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sparkety spark

Sunday, January 08, 2012

I've been Spark sentimental lately. Maybe it's all the reflective and goal oriented blogs. It just is that time of year. Or maybe it's because it's my mental Sparkiversary.

A friend told me about Spark in Feb. 08 and I used certain tools and it helped. Throughout my pregnancies I used babyfit.com but always missed Spark. A year ago I started logging on daily. I joined more teams. Some challenges. I read blogs. I finally started commenting on blogs. And then I even wrote a few of my own. And it's incredible how those simple acts have changed my life.

I signed up for a 5K because of so many inspirational c25K blogs. I fell in love with running along the way. It was not that long ago when I struggled to run 5 miles. I remember when that distance was my PR. And it was hard. 5 miles is far. Then I read some more blogs. I got the courage to sign up for another race, a 10 miler. I joined the HM team. Reading those threads, those blogs made me want to run that distance. They gave me the confidence that I could. And I did.

Somewhere in the midst of all this my dad asked me if I would run Grandma's Marathon with him. Yes, it had always been a lifelong fantasy for me. And yes, Spark made me think this was a normal undertaking. I truly do respect the distance. And I have laid out my training plan carefully and know that it will be a challenge. I think I forget what a big deal it is because I read so many blogs about training and races that I feel, "everyone's doing it. so can I!"

I've been running 8 miles with two new friends early Tuesday mornings. They've both completed an Ironman. My sparkfriend's encouragement helped me take the risk and meet them for the first time. It was a tough morning and I thought about your words as I pushed through with these athletes. Every week it's gotten easier. The body is amazing; it does adapt fairly quickly. So does the mind. I mentioned running 8 miles at work one day and a friend said, "You did WHAT this morning??!" I wasn't trying to brag. It really has become normal for me. 5 miles used to be hard and now 8 is easy. In a relatively short time. Remember, everyone on Spark is doing it! It's not a big deal, right?

It is a big deal. Spark has become such a big deal to me. Just this week a few significant things happened.

emoticon A sparkfriend sent me a message with a link to some rundies (look em up!) that made her think of me. How cute is that?! Such a simple gesture made my day. Thank you.

emoticon Another friend opened up to me about a part of her and her family's story that is life changing. There aren't words to describe this one. The only thing I can say is that I desperately wish I had a way to fly to Canada so I could give her a hug and then we'd go on a run together. I'm not trying to be cryptic. Just trying to convey how meaningful these Spark friendships can become.

emoticon I joined a new team and mentioned something about working on push-ups. A sparker that I was not yet friends with wrote to be and suggested a challenge. I'm in! For the past 3 days I've been sick and missed my cardio, but you better believe I got some push-ups in! Some new sparkfriends are being made.


I love this site. I never thought I'd say that about a website. But, truly I do. And I love how it spills onto life outside the internet.

emoticon At the starting line of that 10 mile race in October I was nervously & happily bouncing around to keep warm with, oh, about 8,000 other runners when I heard my name. It was my best friend from high school. We had a falling out our senior year of college and hadn't talked since. We chatted for a minute and she said that we should get together for a celebratory race drink sometime. Sure, I thought, that'll never happen. But then, you guessed it! I read some Spark blogs and I contacted her. What did I have to lose? We got together and talked for hours. We talked about running and we talked about what happened 10 years ago. It was very therapeutic. We got together again with our kids. It's a friendship that feels right. Today we're meeting for a run. Pretty cool, huh?


emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonThank you Spark. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KTKATRINK 1/12/2012 10:14AM

    I love your story about running and the SP! I grew up watching my dad run Grandma's marathon, so I think it's a great goal. Good luck with the training, and I'm glad you've taken advantage of ALL the benefits of using SP.

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KJDOESLIFE 1/12/2012 8:40AM

    Very cool! Thank you for sharing your fantastic journey!

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MNGIRLIE 1/11/2012 1:41PM

    This really is a great blog. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm loving the renewed sense of vigor these days around Spark with the start of the new year. It's really helped give me a pep in my step.

