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I mean it July

Friday, July 06, 2012

Well, that didn't go as planned.

I woke up Sunday morning, 7/1, with my game face on. I took my measurements, which I hadn't done since September. I mapped out my workouts for the week. I told myself that it was time to get serious about weight loss again. I wrote down my goal weight for each week this month. This is something I used to do and it really helped. Visualizing that number. It works. I mean, it used to work.

I know lots of us our experiencing this craptastic heat wave. As a MN girl, I like to be annoying and say that you can only complain about one season. Take your pick: winter or summer. No endless whining. By Wednesday I was the biggest whiner of all. It's hot. It's 104 hot. I live in an old house, no AC. Window units only do so much and we only have 2. One is in DS's room, the other in ours, which means DD has been sleeping with us. That girl takes up a lot of room in bed!! And the heat has made both kids sick. Fevers & throwing up. I have done a lot of laundry this week.

One of my workout buddies canceled on Monday because of the heat advisory. I canceled on her today because of the sick kids. I've gotten in one run this week and it was a quick 5K. I hopped on that blasted treadmill last night and lasted for one mile of sprints. I just can't stand that thing. I've missed swim and bike workouts.

I have made it to more group fitness classes than normal and that's been fun. And I did get in my longest bike ride to date: 29 miles!!

The heat has led to some poor food choices because I'm not cooking as much. Letting other people cook, going out, too many quick & cold meals that are high in protein, but not enough balanced meals.

July week 1 recap: several missed workouts, poor sleeping & eating. And to top it off, I'm up 2.8 lbs from last Friday

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

BUT! but but but, it's gonna be OK. I had a great workout this morning that put me in a much better mood. I went home and turned on the oven. I don't care that it's too hot to cook! Made lots of good stuff, including my new favorite healthy treat

so good and so easy.

I made a salad packed with veggies and my favorite kale chips with a little pumpkin seed oil for lunch. yum.

We leave for a week at the lake on Sunday and I will run and swim and relax and build sandcastles and paddle board and read and drink wine and and and...

See? it's OK. This was a rough week. All that means is that I have the power to make the next week better.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUGIRL06 7/10/2012 6:22PM

    The heat has been killing my workouts too! I hope you get back to it soon too!

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TRIXIERUNS 7/9/2012 10:59AM

    I can totally relate. Last week wasn't a total bust for me, but close. I didn't stick to my plan at all. It was just too hot to go outside and do anything. Yuckkk... I don't like running when it's in the 80s let alone over 100.

Looks like you did pretty good anyway! And that is awesome!

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 7/9/2012 9:25AM

    ha! I used that one this week about only being allowed to complain about 1 season-you crack me up-not annoying at all:) And I will use it again.

My brain works in celsius, so when you say it's 104F, I cannot relate. Well, I ran yesterday in a heat like no other. I came home, checked the temp, did the conversion and was amazed that it was only 91F. I can't imagine 104!!!!!!!! I felt like I was dying at 91F-hahaha.

Sick kids are tough-especially vomiting sick ones. I feel your pain sista.

A 29mi ride is awesome and all the extra classes are great. It seems that you are still being mega active even though you are not getting in your runs and swims.

A week at the lake sounds fabulous-enjoy enjoy enjoy.

I have full faith in you that everything will come together and training will fall in to place. Go Maura Go!!! I'm always cheering you on.

Happy Monday:)

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ICHBINDOOF 7/7/2012 1:27PM

    I feel ya, the heat has been killing my work outs and is probably why my eating has been so off. but I'm glad your not completely giving up. Next week is a new week and I know you will pick yourself right back up. You got this girl.

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    I hope your kids are feeling better by now. If you're anything like me, dealing with puke and puke laundry is pretty discouraging. Has the heat wave calmed down now? The forecast says we're supposed to get relief tonight/tomorrow, which gives me hope that it's already come for you.
I hope that you have a FANTASTIC week at the lake!

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    I am there with you, going to lots of group classes in the AC gym.

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GODIVADSG 7/6/2012 6:18PM

    Wow... you have beem challenged! So glad you are picking up the piecesn and moving forward.... your legs probably are thanking you for the rest too. Sounds like a really nice trip planned. Hang in there with the heat.... I feel your pain. emoticon

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 7/6/2012 5:11PM

    CRAPTASTIC - love that because it truly says it all!!

The cool thing about your blog is that you put it out there, frustrations & all, yet you know how to turn it around! My body is WAY off whack also because of the weather but just like you, one decent workout & the smile comes back!

Enjoy the sandcastles, swimming & sun - oh, don't forget the wine! :)

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OJIBWEEQUAY 7/6/2012 4:06PM

    I feel your pain about the mill! You got this!!!!

