FITFOODIE806   52,555
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Pumpkin muffins & other Fall goodness

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I love to bake. I especially love to bake with my kids. Some sparkers have asked how I do it and what I cook with. I've experimented lots and found what works for me. For cookies, I use the real stuff. I almost always half or even quarter the recipe. But I use butter and other real ingredients. I've tried apple sauce and stuff in cookies and they have never turned out and then I don't feel satisfied. Sometimes I throw in flaxseed and I use a little less sugar than the recipe calls for. But cookies are cookies.

Now muffins and breads, here's where we can cut some major calories and fat! Fall is in the air and I am loving it. Yesterday morning I cranked up the Glee station on Pandora and we made some super yummy healthy muffins.
Heres's my substitutions for yesterday's pumpkin choc chip muffins:
Oil - Greek yogurt
Always use whole wheat flour
Use less sugar than the recipe calls for. (Instead of 2 cups, I use 1 and add 1/2 cup of honey, still high in sugar, but less processed means better for your body)
Double the cinnamon, needs the spice kick with less sugar
Half the chocolate chips

We danced around the kitchen, did a little fraction math, threw in some push-ups while they were baking. Voila! Healthy and fun morning with the kids! And the muffins were delicious. I put a few in baggies and froze em. That way I couldn't eat 17 of them.

It's a toss up of what's my favorite thing about Fall: pumpkin goodies or running in gorgeous weather. I seriously just want to run all the time. Today I have another running date with DH. he's going to take me on a route I've never ran. Through NE Minneapolis and over the Stone Arch bridge and around the U of M. I am so excited! 14 miles together. I know I've said it a million times, but its worth saying again. Running is so good for our marriage. :)

The twin cities 10 miler is in 2 weeks. This will be my first repeat race. It's incredible how much has changed in one year. I remember the nerves last Fall, the anxious anticipation. I would wake up at night and not be able to fall back asleep because I was so excited. And now I'm excited because its such a big day for the running community. I know several people that are running the marathon and my plan is to run it next year.

Of course I want to beat last year's time. One of my running buddies reminded me that this isn't my A race for the season, it isn't even my B race. Grandmas marathon in June. Olympic triathlon in August. My focus has not been speed. I've accomplished a lot recently. I need to remind myself of that. It's OK if I don't beat 87 minutes.

Who am I kidding?! I think for those of you that know me, know that I'll be really disappointed if I don't beat that time. I am hard on myself and am very competitive with myself. My goal is 85 minutes.

And if I don't beat that goal, I will console myself with the fact that I can now do 4 pull ups!! And, I am at a new low weight. So, life is good. Life is healthy and strong. Hope the same is true for my sparkfriends.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 9/28/2012 11:00AM

    So many great things about this blog...Dancing and baking with whole ingredients with the kiddos, a running date with hubby, running your repeat race, 4 pullups AND an all time low weight. YEAHHHHHHHH MAURA!!!!! Life IS good girl.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PINKBEANBOO 9/25/2012 12:12PM

    You aren't kidding us. I know you'll be going after that PR. I saw yesterday your status said your finger was in a splint. Maybe that splint will be off by then. I know you can run in it, just easier to get along without it. : )

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GINGERHAWK 9/24/2012 1:11PM

    Life sounds better than good - it sounds fantastic. Speaking of fantastic, maybe you can share your muffin recipe? Of course I'm now craving them!

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LISAINMS 9/24/2012 11:12AM

    Sounds like a great day of baking and time spent doing things you love with people you love! I have the same problem... tri season wrecks my speed work. Now that it's over, I have 3 weeks to prepare for a 5 mile race that I want to beat last year's time and I am not feeling ready for that at all. Distance, yes. Speed, what speed?

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GODIVADSG 9/24/2012 10:23AM

    Sounds like pure awesomeness at your house! What a wonderful thing to look forward to with your hubby! You made me text my hubby to set up a running date with him! emoticon

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MISSFORTE 9/24/2012 7:46AM

    those are such great adaptions to the baking thank yoU!

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MELPHILLIPS741 9/23/2012 10:24PM

    Sounds like a great day! Good luck with the 10 miler, I'm sure you'll do awesome :)

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RUSSELLORAMA 9/23/2012 8:36PM

    Yes! Baked goods are the best thing about fall besides the gorgeous weather. Good luck with the race!