Grandma's sounds like the perfect idea. I'm not up to Grandma's distances yet, but I'm planning to do the Garry Bjorklund HM this summer. One year ago in April I ran my first 5k in Duluth. I think it'd be such a fun accomplishment to do a HM just about a year later in Duluth.


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MYNAMEISSMILE 1/11/2012 1:29PM

    I heart this blog entry emoticon emoticon

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KKINNEA 1/11/2012 12:19PM

    I feel the same way about Spark - such a great way to connect. Also, we need to have a Spark meetup at Grandmas - I think there's a bunch of us out there doing it.

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JILLIANPRNCSS 1/11/2012 7:47AM

    I know the feeling with saying I ran 8 miles and it sounds like a lot. I mentioned the other day to someone that we could do this half marathon race because it was a down week for me. When did 13 miles become a light week? Keep up the good work.

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ONE*BUSY*MOM 1/9/2012 12:51PM

    I'm so happy that SP and running have become such a part of your life!

emoticon

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PINKBEANBOO 1/9/2012 11:39AM

    Wonderful blog!
Spark changed my life, too.
Now, I hear you are a little competitive & that I'd better keep my eye on you. I can't let you beat me in the push up contest!

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OFFDREA 1/9/2012 10:50AM

    This is such a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing!
Good luck with your training you are going to do amazing!
I hope you are feeling better.

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AIMLESS07 1/8/2012 9:25PM

    Great entry. My anniversary with Spark, my wedding anniversary, and my 2nd full marathon are all on the 15th. Nuts eh?

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APIRLRAIN888 1/8/2012 8:39PM

    Awesome!!!!

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AMBER281 1/8/2012 6:44PM

    You are amazing!
Thanks for sharing your journey.
Fellow sparkers, like you, are what make this place so special!!
Spark on!

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REDDIRTRUNNER 1/8/2012 1:13PM

    emoticon
You have definitely been a bright spot on Spark for me emoticon
thank you and congrats on all your hard work!
Heather

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HSMOM2FOUR 1/8/2012 12:32PM

    Gotta love SP!! And our fellow sparkies are what makes it such an awesome place to be!!

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 1/8/2012 11:15AM

    You cease to amaze me! Way to go on all your accomplishments/overcomings but also on your upcoming challenges - YOU TOTALLY GOT THIS!! :)

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 1/8/2012 10:15AM

    Such a nice blog-am singing *frosty* in my head-sparkety spark spark, sparkety spark spark, look at Maura go-hahaha.

You have made such leaps and bounds this year with your fitness. YOU are someone that I read about on SP and than think, hey, she's running...so can I:)(just can't beat your time yet-I'm trying but man you're fast-ha)

This site is what you make of it. And you are taking all the good and rolling with it-love it!

Am so happy that you are training for the marathon-you are going to do amazing. How many weeks are you giving to training?

Have a wonderful day. And thanks for the shoutout Maura...luvs ya:)

~tammy~

emoticon

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FITFORMYFAMILY 1/8/2012 9:26AM

    You just made me cry. I could attribute that to the fact that I'm overly emotional, but I'd rather say that the fact that you're healing a relationship is emoticon. Everything else about this blog is wonderful, too, but that's my favorite part. I hope you have (or had) a great run with your friend!

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LORI-K 1/8/2012 9:20AM

    A great tribute to Sparkpeople! Congrats on all of your awesome accomplishments. You are such an inspiration.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JOYCERN12 1/8/2012 8:48AM

    CONGRATS ON THE UPCOMING MARATHON, JUST AWESOME!
JOYCE emoticon

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A-STRONGER-ME 1/8/2012 8:09AM

    Happy Sparkiversary!!!

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hilarious running book

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women by Dawn Dais

This book is great. It's an easy, funny read. The author was not a runner, not even someone into fitness, when she decided to train for a marathon.I'm not recommending that. I'm just saying that this book is super freakin funny.