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RUNNER4LIFE08 7/6/2012 3:22PM

    No central air..... oh, that is brutal. Well hopefully the "cool down" does come tomorrow. We are going to probably need sweatshirts for the 80's now that our bodies are used to triple digits.

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PINKBEANBOO 7/6/2012 2:41PM

    No central air & only 2 window units - yikes! I feel so bad for you & the others in that situation. Although, our last electric bill was crazy high & that was even before the 100 temps started so this next one is really going to hurt. Hubby has banned the use of the oven until further notice, lol.
Sorry your kids have been sick. Mine started last night with the throwing up. Not fun!

That is a LONG bike ride, 29 miles. I can't imagine!

Have fun at the lake. & those kiddos better be better by then!

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A-STRONGER-ME 7/6/2012 2:38PM

    thanks for the recipe - I have been using this one - kinda similar, yet different


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OFFDREA 7/6/2012 2:17PM

    Those bars look AMAZING! mmmm I can't wait to try them. Her page looks pretty awesome...
I can not imagine the heat, summer has barely showed up here. Good luck this weekend and I hope you get a break from such high temps!!

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MICHSTATE 7/6/2012 2:06PM

    I hope your luck turns around!!!!!!
You know, I have made those bars before, and I wasn't a huge fan, but I bet I would actually like them more now!!!!! I have really "cleansed" my palate by eating mostly clean, and I am eating ALL kinds of things that I didn't used to like. I even like non-fat plain Greek yogurt by itself.... I used to think it was gross with adding fruit!!! I am now drinking coffee with no sugar or artificial sweetener too!!!
I am so grateful to have A/C in this heat.... I am sorry that you have been suffering!!!! I hope it cools down soon!!!!

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PHATPAT18 7/6/2012 2:00PM

    Fit, hang in there. 104 in MN is really hot and is not good for anybody to be outside. It will hit 104 tomorrow in Oh and I am looking forward to going to the pool. Sorry to hear about the sick kids.
It's not too late to give up on July. Keep going and if you can't, remember, there is always winter to complain about.



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Cheers July!

Monday, July 02, 2012

I had a great June. End of school year. Good weather. Lots of happy family time. Marathon. Fitness gained. Weight maintained.

After the big race I dove right into triathlon training. I have a lot to learn about the bike. A lot, a lot. I'm a pretty good swimmer, but need practice and endurance. It's super fun to have new challenges and to be getting involved in sports that can be lifelong activities. Too often, I think we focus on an "end date." That ultimate goal weight stuff, or losing weight for a specific event. Well, then what? I think we need to put just as much thought and planning and effort into maintenance. How will we maintain that weight loss? How will we be in that 10% that actually keeps it off? For me, it's triathlon.

July goals:
emoticon 10-20 miles a week. 1 LSR, 1 speedwork or hills, optional 3rd run for fun

emoticon 40-80 miles a week. 1 long ride, 1 intervals/hills or spin class, 3rd & 4th rides are fun family easy rides

emoticon 2 swims a week: 1 long for endurance, 1 speedwork, 3rd would be bonus

emoticon Teaching Tabata twice a week for the summer

emoticon I went to a training on Sat for RIPPED. A new class the Y is launching. It's a very new program, not licensed like Les Mils (Bodypump) which has its pros and cons. I have some mixed feelings about what I'm getting into here, but that's all for a different blog.
The training showed me:
1. my cardio is off the charts awesome. I could keep up with the best of em even in the intervals and plyometrics sections. felt good!
2. my strength needs serious work! Those fitness instructor itty bitty chicas kicked my butt. big time.
Working on this class should improve the ST. I'll probably be doing it twice a week.

emoticon 1.5-2 pounds this month. Or 2-3 inches. I think with the amount going on here, that's realistic.

emoticon emoticon emoticonHappy July!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OFFDREA 7/5/2012 2:15PM

    Looks like you are going to kick July in the hiney!!!! Lofty but attainable goals! Good for you. Your weight does not stand a chance against all that working out!

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 7/4/2012 11:49AM

    hola lady! you are working! i love it. Just like i loved hearing about your marathon journey, I will love hearing about your triathlon journey. It is gonna take some hours on your part. yah to off the charts cardio-off course you rocked it-how could you not? Cheers to a successful, active July:) Happy 4th!

