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Another year

Sunday, January 02, 2011

This is the place where I should put my what I want to accomplish this year. The resolutions that I will work to achieve and the deadlines I will do them by. Instead I am just going to say, this will not just be another year, it will be THE year!

It's the year I turn 60 and if not now, when!!?

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IFDEEVARUNS2 1/10/2011 8:18AM

    It will be a great year!

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FLGIRL_4EVER 1/5/2011 12:32PM

    Go for it Mary! I'll be here cheering you on all the way! emoticon emoticon

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CHARLIE215 1/2/2011 9:37PM

    I like it Mary - no talk & all action :)

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ZORAHGAIL 1/2/2011 9:28PM

    Heck yeah! Go Mary Go!

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TERJEGOLD 1/2/2011 9:01PM

    Sweet and to the point. Can't argue with that!

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DDUNKIES 1/2/2011 8:33PM

    2011 is going to be YOUR year- can't wait to cheer you on- love ya donna

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Day One

Monday, December 27, 2010

emoticon A simple idea, that is not just an emoticon. It comes from the story found in THE SPARK. Today is MY day one, again!
Just over a month ago I ran a marathon, and did a fantastic time. I ran it at my lowest weight and felt strong and nimble. The following week brought Thanksgiving and as we were away from home in a hotel, all our meals but breakfasts were eaten out. We attempted to make the best possible choices but that proved difficult with our specific inner city Philadelphia location.

Fast forwarding through the four weeks to today, I've seen my weight increase each week!! I forgot to mention that also during this time, in my part of the UK, we've had freezing temps for almost the entire time. We've also had inches of snow and freezing roads and hard packed snow covered sidewalks. My usual running was replaced with short dog walks in harsh conditons.

Put those facts together and it spells a recipe for increased weight, sluggish bloated feelings, annoyance, frustration, and on and on! Now with just a week until the start of a new year, I could wait until then to start making a change and feel better, but that is NOT going to help me TODAY! So that is why this is my DAY ONE. It all starts with doing the things I know that worked before. Doing the simple things that will help me turn a 180.

Here is my list of 5 things for day one:

1. Plan and Log my food
2. Keep my food within calorie range.
3. Exercise for at least 30 minutes.
4. Do something outside.
5. Get at least 7 hours sleep.

Repeat these for my next day one, tomorrow!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOPEYP 12/29/2010 12:56PM

    You can do it! emoticon for getting back in the game! emoticon

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RENLA6991 12/28/2010 10:13AM

    That's right! There's no reason why we need to wait for 1/1/11 or the beginning of BLC15 to start making better choices!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JILLWILSON2102 12/28/2010 9:23AM

    Mary! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FLGIRL_4EVER 12/27/2010 10:11PM

    Mary you will be successful! You are an amazing women, strong and unstoppable! I am ready to get back to my emoticon tomorrow. No reason not to start now with ya!

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LYNNANN43 12/27/2010 7:18PM

    I feel like a sluggy slug. All the crappy food everywhere, terrible sleep, freezing weather, and on & on. But you're right! That's no excuse!

Gotta put myself back in the right frame of mind and MOVE FORWARD!!!

GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR emoticon and BEYOND!!!!!!!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 12/27/2010 5:22PM

    I'm with you! Different reasons, same result. I started yesterday, but today is another day one. As will tomorrow.

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Conquering my Mountain: Philadelphia (The Movie!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This is the video account of my 8th marathon in Philadelphia in November 2010. Call it the movie to my previous written blog! Enjoy!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JDUBLANKO 9/22/2012 1:36PM

    AWESOME....TY soooo much for sharing it :D

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MAGGIE805 9/22/2012 12:57AM

    That was awesome, Mary. So inspirational and I admit I was a little emotional while watching it because I'm finding out just how hard you have to work to achieve this goal. But it is all worth it in the end. Thank you for posting this. emoticon

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ANNERBEES 9/21/2012 11:12PM

    Oh my goodness I must have missed this back then!!! This is WONDERFUL!! You can just feel the pride you had when running across that finish line!! Love your smile!! emoticon

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TERJEGOLD 12/15/2010 8:15AM

    Oh wow! That was so beautiful. I have to say I loved the music you chose. Perfect! You and your hubby are an amazing couple. Perfectly wonderful!