She has run-ins with sports bras, Bodyglide, peeing in bushes and those perfect looking perky always smiling runners. (she is not one of em)

Thought I'd share the fun. I got it at the library this morning and am half way through. I also picked up:
First Marathons: Personal Encounters with the 26.2 Mile Monster
Runner's World Complete Book of Running
Becoming an Ironman

And, no, I'm not thinking of doing an Ironman. Well, in my fantasy life of no children and no job and endless hours to train and workout... in that life I'm totally going to the National Championship in Kona. In the meantime, I'll enjoy my reality: an amazing family and a job I love 95% of the time. And with that I'll focus on the challenge of one marathon.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 1/10/2012 9:09PM

    Hi I found your page from a friend of a friend and then the title of your blog caught my eye! Thanks for sharing...I'm going to pick that up. I've added you as a friend and hope you add me back!

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NIKKIB612 1/4/2012 2:01PM

    Have to look for those books! Thanks for sharing!

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SLEEPYDEAN 1/4/2012 1:13PM

    I've had this on my Amazon Wishlist for quite a while. Thanks for the review!

I've loved tapping into my libraries resource for running books, I try to remind myself to check there first before buying them.

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JENN26POINT2 1/4/2012 1:10PM

    I'll check them out. And in my perfect world (much like yours) I'd be an elitist... lol

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PIXIEMOM13 1/4/2012 12:56PM

    I read that book, it was hysterical!
I hadn't heard of the 26.2 mile monster one, just put that one on hold through inter-library loan. ;)

Yay!

(Doing my first half this year... and eventually want to work up to a full.)

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JOYFULSPIRIT920 1/4/2012 12:30PM

    Sounds like a fun read, I'll have to check it out.
:)

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 1/4/2012 11:31AM

    Love the focus. Great idea to be diving into your training this way. Please teach me what you learn:) I'm a year behind. I'm gonna run a HM this year and and do a full in 2013.

I will join you, in our alternative universes, to train, endlessly, for the ironman. Should be fun, don'tcha think?-hehe

When I saw the title of your blog I chuckled and just have to tell you this. One of my only running friends gave me the runners room training log book for my b-day. I have known her since college. Needless to say, we have some fun-neee pics of each other. She cut out our heads of some of those pics and glued them onto all the pics of the runners in the log. When I flipped thru, I just laughed and laughed and laughed.

Useless info that I just wanted to share:)

Have a wonderful Wednesday.
emoticon

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FITFORMYFAMILY 1/3/2012 11:30PM

    Sounds fun...and I'm glad that you're content to enjoy your reality.

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SHOOPETTE 1/3/2012 10:48PM

    Thanks for sharing will check it out right away!

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LORI-K 1/3/2012 8:43PM

    One of my new year's goals was to "read a book a week"! Thanks for posting, it sounds like a must read!
Good luck with your marathon challenge!

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APIRLRAIN888 1/3/2012 7:35PM

    Lol sounds fun

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Tabata!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looks like one of my 2012 goals is going to happen sooner than I thought. Yesterday I had my "formal-ish" interview with the fitness director at the Y. I've taken bodystep for 5 years. I always thought that's what I'd teach. Turns out, learning the choreography is way harder than I anticipated. Takes much more Practice time than I think I have right now. I'll get there, but, wow what a tangent.

Tabata. That's what this is about. I said I was interested in learning more, taking a training, something for the future, etc. She said, "wanna teach sat mornings 10:30?" ummmmmm, OK! So that's new and exciting and unexpected.

If you don't know about tabata, google it. Super interesting. It comes from a study done in 1996. Pretty new stuff. I think it's getting popular now because of the Crossfit sensation. Bobyrock is also tabata-ish. It's basically the mother of HIIT. The real tabata is only a 4 minute workout. The Y wants a 30 minute class. 5 min warm-up and 5 cool down.

Tabata is new for the Y. Like I said, I think it's their way of staying competitive with Crossfit. I know that Crossfit is much more than this and i still want to check out for myself.