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HLTHYRNRMOM 9/23/2012 3:16PM

    Sounds yum-o! Thanks for sharing substitution ideas, I need them! I suck at cooking/baking! I would love the recipe if you have time. Trying to do better!
No doubts from me you will ROCK your race!!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 9/23/2012 12:49PM

    Baking/Cooking with kids is such a great way to get quality time with them, plus it further teaches them how to be healthy if you use the right ingredients. Your muffins sound scrumptious!!

You will do great in your 10 miler race! You have done so many great things lately. Such an inspiration! Hope you have a great run with your hubby!

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MICHSTATE 9/23/2012 12:15PM

    You are doing SO awesome!!! I am jealous!!!! I am close to my highest recent weight!!!:-( I just can't seem to get the nutrition right!!:-(

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NUOVAELLE 9/23/2012 11:43AM

    Thank you sooo much for sharing those substitutions! I also love baking - especially cookies and muffins - and I'll definitely try them! I was thinking about trying apple sauce, too as a substitute for butter in cookies. You wouldn't recommend it, right?
How wonderful that you can run with your husband! Being able to share an activity that you both like is definitely great for your relationship. My husband loves cycling and I can't wait till we can do this together.
I'm wishing you the very best of luck for the coming race. There's nothing wrong with being competitive with yourself! But you'd better skip the "hard" part. I'm sure you'll do your best and you'll have a great time while at it!
Keep on inspiring!

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KAREN42BOYS 9/23/2012 11:21AM

    Um, have you uploaded and SHARED that recipe? Sounds delightful. I'd love to see the directions for prancing around the kitchen while the muffins bake!

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ON2VICTORY 9/23/2012 11:15AM

    Fall is yummilicious pumpkin baking time... * sigh * tasty :)

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MYLADY4 9/23/2012 10:11AM

    LOVE baking with pumpkin especially if they are from your own garden. Put some fresh cooked pumpkin in my protien shake it was SO delisious. Even put some in my daughters sunday pancake and she loved it too.

I agree with your friends advise on the race. Just have fun and enjoy. Hope it is a little warmer then today for you.

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My 1st Olympic Triathlon

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Transition area: photo by Maple Grove Tri

My first thought when I woke up Saturday morning was, "man, I wish I would've stuck to that training plan." but, oh, well, here we go. I threw the plan out after vacation in July when I realized it was stressing me out and the whole point of this is to have fun. I managed to get in a handful of bike rides that were 20-25ish miles, some were extremely hilly routes. I wasn't worried about the bike. And a 10k is a great distance for me. It was the swim.

About 2 weeks ago I started to freak out. I realized I had not done nearly enough swimming to prepare myself to my standards. I love to swim. But I wasn't ready for a mile. 0.9 of a mile, but I'm rounding up! A mile in a pool is WAY different than open water. Pushing off ends and lane lines give you an incredible boost. I am a horrible sighter in open water. I do everything they tell you not to, like pulling my whole upper body out of the water to look for buoys.

Luckily, my friend gave me her wetsuit to wear. That sucker makes ya float! I felt a lot better. Until we got to the lake and I saw how far the buoys were. Deep breaths. Whew, that is far. I wonder how we'd feel as runners if at the start of a race we could see the entire distance. I think it may make us appreciate how far we really run. Because, seriously, those buoys were so far out in the water. Maybe I'll feel better if I keep typing about how far they were.

I need to get over this. They gathered all the athletes together for some announcements. Even had an official referee in a striped top talk about the rules. This was a pretty big tri: 1200 athletes, 800 were doing the Sprint distance. And there was a collegiate wave that was competing for Nationals, which was cool. It was a pretty fit bunch of athletes. I love checking everyone out and feeling good that so many people want to do something positive. OK, happy energy is back! And then a guy sang the national anthem and it was so beautiful and goose bump worthy.

And we're off! I had a good start, didn't go out too fast and I'm not bothered by all the kicking and arms everywhere and all that chaos. What bothered me was how long I had swam and then I looked up and saw that the first buoy was FRICKIN FAR AWAY. Since I zig zagged so much during the sprint tri a few weeks ago, I kept looking up to make sure I was swimming straight. This was a horrible strategy because I couldn't get a rhythm, I wasted so much energy pulling my body out of the water and I just got stuck in a bad mental place. It was really hard. I flipped onto my back, I treaded water, I thought about quitting, I thought about the athlete that drowned awhile ago, come on now, just get to that first buoy.

