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Nourished and Encouraged and Blessed!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jotting off a quick note to update and thank all of you, my sparkfriends, for the way that you encourage me everyday. It's been a bit of a trying couple of weeks and add to that my typical hectic schedule and I was beginning to feel like beating myself up for not accomplishing all that I thought I "should" or "could". But, thanks to all of you, I was able to step back and see that I was doing all that was possible for me at this point in time and that is enough.

Last night, I went with friends and cooked and served dinner at our local homeless shelter. Tacos and mac n cheese for about 150 people. It was a very rewarding experience and once again opened my eyes to just how fragile life is and how very blessed I am, but it did make for quite a late night.....and this morning I had to be up to meet with friends for a long run.

Woke up in plenty of time, but with a headache (which I rarely get) and a bit of tummy touble. I was still tired and coupled with not feeling well, I was half tempted to cancel, but I have missed to much training already, so I made a deal with myself that all I needed to do was show up and get started. I could go slow, but I needed to just try and do what I could. I drank a couple of glasses of coconut water - for the electrolytes - to try to offset any damage the stomach issues were causing hydration wise, and then filled my water bottles on my belt with more coconut water and water mixed. In addition, I packed some Power Bar fruit gels as I am trying different methods of fueling and they seemed the lightest/safest option for the troubled tummy, and I was pretty certain that since I was not feeling up to my usual hearty breakfast, that they might be needed if I was able to "go the distance".

When I got to the park, my friend from my community group and another dear Sparkfriend were already there and introducing themselves, so we gathered ourselves and hit the road around 8:30ish. We maintained a pretty consistent slower pace of around 11:15-11:25 min miles, both in an effort to not overdo my already physically compromised state and to also give us the best chance of bettering our long run distance. Since Deb (from my cmmunity group) is just getting back into running, she did a run/walk mix, but Darlene and I were committed to keep running....and running....and running back to check in with Debbie...and then running some more. A couple miles in, I started sipping on the coconut water every few minutes and at about 4 miles or so, I chewed a gel about every half mile or so just to keep going. We didn't beat any land records for speed, but that was not what this run was about. For Darlene, it was one of the longest she has ever done and the longest in recent history and for me, I consider it an acheivement to have even showed up....much less to have done the 6.25 miles in 71 minutes.

I am so grateful for such good friends to encourage me an inspire me to push myself, even when I'm not feeling like I can push any harder. I am greatly blessed! I was an effort and I have done the distance and felt better afterwards, but given how I felt when I woke up, I think it was a success.

Beyond that, on the way home, I stopped at the resale store I used to manage and found a nearly new bike helmet for $2.50, a two-piece swimsuit (bikini no less) that doesn't look half bad on this 50 year old body for $1.50, a lightweight summer robe for$1.00. and a desk organizer for $1.00, and 6 printer cartridges - expired but only 50 cents each. I was able to take the cartridges into Office Depot for the recycling program and get a $3.00 credit for each one - and since 5 of the 6 were new (unopened) even though they were over 2 years expired, they ggave me credit for 10 instead of 6 = $30.00 store credit on my quaterly statement. That's a $20.00 gain and I don't need to go looking for a deal on a bike helmet now! emoticon

The combination of the stomach issues, heat and run did take alot out of me. My BP dropped again - pretty low which only made the headache worse, but I was able to get a short nap and eat well today and get it back up to almost 100/65 - and my pulse remained strong and 61, so I am grateful that I had the forethought to drink the coconut water before and during the run to minimize the electrolyte loss and was able to rehydrate relatively quickly. Even despit the stomach issue, the Power Bar gels worked okay and did't seem to cause any further stomach problems so that was a good experience. All in all a good day and got some catching up on the puter done....though still a ways to go.

Pretty late now though, and I think I'm going to relax and do a little reading for enjoyment - just because I can before sleep tonight.

Tomorrow's another day - SPARK STRONG EVERYONE, and much thanks for all of your encouragement! You inspire me in so many ways to be the best I can possibly be - far beyond what I would ever dream, I am eternally grateful!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CINDYCHARLENE 6/23/2011 12:28PM

    My first thought..."Give and it shall be given, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again".