We'll do 6 week rotations. 6 weeks of cardio tabata, 6 weeks of strength, 6 weeks of mixed. I will team teach at first and we'll see how it goes from there. We make up our own routines. Have you tried tabata? What are your favorite circuits? Mountain climbers? Jump squats? Any websites you'd recommend? I'll take any suggestions!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PONDERFUL 1/10/2012 9:32PM

    I went to a Cross Fit introductory class--it was great, but way too expensive. So while cruising the web looking for alternatives, i came across Tabata. i don't really know how to incorporate it into a workout, but it looks interesting. Keep us posted!

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ENDUROVET 1/4/2012 1:16PM

    I've downloaded a Tabata timer on my iPhone, that's about the extent of my expertise ;-) !
But Lord knows I'm all about getting more done in less time...

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ONE*BUSY*MOM 1/4/2012 12:37PM

    Woo hoo, way to go! You'll be a great teacher.

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RUSSELLORAMA 1/3/2012 6:38PM

    That sounds cool! You will be an amazing instructor.

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 1/1/2012 6:42PM

    You are such an inspiration & motivator - its like your my go-to-girl when I'm feeling like a slug!! You TOTALLY got this & am excited for any updates!! I wished I lived closer - fellow midwesterner - I'd definitely attend!! Best wishes & Happy New Year!! :)

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AIMLESS07 12/30/2011 8:54PM

    Bodystep...I wish my gym offered it. The current step instructors have to essentially make up their own routines and sometimes it just doens't "flow."

Good luck on teaching the classes. Bet you will do great!

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LIL_EZZY 12/30/2011 5:43AM

    I too googled it. It looks intense but good. So you can pretty much do any kinds of moves but repeatedly.
I wish I could take your class and cheer you on....
Congrats on your class...

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 12/29/2011 11:43PM

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!

This is so wonderful. I am living through you-LOL, I love the idea about teaching a class but am not sure I have what it takes to teach.

Cannot wait to hear all about it.

emoticon

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OFFDREA 12/29/2011 2:36PM

    I know about Tabata but I have never done a workout. It is something I would like to incorporate into my workouts in the new year. Can you really do a 20 minute tabata workout? My understanding is you should be DONE after the 4 mins...
Good luck with the class! Keep us posted!
ps I would pick jump squats, even though I HATE THEM. They give me the great burn in the quads :)

Comment edited on: 12/29/2011 2:36:46 PM

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REDEFINING_ME 12/29/2011 10:49AM

    How exciting!! I'm off to google it now!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 12/29/2011 9:56AM

    Congrats on the job! How exciting for you! I don't know anything about Tabata, but I'm going to check it out. Can't wait to hear how it all goes for you. emoticon

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FITFORMYFAMILY 12/29/2011 9:23AM

    I don't know a thing about Tabata, but...
emoticon on the new job!

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JOYFULSPIRIT920 12/29/2011 8:56AM

    I had to google it, Tabata.... it sounds REALLY intense!!
Congrats on getting asked to teach. That's so awesome.
You'll have to post some video of your class.
All that teaching, you're body is gonna be stellar!!
Very happy for you!
emoticon

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A-STRONGER-ME 12/29/2011 8:13AM

    I have checked into this - wicked stuff!! LOL check out You Tube - lots of ideas there.

emoticon and this undertaking and adding just one more notch to your belt!!

You are emoticon

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2011 wrap-up

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Yoovie said brag. So I'm bragging.

The numbers:
emoticonpounds lost: technically 40, but I don't feel that's really true since a lot of it was baby weight. I was 155 in 2008 before baby #1 and 160 in 2009 before baby #2. The real numbers, the numbers I'm really proud of, are 14 pounds down. Lost ALL baby weight + 14 pounds. That's awesome. I think it's time to change my ticker.

emoticon18467 fitness minutes (average of 51 minutes per day)

emoticon382 miles ran since I started tracking mileage on Spark (not sure when that was, sometime this summer??) It's 407 miles from my front door to Chicago. I've done that drive a few times and it takes 7 hours. I've ran to Chicago! That's crazy.

