to see you again in Disney in a couple of months.

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AMUNET_RA 11/16/2010 7:48PM

    I am so prfoud of you, Cat! What else is new!? ;-) Sorry about the bling (that part made me laugh...sorry!)

If you happen to do the Los Angeles marathon in March, feel free to swing by Las Vegas on your way, for some fun with Derek and me! emoticon

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DANIMITE2 11/16/2010 7:02PM

    If ever you think of walking off the course due to your lack of enthusiasm over the bling, just picture me shaking my fist at you! You've overcome too much and worked too hard on all these races to not finish one! You, my dear, are SUUUUUUPERCAT!

Can't wait to wear my bling with you in January!!!!

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DEBULACLARK 11/16/2010 5:21PM

    You always amaze me Cat! Good for you!!!


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NIGHTSKYSTAR 11/16/2010 4:52PM

    You are just so wonderful!! i am so proud of you and all you can accomplish. I wish i could go do these things!!! I'm sorry your bling wasnt good..but..at least you got more, right? is it always in NC or does it move around?
Sleep well my friend..you deserve it!

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HOPEFULANGE 11/16/2010 3:15PM

    Oh, that sounds so exciting! Glad you didn't walk off just because of a piece of bling!
emoticon Cat!!!

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SUETINGE 11/16/2010 2:51PM

    Wonderful recap, Cat! I'm so glad you had no blister issues this time.

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FLORIDAFAN 11/16/2010 2:33PM

    Congrats CAt on another piece of Bling! Glad no blisters this time.

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TINA*23 11/16/2010 12:56PM

    Excellent recap Cat!!!!!! It's made me more excited for next year!!!!!!

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ANGELICASASSY 11/16/2010 11:47AM

  Wow- great post and really motivating for me! I hope to be able to do a 1/2 marathon one day as well!

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SLCOLMAN 11/16/2010 11:18AM

    You are amazing!!

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JHADZHIA 11/16/2010 10:54AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Way to go!! Sounds like a great time! Good for you signing up for it again!!

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FUNFROG79 11/16/2010 10:40AM

    Love NC! Great job! You are an inspiration! emoticon

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DISPATCH91 11/16/2010 10:03AM

    Girl you do so amaze me. I am so glad no blisters this time. I recently read an article that says you should wash your socks inside out, the ones you use for walking/running. They also said to wear them for nothing else.

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KARBRUCE 11/16/2010 8:46AM

    Most awesome race re-cap EVAH! you GO girl!!!

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QUEMBEL1 11/16/2010 8:38AM

    Dear Lord, the world just got way smaller! I have met Lana Lambert from Sylva, NC. Her mother used to be married to my BIL. No lie! I just called Tommy to confirm.

Mile 11?!?! I obviously have no idea how long a half marathon is. I have toyed with the idea...you make it seem so glamorous...but I know, even if I got down to 116 lbs like the wii suggest, I would never be able to do it.

True story- we had to run a mile- one mile- in order to graduate from high school. I was younger and a whole lot smaller then and I couldn't do it. The coach would make everyone run a mile everyday until the last person- that would be me- made it. The rest of the class got aggravated as you can imagine. Then one day a guy in my class tells everyone that no one was to pass me. They all ran behind me, shouting encouragement so I couldn't give up. That's how I made it and I haven't ran since. lol

You are my hero! I hope I can be there cheering you on in April! WooHoo!

emoticonCat!

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