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ONE*BUSY*MOM 7/4/2012 1:14AM


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    Oh my goodness. 11 cardio + 2 ST workouts a week?!? I think you should change your name to EnergizerFoodie! Seriously, though, I think your plan will have you very prepared for your sprint tri.
You are emoticon

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LISAINMS 7/3/2012 1:32PM

    You did have a great June! You have a lot of cycling miles planned. Time in the saddle is the only way to improve! I do 1 steady state interval trainer ride on 85 rpm to build endurance, 1 trainer ride of intervals, 1 hill ride, 1 long ride. If I have time I throw in another hill ride. I would skip the spin class. It only serves to improve your cardio fitness, which you already have. I regret spending all winter in spin class thinking that I was doing something to improve my pedal power because I'm such a badazz in class, lol. I should have bought the trainer sooner. You know you can do Tabata in swim? I did that for awhile then switched to doing 50's on the minute. You have the right plans for your training. It is pretty much the same as running... split your time between speed, power, endurance. So when is your first tri?

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JOYFULSPIRIT920 7/2/2012 10:03PM

    Awesome goals!!

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SEPPIESUSAN 7/2/2012 9:52PM

    My gym replaced my Sunday morning Body Pump class with a RIPPED class, and I have yet to try it. Looking forward to seeing you write more about the pros and cons of RIPPED. I love Body Pump.

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MICHSTATE 7/2/2012 9:08PM

    It sounds like a fun month!!!! I am glad that you seem to have avoided the post-marathon funk!!!!!:-)

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REDRUNNERMOM713 7/2/2012 8:46PM

    Great goals! How fun it will be to do some different activities and see what kind of difference it gives you. You have a lot going on girl! So inspiring!

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AMBER281 7/2/2012 8:24PM

    Those are great goals for July!!
What is Tabata?

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The lifestyle that feels better

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I write about my family a lot because they all have so much to do with my healthy lifestyle. I do know how lucky I am to be surrounded by support and people that make the same daily, healthy choices. The lifestyle mentality (vs. weight loss, just get to a certain goal weight mentality) is how I was raised. I owe my parents a lot for that.

My older brother is not a runner so I probably don't mention him. He does play on a men's basketball league team (lifestyle!) and he owns one of the last independent bookstores in the Twin Cities. It's a very cool place. I worked there when I was in grad school.

All of that rambling background to say this: DH and I stopped in last night. The woman working has been there forever. She was on vacation in Duluth over the marathon weekend and she was all excited about our experience. (i have been surprised by how many people were tracking us online!) she says something like, "I was just telling your brother how great you look and how impressive this race is. You must feel like a younger version of yourself."

Well, not really.

I participated in lots of different athletics when I was young, but dropped most by sophomore year of high school. Then I joined show choir ( think Glee, before it was cool!) and then college happened. I made a lot of poor choices. Fun choices! But not exactly healthy. Maybe this was my way of rebeling against my parents. That party now, worry about health when you're old & boring mentality continued throughout my 20s. I worked out, but there is no amount of fitness that would cancel out the crappy food and endless bottles of wine.

I needed to put all the pieces together: fitness, nutrition, mind set. once that happened, life changed. And it's not old & boring at all. It's fun! Not dancing on the table at 3 am fun, but I'm not really interested in that at this point in my life anyway. And you know what's not fun: how you feel the day after. Theres no such thing as a workout hangover. I just get that workout high for the rest of the day!

I was honest, "No, I don't feel younger. I feel the best I've ever felt. I never knew I had this in me."

And isn't that the best part? We have the power to change our life's direction. It's hard work. It takes daily choices. It's worth it.

Let's make good choices today. Let's feel better than we did 10 years ago!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OFFDREA 7/5/2012 2:13PM

    What a great post!!! I was never athletic growing up or in my 20s. If I told my 22 year old self what I would be doing in 7 years I would have laughed in my own face. It is a great feeling to truly enjoy being active. I'll admit it didn't happen right away. Especially having never been active, but now I LOVE what I am doing. It makes it so much easier to get out there and do it, and DAMN do I feel GOOD!!!!
That being said, I do still enjoy my weekend beers, but the dancing on the table has mostly subsided :)

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ONE*BUSY*MOM 6/29/2012 12:14AM

    You're so lucky to have had positive role models when you were young. My parents were immigrants, so they were really busy working and not focused so much on exercising and eating well. I remember having butter tarts in the house all the time for breakfast!

So glad you have reached a point of balance and bliss in your life. So wonderful!

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 6/28/2012 10:55PM

    I'm in!! A wonderful blog as always! :) Happy 4th!

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SUGIRL06 6/28/2012 7:55PM

    Great blog!!!

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 6/28/2012 6:41PM

    hahaha.."not dancing on the table at 3am fun" I am still giggling-teehee.

I was THAT 20-something as well. "I will worry about it later".

You are so very blessed to have been raised with a healthy family lifestyle. I think it makes it so normal when you, as an adult, decide to jump on that train.

What is twin cities?? I hear that alot and am it an actual city? is it a suburb? is it a park??

YUPEE to no workout hangovers!!!