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BUGSMOM211 12/14/2010 12:44PM

    Love the video! Great job!!

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LYNNANN43 12/14/2010 11:02AM

    You got me! I'm crying like a baby right now! emoticon

P.S. There's nothing like running those steps at the Philly Art Museum, turning around and looking at the view:D

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FLGIRL_4EVER 12/14/2010 10:57AM

    Love it Mary! Thanks for sharing. I am so proud of you and your hubby! Way to go :)

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KEAKMAN 12/14/2010 10:30AM


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Conquering My Mountain; Philadelphia

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The final segment of my virtual mountainous journey concluded on Sunday 21 November. All the months of training; several worn out pairs of running shoes; the near 500 miles of training through rain, wind, hail, sunshine; the morning runs, late afternoon runs, long runs, speed runs, and marathon paced runs were about to be finally tested.
Thursday was a travel day, bringing my husband and me the over 3,000 miles from England to the City of Brotherly Love. Training was not quite over, there were still 2 days remaining in my maintaining race fitness. The final 4-5 miles were all that I needed to check off my 16 week program in the ascent up my mountain named Philadelphia.
Early Friday morning, prior to going to the Expo, in the early dawn hours, my husband and I made an easy paced run up to the marathon start area at the Art Museum and the “Rocky Steps”. The air was crisp, the sky clear and the lights of the city slowly giving way to the waking morning light.
Picking up our race packets later that afternoon presented its own joy when I had the pleasure of meeting up with my CAMO co-captain Lynn who would be doing Saturday’s 8K. She is a wonderful woman and fantastic example of perseverance and consistency.
Saturday morning meant one last run, two and a half final miles, to complete the training to take me to the start line. This time my husband and I took our camera and video camera along to document our route. We stopped along the flag lined Ben Franklin Parkway for various photo ops. It was a celebration of all we had done to prepare for what lie ahead the following sunrise. Another bounding run up the “Rocky Steps” and smile filled photos with the city sky line awaking behind us. The preparations were in place for the soon to start 8K race. Once finished, we made our way back to our hotel observing the approaching race participants. We would spend a few hours visiting with my older brother who drove down from North Jersey, and then shift into final marathon preparation mode!
In the hotel room our kit bags, racing clothes, watches, gadgets, fuel and other assorted necessary items were arranged along the couch. I worked off a check list to ensure I would not have any last minute surprises on race morning by having forgotten something.
Dinner was a tried and tested meal of baked jacket potatoes, cheese and salad. Then it was an early night as with a race start time of 0700 a calculated wake up of 0330 was agreed upon.
Morning came all too soon and the pre-marathon ritual began; natural peanut butter and all fruit whole grain sandwiches were prepared for after race fuel, my camelback was filled with SIS sport fuel, a breakfast of oats, milk, banana consumed and once showered and dressed we were out into the cold pre-dawn city for a 0500 walk to the start area.
Having walked about half a mile we received a surprise phone call from my youngest son who was just 2 blocks ahead of us walking our way. He had driven in from New Jersey and wanted to accompany us up into the start areas. It was special to spend this preparation time with him, as he had never seen me or my husband in full race mode. With time slipping quickly away, it came nearer to when our kit bags needed to be turned it and we said goodbye to my son as he left to escape the road closures throughout the city and make his way back home.
As my husband is a sub 3:20marathon finisher, his start pen was nearer to the beginning than mine and after hugging each other and exchanging wishes for a safe race, strong finish and good luck kiss, we parted and walked in opposite directions.
The morning light was brightening the scene of thousands of runners waiting in their corresponding corrals as I made my way back to the blue corral and positioned myself halfway. I readjusted my running shoe laces, removed my give away sweatshirt placing it over my shoulders until the opportune time to toss it, straightened my Union Jack Bandana and looked at the race pace band I had printed and encased in cellophane tape and pinned around my wrist. I had put a goal time of 5:40:00, a time that I felt would be a wonderful achievement and bring a new personal best of over 6 minutes. I would need to keep my pace on average under 13min/mile. Doubts of my capabilities started to surface and I found strength to quiet them. I had trained well, I had worked hard, and I had achieved great times in the 10k and half marathon races in preparation to this morning. Trust my training I kept telling myself.
I could hear the National Anthem being sung and minutes later cheering as the first wave of elite runners must have started. This race began different than any I have run; each colour corral was walked down to the start line in turn, and at a given signal their time would start. I was in the final corral and it was just over 30 minutes from the elite runners start that my blue corral crossed over the timing mats. My race had begun and my heart was racing as well as like a wave we final thousands made our way down the Ben Franklin Parkway.
Prior to starting I had noticed the 5:30:00 pace group near me. That was a quicker time than I had been training for, but I thought perhaps I could keep just ahead of that group and surprise myself in an even quicker time. The miles ahead would tell.
The first couple of miles melted so quickly and as usual I was off with a bit of a fast start. I shot a glance at my watch just before our hotel, at the first mile marker, and I was under 11 minutes! The course headed straight to the Delaware River and then along Penn’s Landing and after turning back toward the city I clocked at 4 miles my time was about 46 minutes , putting me 5 minutes under my pace band. The 5:30 pace group was no where to be seen and my breathing was regulating and my legs felt strong.