I read your last blog first and saw the fruits of your labors in that you are back to work almost full time and your boss will see to it that you have more hours. You are certainly valuable in your work place, but just the fact that you give of yourself in so many ways to so many people it cannot help but pay in big dividends.

I am so blessed to know you. You are a wonderful example of Christ like living. Thank you. God bless you.
Love, Charlene

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POCOPACK 6/21/2011 6:08PM

    So glad we were able to have such an awesome run, especially since the day didn't start out very well for you. It's so good you had your fueling pack and were able to use it so well!! emoticon Looking forward to meeting our next goal!!

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MIMIKK7 6/19/2011 9:42PM

    All I can say is 'Wow!' You are simply amazing with everything you do for your community, for your friends, and for yourself. You energy and your perseverance is unstoppable my friend. I sure hope your get to feeling better very soon. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GREYLOCKES1 6/19/2011 5:03AM

    Nice job. Remember long runs are about getting the distance in. Don't beat yourself up about slow pace. Way to go on finding deals also. Enjoy all that you accomplished.

Spark on

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CANNIE50 6/19/2011 12:50AM

    Good for you for showing up for your run, anyway, and "gutting" it out. I have had runs like that - I think it is always good to be reminded that we are tougher than we think we are. I hope tomorrow you feel well, and are able to have a restful day - you have earned it.

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BLESSEDMAZARS 6/19/2011 12:20AM

    Wow! You are just amazing! Way to get out there and run. You are a great friend to your fellow runners. I'm sure Darlene appreciates your encouragement a great deal!

Love finding awesome deals and you definitely did! Woo-hoo!

I sure hope your stomach and head are feeling better soon. Take care of yourself, dear friend!


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Making Every Day Count

Friday, June 17, 2011

Life sure has it's ups and downs, but I choose to be happy and content with whatever it hands me. The schedule at work got edited....and I lost another hour. It's going to be touch with just 53 hours in the next two weeks. I'm praying that doesn't continue for long, but in the meantime, I am determined to make the most of the "down time". I've gotten pretty good at creative financing....just deposited a check and saw it clear from doing on line shopping thru E-Bates - http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=CxV
hYulgYgCg4mRur5p83w%3D%3D and then yesterday, found out that I have been approved to participate in a medical research study for the next three months. That will net me an extra three hundred dollars or so for the next 12 weeks for getting a vial of blood drawn 5 times and logging on to answer 5 questions a day. Not bad pay - and free medical during that time too!

I am really grateful for the bike - took it out again yesterday and rode it to lighting training (3.11 miles - who would have guessed that it is exactly 5K from my front door to the front door of the church)! Then instead of going straight home, took the Virgil-Gilman trail and a little detour on the way home to log another 5.5 miles. It's not a "road" bike, so I stuggle to keep my mph up, but it's exercise. I had hoped to ride to work, but I'm thinking the work commute most days might be tough, as I have a luch and paperwork etc that I need to tote with me, but a backpack can work for that...just another project that I can work on - as well as what to do with my bike lock when I'm riding.

Tonight I'll meet up with some friends and we are preparing and serving dinner at the local homeless shelter - then tomorrow morning (hopefully the weather will hold), I'll meet with friends to do some running and then maybe breakfast - as long as we go frugally.

Finally saw my weight hit that "magic" number below 130 for the third day in a row - it's the first time that has happened since my first race this year. Trying to keep my nutrition in balance with the schedule Ive been keeping has been a little more challenging and too many days I was seeing myself at the top of my calorie range or just over and with more carbs than I would've like to see for the amount of fitness I was getting. I DO love my fruits and veggies, but I tend to lean towards the fruits more than the veggies and those calories still add up quick.

Well, I hope to be able to catch up more with all of you soon - oooo, another good project for the next two weeks. Life is good - maybe this is just what I needed!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CYCLINGSANDY 6/18/2011 4:31AM

    God will certainly meet all of your needs during your lean work hours weeks. emoticon on the drop below 130 too!

Blessings for a glorious weekend.