I finally made the first turn and started to feel a bit better. Too much sighting again, but better. Then the last turn and I hit it. Reminded myself that This. Is. A. Race. And I swam. Coming out of the water is a powerful feeling. And since this was such a big race and all the Sprinters were waiting to start, the crowd was super loud. It was awesome. And I could hear my dad's voice out of the crowd, which sure gave me a boost.

I passed quite a few people on the run to transition and actually managed to get the wetsuit off rather quickly. I love transition! It is so exciting. Things flying everywhere and boom, you're on the bike. 26 miles. I felt good. My goal was 18 mph, which meant I'd really have to push myself. And I did. The beginning of the course was hilly. No steep inclines, but I was changing gears a ton. I left my big ring alone the entire ride because I'm still nervous about chain issues. Experience will help with that. But still, the bike went really well. Only 5 girls passed me the entire ride. Lots of guys with fancy gear zoomed right by. fine by me. I'm not competing with them. And it's actually cool to be in an event with those athletes. There was a point on the bike where I thought to myself, "I can't believe this is what I'm doing right now." I am living and loving life. Feels good! The volunteers on the course were incredible and I made sure to thank them all and smile. I thought of Chrissie Wellington and the joy she exudes as an athlete. That's how I felt. As we were approaching the end I checked my bike computer and it said 18.6!!!

It's super awkward to run in cycling shoes!

Transition! Quick change of shoes and I'm off. I was saying to myself, 'You're a runner. You're a runner" as I zoom out of the transition area and turn the corner and BAM! Huge hill. Short, but steep. I only saw one other girl running. Loads of athletes were walking. It was that bad. I don't mind hills, but the problem with this was that it took away all my speed. I've become a faster runner because of tri training. Not fartleks or intervals or track workouts. It's the bike. Develops different muscles plus you're all warmed up plus you're legs were just moving so fast that they are ready to keep the pace up. This can be hard on some people. It has worked to my advantage in brick workouts, but that hill worked against me on race day.

I could feel that my pace was off. I don't wear a Garmin so I had noideal data. I listened to my body and pushed myself. It was hard to do at times because we were on the same course as the Sprint athletes. So some people were flying by me which was a little demoralizing and I had to remind myself that most people were running a 5K, not a 10K. And I had just done twice as much swimming and biking. They should be cruising by! But it's still tough. In races I like to focus on someone ahead of me and try to pick them off. I wasn't able to do that to many runners on my first loop. And the hills kept coming!

One good thing about tris is that ear buds are not allowed so people talk to each other a lot during the run. But then I had to run the whole course again. doh! The second loop was better. I picked up the pace and felt good. Was able to sprint down the finisher's chute.

There is something so great about the first time you race any distance. PR! no matter what! I estimated that it would take 3 - 3.5 hours for me. I didn't really know. Seeing the 2:57 on the clock was emotional. Such a feeling of pride and accomplishment. If I had not been so spent from the race, maybe I would've had the presence of mind to do some simple math. I was in the 3rd wave so I started 6 minutes after gun.

swim .9: 29:09
T1: 2:21
bike 26: 1:26:02 (18.3 mph)
run 6.2: 52:39 (8:30 pace)
total time: 2:51:12

That's 6th in my age group. In a big tri, a competitive field with serious athletes. I'm not trying to rudely brag, but I am surprising myself. Not only am I having a ton of fun, but I'm actually pretty good at this. Makes my heart and all those other muscles smile.

Immediately after the race I swore to my friends that I was never going to do that distance again. I hated the swim. I woke up the next day and felt great, not sore at all, so of course my first thought was, "Coulda run faster!"

And now a few days later I'm thinking about how to improve my time. I was a mental wreck during the swim and I'm a little mad at myself about it. I know what you're all going to say. I know my time is good. But I also know how much better I could do and that's what I love about sports; the constant room for improvement, new challenges, different workouts for mind & body.

These race blogs get so long. Thanks for taking the time to read. I appreciate my Sparkbuds a great deal. Your support and motivation continue to push me. Thank you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOLLY255255 10/25/2012 7:54AM

    I LOVED to hear about your olympic tri!! 6th place is amazing!! You should toot your horn that is a Wonderful result and you EARNED it!! I love the details about the race because I am thinking of stepping up from a sprint to an olympic distance. You made me feel like I could do it... probably come in last but it would be fun.