So many random comments. I am kinda in a hurry to get out and go camping but I wanted to check SP one last time before I take 5 days off. Saw your blog and just had to read it, of course. Hugs to you and have a fabulous weekend:)

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GODIVADSG 6/28/2012 6:30PM


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    It is SO worth it. I am only a smidgen of the way to where I really want to be as far as endurance and strength are concerned, but it still feels great!

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LDRICHEL 6/28/2012 3:14PM

    Yes! You got it!!!!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 6/28/2012 11:47AM

    Absolutely agree! I find myself being amazed by what I can do now that I couldn't do when I was younger. It's a great feeling!

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PINKBEANBOO 6/28/2012 11:32AM

Being a runner is much cooler than being a drunk. I try not to have too many regrets about my party days, but I do wish I would have been running back then.
I also agree with JOYFULSPIRIT. I could whoop the younger me's booty, too. emoticon

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MICHSTATE 6/28/2012 11:17AM

    WooHoo!!!! I couldn't agree with you more!!!:-)

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A-STRONGER-ME 6/28/2012 10:51AM

    That IS the best part.

I think you may be being followed more than you realize!! emoticon

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JOYFULSPIRIT920 6/28/2012 10:33AM

    Well said!
I am definitely a better me than I was 20 years ago. Side by side in competition, I'd whoop the younger Heather's booty!! :P

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A runner's reading guide

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I haven't been on spark much lately because I've become obsessed with running books. I thought I'd share my love.
I'm quoting some from amazon because they summarize better than I do.

1. Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon by John Brant.
"...the story of two American distance runners, Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar, and how their lives changed after both men ran the 1982 Boston Marathon. ...the story of the marathon and the story of the two men's lives are told simultaneously throughout the book.
Although the book has a plot and often reads like a work of fiction, it is in fact a non-fiction work, and the events described in the book actually occurred in real life."
I met Beardsley at the expo. He is from MN and still holds the course record for Grandmas Marathon. Very very nice guy. And he signed the book, Dick Beardsley 2:08:53 Boston '82
How cool is that?! We joked all weekend that that was how I was going to start signing everything. Maura 4:04:16
Anyway, great story, fun and easy read.

2. A life without limits by Christie Wellington.
" Wellington's rise to triathlon greatness after the age of 25 when she discovered her latent talent for endurance sport. A very refreshing account that differs greatly from Paula Radcliffe's "My Life so Far" or Meb K's "Run to Overcome". No tales of early greatness in Chrissie's book, no relatives who were Olympians, no highschool world records. Just a girl who had a passion for international development and helping others who was also passionate about exploring and pushing herself who rather randomly happened onto running, cycling and triathlon and became the best in the world at it, and quickly!"
If you're interested in triathlon at all, check this out. She is incredible!

3. Born to Run by christopher McDougall
"...tracks down members of the reclusive Tarahumara Indian tribe in the Mexican Copper Canyons. After being repeatedly injured as a runner himself, McDougall marvels at the tribe's ability to run ultra distances (over 26.2 miles, commonly 100 miles or more) at incredible speeds, without getting the routine injuries of most American runners. The book has received attention in the sporting world for McDougall's description of how he overcame injuries by modeling his running after the Tarahumara.

Alongside his research into the Tarahumara, McDougall delves into why the human species, unique among other primates, has developed traits for endurance running. He promotes the endurance running hypothesis, arguing that humans left the forests and moved to the savannas by developing the ability to run long distances in order to literally run down prey.
McDougall also has received critical praise for his rich story-telling and the many quirky characters portrayed in the book, including not only the Tarahumara but exceptional Western runners who share the Tarahumara spirit of running for enjoyment and spiritual experience."

I read a lot. And I am not being melodramatic when I say this one is in my top 5 books of all time. I finished it yestday and I have been moping around today because im so sad it's over. It's about culture, science, history, sport, anthropology, passion and, of course, running.

It is beautifully written. favorite quote: "...perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self-propulsion over wild terrain." (p. 92)
Ahhhhhh, I am going to read that over and over again.

And it's full of crazy interesting facts. I have got to share this research from the NYC marathon 2004. "starting at age 19, runners get faster every year until they hit their peak at 27... Then they start to decline. How old are you when you're back to running the same speed as you did when you're 19?"

Like the author, I started to do some simple math in my head but then knew there had to be a trick. You don't just add 8, right? Right. You are never going to believe what they found out. Go ahead, take a guess. Then scroll down a bit.

Sixty-freaking-four! How incredible is that?
"name any other field where 64 year olds are competing with 19 year olds. Swimming? Boxing? Not even close. There's something really weird about us humans; we're not only really good at endurance running, we're really good at it for a remarkably long time. We're a machine built to run..." (p. 240)

Doesn't that make you smile? It made me think about all the spark blogs I've read about people falling in love with running way later in life than they thought it possible. (that includes me!)

