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Spring Activity Challenge

Friday, April 22, 2011

Our challenge this week was to do a spring activity and blog about it. Well my spring activity was to get a spring run in, but...well...Chicago hasn't really seen "spring", at least not this week.

I joked about our weather this week (which is typical of Chicago spring actually) and my team mates Mary and Anne told me that they wished it would rain for me because running in the rain is refreshing, and cools you down, and is just plain beautiful.

That's when I realized that I've never run in the rain. And a little part of me wanted to. A bigger part of me wanted the sun to come out and perhaps a nice spring breeze too, but there was that part of me that wanted to do something I hadn't done before.

So when I woke up this morning, the day of my planned run, and heard raindrops on the roof of my bedroom, I was excited! I got out of bed like it was Christmas morning and got my gear on, including thermal, and shot out the door.

The view out my front door

I had a great run, it wasn't raining too hard on the first half of my run, the second half got a little brutal with the wind and the sleeting rain, but it was everything I had hoped it would be. It WAS beautiful, refreshing and new. Like Sam in Green Eggs and Ham, I can say "I do, I do like running in the rain!"

Before my run in front of my Sunny Gals car decal. Go Sunnies!

After my run, glistening with sweat and rain and geeking a pose.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You are such an inspiration, I am sp proud of you running in the rain. I guess Chicago and Lansing Michigan have the same kind of Spring. LOL

Thank you for commenting on my blogs.

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TEDDYBEARGIRL 4/25/2011 1:14AM


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    I was so proud that I got out for a run today, but it didn't rain by me at the lakefront. Now I feel like I missed out on something. That's GREAT that you got out and ran in the rain. To be honest if it had been raining, I probable wouldn't have gone for my run. KUDOS to YOU!

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    you are so cute and i'm proud of you for running in the rain!

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HEATHIELAUREN 4/23/2011 11:15PM

    Ohhh, I'll have to remember that! It's starting to get rather hot and humid here. A rain run would be quite refreshing!

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AMBERLEIGHM1 4/23/2011 6:17PM

    I loved your blog, now I want to try running in the rain. I love the rain but I have never considered exercising in it. Thanks for the inspiration.

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LMLOPEZ 4/23/2011 3:15PM

    Great job with running in the rain. We missed most of the crud that demolished St. Louis; I don't mind running in the rain because even though I'm sweet I'm not made of sugar. Looks like you enjoyed it as well!!!

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KITHKINCAID 4/23/2011 1:31PM

    I love Rain Runs :) But not this week! It's been too cold for Rain Runs. Way to go you for actually getting out there and doing it!

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BABY_GIRL69 4/23/2011 1:17PM

    Way cool!! Glad you went out & there sprung into action & did something you have never done. I mean, we all run from the car to get to cover in the rain but to do something that is health related is great!

God bless & enjoy everyday!


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TEMPEST272002 4/23/2011 12:37PM

    Glad you enjoying your rainy run! It rained for me today too. Not so bad going out, but the wind was in my face coming back and I was just dripping. Feels so nice to be inside again & huddled in front of the fire.

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KAKLUCK 4/23/2011 7:49AM

    Awesome!! I was hoping to get a rainy run in this week too but Wisconsin weather has also not cooperated. My rain date turned into snow and was too slippery to run. Your run sounds great though and I can't wait to do mine soon!!!

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CHICAT63 4/23/2011 7:38AM

    You GO GIRL....rain & snow cannot deter us Running Girls:) Have a great weekend.

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ZURDTA- 4/23/2011 7:01AM


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UNICORN212 4/23/2011 2:52AM

    Now THAT is a proud, happy smile!

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KSGROTHE 4/23/2011 2:41AM

    emoticon You look so happy!

- Karen

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MOMFAN 4/23/2011 12:32AM


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SMALLERMELORIE 4/23/2011 12:13AM

    WooHoo on your run in the rain. Take a warm shower.

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FITFUNKYMAMA1 4/22/2011 11:48PM

    that is so awesome!!! I still haven't run outside yet this spring.I really should.We got a new gym out here in our little community and they boast 2 new treadmills,2 bikes and 2 elipticals so I attempted to run 5k the other day....whoa.....I only made it like a little over 1km before I totally petered out...gonna have to go back to my C25K program again!!!

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FEF Bonus Challenge: 3 Books

Friday, April 15, 2011

BONUS: For bonus points, share three of your favorite nutrition and fitness books. Post a blog about why they are your favorites.

1. RUNNING FOR MORTALS by John Bingham & Jenny Hadfield

This book was recommended by Sparker PINKCOCONUT who has run marathons and inspires me, so I picked it up. I think I read through it in one night. Is is a great book especially for beginning runners about how to fit running into their lifestyle easily. It stressed that you don't have to run fast to reap the rewards that running has to offer. That all you need is the courage to start.

2. LIFE IS A VERB by Patti Dingh

I LOVE this book. It's hard to describe, here's what the publisher has to say about it. I can honestly say that this book has changed my life. I began reading it before I started my weight loss journey and I believe it's one of the things that propelled me to change.

