Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Spark Friends who gifted me with the honor of becoming a SparkPeople Motivator. When I first joined Spark waaaaay back in April, 2007 it was all I could do to learn everything SparkPeople had to offer. Then I started to enjoy the many successful events in my journey. It has become my greatest SparkJoy to share the many lessons I have learned with the Spark friends I have had the privilege of making in the years I have been here. If I can make a difference in someone’s day or give them some motivation that they desperately seek I am happy. One of my favorite things is reading blogs. Oh the many laughs I have had, the tears that I have shed and the love that I feel from the many wonderful blog entries I have read especially over that past several months.
I think what has made the biggest difference in my Spark journey is becoming a member of the Community Team. Welcoming new Sparkers is a highlight of the duties we have especially when you notice a few weeks later that a particular new Sparker has caught on to the fine art of Sparking and is realizing successes. That is very cool.
Now on to my running so now would be a great time to take a heart pill so you don’t get overcome by excitement. As many of you know as I have most probably bored you to tears with it, I ran my third 5K race this past weekend. I had great HIGH hopes of getting a new PR with that race. Well, since I did not realize that this is an easy feat to achieve when you are running with over 25,000 other folks including walkers in front of you, my game plan changed within nano seconds. Then you add the fact that my piriformis muscle in my right glute decided to make life more interesting than I ever asked for. It was Coach Nancy that persuaded me to get new shoes and I dutifully followed through with that suggestion. OMG! What a difference a very cute running salesman dude can make in my running life. After careful analyzing of my widdle feets and my worn out Asics that I just purchased in June, I decided on a pair of Adidas Supernova Glides. Can you say running in clouds? Ya…they are that comfy. Cute salesman dude gifted me with cushioning!
I ventured out this evening for the first time since running the race and I HAD FUN!!!!! What a novel concept!!! I had forgotten how to have fun!!!!! I should really slap myself with a pair of my Teva Mush size 6 flip flops!!!! I had put way too much pressure on my running for that 5k that I forgot to have fun and enjoy the splendor of the autumn colors! DUH!!!! I ran for 50 minutes for a total of 3.92 miles for an average pace of 12:48 running at 5:1 intervals which is quite comfortable. Woot! I rock!
I have also started a running journal with actual pen and paper! I want to make notes such as what I learned from the race so I can look back when I run that particular race again. Also I want to look at my trends to see how I am progressing. Well, at least it sounds smart…never said I was smart. I’ll just look the part.
I also found another race…Reindeer Ramble 5k that is literally just 10 minutes from my house. It is December 6 and I am going to wear my Minnie Mouse Christmas ears during the race. This is going to be so much fun!!! Running and fun…just sounds so right together!!! Since this will be a smaller race perhaps I will get a new PR! THIS time I won’t pressure myself and just let it happen if it happens!!!!!
That is all for now folks…CARRY ON and thank you for reading yet another pithy blog.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
This day was full of twists and turns and lessons to be learned and this day was a celebration of Mom who fought a courageous battle of breast cancer. She ultimately won when she passed into the arms of awaiting angels April 21, 2008. Today was a day of smiles, laughter and tears in a throng of 25,800 people dressed in warm clothing in every hue of pink imaginable. The weather in Des Moines this day of the 24th day of October was crisp and cold with the golden hues of autumn surrounding the beautiful Iowa State Capitol building with its gleaming gold. It was a day of so many emotions I experienced that will forever be etched in my memory.
Beautiful downtown Des Moines skyline
The day started very early as we wanted to get to the capitol grounds early as we knew there would be a massive amount of folks in attendance. My daughter and I were escorted by my husband Jim as he dutifully drove us there and he is my official racing photographer. LOL We arrived at about 7:30am and found a prime parking spot. SCORE! We collected our pink things and headed to the grounds and ground zero. After collecting our pink freebies including Yoplait Delights and Babybels and my annual Ford Warriors in Pink scarf, we were ready to scope out the other exhibits.
I LOVE this car as I own a Mustang
The next item on the agenda was to finally meet my newest Spark running buddy JCORYCMA (Joanne) or as everyone here knows her as the “Denial is a River in Egypt” blog write. She and I discovered each other a few months ago and I don’t even remember how it happened. She lives in the Des Moines metro area as does our daughter and her family. As we got acquainted, we discovered that we had many many things in common including mothers that succumbed to breast cancer. After about three humongo SparkHugs and giggles we finally had a chance to chat in person. Joanne is a very special lady that has accomplished so much with her health thanks to SparkPeople.
JCORYCMA (Joanne), my daughter Julie and myself
The time came to make our way to the starting line. This is where life became very interesting with twists and turns coming at me fast. I was wearing a timing chip as I wanted to finally get an accurate 5k time. So I thought. It was quickly obvious that there were so many walkers amongst the runners even if Joanne and I were in the 11:00 pace area. We were so far back from the start line that after the gun went off, it was a good 10 minutes until we were there. I was in a full out panic. It was at this point in time Joanne and I parted ways and went our own pace. As fast as I could muster I made my way to the start line to activate my timing chip. Then dashed off to the sidewalk to get out of the walkers and that was a good move on my part. I was finally getting out in the open. It was at that time that I was obviously running way too fast for my current running ability but I just had to get caught up to whatever I had to get caught up to. LOL
I decided to pick runners out of the crowd that was obviously seasoned runners. I chose a few that ran about my pace and ran close to them in order to watch their style of running…for learning purposes. That was quite helpful actually as I decided that I wasn’t too far off the mark. It was about halfway through the race when we came to a “healthy” hill and that took a little wind out of my sails and I thought no big deal. I took a swig of water from my own itty bitty 5k-size bottle of water and went on my merry way. I rounded the corner to yet another flippin hill. I thought that this was now starting to get a little old. I never knew downtown Des Moines had so many freakin hills!!! The cheerleaders along the way were actually very helpful in gutting it out.