I highly recommend this book.

The theme among these 3 books was the element of joy. It wasn't about the mileage, the time splits, the training plan, the weight. Sure, those things matter. But all these people LOVE to run.

This morning I ran. No garmin, no iPhone, no ear buds. Unplug. Don't worry about the distance or the time for once. Just enjoy your strong legs. Smile. Check yourself out. You're a runner.

(let me know if you read any of these or already have!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUGIRL06 6/28/2012 7:53PM

    I felt the same way after reading Born to Run! So sad it was over!!! My friend borrowed it or I would read it again immediately. Maybe I should just buy another copy... Great book!

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SEPPIESUSAN 6/27/2012 10:46PM

    Loved Born to Run and looked at it with longing nostalgia in the book store today... thanks for some other ideas, too!

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TRIXIERUNS 6/27/2012 12:40PM

    Sounds like a few titles to add to my summer reading list! thanks

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PINKBEANBOO 6/27/2012 11:51AM

    #2 sounds like a good read to me. I'll check it out. Thanks!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 6/27/2012 11:03AM

    I LOVE reading running books too and I agree with Born to Run. It was a phenominal book! I too was sad when it was over. Have you read The Long Run by Matt Long? It's another great book. It's about his fight to get back to running after a horrific crash when his bike and a bus collided. I'll have to check out the other books you mentioned. I've been wanting to do more research about the Tarahumara. They are so interesting! Thanks for sharing your list!

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FITFORMYFAMILY 6/27/2012 10:17AM

    This is a great blog! Thank you for taking the time to share. I haven't read any of those, but you sure make me want to!

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GODIVADSG 6/27/2012 9:34AM

    Glad you have been able to read a bit. I have not read the first two but have read Born to Run. I smiled because I have Tarahumara spelled out above my treadmill! I was saddened that Micah True, a.k.a "Caballo Blanco" died in late March of this year. That book taught me how to run without limits and how to run in the heat. I read that book a few years ago and still think of it weekly. Those Tarahumara's are something else!

There is another book I think you would like. It is short but outstanding, regarding the short stories about women runners. It is called Sole Sisters by Jennifer Lin and Susan Warner. It is an amazing book and where I fell in love with Grete Waitz. ( Who I also run with in my mind)

There are many more... we will have to share.

You my friend are one of those inspirations! Keep running happy and Naked!!!


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JOYFULSPIRIT920 6/27/2012 9:17AM

    I emoticon RUNNING!!!
That spot in the middle of a run when the rest of the world just melts away, just the sound of my breathing & my feet pounding the ground... ahhh, it's magical!

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MICHSTATE 6/27/2012 9:03AM

    Great blog!!!!! I just wish I could find time to read!!!! I have the sample for Born to Run on my I-phone, but I couldn't get into it...maybe I should give it another chance!!!!
Thanks for the info!!!!

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 6/27/2012 8:32AM

    This really got me thinking..I have never thought about how fast those marathoners actually run. When I saw Beardsley's time, I didn't believe it. How the heck do they hold that pace? I know this is not new news to you but it is to me and I'm a bit dumbfounded.

I feel your pain when you say that your book is done and you are mopping around now. I mourn my books when I am finished as well. Its kinda like "now what"?

Running just to run....dreamy. I never run with music just because I am usually on a sidewalkless road. I find I get into my own thoughts and like you've said before.... my therapy. But, I have not ran without my garmin for a year now. I am always measuring my distance.

You've sold me on 'Born to run'. I am going to have to see if the library has it. Non-fiction anything is my all time fav. I feel like I can learn something from it everytime. And since I don't have alot a me time to read I almost always chose non-fiction.

Here I go again...taking up too much space on your page-haha. I have some new summer reading to dive in to(need to put down the homeschooling books. That's all I've been reading for months now. It will be a nice change).

Thanks for this blog:)
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LADYBUG1107 6/27/2012 5:17AM

    I loved Born to Run too! I will read the other two books. They both sound great. Thanks!

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RJSAMS 6/26/2012 10:47PM

    I've read Meb's book and some others, but none of these. I'm going straight to my library website...

Thanks for a great blog post!

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the 26.2 blog

Monday, June 18, 2012

I did it. I ran a marathon. And it was more than I could have asked for. The whole weekend was very special.

I am a city girl and I truly love my city. Trails and lakes galore. This is the land of 10,000 lakes. Sometimes when I read people's blogs about traveling for a race, I wonder, why? Is it worth the effort? That sounds like so much work and effort and opportunities to forget things. I know I'm lucky to have so many races in my backyard. I guess I always thought Twin Cities would be my first marathon. But then my dad sent out an email saying that he'd get lodging if some of us would commit to run Grandma's Marathon in Duluth.