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ACTIVE_AT_60 6/17/2011 9:46PM

    Oh - I got my bike question answered. And as for volunteering in the homeless shelter ... nothing is more gratifying than giving back. I used to volunteer in a free clinic. Awesome experience - I called it me time.

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LLLAWSON 6/17/2011 6:40PM

    Love your positive attitude. The bike ride sounds like fun. Hope you have a great week-end.

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RHONDALYN10 6/17/2011 3:41PM

    Your attitude is so uplifting. God always has our backs - continue to trust and obey.

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BECKYBEFIT 6/17/2011 11:46AM

    Congrats on reaching your goal, that is wonderful! I love your positive attitude, thanks for sharing it!

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BLESSEDMAZARS 6/17/2011 10:35AM

    Keeping that positive attitude is really working for you! Awesome!!!! Congrats on your "magic" number goal. I have one of those, too and am getting close. Keep up the great work! Hope your hours filled with things you don't normally get to get done. :) emoticon

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DUKELETO 6/17/2011 9:44AM

    ....maybe your next career should be as a motivational speaker or writer. I love the constant positive in all you say and do. Keep up the great work. emoticon

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LKEITHO 6/17/2011 9:30AM

    Great attitude! And good for you for continually giving back to the community!

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ERLYWA 6/17/2011 8:55AM

    I just love your positive attitude despite the challenges! Looking for the postives in any situation (and they are always there, no matter how hidden!) will take you far.

Keep lovin' life! :)

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MIMIKK7 6/17/2011 8:41AM

    Life is good! emoticon emoticonon hitting your magic number! Have a sparktastic day emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Trying to See the Bright Side

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

This last schedule that came out at work I found that my hours (as well as most of the other part timers) had been cut by 25% - 30%. It was a bit troubling, but since I have been working almost full time hours and am caught up on the big bills, I wasn't overly concerned. In fact, I was trying to look at it as a good thing.....an opportunity to get a little ahead in my training and back on track. However, today the next schedule came out and it is more of the same. I won't be able to make ends meet if this keeps up. Trying to keep a positive attitude and hang in there and appreciate the extra time off. Maybe with the added time, I'll not only get more on track fitness wise, but I'll have the chance to do some more job searching.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHICAGOHEALTHY 6/17/2011 12:16AM

    Things certainly aren't easy these days. I hope your hours pick back up. Keep up the positive attitude and take the time to your advantage.

emoticon emoticon

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AMYSTRONG 6/15/2011 11:55PM

    I like your attitude. I really try to have my glass half full too. Hopefully things will improve on the income front.


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PANFRIEDTROUT 6/15/2011 10:50PM

    Getting your hours cut is indeed a scary prospect more so when bills are looming & you're wondering how to meet them.

I applaud your taking the view of keeping up your training & possibly looking for an extra job or new position altogether.

Have you talked to management to see if this is perhaps a temporary situation?

When I'm stressed out about events in my life, I often turn to this passage ~ Psalm 86: 1 = 7. I hope it will help you too.


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LKEITHO 6/15/2011 10:47PM

    I hope the hours stay good enough to meet your needs. As you say, maybe the extra time could be an opportunity for you.

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My Second Childhood

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Today was a community service day with my church. We traditionally undertake some type of community project each month, but then once a year (today), we undertake many and more project for one super serving day. Year after year, I have always done a painting, rehab or landscaping project for one or another non profit agency or organization and today was supposed to be another one for Mooseheart.

When my friends and I arrived at the church, however, we found that we had been reassigned to a local housing project area that is going to be torn down in the next 2-3 months. Our task.......to buddy up with the young kids and have a fun day with them. What a blessing - and more to me than to them I think! We did arts and crafts and science projects and played hopscotch (can you believe I remembered how!?!), and hula hooped (which I was able to do) and jumped rope and played volleyball (of sorts) and I even learned to play basketball. We grilled out and just had a marvelous time talking with the kids and playing and learning about one another. WHAT A BLAST!!!