"In October 2003, Patti Digh’s stepfather was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died 37 days later. The timeframe made an impression on her. What emerged was a commitment to ask herself every morning: What would I be doing today if I had only 37 days left to live? The answers changed her life and led to this new kind of book. Part meditation, part how-to guide, part memoir, Life is a Verb is all heart. Within these pages—enhanced by original artwork and wide, inviting margins ready to be written in—Digh identifies six core practices to jump-start a meaningful life: Say Yes, Trust Yourself, Slow Down, Be Generous, Speak Up, and Love More. Within this framework she supplies 37 edgy, funny, and literary life stories, each followed by a “do it now” 10-minute exercise as well as a practice to try for 37 days—and perhaps the rest of your life. "

3. THE SPARK by Chris Downie.

Enuf said. This book rocks so much that when it was reprinted in paperback I purchased it for the expanded information (quick start) and also so that I could give my hardcover away to my Mom. I love this book and if my Internet were to crash, I would have support through it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARILOUIE 4/22/2011 10:45PM

    Thanks for the list - I am going to check out Life is a Verb right now.

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BRITCHES82 4/16/2011 2:20PM

    Great list! I am so going to read Life is a Verb now!!

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    Great list! I'm definitely going to have to check out Running for Mortals!

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TEMPEST272002 4/16/2011 1:00PM

    Thanks for sharing your list!

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REENSKI 4/16/2011 11:51AM

    Great list!
I'm definetly getting life is a verb, anbd hoping to work up to running for mortals. Thanks for sharing!

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TABIKATZZ 4/15/2011 6:28PM

    What a great list! I am so totally going to get Life is a Verb! Thanks!

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KSGROTHE 4/15/2011 6:02PM

    Great list! I added the Life is a Verb book to my Amazon wishlist. (It's available for Kindle!)

- Karen

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THEADMIRAL 4/15/2011 4:52PM

    Thanks for sharing these!

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GMO_JEN 4/15/2011 3:42PM

    beautiful motivation board and great books! love the spark!

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KITHKINCAID 4/15/2011 2:56PM

    Still haven't read The Spark. I suppose I should. I'm generally against "self-help" type books at all, but since I'm on the site, that should be different than anything else.

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    ooh I LOVE running for mortals!

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FEF Challenge: Spring Motivation Board

Friday, April 15, 2011

This week's challenge was to create a spring motivation board. We weren't allowed to create a virtual one, which is what I usually do, so it was really fun for me to get out the construction paper, scissors and glue stick. The board is something to inspire you to keep going when things get tough.

I have more than just one dream, like most of us here. Yes, we want to get fit, lose weight, and lead happy lives. That is Goal #1. For me it's a goal of mine to lose weight and become a normal weight so that I can be healthy for not only myself, but for my two girls and my husband, too. A big part of that goal for me is running. I have discovered that I love to run and it is great cardio, so it is a goal of mine to continue my mantra to "Run Strong".

Another goal of mine that some of you may know is to write a book (or two, or three). I have two first drafts of novels that are sitting in my drawer. I have a children's book all laid out and composed. I have at least ten great short stories that are doing - what? Nothing. I have discovered that I am afraid. I don't know exactly of what...failing? Success? But nonetheless, there is fear there. It is one of my goals to conquer that fear, toss procrastination and perfectionism out the window and just go for it.

So my collage combines some various elements. There is Faith in there, because for me that is my strength and the foundation on which everything else resides. There is running, because I AM a runner. There are quotes about strength and discovery. And there are quotes to inspire me to write.

My husband is a glass artist and I'm going to have him set my collage under class so that I can put it on the wall of my office at home to inspire me.

Here is my collage, and elements are described below. I took a picture of it, but also scanned it in. It was difficult to get the entire collage without losing some of the sharpness of it. But hopefully you get the idea.

Thanks for taking a look!

Left to right:


"One Inch at a time" - this is not only for my weight loss, which is slow, but for my writing and also for my running. I'm a slow runner, but inch by inch I will get there!

"Little by little deep inside us, the diamond shines, the eyes open, the dawn rises, we become what we already are." ~ Bo Lozoff. This quote inspires me because I feel that we all have the power inside of us, and we have had it all along. This is similar to the quote I posted last week on my spark page, that we are all athletes, just some of us are in training and some of us are not. I want to become everything that I can be.

"Add your own Scenery." A fun quote about the people, situations, etc, in your life, but also about having long fun runs outside to places I've never been.

"Today's the day. No more fooling around." enuf said.

"Run Strong" - my mantra I used in the 8K - I added stickers along the trail in the picture to show movement.

"Find your strong" - OMG I LOVE this! Had to cut it out of the magazine when I saw it.

"Of course I can do anything. I'm a mother." How true! And there's a picture of my beautiful dolls to cheer me on.

"Go Write Your Book." No explanation needed.

"They're just pieces of paper. Let GO." I need to remember this.

Heart with Christ inside and words coming out of it like love, peace, joy, faith, etc. I believe that all good things come from Him and if I am in Him I am all of these good things. I show that to the world and it's contagious, hopefully.

Bible at the bottom I put a sticker that says "Found" - I found myself in the bible. I found promises from God and have found my strength there. It is my goal to stitch His words on my heart so that they come naturally to me in all times.