You've all heard this already: my dad is my running inspiration and my husband helped me become a runner. In their own ways, these two were my coaches. So it was pretty perfect that the 3 of us would do this together. And because we were having so much fun we conned my sister into running the Half.

I had no idea what I was truly committing to when I responded to that email. The hours of training, the 5 am runs, the juggling schedules and finding babysitters, saying no to many social outings because trainings runs come first.

I've gotta fast forward to Saturday morning or this will take forever. The race starts in Two Harbors and runs along Lake Superior. I followed my plan and got as close to the 4:30 pacer as I could. My dad started further back. I ran the first mile with DH. I stayed there for the first 2.5 miles as my warm up and then gradually picked up my pace. It was hot. Humidity was 90% and I was thrilled that there was already water and ice at mile 3. I rubbed ice on my face, threw some down my shirt.

I was right behind the 4:15 pacer as we were approaching the 5 mile water area. There were tons of people in that group and I am easily annoyed by people taking the first water and coming to a dead stop. I decided to zip around this group to avoid the congestion. This may have been too early to pick it up, I'm not sure.

At this point the miles were ticking off pretty easily and I felt great. I saw a blind runner tethered to someone else and was incredibly overcome with emotion. I was in complete awe of the human spirit. The wide range of abilities, experiences in life and running that all come together to do something incredible. I said a little prayer of thanks for my health and did my best to harness in the emotion and reminded myself to save it for later. I knew I'd need it.

At mile 9 my friend jumped in with me. She was going to be at 13, but that area was busier and she was too excited. She was impressed that I was right on schedule considering the heat, she thought I'd be further behind. I felt great. We chatted for awhile and the miles kept flying by. We could see the 4:00 pacer but I knew to stay back and not get overly excited or push it too much. Lots of race left.

I made a bathroom stop and when I came out saw the 4:15 pacer run by. WTF??? How is that possible? I got into a group of people and everyone was talking about how off schedule she (the pacer) was. 4:15 was right next to us and we could see 4:00 a little ways ahead of us. They should be 7 minutes apart. People continued to complain about her and I felt bad for all the people that had a goal & needed a pacer but she was going too fast. I finally called out, "Slow down 4:15!" which made everyone cheer, but also made her turn and give me a dirty look. whoops. A group of 3 guys ran over and thanked me. We started chatting me them. 2 of them were pacers themselves, not in this race, but in others. They were helping their friend run his first.

Somewhere in the middle miles we saw a guy propose. We ran by just as he was on his knee next to a huge banner. We cheered and then a few seconds later there was a huge cheer, must've been when she said yes. So cool!!

13.1 and I was 2:01, right where I wanted to be, a pretty good HM time for me. I still felt great
and the mile markers kept coming. We met a girl that had just split from her mom. They were running their first marathon together. I was surprised by how much I was talking to other runners. Sure, it was taking some energy, but it was giving me way more. I love the running community!

And then mile 15 happened. I don't know what happened, but suddenly my quads were so tired and I just felt done. Sarah noticed the change in me and helped me get through it. But I'm not gonna lie, 15-17 were awful. Absolutely awful. I wanted to quit. I thought about walking right off. I felt sick. I could taste the GU and thought I was going to throw up. I slowed down a bit.

We kept trading places with those 2 pacers and their friend. Learned that they were ultra-marathoners. I just listened at this point and concentrated on one foot in front of the other. Step step step. Yes you can. Say it over and over and over.

At 17 I remember saying, "Ok we've got a 5K and then the race starts. That's it. I can do this." I believe so much in the power of positive talk. All week I had been visualizing feeling good at mile 20. And I think it worked. My legs still hurt. A lot. I was tired and my clothes were soaking wet. I didn't feel cold, but I did notice that the spectators had gone from shorts and tank tops to sitting in chairs and covered in blankets. Apparently the temp had dropped quite a bit!

I told Sarah that I wanted to pass the 4:15 pacer when we hit mile 20. People were still complaining about her and I even heard a race official yell that she was way ahead of schedule. I was determined not to let her beat me.

Everyone is right: the race starts at mile 20. Luckily, in this race the scenery changes dramatically. You go from beautiful Great Lake views to a roaring town. I cannot believe how great the whole city of Duluth is. They really get into it. All the streets are lined with people. Families that set up sprinklers in the street. I leapt through every single one. Tons of kids giving out "free high fives". I hit everyone that I could. I pretended some were my daughter and son. Even high fived all the drunk college kids. They smelled so bad!

I was doing everything I could to enjoy the experience. Mind over matter. I asked Sarah if she could see the 4:15 pacer. She turned around and said, "No and we're not turning around again. This is your race. Just focus on you. No regrets. You don't want to ask yourself tomorrow if you could have given more." She is the best. She was going to leave me when we saw my family, but I told her to stay. At one point I closed my eyes and walked while counting to 10. She jogged right in front of me. See? the best.