Pushing on through the city the cheering was centred at specific “cheer zones” with music blasting. I kept only one earpiece from my iPod in place so I could enjoy the atmosphere and the shout outs along the route. The race organizers had arranged for everyone’s names to be on their race number and it brought a more personal chant to the cheers.
It was approaching time to hit the double digit miles as we crossed the Schuylkill River and passed the Frat houses of the local University. There were offers of cups of beer and refreshments, but all that was paramount in my mind was keeping my pace time in check.
The course next wound through Fairmount Park and the downhill sections flashed memories of the final half mile to my door from many a run into my village. The inclines didn’t seem to bother me because of all the preparation from my miles upon miles of NW English countryside hills.
Often my mind would calculate where my husband might be along the course. There was a possibility that once I passed the halfway mark we might pass each other as the course turned back on itself. I wanted to keep my pace but around 11 miles I slowed a bit to take my first walk break through a water stop, dodging previous runners discarded cups. I checked my time and a short quick paced walk would bring a bit of relief and not cost me too much time.
Then it was no time before the 12 mile mark was upon me and knew the split for those nearing the finish of their half marathon was approaching. My pace was good, my breathing great and ahead were marshals guiding those doing the half to keep right and those pressing on to full 26.2 miles to stay left. I positioned myself to the left and kept moving through the slight incline and made the left bend and crossed the halfway timing mat.
It was now that I could see the quicker earlier wave racers in their final mile of their marathon. These elite were in the low 3 hour time span and moving quicker than I could ever dream. Their strained faces, aching bodies, illustrated how they were pushing themselves through whatever mental and physical pain they were experiencing. Some even had the energy and thoughtfulness to glance to my side of the road and wish me a “well done”. I reciprocated with a “well done YOU” all the while glancing to catch sight of my husband. In an instant I caught a glimpse of him as he sped passed and even though I shouted his name; his focus was on finishing his last half mile in full concentration.
It was now the long run up through the scenic Kelly Drive through the park towards Manayunk a distance of 6 miles. I kept focused on the music softly in my ears, the river to my left, the stream of earlier runners on their final stretch. My body was tiring but I still was pacing faster than I have in any previous marathon. There was a turn to the left over the smaller steel Falls Bridge and down a tree lined road. I had stayed ahead of the 5hr 30 min pace group for 17 miles. As they came up, engulfed, and then passed me, I toyed with the idea of trying to keep up with them and even did for a short while. But, as that was not even the pace I had trained for, I was just happy that I had managed to keep ahead of them for as long as I had.
The town of Manayunk was approaching and I was so happy to finally reach the turn around point and the 20 mile mark. Now I knew it was a “straight” line down river to the finish line. Just a 10K left and this is where the real distance of the marathon is felt. This is where I have unravelled before, where I lost time, where the aches and discomforts of my body screamed their loudest. Even though I was trying to keep the voices of my aches to a whisper the strain on my calves was beginning to get louder. Focus and walk when I need to was my mantra. Don’t loose too much time, keep your goal in your mind, you WILL reach your goal, it will happen; were thoughts that filled my mind to keep me going.
It was about the 21 mile mark when I came up on a young woman name Leigh. She was struggling a bit and I asked if she was all right. She explained how her Left Quad muscle was hurting and she hadn’t trained full for this, her second marathon. She was from Long Island and we exchanged friendly conversation as we ran. When she found out this was my 8th marathon and I had started 10 minutes after her and was on for a personal best time, she asked if I wanted to run the remaining 5 miles with her to the finish. Knowing that she could help me keep to my pace, I agreed. It was what helped to keep me focused as we walked, then ran to designated race points; a sign, a tree, a mile marker.
Our pace was good, our moral was high and we encouraged each other at what a great job we were doing. I was startled when she said we were almost at the 25 mile mark. That was so exciting as I knew I was going to run my best ever time. With just a half mile left, we took our last walk break and then approaching Boathouse Row and the crest of the final incline she said we were where the start corrals were and lets run our way in! I was elated!
Side by side, Leigh and I owned that road! As we appeared over the crest of the hill we could see the sides of the road lined with spectators. It was then I saw my younger brother waving his arms wearing a “Blackburn Harrier” shirt! I couldn’t believe it!!! There he, his family and my already finished marathon running husband were waiting for me. I took a couple seconds to hug my brother and announced to them all that I had to go get my medal and continued running with my brother next to me cheering me on.
I noticed that Leigh was joined by her sister and good friend who had both run the half marathon. With new enthusiasm and motivation and energy, I ran toward the awaiting finish line and smashed my previous marathon finishes. This was a personal best time of 5hr 37min and 30 seconds; 9 minutes better than my previous best in London two years ago and 38 minutes than my first marathon in Edinburgh in 2006.
Through all the tears, excitement, and family embraces, Leigh came over to me and with tears in her eyes and a space blanket wrapped around her, she hugged and thanked me for being there with her. I once again repeated the thanks that I had expressed to her at mile 24 and told her how grateful I was to her for keeping me going. For you see, there is something that happens to you out there on the marathon road, all those you meet are on the same journey with you. Leigh and I were both mountain climbers on this expedition and when it got tough out there, we pulled together and helped each other finish, and finish strong! May you each have someone to help you as Leigh helped me.