Right picture - me when I was 5 yrs. old. framed. I want to embrace the inner child in me and remember to honor her always. "I'm a runner" is above it, then at the right is "Yoga. Love. Run. Peace" - this quote reminds me so much of my wonderful friend Blaize and I wanted to have a piece of her in my collage. "Be a hero" is at the bottom, reminding me to be a good role model to my girls, and also what my dad said to me after the shuffle.

At the very right of the page is a quote by Aristotle: "Well begun is half done." Meaning just start!

"You have to be willing to write badly." This got cut off on the bottom right.

Upper right - a picture of a woman running with wings on her shoes. I loved this image, it conveyed how I feel when I am running, like I am flying. There's a quote she's running on that says "When you're a vessel from God, you don't even need a boat!" Meaning that God makes a way when there is no way. If it's His plan he will pave the way for you.

On her shirt I put "Got faith?" and then "Running on Faith" over her. Above her it says "There is no place God cannot go."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Okay, I'll bite... what is FEF? ... and your collage is coolness..

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SYN-CA 4/16/2011 12:52PM

    Creative, just like YOU! You are an amazing woman, Kathy--realize your many gifts.... emoticon

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MOMFAN 4/15/2011 6:22PM

    "Continuous effort -- not strength or intelligence -- is the key to unlocking our potential."
- Liane Cardes

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KSGROTHE 4/15/2011 6:08PM

    This is emoticon! I still have to work on mine.

You rock! Keep up the good work!

- Karen

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THEADMIRAL 4/15/2011 4:59PM

    emoticon I LOVE it!

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TABIKATZZ 4/15/2011 3:17PM

    great collage!!! perfect!

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KITHKINCAID 4/15/2011 2:51PM

    This is really beautiful. I want to cut & paste now!

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SGTSUNNY 4/15/2011 2:22PM

    You have a gift that needs to be shared with the world! Go for it!
Great job again on the writing and visual!

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LMLOPEZ 4/15/2011 1:57PM

    Kathy, it's beautiful. Thank you for sharing and explaining it for us. What a motivational way to keep finding the strong!!

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TEMPEST272002 4/15/2011 1:44PM

    I love your motivation board. I especially like the idea of putting a picture of yourself as a child in there. You were quite the little sweetie & so like your own girls. I'm off for a walk, then sitting down to do mine this afternoon.

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AMBERLEIGHM1 4/15/2011 1:42PM

    I love your inspiration board, you did a great job explaining the meaning behind everything. I think I need to make one now and put one next to the treadmill. Faith carries me through everything so I really related to your board.

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KKINNEA 4/15/2011 11:24AM

    Sometimes my running feels like "One inch at a time" :) This is a great motivation board!

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    Oh my goodness, this is amazing!

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ZURDTA- 4/15/2011 11:15AM

    Lovely... just lovely!

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WOLFKITTY 4/15/2011 10:59AM

    Wow! Thank you for the explanation at the bottom, too. This feels like a really powerful vision collage!


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SMALLERMELORIE 4/15/2011 10:54AM

    Great Job Kathy

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GETNHEALTHY4ME 4/15/2011 10:50AM

    emoticon This looks great! I'm gonna have to work on mine over the weekend.. not a glue stick or magazine in sight in my house... *sigh*

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MESEATURTLE 4/15/2011 10:49AM

    Totally totally love it!!!!!!!!

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Shamrock Shuffle Race Report: One Day You Will Wake Up in Your Dream (pix)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Congratulations on your finish at the 2011 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k!

Reading those words in that email yesterday after running the Shamrock Shuffle 8k was like waking up in my dream. Waking up to a life that was not my own previously. To understand you might need a little insight into my history with the Shamrock Shuffle.

My family has been walking and running the Shamrock shuffle the past five years. When we first started participating I could barely walk it. I was overweight. No, strike that. I was obese. I tipped the scales at 300 lbs. Then the next year I was pregnant. Then the following year I walked it and finished the race 20 minutes quicker than 2 years prior.

Last year they took away the walking category, but my sister signed my dad and I up (walkers are welcome, but you need to walk at a 15:00 min. pace, which is speed walking). We were both a little scared. I told him we could do it, and no matter how badly our race results might be, we were going to finish. As the race started, we almost got trampled. People on the bridge cheered us on, and he looked at me, winked and asked - Want to run just a little bit? Just for show? - And we ran. A few minutes later, I noticed my dad wasn't next to me anymore - I looked back at him in the sea of runners. He waved at me and said to go ahead. So I did. I couldn't stop. A mile later I finally slowed down. I felt bad I had left my dad behind. I called him on his cell phone and waited for him. I couldn't let him do it alone. We were the last people to finish the race. (We actually had the pace car following us and telling us to get off the street, and the person in front of us had one leg - no joke).

What happened after that race is nothing short of a miracle. I began to RUN. Finishing last and having the pace car following us and telling us to get off the street was humiliating. That does something to a person. Also, I LIKED running during that race, and felt the thrill. I wanted more of that.

So I began the Couch to 5k program and in 2010 after graduating from Couch to 5k I ran five 5ks.