Miles 21-25.5 are all real fuzzy. I can't distinguish what happened when. My SIL was on a bike and kept appearing which made me keep my head up. She was an incredible boost. I choked up when I saw my family and ran over and gave my mom a hug. I don't think I'll ever forget that moment.

I skipped the bacon, Becky. ;) I just couldn't do it at that point. I continued to smile as much as I could. I made it up Lemondrop Hill without too much pain. Hill training pays off! My struggle were all those vicious turns at the end. You have to zig zag through town a bit to get to the finish line and it is tough. If I had been in a better mental state I would have understood where I was, but I was pretty spent at this point. Luckily I had made those pacer friends because they cheered me in at the end.

I didn't cry at the finish. I think I was too drained to do anything. I was proud, but mostly just happy to be done. My original goal was 4:09 based on some marathon calculator. After advice from many veteran marathoners, I shifted to 4:15 for good weather and 4:30 for heat. Chip says 4:04:16.
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The really good feelings came the next morning. I woke up at 5 am and went out on the deck all alone. I stared at the rising sun and the water. I ran a marathon. I am a marathoner.

There's a lot more to the story, but this is all I got for now. DH, dad and sister all had good runs. I think it was a life changing experience for us all. Thank you to each of them. Thank you to the rest of my family for the support. Thank you to Spark for the inspiration, motivation and encouragement. I thank myself for being stronger than I ever thought I could be.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOTUSFLOWER 6/28/2012 1:03AM

    emoticon emoticon

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RUNNINGMOM_OF_3 6/26/2012 8:00PM

    So, so proud of you! You are such an inspiration. You make me want to start running again right this very second!

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AMBER281 6/26/2012 1:34PM

    What a great accomplishment!!

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ICHBINDOOF 6/22/2012 4:07PM

    That must feel beyond amazing to have broken even the marathon calculators time! =]

I can't believe how bad that pacer was! I'm glad you showed her who was boss. Way to go. Great job, you earned the right to be proud.

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WORTHEYMOM 6/22/2012 3:53PM

    Oh My Goodness! I have tears of happiness for you! You totally rocked that girl! A marathon is on my bucket list since my 2nd HM. You are such an inspiration!

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TYKXBOY 6/19/2012 7:03PM

    Woohoo!! Awesome race! And a great race report, too. I was right there with you the whole time. Way to go! What an experience. :)

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KKINNEA 6/19/2012 6:49PM

    Sweet!! I saw the blind guy too since both he and I slowed up around the same time. I was on pace for 4:30 until about mile 16, which is where I stopped for the bathroom - I lost 6 minutes there alone! I started feeling awful around then too - the recovery from pneumonia was too recent to get back to the intended pace but I still finished 10 minutes faster than my last marathon.

If you ever feel like slowing down (or staying the same speed!) you can pace me at TCM - I'm looking for closer to 4 for that. Congrats to you!

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WANT2BEFIT10 6/19/2012 4:27PM

    AMAZING JOB!!!! You are CRAZY FAST! WOW! I'm so impressed! emoticon

On Saturday I was saying, "I don't know if I'll ever do this again". By this morning I was saying, "Next year at Grandma's...." emoticon

Not only are we runners, we are MARATHONERS!!!!

So proud of you and happy too! Way to go!!!! emoticon

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MBSHAZZER 6/19/2012 12:58PM

    Congratulations!!! It sounds like a great marathon - this is one I definitely want to do! Sounds like you stuck to your plan and did FANTASTIC! Enjoy your recovery!

BTW, in 15+ years of running and racing, the one thing I can count on is the pacer NOT finishing anywhere near the time on their little card! I just ignore them - thank the lord for the almighty Garmin! :D

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ONE*BUSY*MOM 6/19/2012 1:40AM

    Wow, what a fantastic blog. An incredibly moving story -- it really made me tear up. Congratulations on your fabulous marathon finish. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Hugs!

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FIT_FOR_LIFE85 6/18/2012 11:29PM

    Wow, you got me all teared up! What a great marathon story and even greater accomplishment! You are so amazing and inspiring and I just love that you got to do this with you husband and father. Incredible! emoticon

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FITFORMYFAMILY 6/18/2012 10:34PM

    I LOVED reading this blog! That was an amazing marathon, especially for a first one and especially for the weather conditions. I am SO proud of you! I'm really glad that you had so much support before and during the race. And I know you made your dad proud, which makes my heart smile. I love the respect and admiration that the two of you have for each other.

I wouldn't have had the bacon either. I coudn't even eat a banana last week after 8 miles!

emoticon on an emoticon race! You put SO much into your training and deserved an awesome finish like that!