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TESS504 10/24/2012 2:20PM

    I loved reading this BLOG! Great JOB! I can totally relate to every emotion you described. Great BLOG...Keep them coming! emoticon

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ELISAJANE57 9/4/2012 9:08AM

    That is so awesome! Congratulations on finishing and getting 6th place! You can definitely say that you are a triathlete! I did a novice triathlon in June and I have been wanting to do another one again. What an accomplishment for you! emoticon

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RUSSELLORAMA 9/3/2012 2:29PM


That's so awesome! I am so proud of you!

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FITFORMYFAMILY 8/31/2012 11:23AM

    Congratulations my amazing friend! You are incredible and I am so proud of you!! The distances and the sheer number of people (which is really obvious in the picture of the transition area) would be so overwhelming. I love how you just set your mind to it and went for it, though! And 6th in your age group even when you backed off on training?? WOOHOO!! The part about being able to hear your dad's voice in the crowd made me cry, of course. I have no doubt that there are going to be some more incredible athletic events in your future and that you are going to ROCK them!

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CRYSBROWN1 8/31/2012 8:37AM


Your times are GREAT! I think that everyone struggles mentally in the water but seriously you did really well considering the distance!

The race venue seems like an exciting time too, glad that you had wonderful race!

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GODIVADSG 8/30/2012 10:33AM

    You did fantastic! Sounds like you really enjoyed yourself and surprised yourself! Way to go! Nice times on your transitions too!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HLTHYRNRMOM 8/29/2012 11:14PM

    You rock! Sounds like a great experience!!

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FIT_FOR_LIFE85 8/29/2012 10:06PM

    emoticon I love your race blogs! I always feel like I was right there with you (living the healthy life through you haha)! Another amazing accomplishment for you! I remember when you were only thinking about doing a tri, and look at you now- 6th in your age group! Really incredible! And you look so good! Something tells me that there's going to be another Olympic triathlon in your future, and possibly even an Iron(wo)man? emoticon


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SLEEPYDEAN 8/29/2012 6:04PM

    Awesome! I recently added an Oly to my fitness bucket list, and this just makes me want it even more. The swim is what gives me pause (and makes me say this goal may be more than a few years out). So far all I've done are sprint tris, which in my area are all reverse with the swim at the end and in a pool.

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TARANITUP 8/29/2012 4:52PM

    That is FANTASTIC!!!

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MICHSTATE 8/29/2012 4:33PM

    Awesome job!!!!! One of my running groups is a triathalon group and they were discussing how I could do a tri if I wanted....I agreed, but don't know how to breathe while swimming (which I know I could learn), more importantly I am afraid of riding my bike on roads with cars, and bikes are expensive!!!! I do have to say that you make it look fun!!!! :-)

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MELPHILLIPS741 8/29/2012 3:54PM

    Wow this is an amazing blog, I read it last night and was even thinking about it this are so inspiring!! Makes me wish I had thought of doing a blog like this when I completed my fitness competition in March. I LOVE how you incorporated all the pics :) - Good for you, you have to be so proud of yourself! What an accomplishment!!!

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AMBER281 8/29/2012 10:43AM

And Congrats!!

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SIGISHAWA 8/29/2012 10:38AM

    Amazing!! You inspire me...and I'm only training to do my first 5k and huffing and puffing through it! :) I grew up in MN in the cities so I was trying to imagine exactly where you were as I read, loved it! WAY TO GO!!

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WORTHEYMOM 8/29/2012 10:24AM

    What an inspiration! Girl you rock!! Thank you for blogging about your experience.. It kinda of excites me for my 1st tri - thank goodness mine is a shorter one! LOL - keep up the great work!! Now off to find a wet suit I can borrow maybe that can help my short swim bahahaha!

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ON2VICTORY 8/29/2012 10:07AM

    fantastic!!! You really did fantastic, wow...

Way to go..great pics !

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LISAINMS 8/29/2012 10:00AM

    Awesome job! I can't believe you backstroked and doggy paddled and still came up with a 29!! That's crazy. I'm always one of the first out of the water and my avg 1500 is 28. The swim is my one advantage. I'm a good cyclist and MOP runner. You are a much better runner and killed it! I hope you will do more olympic distance races. It's so much more strategy than a sprint. Congratulations on a great first race and impressive PR!

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OJIBWEEQUAY 8/29/2012 9:51AM

    I am so proud of you ATHLETE!!!! Way to go! Such an Inspiration you are! emoticon emoticon

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LDRICHEL 8/29/2012 9:47AM

    Hahahaha! My favorite part was this:

"Because, seriously, those buoys were so far out in the water. Maybe I'll feel better if I keep typing about how far they were."