PS. Hubs finished an amazing 3:20:47 and placed second out of 91 in his age group!

WOW...Thanks so much for taking the time to read this very long blog. If you haven't watched the video blog (my movie to this novel) then sit back and enjoy! It's on the list before this. Thanks again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TOBEARUNNER 12/15/2010 3:16PM

    Congrats Mary, awesome job! I know four women who went to Philadelphia to do the full this year and none of them finished... Congrats, congrats, congrats! :)

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IFDEEVARUNS2 12/15/2010 3:11PM

    What an awesome marathon! Thanks for sharing the excitement!

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    Awesome job Mary!!! You are a ROCKSTAR!!!

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RENLA6991 12/15/2010 2:17PM

    Mary, I saw you in our Island Get-a-Weigh hut & was going to ask you about your Philadelphia race report. You posted this the next day!

Thanks for sharing this. I felt like I was right there with you. I hope I can find someone like Leigh to help me through my first half marathon next year. Congrats on your great race & smashing your previous PR!

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ALLDAY 12/15/2010 11:10AM

    emoticon emoticonOh Mary, you are just incredible! Thanks for sharing your great marathon accomplishment! You definitely inspire me to go the distance! emoticon

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ZORAHGAIL 12/14/2010 7:38PM

    Awesome job Mary!

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FLGIRL_4EVER 12/14/2010 11:16AM

    Mary I am so very proud of you. I wish I could of been there to run beside you, hey maybe someday :) Can't wait to hear all about your training for the next big race. emoticon

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LYNNANN43 12/14/2010 11:09AM

    Stop it! I'm crying AGAIN!!!! I'm SOOOOOOO proud of you!!!!!!!