Then I signed up for the Shuffle in 2011. I trained for it as I trained for my 5ks, adding a little time and miles on every training session. However, there was a point where I thought I wouldn't be able to do it. I think it was because I viewed the run as one big mountain to get up. I wasn't digesting it piece by piece. My friends reassured me that I could do it, and Jenn (KITHKINCAID) told me to just add a mile on at a time to my training. That gave me peace and reassured me that this was doable. My partner Blaize (DANCINGEARTHMOM) has been a constant support to me during my training, cheering me on my runs and having the faith that I could do it. Aundrea (OFFDREA) also has been cheering me on and virtually high fiving me on my runs too. My best friend Cheri had recently run an 8k and assured me that yes, the distance felt longer than a 5k, but that I could do it. And of course my sister Kris, who is a huge inspiration to me, has been patiently listening to my calls of uncertainty and pushing me on. She is pregnant this year so she wouldn't be able to run with me, but she assured me that I could do it. My sister Kara told me I could do it. My entire family knew I could. And all my Sunny Gals were behind me 100%.

So you could say that this race means a lot to me (ya think? LOL). I even painted my toes green in honor of the upcoming race.

That morning I prayed that God take any fear away from me and replace it with peace. I think starting off the day this way really helped me get into my mindset. The night before I created a playlist of songs so that each mile I knew where I was at just by my song list.

My dad picked me up at my house in the burbs and we drove out to the city. Traffic wasnt bad. We parked about a mile away from the event as we knew (from past years) that the parking lot would be jammed and take us an hour to get out of it. The walk to the race served as a great warm-up for me. It already felt warm outside, and it was going to get hotter. In past years it has snowed, rained or just been plain freezing out for this race, but this year it was going to be a record-setting heat. At 9 AM it was already 75 degrees out.

As I got into my start corral and was lined up waiting to run my nerves were jumping. The race said it had 40,000 participants.

The official race start time was 9 a.m., but I was in the last corral, so we didn't move until 9:50, so it was almost an hour of move up a little, wait. Move up a little, wait. My dad was so sweet and stayed with me near the fence so that I wasnt alone.

I know I am a 36 yr. old woman, but to have my dad do that it was just really touching. I had looked for Jenn (KITHKINCAID) as I knew we were in the same corral, but it was a mob of people and I couldnt find her. Later I found out that I was actually in the H corral, not the G, so I was in the last one. It wasn't marked very well. I contemplated whether I should visit the port-a-potty before the race, but I didn't want to have to jump over the fence or force it open to get back in as some people were doing, so I stayed put.

Starting Line - Source: Chicago Tribune

Then we were off! First song on my play list Airplanes B.O.B/Hayley Williams. I got motivated and inspired by the crowd. There were people up on the bridge cheering us on. I looked for my sisters, who I knew were going to be on the bridge, but didn't see them. I was going to wave anyway, but didn't, lol. It was amazing. Then through the tunnel and I knew there was no turning back.

Photo Source: Chicago Tribune

I paced myself and even though I had the urge to run faster I didnt my plan was to finish the race strong and run the second half faster than the first half. I didn't look at my watch, I felt like that might freak me out (and make the race seem longer) so I made a deal with myself -I could look at it at the mid-point of the race and that was it. So I kept running. I felt strong, but also the heat made my chest feel really constricted, which I am not used to.

Then we passed the first mile marker! It felt like a short amount of time. I didn't look at my watch at the time, but later reviewing my Garmin I ran that first mile at a 10:35 pace. I kept running. We went up a slight hill and I could see all the runners and it made me feel like a part of something larger than myself. I felt like I was living, and this is not something I would have planned or set out to do just one year ago. I have come so far.

Photo source: Chicago Tribune

Next onto Michigan Avenue. This race is cool because the city of Chicago shuts down certain streets that are normally very busy. Michigan Avenue being one of them, a prime shopping place for Chicagoeans and tourists. But today it was open and us runners owned that street! This was the first refreshment stop and I hadn't planned on stopping for Gatorade until the 2nd and final stop, but I thought with it being 75 degrees and feeling like every drop of it, I should hydrate. I slowed down to get my cup, drank it while fast walking and then threw the empty cup on the street. And I was off (again)!

Pedestrians waiting to cross the street. Source: Chicago Tribune

I looked to my left and saw my name on a sign, Go Kath, Go! Since it said Kath and not Kathy, I looked closer and saw it was my sister Kris and her boyfriend Ben! I was in the middle of the street so I tried running to the left to get their attention. I waved both hands in the air (look Ma, no hands!) but I didn't say anything. I'm not sure if I could speak at that time, lol, I was so excited and speechless I guess. They saw me and turned the sign around as they cheered. The other side of the sign read Run Your Irish Ass Off! OMG, this got me so motivated and I pushed further. I ran off and later my sister told me it looked like I wasn't ven sweating (ha!) and that it was easy for me. Whaat? LOL.

Photo taken after the race of the sign

Next came the 2nd mile mark. Almost halfway there. I kept running and my playlist pushed me further. Didn't peek at the watch. Jerk It by Thunderheist came on. (Pace 11:15)

The next mile went by slowly, but I was pacing myself and I mentally knew that I could do it. I just kept going and enjoyed the experience. At this point there were a lot of walkers so I had to maneuver around them but it was all going well. I started to get a side stitch, which I never do, but I slowed it a bit and it went away. Then the 3 mile mark came as well as the 5k mark. I looked at my watch then and I was doing pretty good time. My 5k time was 37:33, and my PR for a 5k is 36:01, so I wasn't doing too bad. (Pace 11:55)

The next mile is a bit of a blur. It didn't feel hard to me, but I was in the zone, so I don't remember much of it. Wolf Like Me came on by TVOTR. I did start to use my mantra here, I had set aside a few words to use when things got hard, and my mantra was Run Strong. A lot of my songs had that theme, too. Stronger by Kanye West was one of them. This one came on at this time and further engrained the mantra in my head.