I LOVE IT! Girl, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? Your description of the swim was like TEN TIMES better than mine of the Ironman swim!!!! Crazy lady. an aspiring triathlete, I LOVE to read firsthand accoutns like this. Thank you SO much for taking the time to detail it out. I read every word of it. And I might read it again!!!

SO SO SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!! I can't WAIT to be triathlete!!!!!!

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KAREN42BOYS 8/29/2012 9:33AM

    Great race report! Swims can really get in the head. Now you know that and can prepare differently. Wahoooooo!

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GINGERHAWK 8/29/2012 8:47AM

    I have just one word - WOW!!!!!!!!!! emoticon

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RUNNER4LIFE08 8/29/2012 8:43AM

    Kind of makes me want to try one......

emoticon job on your race! Even with all the struggles you had with the swimming you still ended with a great time. You should feel very proud!

And I agree.... there is always another race to beat your time. That is what keeps us going!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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OPTIMIST1948 8/29/2012 8:43AM

    I can only hope to work up to an Olympic distance in the future. You totally ROCKED the Tri (and the wetsuit BTW) and I am sure there will be nothign but good things in your future!

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JOYFULSPIRIT920 8/29/2012 8:18AM

    That is so awesome! You truly did ROCK it!! I'm so jealous of your fitness level, but it gives me new goals to work towards :)

Thank you for sharing your adventure with us. I would love to do a tri someday, but the swimming scares me a little too. Maybe, someday. Hmmmm


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RUNNERKDB 8/29/2012 8:08AM

    Wow great job! I have my first almost Olympic Distance in 10 days. VERY nervous!

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NUOVAELLE 8/29/2012 2:01AM

    What an amazing experience and a great accomplishment! And don't worry, it's not bragging, it's pride! And it's a great feeling, worthy to be shared!
Congratulations! And thank you for the inspiration.
emoticon emoticon

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 8/28/2012 10:50PM

    So nice to read about your experience. Makes me feel like I was kinda there.

Love your rambling about the buoys-made me lol and smile too:) Cool perspective about seeing your entire distance-never thought about that before. I did not know wetsuits float...and some racer died recently??eekk-need to search that one. What an absolute wonderful way to exit the water with your dads voice cheering you on. I just love him and don't even know him-seems like a cool guy whenever you mention him.

You rocked the bike portion and I had full confidence in your run and again...rocked it! Your time is amazing-maybe you should give up your day job, start training full time and make some $$ at are so talented!

You said "I am living and loving life-feels good"! I think I may just tuck that one away and use it on one of my runs cuz I feel the same way:)

Happy for you Maura!

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RUNNERRACHEL 8/28/2012 9:17PM

    Wow, what an amazing accomplishment! So happy for you! Makes me want to try a tri... A sprint tri for sure and who knows...I loved reading about your race. Thanks for sharing your experience. You did an emoticon job!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon You totally rock!!

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A-STRONGER-ME 8/28/2012 9:12PM

    YOU are emoticon

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NIKKIE2012 8/28/2012 8:25PM

    emoticon That is awesome.

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LADYBUG1107 8/28/2012 8:21PM

    Congratulations on a great finish!

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Some Friday morning fitspo with my summer goals

Friday, August 17, 2012

I've focused on nutrition for the past few weeks in an effort to lose just a couple of pounds or inches. It has definitely worked, but VERY slowly. Today is my lowest weight of the summer. by a whole 0.2 pounds!! but, hey, I'll take it. I've been working super hard and I understand the scale does not define us, but it's still nice to see a number that I'm satisfied with.

It's also good to remind myself:


In some ways, this year of maintenance has been harder than that year of weight loss. Working on fitness doesn't give the same instant gratification that weight loss does. Don't get me wrong, fitness goals are extremely rewarding and empowering. They are just different beasts!

Summer goals:

Did it! I relive little moments of it often. Already looking forward to Twin Cities 2013.

1 pull-up, that's all I wanted. This has been a goal for a long time. I'd try to follow a plan with assisted pull-ups, DH uses some app that he tried to help me with. I'd get frustrated because it was so flippin hard and I'd give up. And because he can bust out 50 in a row and that's crazy intimidating. Well, I finally did a real one. Without jumping to help my way up! Full body weight hanging from the bar and pulling myself up, chin over bar. whew! And then last week I did 2. My whole body shakes the entire time. Working towards 3...

head stand. Not there yet. There's still a lot of time left in 2012! I'll get there.