The accomplishments:
emoticon I ran my first 5K in June
emoticon Warrior Dash 5K in July
emoticon I ran my first 10 miler in the beginning of October
emoticon I ran my first HM at the end of October
emoticon I became totally addicted to running and races

emoticon I began my yoga practice. I love it and need to make more time for it
emoticon I can do 25 push-ups on my toes
emoticon I completed the Group Fitness Instructor Training at the Y

The future:
emoticon HM March 17
emoticon Grandma's Marathon June 16
emoticon Twin Cities 10 miler or marathon Oct 7 (I say 10, DH says 26.2, we'll see how my body and my schedule handle training before I make any type of decision)
emoticon HM October 30ish

Some other races may be thrown in, depending on entry fees

emoticon Complete Les Mills Bodystep training (in Feb or March, Date TBD)
emoticon Start teaching!

It's hard for me to write down some number goals for 2012. I'm still a running beginner. I don't know what my weekly mileage will be. Right now it's 15-20 miles a week. That will go up gradually with official marathon training beginning in Feb. But there will also be weeks that I go below.
15 miles a week = 780 a year
20 miles a week = 1040 a year
average those to get 910. That sounds reasonable. Or do I shoot for the beautiful 1,000 number? That seems like an incredible goal. Or maybe I just don't even put a number on it and see how things go month to month.

Some people asked for a pic. I swear I cannot get a good one of me. Someday... In the meantime, here I am before my run on X-mas morning in all my new gear.

It's hard to get a pic without one of my kids jumping in!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONE*BUSY*MOM 1/4/2012 12:35PM

    Congrats on an amazing year! Here's to another awesome year in 2012. You are my hero!


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REDDIRTRUNNER 12/28/2011 10:44PM

    WOWZAS~~
Definitely lots to brag about!
I didn't get to hear about your new running gear. I'm gonna check out your blogs. I'm a little behind....I LOVE new running gear emoticon

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LIL_EZZY 12/27/2011 4:15PM

    And Brag you should. You have had an amazing year and all of the firsts, WOW!!
You look fabulous in your running gear and look like your having fun..
AND when you put all of that running into miles Running to chigago.... That really is amazing.... Keep it up.

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JOYFULSPIRIT920 12/27/2011 4:07PM

    You've had an awesome year! Congrats on all your accomplishments!!
Your goals so far for 2012 are great... that's a lot of races you've already got schedules, so cool!!
Cheers on a fantastic new year!!

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MICHSTATE 12/27/2011 2:45PM

    Awesome job!!!!!!!!!
I wish that I had been tracking all of my miles on here this past year too!!!! I didn't know about the mileage feature for quite a while, and I wasn't very active on SP when I started in March. I guess that is a goal for next year!!!!
I love reading about your running, it makes me excited about running too!!!!:-)

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JENN26POINT2 12/27/2011 2:30PM

    Great year! And awesome pic with the kiddo!

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KKINNEA 12/27/2011 12:37PM

    Nice goals! I hit 1000 miles this year and that was training only for the marathon along with other races. I think you should go for that since I'll be you'll surprise yourself!

I think I'm doing Grandma's training with MDRA beginning in February. They'll probably appreciate a slow guy bringing up the rear :)

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 12/27/2011 12:05PM

    awesome awesome awesome! you have accomplished so much to be proud of!!! 2011 has been wonderful to you.

I need to do a *wrap up* blog for 2011.

New running gear for Christmas? yupeeeee for you!

Love the kid pic-too cute.

Cheers to a fabulous 2012.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FITFORMYFAMILY 12/27/2011 11:13AM

    You've got a lot to brag about! I want my 2012 to be like your 2011. I guess I'll just have to make it that way, huh? emoticon



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HEIDI-25 12/27/2011 10:06AM

    Wow! Wonderful for you!! Wishing you all the best in 2012! I hope that you continue your success.
I too, started running recently and completed a 5K and 10 mile race this fall/winter. I am starting training for my first marathon in La Crosse, WI on May 6th. I have 18 weeks starting Sunday to get ready.
Here is to both of us continuing our running journey!! Here, here!!!!

