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My Mountain has a name: PHILADELPHIA

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Climbing a mountain isn't something everyone can do, or even want to do. I imagine it is difficult, time consuming, dangerous, and takes a huge amount of time preparing for. My nephew has climbed several mountains in the past couple of years and I know he has taken the necessary time preparing.

Marathon running is also something that not everyone can do or has the inclination to partake in. It is something that also is difficult, time consuming, can be dangerous, and takes a huge amount of preparation time. I know this to be a fact as I have run 7 marathons in 4 short years. I am now in the beginning stages of training for my eighth marathon on 21 November, Philadelphia.

I take time in my pre-marathon preparation to make a schedule of training runs on a paper calendar. It allows me to have an over view of the entire training time frame and plan races to test my progress through the weeks. This time the image of mountain climbing and my training crossed into one plan.

Just as a climb up a mountain has stages, my training has stages. There is a base camp in mountain climbing where the climbers aim to reach in the beginning of their ascent. My first four weeks of training are my "Base Camp" stage. It is where I am building my weekly distance from 15 miles up to 32. I have a 10K race to test my progress and acclimate me to the longer runs and 6 days of moderate consistent training.

During the next 5 weeks I move forward towards the secondary camp just as a climber moves higher up the mountain face. The climb gets more difficult, more testing more of a challenge. So has my training, My planned long runs are now double digit and my weekly mile total creeps upward from the 30mpw into the 40s. I test my endurance and stamina and speed by racing another 10K.

In order to reach the summit of the mountain from Secondary Camp, the climber needs to continue to acclimate to the higher altitude and take on additional equipment and their physical abilities and mental toughness is tested further. Thus it is in this4 week stage of my training. My longest of the long runs happen, the mid week marathon paced runs reach their highest, the speed sessions are consistent and the weekly miles crest just over 50. I will challenge myself with a half marathon race. I can see the goal that lies just 3 weeks beyond this point, the 26.2 miles of the marathon.

Unlike the mountain climber who once reaches the summit and the descends, I will gradually decrease my weekly miles but keep my fitness achieved on ascent to the summit by running consistently, running speed sessions and building the marathon paced runs to their highest. I will remain on that mountain top like being on a flat mountain top. I run along the top for a shorter distance, but keep to that level.

These three weeks before the marathon my miles will drop slighty leading up to Philadelphia and the final days are miles to just keep my legs turning over.

Then on 21 November, 2010 I will stand on the start line of my 8th marathon. I will stand at another base camp, I will climb another mountain, this time not over the course of 16 weeks, but I will put to asphalt what I have trained, sweated, ached and persevered to begin AND finish in a single 26.2 miles/42K. I will conquer my mountain, My Philadelphia Marathon.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLWOF1 8/15/2010 10:26AM

    That was a beautiful blog. I too can see your determination. I wish you all the best while you train and when you climb your mountain!

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LYNNANN43 8/14/2010 11:58PM

    What a great analogy!

I'm hoping to do the 8K in Philly the day before. (my hometown!) It depends how soon it cools down, though, so I can start running again regularly.

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ANNERBEES 8/14/2010 11:01PM

    This was such an awesome comparison! You are so focused and I can feel your determination when I read this!!! What an inspiration you are!! emoticon

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TERJEGOLD 8/14/2010 9:37PM

    I love this way of looking at it. Very nice!!!

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TAKENTOOLONG 8/14/2010 8:54PM

    Loved your training analogy. Good luck with your training and your big race!

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CHARLIE215 8/14/2010 8:38PM

    Good luck with the training Mary :)

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I Stop For Blackberries!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I am an outside runner. I look forward to traversing the rural roads, footpaths and fields which cover this part of England. With the routes pre-planned on my trusty Ordnance Survey map I have explored areas new to me and ones I have committed to memory.
I wait all year for these next couple of weeks. While on my runs I have glanced with caring eyes to the thorny shrub branches which line the roads and paths. They are everywhere; Wild Blackberries. I watch in early spring as the bushes fill with leaves and their long tentacle like branches reach further out into my path. I then begin to notice the first of the white with yellow centred flowers. Some where the white is even tinged with shades of pink, as if to announce the colour of the fruit to appear for those who are patiently observing their formation.
Next the flowers have disappeared and I see the teasing green berry taking shape, the fruit of the flower that was. I notice the ripening progress occurring along various roads and paths and take note of where I think the first ripe ones will occur.
Then itís something like a pot of simmering pop-corn. The green berries begin to turn a light pink, then darker and all of sudden the first one is black, and another, and another until handfuls of blackberries await picking.
Since my runs take me down so many berry lined areas I have a rotating order in my mind of which bushes to harvest first. That will begin in a week, but for now on my runs I stop to sample the first beckoning berries and enjoy the bountiful snack so abundantly provided.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RENLA6991 8/14/2010 2:45PM

    Ooh, that sounds heavenly! I used to raid my great-grandpa's berry bushes & scour the fence lines for wild blackberries. Your blog makes me wish I still lived out in the country!