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HEALTHYOTTER 6/18/2012 10:28PM

    Wow, just wow. So glad you persevered through 15-20! Thanks for the inspiration!

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 6/18/2012 8:50PM

    I am teary. I don't know what to say. I am truly soooo very happy for you. You did it! And with a wicked awesome time! You are a marathoner, you are a marathoner. Thanks for sharing the blog-this is truly one to print off and tuck away for you to read when you're old and grey and have ran 150 of these by then. Big hugs:)I was cheering you on the entire time!
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MICHSTATE 6/18/2012 6:31PM

    Holy crap!!!! You kicked some serious butt!!!!!! Awesome time......especially for your first marathon!!!!!! WooHoo!!!!

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LISAINMS 6/18/2012 6:15PM

    What a fantastic first marathon experience! So awesome that you had so much support from family and friend.

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SUGIRL06 6/18/2012 5:22PM

    WAY TO GO!!!!
And wow you are FAST! I am shooting for 5-5:30 this fall.
Anyway, I am just so happy for you. Great blog! The perfect write up for such an amazing day!! And the course sounds lovely! You *are* a marathoner!

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GODIVADSG 6/18/2012 4:24PM

    I can hardly see to type... yep, you made me cry! Way to go! I am so proud of your journey. Running teaches us so much. You truly are a MARATHON runner!! Thanks for the inspiration and spreading the joy of running to all of us. emoticon

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POWERAUER 6/18/2012 4:06PM

    WOO-HOO! Your blog has me all pumped up and a bit teary-eyed. I start training for my first marathon this weekend. Congrats on believing in yourself and finishing. You've inspired a fellow Minnesotan!

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JONEIL513 6/18/2012 3:45PM


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    Amazing job! emoticon

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MEGSMILEY 6/18/2012 3:16PM


I am so impressed with you!

Way to go!!!


What an awesome blog!!!

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KJDOESLIFE 6/18/2012 3:08PM

    Great job!!

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PINKBEANBOO 6/18/2012 3:04PM

    You are so amazing! What a great race. I love how you pushed through the rough spots. What an inspiration!

About your friend who jumped in at mile 9...was she not signed up for the race but "jumped in" with you for fun/encouragement? Did she stay with you to the finish line?

Ok. The last couple of days I've been wondering if I could do one. If I would want to invest the time. It is such a big commitment, but to be able to say I've done one would be very cool.

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MATTERJT 6/18/2012 2:57PM

    Awesome Blog, Maura! I really enjoyed reading it. Other than the Warrior Dash, I haven't participated in any formal runs either. I'm guessing that a pacer is someone that just leads a group? Sorry, I'm not a real "runner" yet, so I don't really know all the terminology. :-)

I'm trying to arrange a Half Marathon with Becky, since we only live about 45 minutes from each other. :-) Hopefully, we'll both have enough money to sign up for one and to run it together.

Your run sounded so exciting and motivational.......seeing a blind person running.....seeing someone propose.....OMG! Those are just sooooo cool!

I hope that whatever Half Marathon I end up doing, that it's just as exciting as the one you did. :-)

Thanks so much for sharing! :-)

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DZSWEETIE2005 6/18/2012 2:55PM

    That's so amazing! So happy for you! Sounda like a great experience!!

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OFFDREA 6/18/2012 2:53PM


bah, this blog has me in tears..I am so happy it was a wonderful experience and you were able to share it with your family. Let me say you have me almost considering it lol
As for the blind runner, that is just incredible. What a great boost for you to push it.

Your time is incredible!!! GREAT JOB MARATHONER!!!!!!

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MYNAMEISSMILE 6/18/2012 2:48PM

    Aww reading this made me cry. Congrats, marathoner! I don't think people understand what an emotional and imensely moving experience marathon running is, or we'd all have quite a few under our belts! That is an amazing time for a first marathon!!! :)

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A-STRONGER-ME 6/18/2012 2:41PM

    OMG, Maura - you ALMOST make me want to run!! (but not quite - LOL)

Great blog and thrilled it was such a positive experience for you!!

You are inspirational!!

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JENNIFERH625 6/18/2012 2:34PM

    That is awesome! Amazing accomplishment. I am doing a 5k on Saturday, and really hope I can just make it - even if I walk some! This will be my first time ever participating in an organized walk/run! You are very inspirational!

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RUNNER4LIFE08 6/18/2012 2:27PM

    emoticon emoticon

Thank you for taking us along on your first marathon! I loved reading the details of the race and how you felt at certain miles. Such a life changing event and what a great race you had. And it was your first one!!!! Awesome time!

Congrats.... you did it!!!! Wear your finishers medal with pride!

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