Once I hit Mile 4 I pushed it. (Pace 13:45) I looked at my watch and knew that to finish anywhere near my goal of finishing in an hour I would have to push it, I would have to run a 10 minute mile. We ran for a bit, then turned the corner and came upon the HILL. My sister had warned me about this hill, that it would come right before the finish line. The perfect song came on, Move Along by the All American Rejects.

When all you got to keep is strong
Move along, move along like I know you do
And even when your hope is gone
Move along, move along just to make it through
Move along
Move along

Most people at this point were walking up the hill. It was a difficult hill, I don't blame them. But I had read a quote about hills in a running magazine. The quicker you get up them, the faster they are over with. I pushed it and ran strong up that hill, I wanted it BEHIND me. Then we turned the corner and I saw the finish line! It looked so far away though. It was at least 2 city blocks away. But I fast-forwarded my Shuffle to go to my ending song, Coming Home by Diddy/Dirty Money/Skylar Grey. It is so inspiring and I love the beginning with Skylar singing. My pace this last mile was 12:54, but when I pushed it to the finish my pace was 9:57.

Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they've forgiven my mistakes
Back where I belong, I never felt so strong
I feel like there's nothing that I can't try
and if you with me put your hands high
If you ever lost a light before, this ones for you
and you, the dreams are for you
I'm coming home

~ lyrics from Coming Home by Diddy/Dirty Money/Skylar Grey

As I crossed the finish line I reached both arms up into the air and formed Vs with my fingers for Victory! I had done it!!

Pictures of me nearing the finish line courtesy of Marathonfoto

My pacing throughout the race really paid off because I finished the race in just a minute over an hour, with my official time being 1:01:48.

But even better than the time is the tremendous amount of growth I've done in the past year. Last year I would not have been able to run the whole race, whether or not I stayed by my dad's side or not. I wasn't a runner then, but I feel I can call myself a runner now. And I love it. I've lost 85 lbs. and am closing in on my goal weight.

Comparison pictures from last year's shuffle compared to this year

My family @ the Shamrock Shuffle, 2007 (276 lb.) - 60 LBS HEAVIER

Me at my heaviest at the Shuffle, taken from a cell phone.

My family was there to cheer me on, after I crossed the finish line I saw my sister Kara, and then my Dad, as well as my sister Kris, Ben, and Kara's boyfriend Jan. I have the best family in the world, they all came out just to support me. Everyone gave me a hug, and my Dad told me I was a Hero, now how cool is that?

Next I called Jenn (KITHKINCAID) to see where she was at, and we planned on meeting at a nearby statue to get some photos taken.

Jenn looked AMAZING, and I also got to meet Holly (CHICAGOHEALTHY) and Glenn (GLENNYB).

As I was leaving I met another Sparkie but I don't recall her name.

My family and I also took some photos.

Then we went to Patricks for some beer and grub. I have a thing for breakfast burritos after a long run, so I ordered a breakfast burrito with chorizo yum! I only ate half of it though, and didn't touch the hashbrowns. The beer was the best I've ever tasted, but I always say that after the Shuffle.

When I got home my daughter Lucy, who had been sick, had made me a card and spelled out Congratulations. She was so excited for me, they had watched the news coverage of the Shuffle. She was so sweet and disappointed that she couldn't pick me out from the crowd. And despite being sick, she suggested we go out to eat to celebrate, and that just melted me.

After getting my gear off I took Lucy for a walk. I knew that the fresh air would do her good, and so we packed up the stroller and went out to the park. And despite the feeling I had when crossing the finish line, THIS had to be the best feeling of the day. It was 86 degrees outside, and after my longest race to date I didn't want to curl up on the couch... I wanted to be with my daughter and take her for a walk. I felt like a healthy mom!

THIS is why I do this. This was one of my goals this whole time - not a goal that you can set your watch by, or see your progress as it unfolds. Those are great goals, too. But no, this was more of a feeling. A feeling like I had made it. Like I was that healthy mom I saw in a Leslie Sansone blog and put into my scrapbook three years ago and knew I wanted to be, writing -This Will be Me Someday!

As we were leaving, I caught my reflection in the door and smiled. Yes, this was the woman and mother I had become. A healthy woman, wife, sister, friend, and most of all, MOM.

For anyone reading this that thinks you can't do it, YOU CAN. Just put one foot in front of the other. You will surprise yourself. I know I have.

God can do anything, you know -far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! ~ Ephesians 3:20

"Those words you sometimes hear?
"You're not worth fighting for?"
They're a lie. Nothing more.
You are loved.
You are worth fighting for.
So go into your day, strong friend, knowing that nothing can defeat you.
You've already won."