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LAGREBE 8/12/2010 4:51AM

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmm....! Not to mention the pleasure of running in the cool of Enland! I plucked blackberries here (Gulf Coast) in May!!

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JACKLIN11 8/12/2010 2:28AM

    I think I need a blackberry trail Yum! emoticon

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AKSTACEY70 8/11/2010 11:13PM

    Great Blog. Enjoy your berries. I've made many stops for blueberries this year but I sure wish I had some wild blackberries to stop for.

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ANNERBEES 8/11/2010 9:49PM

    So is it hard to get your run in with all the stopping?? And are your finger tips all purple????? LOL Great Blog!! emoticon

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A-STRONGER-ME 8/11/2010 8:45PM

    Cute blog!

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LYNNANN43 8/11/2010 8:43PM

    I love blackberries!

How wonderful that you can run rural roads, footpaths and fields! emoticon

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TERJEGOLD 8/11/2010 8:29PM


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JANLEEW 8/11/2010 6:09PM

    MMM love those berries!

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JUDY4652 8/11/2010 5:52PM

    We have a wild blackberry briar growing on the edge of our property, inside our boundary so are reaping the benefits from that, as well as a hybrid garden blackberry I planted last year. Eating lots fresh, stewed with apple and freezing too! Great - they're all free!

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Getting ready to do IT again!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

To prepare myself for Marathon #8 training, starting 2 August, I took a look back at 2007 and the video I made after running my 3rd Marathon and first London. The pictures of my husband, our good friend, the expo, race morning, the elite runners, the aches, the crowds, the finish line, the elation, the medal, the pride! I remember it all and it brings home to me why I run marathons. I'll keep these images as I train for Philadelphia 2010. Enjoy!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BERUNNING 8/8/2010 10:42PM

    Mary, you are truly an amazing woman. What a great video and song to put it with. When I struggle with running I play that song to keep pushing me. You are an inspiration, thank you for being you!

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RHYNIC 8/2/2010 9:58AM

    that was so cool. I have to learn how to make videos.


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RAIDERMOM2277 8/1/2010 7:12PM

  Mary, your such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your video. Good luck with your training and best wishes for your next marathon.

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TERJEGOLD 8/1/2010 1:36PM

    WOW, Mary! Such a great tribute to your accomplishment. It gave me goose bumps to watch it. Thank you so much for sharing it. I can't wait to watch this training schedule. I bet you surprise even yourself with your improvements and your abilities.

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ALLDAY 8/1/2010 7:09AM

    emoticon I looooved this! Thanks for sharing and motivating me as I am training for my next half! Great pics and you are one beautiful and fabulous woman!

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ANNERBEES 7/31/2010 3:38PM

    This was so awesome!! What an inspirational video to really motivate you!! Thanks for sharing this....I want to go run now!!! LOL emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/31/2010 3:38:53 PM

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JILLWILSON2102 7/31/2010 3:19PM

    Mary I have tears in my eyes as I listen to this fabulous song and view your precious photos. I am so very proud for you to go forward to your next marathon. May your feet sprout wings my running warrior friend! emoticon

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    Mary....you have always been and will always be my inspiration and my hero!!! emoticon I love you with all my heart!!! Run strong, my friend!!!

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MEMEEMEEE 7/31/2010 11:53AM

    Awesome and very inspiring!! I'm not a runner but was very moved by your video. Congratulation in all your achievements ant keep up the great work!


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Saturday, July 10, 2010

I find family history very interesting. Even when I was younger I kept the cards my Aunt sent from Poland for Christmas and Easter. I now have them framed on my wall below the Polish Crest that had belonged to my parents.

I am the daughter of a Polish Immigrant mother and an American born son of Polish Immigrants. My mother's family name is on the memory wall at Ellis Island to commemorate her side of the family finally settling in the USA after several trips to and from Poland. My father's parents came over separately in their late teens through Ellis Island and met a few years later at church. My father was their first born child on 4 July 1917.

I was born a Navy brat as my Dad was a flier and served in both WW2 and Korea. His missions were mainly in the South Pacific and he received the Distinguished Flying Cross as did his younger brother for his service in the Army Air Core as a Bombadeer. Their younger brother, my Uncle Walter, died a young man over the skies of England. There is a monument near the Air Base in the south of the country dedicated to those Americans (and others) who fought and lost their lives in protecting the shores of the country I now live.