I know this is incredibly vain, but I wanted someone to compliment my legs when I wasn't wearing workout clothes. I was wearing shorts and wedges and a stranger came up to me and said I have amazing legs. She made my day!! Give someone a compliment today. It may work wonders in a very simple way.

triathlon. my new love. Completed the Sprint, had a blast, the Olympic distance is next Saturday.

run. It's still my true love. I ran on vacation, I did my first track workout, I ran new routes all over the city seeing places I've never been & seeing familiar places in a new way, I ran pushing my kids in the double jogger, I had running dates with DH, I ran with my dad and my sister, reconnected with an old friend on runs, made new friends in a running group, ran hills, ran a 5K in 24:06, ran alone for joy. I love running.

And I am so excited for Fall running gear!

What a great summer.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHYL1 8/20/2012 8:12PM

    Wow! That is awesome and your 5k time is super fast! Great job on the marathon too. I'm running my first one in October! I would love to be able to do a pull up again...maybe I will make that my next goal! emoticon

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MEGSMILEY 8/20/2012 2:46PM

    Good for you!!! Inspiring blog!

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 8/20/2012 8:18AM

    What a great year!! I am so happy for you.

2 chin-ups in a row??!! Why was I not aware that you busted out one? This is such a great fitness goal. Goooo 3!

Yupeeeee to lowest summer weight. I understand its not all about the scale BUT its a bit about it:)

Man, you are fast. 5k in 24minutes is FAST! I am still wanting 29minutes-I will get there some day, right?

Was camping with my sis this weekend and we had 1 run to do. I do not get to run with her very often-between the 2 of us we have 7 kids!ha, We are going to run this HM together in Sept-so fun. Anyways, we had 45mintues together-kiddless-and we actually got to talk. She said she would love to try a sprint tri and I got soooooo excited-me too me too! and so, after all this training for the half is done, that will be the next goal-thought you may enjoy that:)

Happy Monday to you. I declare you motivator of 2012 just by how you live your life-hehehe. Sooooo motivating for me!

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GODIVADSG 8/19/2012 11:16AM

    Sounds like an amazing summer! Congrats on living a full life!! So thrilled about your pull ups! You rock!!

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KANSASROSE67 8/18/2012 7:50PM

    Wow...amazing job meeting so many goals. Love it!

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MICHSTATE 8/18/2012 5:34PM

    Awesome job!!!!!! I have been working on the pull-up goal too...still a work in progress!!!!!:-)

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    You just put a big smile on my face. I love you!

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JILLIANPRNCSS 8/17/2012 8:39PM

    You have come so far and the year is not even over yet.

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 8/17/2012 4:21PM

    emoticon You are an Inspiring Wonder Woman to alot of people! You realize that, don't you?! Congrats on achieving & continuing to reach for new goals!!

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AMSTERDAMAND125 8/17/2012 3:08PM

    I LOVE YOUR GOALS - so inspirational. Thanks for sharing with us and keep up the great progress!!

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FIT_FOR_LIFE85 8/17/2012 2:37PM

    emoticon Isn't amazing to see how many goals you've accomplished (or are on your way)? I think it is! So how did you work your way to doing 2(!) pull-ups? I'm working on it too (but feel like giving up every time)!

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LISAINMS 8/17/2012 11:46AM

    Two pull ups? Awesomeness!! Next Sat is my "A" race, too. You will do great!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 8/17/2012 10:57AM

    Congrats on all your success so far this year Maura! You truly inspire me. emoticon

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SEPPIESUSAN 8/17/2012 10:40AM

    Congrats on a productive summer and thanks for the inspiration. I'm looking forward to running in the fall in the exact same clothes I wear to run in the summer without getting crazy hot! (early fall anyway)

But running in those tight black pants will be good too - in later fall.:)

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EILEENXO 8/17/2012 9:51AM

    WOW! You've made great progress this year on fitness! A marathon and a pull up. Dangity... one day... right now I got the weight to move on out. Congrats!

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What I'm reading now

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I often read several books at once. Right now these two compliment each other well. They were both popular several years ago. I'm a little behind the times!