~ Holley Gerth, DaySpring Writer

P.S...Shamrock? I beat you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEARTS4ME 4/15/2011 1:09PM

  I am so freaking excited for you! What a fantastic feeling it must be. Thank you SO much for sharing your experience with us!

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SUSIQZER 4/14/2011 2:11PM

    Awesome blog! What an amazing accomplishment!!

emoticon for posting your story!!!

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TABIKATZZ 4/14/2011 1:42PM

    wonderful blog!! Congrats! you inspire me and I hope to run with you one day!

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STIPER23 4/14/2011 12:12PM

    Great blog! My dad made me a sign for my first 5k race. It was great and I still have it!

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GYMRAT_AT44 4/14/2011 12:07PM

    Beautifully written. Enjoyed reading it. Congratulations on your accomplishment. I have a 10K to tackle in March 2012... I'll have to come back and read this again before that time.

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ALEXSMOMMYRUNS 4/14/2011 11:52AM

    This was a great blog, and I agree with K. My Dad's been an awesome cheerleader at my races and I'm 30! Awesome blog and story...great job!!!

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SHERLYN-WILL 4/14/2011 11:50AM

    YOU know what I love about you and your journey.. YOU KEEP PLUGGING ALONG... MAKING PROGRESS ALL THE TIME... improving you.. improving your health, and you just inspire so many people.. you will NEVER know just how many!

THANKS for sharing the wonderful pictures... you gorgeous lady!

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SKFEREBEE 4/14/2011 11:36AM

    Love this blog! When you talk about being a healthy mom it brought tears to my eyes. It's amazing what we can do if we just let ourselves. emoticon

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KKINNEA 4/14/2011 10:40AM

    You did fantastic! I don't think it's weird your dad was there - mine has come and stood on sidelines a couple of times too and I'm 35 :)

This race sounds like fun - I'll have to keep an eye out for it next year.

It sounds like you planned really well and executed that plan, based on all the details you included in your post. Congrats, fellow runner!

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SPEEDYDOG 4/14/2011 7:57AM

    Great blog and what a race! You have to be very proud of you effort.

Thanks, Bruce

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JOAN_HEO 4/14/2011 7:38AM

    Great blog! Huge congratulations on your run!! You rocked it!!!

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    Kathy, I want to thank you for sharing this journey with me. It was as if I was there. I am so proud of you for completing this race.

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TEDDYBEARGIRL 4/14/2011 12:12AM


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TEMPEST272002 4/13/2011 11:48PM

    You inspire me. You amaze me. You move me.

I'm just blown away by how far you have come. What a sense of accomplishment you must have felt to not only finish but have a great time as well. It was so great that your family was there to cheer you on at the end. Love the sign!

I loved seeing the pictures. What a crazy number of people to be racing with. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to stand in a crowd that size. Incredible experience. Thanks for much for sharing it with us.

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GOGOMAMA 4/13/2011 10:44PM

    Wow!!! Simply Amazing! I am in awe and inspired by your courage, attitude, joy, and drive!!! You must be so proud of your tremendous effort and huge accomplishment! Love it! emoticon

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KSGROTHE 4/13/2011 8:45PM

    emoticon on doing so well in the race! I love this blog!

Keep up the good work!

- Karen

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JENJESS48 4/13/2011 2:02PM

    emoticon You are so amazing, Kathy! "Congratulations" doesn't begin to cover it! emoticon

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OFFDREA 4/13/2011 1:32PM

    OMG Kathy you seriously rock. I am in tears reading this. I have felt so crappy the last few days and this blog has just washed that all away.
You are such an amazing woman and I am so proud of you!!!!!!!!!
I love all the pictures and you are so blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive family. You are so inspiring.
Tonight, when I do not want to go for my run I will think of you and that will be what gets my ass out the door.

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KATYMACK 4/13/2011 12:08PM

    What a great blog. You had me cheering you on. That is a fantastic time. Congratulations.

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CHICAT63 4/13/2011 9:13AM

    A truly inspiring, awesome, touching running blog!!!! Way to go, you rock Sista. You are to be very proud....love your song choices Skylar's song with Dr. Dre & Enimen: I need a Dr. gets me through hills too:).

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LOOZINITNOW 4/13/2011 7:29AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLFRISBEY 4/13/2011 7:14AM

    Awesome, awesome report! I am so happy for you and proud of you! I love the quote at the end, it made me tear up when reading it... I am going to have to save that somewhere! GREAT JOB!!!!!!

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KARVY09 4/13/2011 6:04AM

    What an amazing race report! One of the best I've ever read! So proud of you and how you came back from last and persevered. Truly awesome.

So when's the 10K? ;)

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ZURDTA- 4/13/2011 4:42AM

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

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TODAYIAM 4/13/2011 1:29AM

    WOW Kathy!! Way to go!! You inspire me so much!! Thank YOU!!

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MOMFAN 4/13/2011 1:09AM


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KITHKINCAID 4/13/2011 12:20AM

    You beat it!!! I am SO PROUD of you for everything that you have accomplished. What an amazing race/day you had. So wonderful. I missed not getting to spend more time with you, but we will soon. It was so great that your family was there to support you through such a monumental milestone! And seriously - I agree with everyone else - doesn't even look like you were sweating. Easy peesy :)

And you and I were listening to Move Along at EXACTLY the same point in the race - hilarious. Ever since SLIMKATIE used it in her video it's been a huge push for me as well. It makes me think of Spark and all the people who are rooting for me - you included. Thank you so much for sharing some of your day with me as well - I'm so happy I could be a part of it with you!