Note to self - got to do this again ... SOON! I may have to sign up to mentor one of those young ladies...can't think of a better way to get to enjoy some energetic youthful company and have an excuse to play! WOOHOO - SUCH FUN!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHICAGOHEALTHY 6/17/2011 12:20AM

    What a fun day for both you and the kids. A true blessing all around!

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DAPHNE_RUNS 6/12/2011 12:30PM

    It is a good feeling to volunteer. There are so many people who benefit from your act of kindness, and it leaves you with a big ole grin at the end. Mentoring is a wonderful thing; most of these kids want attention and they do not get it at home.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful day. Funny that you mention the hula hoop; I am going to buy one for the kids (okay it really is for me) and try to do that for 10 minutes a day.

Daphne emoticon

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MIMIKK7 6/12/2011 9:53AM

    What a great day serving your community! You made a difference in your community, in those young children lives, and in yourself! There is no better accomplishment. You would make an excellent mentor for any young child. Go for it!
Have a Blessed Sunday emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ERLYWA 6/11/2011 11:50PM

    What a great experience...for you AND for them! I worked as an assistant to the volunteer coordinator at an agency here in town that matched volunteers up with kids who want mentors. I interviewed the kids in order to help find matches for them. I can tell you one thing...these kids are desperate for mentors! They all want someone who is there by choice, not b/c the court appointed them, and they just crave that one on one attention.

I think it's a great idea you have to mentor one of those young ladies you met. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it would be a life changing experience for her...and for you, too! :)


Comment edited on: 6/11/2011 11:51:51 PM

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LKEITHO 6/11/2011 10:35PM

    Sounds like a great day, and mentoring sounds like it would be good for the child and you!

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KERRYG155 6/11/2011 10:24PM

    What a perfect way to spend a day!

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It's Just Like ... Riding a Bike

Friday, June 10, 2011

So, thirty some odd years ago, I was riding down the road on my bibyle, minding my own business and ... the next thing I knew, someone was leaning over me asking me if I saw the truck that hit me, did I know what color it was, and did I see the license plate? Then, I remember waking up again in the emergency room.

No permanent damage, but I haven't really riden a bike since. Not more than just a few feet. I'll drive a motorcycle for hundreds of mile, but riding a bicycle was a whole other matter. I would shake so much from fear and nervousness that I couldn't steer straight and would lose my balance the moment I got near any uneven surface, bump or the road.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, a dear friend gave me a bike - with only 20 or so miles on it that she just couldn't get used to. I took it into the local bike shop - got a helmet and started coasting up and down the sidewalk, then the driveway and today....I got out on the side roads and road for 20 straight minutes! Did 3.77 miles with an average speed of 11mph (no speed demon) and got as high as 14.2 mph. It's not a road bike and by next year I may be ready to "graduate" to a real road bike, but for now, that's one big WOOHOO! A new form of fitness and I can save on some gas b biking to work or other activities and put that money toward my next bike. Kind of fun.....wish I'd done this sooner, but just one more thing that I have learned to stick with until I could overcome the obstacles and conquer it. Thanks to Spark, for giving me the desire and the confidence to take this on.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NELLIEC 6/12/2011 7:53PM

    Well, riding a bike isn't necessarily easy. I never did learn to ride a bike until I was 17. I would try and try and would fall over and fall over. Finally when I was 17, I seemed to be able to balance on it OK.

In your case, you have done wonderfully in overcoming the fear!!!

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MIMIKK7 6/11/2011 8:30AM

    That is truly a BIG emoticon to overcome your fears and move forward in a very rewarding form of exercise! For not being on a bike for a very long time you did emoticon emoticonI bought myself a bike this week and I am looking forward to many hours of enjoyment and movement. Have a truly amazing weekend! emoticon emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CYCLINGSANDY 6/11/2011 2:53AM

    emoticon OK, so you will take up biking and love it just like I do. So, maybe I can still become a runner like you are.

We shall see...

Blessings for a wonderful weekend!

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KANSASROSE67 6/11/2011 12:07AM

    That is a pretty major fear to overcome...great job!!! Enjoy every moment on your bike. Mine is an old clunker...someday maybe a new one will be in the cards.

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