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be good to yourself

Saturday, December 24, 2011

These are some pretties that I've found on pinterest.





This is how I've wanted to dress for years, but didn't feel I could pull it off. (or I was pregnant and definitely couldn't pull skinny jeans off. or ON!)

Some of you know that I've been dreaming about new clothes: jeans that fit, comfy sweaters & scarfs, running gear, oh my! Luckily, last weekend my in-laws gave me some incredibly generous gift certificates for Christmas.

Most of you voted for the running tights. Got em! And on major sale. I guess it pays to wait and shop last minute. I was even able to get a gaiter for me and DH and some running gloves for him. score!

A few of you encouraged me to find clothes that fit well, stuff I'd feel good in. Did it! And again, major sales. It is an incredible feeling to walk into a store, hold up a pair of size 6 skinny jeans and think "whoa, those are teeny." and then there's the double whoa, when they fit. And they fit good. No muffin top, no sucking in to zip. I picked up a few tops too. Size: small. Me?? A small?! This is ridiculously fun!

I went to a family party last night. I was confident and happy with how I looked. I didn't hide from the camera. Clothes that fit are a good choice. They do wonders for your self-image.

I've been having some horrible "fat days" lately. I know it's awful and I know I am not fat. But there are moments when I look at my gut or thighs and think about how much work there is to do. I'm 5 pounds from goal and I know that what I see is more than 5 pounds. arggggg. That's horrible self-talk and I'm done with it.



I'm never going to be a rail thin size 2. I have boobs. And I like em! I have hips and a mama tummy. I've have 2 kids. I'm proud! And while there are those ugly thoughts I mentioned, there are WAY more happy, healthy thoughts.




6 miles has become my "easy run." are you kidding me??! That's far. That's hard. And I can lace up and do it without thinking. how cool is that?!!


ok. enough question marks and exclamation points. But seriously, this is how I feel:



This has been an incredible year and I have much to be merry about this weekend. Merry merry Christmas to you.

emoticon Be merry.
emoticon Be joyful.
emoticon Be proud of the healthy choices you make.
emoticon Be happy with the body you have today.
emoticon And enjoy a Christmas cookie.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYFULSPIRIT920 12/27/2011 3:21PM

    Love your clothes pics (love pinterest)
Can't wait to see you in pics with your new clothes.
Going shopping & buying clothes in smaller sizes is the BEST feeling!!

Merry Christmas!

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RUSSELLORAMA 12/27/2011 12:15PM

    This makes me smile!

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 12/27/2011 12:08PM

    Merry Christmas to you and yahhhhhh for new clothes that fit.
emoticon

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AMBER281 12/26/2011 11:50PM

    Great blog!!!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 12/26/2011 1:57PM

    Love this blog!! Congrats on getting all the new clothes and at such great prices! You deserve to feel good AND know that you look good! You've put in all the hard work and now it's time to show off what you've done. Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

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LIL_EZZY 12/25/2011 7:42AM

    Great blog.. emoticon

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A-STRONGER-ME 12/25/2011 5:24AM

    The next pics need to be OF YOU!!!!

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FITFORMYFAMILY 12/24/2011 8:59PM

    I want to see pictures of the clothes you bought!

Merry Christmas to you, too!

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MICHSTATE 12/24/2011 5:05PM

    WooHoo!!! Good for you!!!!!!!!!:-)

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FITMOMMYFORLIFE 12/24/2011 11:05AM

    Love this blog =] So happy you've had the opportunity to get some new clothes! Just like you said, it does WONDERS for your self image! Happy Holidays!!! I hope you have a fantastic christmas! Cheers to starting off the new year STRONG! =]

emoticon

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 12/24/2011 8:18AM

    What a wonderful blog & congrats on feeling beautiful in your new clothes!! Thumbs up to a great you've had & knowing that 2012 is going to be even better to you!! Happiest of holidays to you!! :)

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