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UNICORN212 4/13/2011 12:00AM

    Gee, I know I am hormonal, but your blog brought me to tears! Wonderful job!

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SGTSUNNY 4/12/2011 11:51PM

    What a great blog, you are such a gifted writer! And you are my hero too! Great time, good run, you did a wonderful thing running the 8K!

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STARLIGHT615 4/12/2011 11:35PM

    So proud of you!! Your pictures are amazing!!! Fantastic Job sweetei!! love ya!

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    so many awesome pictures! you should be so proud of yourself! i am!

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To All the Girls I've Loved Before - My Top Motivators

Saturday, April 02, 2011

It’s part of our challenge this week to name five people who motivate us. There are so many people here on Spark who motivate me, it was hard to choose 5, and in fact I’ve chosen a bit more than 5...but also there are different categories of people who inspire me. There are those who inspire me physically to push it, those who have lost a lot of weight or those who have challenged themselves and won.

There are also those who inspire me spiritually, and I’ve decided I will write a separate blog soon to honor those people.

But for this challenge here are my Top motivators, and I’ve also put their pictures in the Top 6 slots of my Spark Page so that I can see them on a daily basis and remember why I’m doing this, and they they did it, too. I picked more than 5, but with a community of such inspiring people it was impossible for me to pick just five.

KICKBXCHIC/STEMMEFATALE: My sister Kris. She is, and always has been, my number one supporter. She would find something nice to say about me when I was 120 lbs. overweight. She always made me feel strong, pretty, and like I could do it. I was one of those kids whose awkward stage lasted oh, about 10 yrs. I was overweight at an early age, starting in the 3rd grade, and she was always there for me to protect me, and to help me. I remember her trying to get me to run in the 8th grade. She would take me to a nearby park and we would run the track there. Well, she would run, I would make it about halfway around then quit. But she has been this constant force in my life. Recently she is the person who inspired me to run. She bought my entry to the Shamrock Shuffle last year and that race made me desire to be a runner. I remember after a particularly good run, you know, the kind where you realize just how far you’ve come and how you shouldn’t even be running this far in the first place, I called her up crying and said “Thank you for changing my life.” And she has. She will drop anything for me, and once I called her at 10 p.m. at night and begged her to run the Susan G. Komen 5k with me (it was the following morning), I was afraid to run it alone and she didn't even question it. She was there. She is my friend, sister and running partner. She ran beside me during my first 5k and stayed with me the whole time, even though she normally runs at a faster pace. And she also gave me the courage to run a 5k alone. She is an amazing woman. And she's my sister.

DANCINGEARTHMOM: Blaize, my partner and friend. I remember I met her on the Done Girls Team message board and I looked at her profile and saw she had run a half marathon and I was so impressed with her! She was recruiting girls for the Done Girls seasonal challenge at the time, and I responded to her post and posted on her spark page. She was one of those people that inspired me so much at first “glance”, that I added her as a Spark friend, and hoped she would friend me back. She not only did that, she introduced me to the Sunny Gals and made sure I was on her team - she said that I inspired HER! Imagine that! Her and the Sunny Gals are one of the best things that’s happened to me on this journey. Blaize is a strong woman, she is the epitome of get ‘er DONE! She is a single mom, engaged to her soul mate, she is working full time and going to graduate school. And did I mention she’s lost a ton of weight, run a half marathon and several 10 and 5ks? She works out on her lunch break so that she can have that time at night with her beautiful daughter, Azali. She makes time for the things that matter in her life, and she is deeply spiritual and feels connected to the universe and shows those around her how they can feel that way too, and make peace with their lives. This strong woman is as wise as Buddha and as fun as Marilyn Monroe must have been in her prime. And she makes time to lead the Sunny Gals and always has an encouraging word to say. She has picked me up more times than I can count, and has given me confidence in so many ways. I love this girl.

SUNNY GALS: I have said that this team is like meeting one of the Spark motivators, except they ALL are spark motivator material. It’s like having a group of cheerleaders cheer you on, pick you up, and give you a smack on the butt to get you in gear. These women are the most amazing women and they all have hearts that are bigger than any amount of weight they may need to lose, than any obstacles they may face. These ladies are givers and I count them among my blessings every single day. I don’t know what I would do without them.

KITHKINCAID: Jenn, my Chicago sparker and the first person I’ve met from Spark in the ‘real life”. She inspired me to try Zumba, a dance class I’ve never taken before, and in turn she said I inspired her to try Couch to 5k. She has lost over 85 lbs. and has excelled in everything she has tried. Running? She’s faster than me. Zumba? She is a pro on the floor. And now she’s trying Salsa. She has shown me that nothing is impossible, and that goals aren’t just dreams, they are things we can plan for and reach. She has insights that we can all relate to, and she shares her heart so openly here on Spark and it benefits us all. She is funny, hard working and is someone that I know will reach her goals - and then some.