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner
Lessons for living longer from the people who've lived the longest.
I appreciate that the research not only focuses on longevity, but on quality of life. The description of several centenarians that are active in their daily lives, have respected responsibilities in their communities, and enjoy simple pleasures with their family and friends. I think that's something we're all after.

In the preface a woman credits her lifelong happiness with; "I try to mentally check to make sure that I haven't hurt anyone, that the people around me are okay. I take time each night to think about the people around me, and think about what I eat, and what is important to me."

Wow. I have been trying to do this every evening. So simple, yet I often forget. With practice, it should become a habit for me. And how interesting that in this important time of daily reflection, she includes food.

When a 102 year old Japanese woman was asked what her secret was, she said, "eat your vegetables, have a positive outlook, be kind to people, and smile." Kamada Nakazato
The researchers joked that she summed up what they had said in a 500 page book. This quote should be a bumper sticker! It certainly sums up what I believe.

I haven't finished the book yet, but those are my highlights so far. I'm also halfway through Animal, Vegatable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

The Poisonwood Bible (by same author) has been one of my favorite works of fiction for a long time. About 6 years ago I figured I would love anything else she wrote so I picked up this. My guess is that I got through maybe 30 pages and decided I didn't like the book. Recently we were at my aunts house and she recommended the book to my husband. When I commented that I didn't like it, she looked at me like I was crazy. She told me this book was written for people like me. I admitted that I never read the whole thing and that I was at a very different point in my life.

I gave it another try and of course, I love it. It's the story of a family that commits to only eating food that they or their neighbors have grown. for one whole year. Whoa. Serious challenge.

There has been a recent rise in popularity among farm to table restaurants and the eat local movement. Kingsolver was certainly ahead of the trend. Since I have always been a person that enjoyed fitness and exercise, learning more about nutrition has been a major key to my journey.

I believe that we are an inter-connected species. The harm we are doing to our bodies is related to the harm we are doing to our Earth. The problem of obesity is about so much more than Fast Food Nation. (a nod to another interesting book!)
"if every US citizen ate just one meal a week composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That's not gallons, but BARRELS. Small changes in buying habits can make big differences." this is because "a typical food item has traveled an average of 1500 miles. In addition to direct transit, other fuel-using steps include processing (drying, milling, cutting, sorting,baking), packing, warehousing and shipping. " (p. 5)

Now, I'm not going to go hardcore and stop eating bananas because they are shipped from Costa Rica or give up my favorite apples from Chile. But it certainly does make me think and change small behaviors.

I pay attention to how much packaging something comes in, healthy food or not.

I feel that local is more important than organic.

That's what I'm focusing on now. Have you read these? Any recommendations for me?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRSSARGE140 8/29/2012 1:09PM

    Great blog! I'm very interested in the first book you mention...will have to give that one a look after I finish the 2 books on beginning running!


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LADYBUG1107 8/19/2012 9:05PM

    I loved the first two books. I have not read the third book, but it is on my list.

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FITFORMYFAMILY 8/16/2012 10:20AM

    Barbara Kingsolver and I have very different perspectives on faith, but wow can that woman write! I've read a lot of her books, but haven't made it to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, yet. I guess I'd better go for it!
I have been wondering what you'd think if you read Wheat Belly, so maybe you could read that one next and let me know? I keep hearing a lot about it, but don't feel like taking the time to read something like that when I know I don't have the discipline to stick to what it's recommending.
I wish I had some better suggestions for you, but I don't have much experience with books in the healthy lifestyle genre. I probably need to change that!

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 8/14/2012 9:35AM

    I am still working on your last book recommendation blog. I am LOVING Born to run but am reading it slowly. Really really making me think ALOT differently about running shoes and form-thks for that:) And ultra marathoners are amazing-are you gonna be one someday?

If you are liking the idea of local eating, the book "The 100-Mile Diet" by Smith & MacKinnon is intriguing. These 2 people document their year long challenge of eating only local food within a 100mile radius. It was so popular that it turned into a Cdn reality show(one with integrity, was unscripted and just awesome-real reality TV:) I devoured all the episodes.

During my "mini" holiday last week, I got to visit with my 94yr old great grama. She is of sane mind, lives in her own apartment! and gives tons of great advice. Isn't it nice to read or hear from someone with so much life experience? I love it!

ALWAYS let us know of good reads. I love a good book. Happy reading!

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MICHSTATE 8/14/2012 9:34AM

    Interesting.... I will put them on my to-read list!!!!!