I did take the time amongst my heavy breathing and lactic acid-loaded thighs to take in the splendor of the pink. The smiles and laughter and hilarious coconut bras were everywhere. The signs runners and walkers were wearing In Celebration of and In Memory of was everywhere. I thought about Mom who I just knew was sitting at every intersection as she would move her lawn chair in order to get a good view of me. I thought about Mom as she was gasping for her last breaths in ICU moments before she passed. I thought about her love throughout my growing years. I thought about just how much I miss her now. I thought about all of the 25,800 people in pink this day that has been touched somehow by the ravages of breast cancer. Somehow this particular race took on a whole new meaning.
As I made the final turn what lay before me was the longest STEEP hill I would have to tackle to date. I had to stop to walk about two times but I finally made it with the throngs and I mean throngs of people cheering as the runners and walker went over the finish line. Survivors on the far left, regular runners and walker in the middle and time-chipped runners on the far right. My official finish time is 41:33 as I was held up with walkers. Next year, I am going to start at the front with the runners...duh...lesson learned.
Immediately after my finish
At this point my official time seems so trivial now with this particular race. I learned so much with racing and most importantly with life itself and just how precious our mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers and aunts truly are. Breast cancer is horrible disease that took away my mom. Breast cancer is a horrible disease that has affected so many families with the loss of so many loved ones. As long as there are events such as the Race For The Cure, I will do my part in participating in them. What a great way to use my newfound love of running but to help raise awareness for such a great cause. Perhaps that is why the good Lord nudged me that one day I was bored with walking and tried running.
This race started out with the intentions of bettering my PR. Because of the twists and turns of the day more I feel valuable lessons were learned about myself and the realization of just how precious life truly is. That was demonstrated with the sea of pink, laughter, tears and smiles. There will be many more Race for the Cures in my future and I will now be running them with a true purpose.
Ladies of October
by Sandy Johnson Henrici
They were our mothers, sisters, friends, and wives,
Who fought the horrific battle and lost their lives.
For their pain and suffering there was no cure,
And so with their inner-strength they had to endure.
They showed much courage for their awful plight,
And fight they did with all their might!
Until one day, they earned a set of angel's wings,
Now in heaven's choir each of them joyfully sings.
Their faith in us, my sisters and brothers, will not be lost.
We will win this battle, no matter what the cost.
So each year, we will run the race for the cure,
Someday, for them, we will win this race for sure!
As we remember these wonderful Ladies each year,
Never forgetting their precious love, oh, so dear.
Let's praise them for all that they were,
The month of October is just for her!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Being so close to my goal, I am really starting to notice little changes that I am seeing in myself physically, mentally and emotionally. I looked in the mirror this morning and you know what I said OUT LOUD? Laurie, YOU are hot!! I smiled from ear to ear almost in tears. WOW! I didn't see that one coming! I stood there for a few minutes in complete awe looking at my healthy shiny hair, a radiant glow and a sense of huge accomplishment.
Because of obesity, I have had very VERY low self-esteem from childhood through adulthood. FINALLY, I am now finding the Laurie that I have always dreamed of being, but never thought possible. It’s not just the physical changes I am experiencing or the number on the scale that defines my accomplishments. Most importantly, it’s the changes I am experiencing inside as now I feel empowered and in control of my life. I now have the courage to try new things that I was too afraid of taking chances on due to insecurities and doubts.
SparkPeople has given me the tools and resources I needed in order to make these changes in my life. With these tools I have blossomed in so many ways including shedding my shyness which kept me in my shell for so long. That alone has opened up a new world for me and I anxiously await the opportunities that lie ahead. With my new love of running (only made possible with SparkPeople) I have learned so much about myself and learned new skills such as patience and perseverance. I have discovered that I can set a goal, work for it and accomplish that goal. It’s just not running, it’s an activity that changes you in so many ways.
It is my wish that I can help fellow Sparkers make discoveries in their own personal Spark journeys that will ultimately allow them the chance to feel what I did this morning looking in the mirror. I want them to finally love themselves for who they are as they shed their own doubts and insecurities and blossom into the person they have dreamed of becoming.
This journey has been extremely hard but it is THE most important thing I have done for myself. My journey of discovering who I really am and becoming the Laurie I genuinely wish to be has only begun. This adventure is priceless and I thank God every day that SparkPeople entered my life.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I have had this strong desire to purchase a pair of running tights and for what reason, I have no clue I just knew I had to have them. I bit the bullit today and tried on a pair of Nike rrunning tights with great anxiety and with my eyes closed. On top of that, we all know how fitting room mirrors and the lighting is our very worst enemy...well that AND ourselves.
I pulled each leg on with much intrepidation and heart racing preparing myself for anything. I had my back to the mirror cuz I didn't want to see. I finally mustered enough courage and took alook. OMG!!! I looked awesome and I looked like a runner!!! Okay, so there are a few "issues" with my tummy pooch but I look very slim, trim and ready for some cold weather running! WHO KNEW!!!!
THANK YOU SPARKPEOPLE!!! I love you!!!!
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