I mention all of this because my daughter was so moved by all the stories she heard last month (from my brothers while I was visiting) that she created the picture you see above. It is of my Dad, and my two uncles. My Uncle Walter is the young airman in the front. (My dad on the left) To the left of the photo is an image of the distinguished flying cross and the USN seal and a map of the South Pacific including GuadalCanal where my Dad was stationed.

The quotation that this picture centers around is: "A solider is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to our country for an amount up to and including his or her life. That is honor, and there are too many people in this country today who no longer understand that fact."

My father died 19 years ago on 5 July and I think my daughter did an outstanding job to honor her dziadzi(grandfather), and great uncles' memories.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILMA42 8/5/2010 4:06PM

    thanks for sharing your story and picture...I am also of Polish descent & my dad was born on July 4th (1942)....its amazing to feel connected and makes the world a much smaller place

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KALILA1229 7/29/2010 10:15AM


You have left me speechless, I LOVE what you wrote and the sharing of the picture.

So totally touched.

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ANNERBEES 7/23/2010 10:52PM

What a great tribute to your family! The pic is awesome and what amazing stories we hold in our heritage!! Thank you for sharing!

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SUCHAHOOT 7/23/2010 1:50PM

    This si so very beautiful and touching. Of course I cannot help but think of my own father who served in the Navy in WWII. Your daughter did a marvelous job. Thank you for posting.

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LYNNANN43 7/23/2010 1:33PM

    Your tribute brought tears to my eyes as I thought of my family and every family who has family members who have served or are serving now.

The picture of your 3 family members is so beautiful and the way your daughter put together the whole picture is AMAZING!

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SWDOTB2 7/23/2010 8:47AM

    We remember them and your daughter captures this tribute well in this collage' Your father looked very distinguished and handsome in his uniform, and your uncle Walter has a spark of fun-lovingness in his eye. We mourn his loss, their loss and pay tribute with you,

And my husband and I are thankful that his son returned from Afghanistan this summer and my son served his tour with the Marines and became a civilian again just last year. My father would have been so very proud of our sons, and I miss talking with my father very much. Will be five years in October since he took his long journey...Mary, we come from a long line of warriors! We're strong women!

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TERJEGOLD 7/11/2010 12:51PM

    That is so lovely! I am in love with family story and family oral histories.

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    How wonderful of you to share your story!

Sadly not much of the background can be seen. Do you have this uploaded to your photos? I shall go take a peek.


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JILLWILSON2102 7/10/2010 11:59AM

    How wonderful Mary to be able to share your family history and have your own family acknowedge the specialness of it. It is reassuring to know that what is important to you has also passed down to be important to your children...and the legacy shall continue!

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Friday, July 02, 2010

As I turned over the page on my perpetual calendar that sits on my kitchen counter, (I have used the same one for years!!) I had to turn it around to see today's reading. That was a realization that I am standing on the half way point of 2010.

This simple act brought me to take a closer look at the goals I set for this year and where I am in relation to them. Some are physical goals and others are accomplishment goals. Some I have made major progress on (like running marathon 7 and preparing for training for marathon 8) and others are slowly progressing, (seeing my weight finally moving downward again, working on next Health & Safety qualification) and others await my start (counted cross stitch projects).

I remember a saying I learned years ago; Half measures avail us nothing. I think of it often and of the things I have started and then just left; weight goals, projects of various types, well meaning ideas....

Staying at the half way point will not get me to the goal I am wanting. Just as I turned the calander around, so I too turn and move towards the goals I have set for myself to accomplish this year. I take action, not just plan; I cross items off my "to-do" list, not just keep adding to the list. I see progress and not worry about the perfection in it.

Welcome to July, welcome to the half way point that I am using as a way-point in my journey. Just as I use my Garmin when I run to measure my distance and then see where I have been on my journeys, I use today as point of reference to see what I have accomplished and what I lies ahead....and then I take that step into the remainder of my day, my year, my life. Thanks for stepping with me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PELESJEWEL 7/12/2010 12:36PM

    Whooo..great blog! I especially liked your attitude towards progress.

"I see progress and not worry about the perfection in it"

That spoke to me. Thanks for that!

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LYNNANN43 7/2/2010 1:30PM

    I was just pondering the halfway through the year point too.

Thanks for sharing!

Have a wonderful 4th of July! (I dare say- NOT celebrated over there;-)
emoticon emoticon

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TERJEGOLD 7/2/2010 9:27AM

    Nice way to look at it.

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