KARVY09: Christina is leader of the Couch to 5k Team which is the team I turned to when I knew I wanted to run. She is so supportive and cheered me on during my training. She gave me the courage to START running weighing 276 - she herself began running at 275. Since then she has run six 5k - 7k races, 2 10k races and, in her words, “A KILLER HALF MARATHON!!!” She has lost 110 lbs. and is also blogging about her experiences in a blog at www.chunkyrunner.com. She has shown all of us “fluffy” runners that yes, we can indeed RUN.

CAROLYN1213: Carolyn went from 267.5 lbs. to 180 lbs. in a years time. In her words she said she “went from feeling hopeless and disparate to feeling hopeful and confident. From size 22 pants to a lose size 14 in a year!” Carolyn teaches us all about clean eating and the importance of strength training. She shares everything she has learned in her blogs and writings. She has shown me that it is not too late to tone up, and that all things are possible. She has a strong faith and also embraces being a woman and taking charge of our lives and strength. She is, in a word, AMAZING.

TEMPEST272002: She has lost 51 lbs and says she’s fallen in love with running and snowshoeing. She is also training for her first triathlon. She has shown me that it is possible to run, to open ourselves up to new worlds and therein lies the discovery of our true selves. She is honest with how difficult it can be at times, and also helps lift those up when they need it. She is a talented photographer and a wonderful wife. She is creative and led a challenge over Halloween that inspired ME to get into a Marilyn Monroe costume. She is an inspiration.

MOMFAN: Leona has lost 100 lbs. and has shown me that it’s consistency and hard work that gets you there. She is very strong in her faith and she leads the team Christians with 100 lbs. to Lose and helps us all to aspire what we dream to be. She taught me that it’s never too late for a new beginning, and that we are all beautiful creatures. I remember when I first joined her team I spark mailed her, asking what her secret was. I wanted her to tell me exactly what she was doing, so that I could follow her plan like a blueprint. She told me that I would find my own way, as she did. She gave me some helpful hints, but it was not a “do this, don’t do that” sort of thing that I wanted. She taught me that this is truly a lifestyle change, and no set of rules can get us to where we want to be and stay there.

To all of these beautiful ladies, I applaud you. Know that I visit your pages often and find much inspiration there. For those that may not know these ladies please visit their spark pages. I just know you’ll find inspiration there too.

God bless,


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARILOUIE 4/8/2011 5:26AM

    This is beautiful!

Have a super weekend.

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WCATAP 4/5/2011 7:31AM

    This is a wonderful blog!

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FREES1 4/4/2011 9:31AM

    its marvelous that you have all of this support and more! Keep going as you have!

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TEMPEST272002 4/3/2011 9:31AM

    Wow - I'm really honoured and moved to be on your list, especially in the company of such amazing women. Carolyn1213 was the first sparker who just blew me away with her attitude & she is the one who inspired me to try running. You, my dear friend, continue to motivate ME with your humour, passion, generous spirit and deterimination. I always enjoy reading your blogs & find inspiration here. I'm thinking about becoming a Done Girl... all the coolest sparkers seem to be on that team... and you have the best challenges too.

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KITHKINCAID 4/2/2011 10:02PM

    Now I want to do this too! You know you're totally on my list! Thank you so much for all the beautiful things you said about me. I love you friend!!! I can't wait to see you next weekend. We gots an updated pic to be takin' with our skinny behinds!!

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ANNEKATHLEEN 4/2/2011 9:31PM

    I love how you put pictures in your list! That is AWESOME! So glad to know you!

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REENSKI 4/2/2011 4:37PM

    Awesome Inspirations!

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YATMAMA 4/2/2011 4:19PM

    God is so faithful to place those of His choosing in our lives, for His purposes. What a great challenge!

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AMBERLEIGHM1 4/2/2011 3:14PM

    Thank you for sharing such inspirational women with us. Your friendships and triumphs are so motivating and inspiring. I love reading blogs on here and really appreciate you pointing out some I haven't been fortunate enough to come across.

Peace and Blessings,
Amber, Adam's Mommy Forever

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TRAVELGRRL 4/2/2011 2:28PM

    Thank you for your blog today; it totally illustrates that there is STRENGTH IN NUMBERS! We are not competitors with each other; we can root each other on and ALL be winners.

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KARVY09 4/2/2011 2:20PM

    Wow, thank you so much! I'm in great company. A lot of these girls motivate me every single day... including YOU!

Love ya, and have a great race!

(PS- Would you believe there's already a blog called Running While Chunky? I had to name mine chunkyrunner.com!)

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    darn you Kathy! I am a crying fool over here! Your words touched me so incredibly much!! Do you know how much I love and adore you? Do you REALLY?! I mean, you are incredible!!! God, the universe...whomever we believe in definitely helped us meet for a reason! We are soul sisters...and you are one of my best friends. You are one of the most amazing women that I have ever "met" and I am truly blessed to have you in my life. SNIFF sniff.....now I need to go blow my nose! hehe. Gosh I love you....I'm saving this......when I have a bad day I'm reading it.....you have touched my spirit!

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GRACEISENUF 4/2/2011 2:02PM

    emoticon emoticon KARVY09 is my girl too. Since I first came to SP she has been such an inspiration to me.

What a great tribute to your SP friends Kathy!

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