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The gender gap

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ironman is not only a distance, but a brand. There are 140.6 and 70.3 races that don't fall under that m-dot branding. Ironman has done an incredible marketing job. If you're in the tri world you recognize that m-dot like every other American recognizes the golden arches.

I was looking at pictures from a friend's event recently. Her parents had Ironmom and Irondad shirts on. I asked about her husband. Now, get this: all the Ironmate shirts for sale were pink. And I have no issue with men wearing pink. But they were teeny little pink tank tops. Clearly implying that Ironman is a man's race and the mate is a female.

Motivation comes in many forms and THIS gets to me. I understand that the vast majority of participants are men. I get it. It still makes me want to work that much harder, to prove i can do it too. When we need a push during a workout we say, "guys in little pink tanks!" That always makes me go a little faster.

The gender gap motivates me. It always has. I want more for my daughter. The Olympics give me hope, yet are frustrating at the same time. The Saudi women in the opening ceremony was a highlight. Such a positive example of how far women have come, yet how far we have to go.

Ye Shiwen, from China, wins gold, her splits faster than some of the men. Immediately accused of doping. How could a girl possibly swim faster than a boy? She cheated. It's like people need that excuse to make themselves comprehend how she beat a guy. And not just any guy: she beat Ryan Lochte.

I know there are more issues here. The wide use of drugs in too many sports. The fact that a Chinese athlete beat the Americans. Is Missy Franklin under the same scrutiny? It's complex. But I think the gender piece is huge.

I've tried to focus on all the strong, happy women that we've seen in the past weeks. And there certainly have been plenty. Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, Allyson Felix, Gabby Douglas are stand outs to me.

I want my daughter's generation to see Ironmate shirts in a rainbow of colors. I want women participating from all over the world to be the standard, not a breakthrough moment. I want fewer girls to drop out of sports in high school.

I hope that these Olympic athletes that have so impressed me, have also left an impression on our daughters.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIXIERUNS 8/14/2012 5:25PM

    Great blog!

There is a part of me that is sooo happy (and another part of my that feels alittle guilty because of course I will support her in anything she wants to do).... I'm happy that my daughter is more interested in playing soccer and hockey then she is in taking dance lessons. Dance is a great workout - don't get me wrong about that -- but I am so happy she wants to play a sport that doesn't "require" her to put on makeup before she competes.

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CAKEMAKERMOM 8/13/2012 12:01PM

    I'm just picturing men in pink tops cheering on their wives or husbands!

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NINJA_SMOO 8/13/2012 11:49AM

  Great blog

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KJDOESLIFE 8/13/2012 11:02AM

    Very good point!!

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ASHLEYA0403 8/11/2012 10:23PM

    I LOVE THIS. That is all.

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    Here you are, being totally serious and inspirational (again!!), but I have to share this story with you ~ A few years ago, my MIL was trying to make the argument that men are physically stronger than women. My SIL then made the claim that women are stronger because we have the strongest muscle in any human body... the uterus. She was completely serious, but the rest of us just cracked up, thinking, "Outside of childbirth, what will a uterus help you do?....Hey...need some help lifting that heavy box? I've got just the right muscle!" You probably had to be there.

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KKINNEA 8/11/2012 5:40PM

    It reminds me of my race this morning - a little girl bubbling over with energy, running back and forth, hurdling cones and finishing a half marathon. I hope she becomes one of our next Olympians and doesn't fall prey to the typical gender role issues that still exist.

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FIT_FOR_LIFE85 8/11/2012 2:23PM

    Great post! It's always interesting/frustrating to me to think about how far women have come but how there is still so much that needs to be changed. Raising awareness for the gender gap that still exists is the most important step! emoticon

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KAREN42BOYS 8/11/2012 10:19AM

    Yeah! I just started a feminism discussion over on Facebook. Keep pushing the envelope.

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RUNNERRACHEL 8/11/2012 10:18AM

    emoticon I have felt like Ironman was gender-centric simply because of the name. I know a woman competing in Ironman in Kona. I remember thinking about the name.

emoticon job setting an amazing example to your daughter! emoticon

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TRIXYMAHOGANY 8/11/2012 9:33AM

    That's definitely a good motivator: I don't think I've ever heard of such a sexist thing to do in a competition before.

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ELISAJANE57 8/11/2012 9:17AM

    Well put! I think women have come a long way, but I know there is more we can do. One thing I absolutely love when I finish a race is to look at the results and see how many men I beat!

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