I couldn't believe it when you recognized me at the Expo! I can still see your smiling face:-)

You are still my RUNNING HERO!!! emoticon

P.S. Another THANK YOU for the HM shirts! The Philly 8K, you and those shirts are what inspired me to sign up for my first HM!

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PAMINHALF 12/14/2010 10:44AM

  Wow thank you for the tears this morning. Reading your marathon post helped spark a bit more determination that I too one day will finish a marathon. thank you again for sharing your story!

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KEAKMAN 12/14/2010 10:30AM

    WOOHOO!! Thank you for the morning inspiration and cry Mary! What an AWESOME race, and how wonderful that Leigh was there for you and vice versa!

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HEKIDANJO 12/14/2010 9:28AM

    Thanks for sharing that! I am trying to decide if I want to do the Philly marathon next year and this makes it sound well worth it!

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Monday, November 15, 2010

That is all that awaits; one week, 7 days, a handful and change...till another marathon! The Philadelphia start line is that close now. I got the full 40 miles done this past week and I finally now feel like I am tapering!!

The last of the 3 mile speed run, the last marathon paced 10 mile run, the last semi-long run of 8 miles and the last full week of training! My stomach churns with anticpation and realization as I wrtie this.

What is left now? What do I fill my days with prior to our departure on Thursday? It' s just a mere 3 days of easy paced 5 mile runs; a total of 15 more miles on English soil. I've decided that I'll do 3 different routes ending with my favourite 5 mile on Wednesday. This is also a week of packing, organizing work, completing paperwork, taking the animals to their respective kennels/cattery, countless additional things, plus contacting family members and friends that are going to be our cheering section while in the US. Perhaps all this is to shift the focus and my nerves away from Sunday 21 November.
It is so fitting that we will spend some additional days in the Philadelphia area for Thanksgiving and my birthday!! We will enjoy the holiday with family and enjoy this rare opportunity of being together.

Our race numbers and instructions came via email. Come 07:00 US East Coast Time, on 21 November the Philadelpia Marathon begins. My speedy hubby is in the second pen! I'm much further back in pen 7 (last pen) My number is 12210

Your kind thoughts and cheers of encouragement are greatly appreciated. I'll carry you in my mind as I run on Sunday. When it gets tough out there, as I know it will, I'll draw strength from how each of you has been a part of this journey of mine and left messages of support. Thank you in advance as I truly appreciate each one of you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLGIRL_4EVER 11/16/2010 12:08PM

    emoticon I am so excited for you! Gosh I wish I lived closer! I still plan on running with you a little on that day. But will be cheering you on the entire time! emoticon

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JILLWILSON2102 11/16/2010 7:18AM

    Mary, always my inspiration. May your feet have wings and your heart be light. Enjoy this wonderful adventure! You are The Running Warrior! emoticon

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RAYLINSTEPHENS 11/15/2010 11:06AM


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LYNNANN43 11/15/2010 10:21AM

    Did you get a wrong email too? Then a corrected one? I was "Lynn Lynn" on the first one. LOL

We leave on Wednesday to spend one day in NJ with our Great Aunt in Ocean City. Then to Philly Thursday afternoon:-)

Best of luck with your training, preparations & planning this week! See ya on Friday!!!

emoticon emoticon

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KEAKMAN 11/15/2010 9:41AM

    Mary, your blog made me so excited for you! I want to fly out to Philly and cheer you on, but alas, I can't. But I will be eagerly waiting for word on how you do. And I will go check the site right now and see if I can be on the notification list of your progress (one of the best things about technology - we get to know!)

Have a great final few runs and here's to a safe and easy flight!

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    Mary I am soooo excited for you!!! I only wish I could be in Philly to cheer you on and hug you as you cross the finish line!!! As I start training for my 3rd and possibly final marathon, I take your inspiration, drive and determination with me every step I run!!! As always, you are my HERO!!! Hugs, MissyJ!!!

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