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Snow Day!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Well, I was somewhat expecting that daycare was going to be closed this morning, but for some reason, I was quite shocked that last night's snowstorm/blizzard was sufficient to shut down the city of Madison for the day. Don't Northern folks know how to deal with blizzards that dump 17" of snow on us in 24 hours? I mean, I'm the hopeless Floridian girl who, up until yesterday night, assumed that a Blizzard was a tasty treat you bought at Dairy Queen. Who knew what a "real" blizzard could do?! And, as I quickly discovered, 17" is a LOT of snow, even for Wisconsin.

Brave/foolish hubs got up at 4:30 this morning, as he normally does, and actually made a bold-hearted attempt to get the car out of the garage and down the street. Well...he scarcely made it past the end of the driveway before he gave up, came in, and called his boss to say he wouldn't be coming in. As luck would have it, he woke his boss up. Boss was sleeping because there was no way on earth the construction site (where they are working) would be open today! So that was that. We had quite a nice sleep-in, and upon waking, I called my boss and arranged to work from home. As it turned out, she was doing the same, as was a good 75% of my team. As for the other 25%, who knows how they got into the office, but I must hand it to them. Bravo!

Having never seen this much snow in one place, especially considering that we had not a scrap on the ground this time last week, I got my coat on and traipsed outside to take some photos of the blessed event. Unfortunately, the pictures do not do it justice. I've found it photographically impossible to give anyone a reliable feel for how much freaking snow 17" really is. Suffice to say, it's a WHOLE LOT.

Our porch last night...spooooooooky!

A very desolate landscape

Mommy what is all that white stuff?

Not going anywhere for a while?

Maybe this gives you a sense of how deep it was

It is kinda pretty, even if being snowed in is sort of a drag...

I definitely suffered from a bit of cabin fever, and will be relieved to be somewhat back to normal tomorrow. The roads will likely be on the treacherous side but thankfully I don't have many places to go! One thing that will be SUCH a relief is to get back to the gym, maybe tomorrow night. I've been working out to videos for a couple of days, and that gets old pretty quickly. (Once upon a time, videos is ALL I did! How did I do it?) Saturday I have my Jingle Bell Run 5K! It's supposed to be sunny but cold! BRRRR. I'm hoping to finish the race in under 36 minutes, basically the same goal as last time, but really if I don't freeze my tail off, I'll call it a victory. If the road is passable, I plan to get one more practice run in at the gym before the big event. Thankfully, I'm not seeing any snow in the forecast for the next few days. It's not even officially winter yet, and I'm already tired of it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPIRITRUN 12/10/2009 8:49PM

    OHHHH hahahahahahah! emoticon
OK, Florida to Wisconsin? Ya, this would be different weather conditions for you to work out in. Hey, your attitude sounds right on the mark -- you sound like a very good sport!
Thanks for the comment on my winter running blog. Good luck with your upcoming race! Enjoy it!

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ANEPANALIPTI 12/10/2009 6:22PM

    Oh my goodness!! Be safe in those roads, and I can't wait to hear about your race!!!!


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JANEYINMADTOWN 12/10/2009 3:15PM

    Love these pix! I especially love the spooky porch shot! Stay warm today!

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ANUT4DISNEY 12/10/2009 1:54PM

    Beautiful pictures.

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MARLA_S 12/10/2009 11:54AM

    What a precious picture of your little one looking out!!

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ITSHOWYOULIVE 12/10/2009 11:13AM

    I haven't seen that much snow since my college days in Idaho!! Love your pictures, they do a great job of capturing the effect the storm had!! Hopefully there will be enough people in your race to create a shift in temperature surrounding the race route :)!! I had a smart aleck cousin ask me once when I said I hoped I wouldn't freeze my tushie off that "isn't that the point of running-to loose your tush?" Groan, but I guess she's right!! Hope you have a great day.

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SHIRLEYDILLARD 12/10/2009 9:30AM

    I think the picture from your porch is beautiful. The lighting is awesome! Welcome to winter in the north ... and I'm only from Ohio, so you are even farther up there.

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NUOVAELLE 12/10/2009 4:49AM

    That first spooky picture of yours is soooo beautiful. I can imagine how silent it must have been. I know that snow can cause a lot of problems but it looks so pretty to someone who doesn't see it often. Well, grass is always greener on the other side, right? And snow is whiter, in this case. Take care and stay warm!

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MAKEROOM4ME 12/10/2009 12:35AM

    wait til all that snow starts blowing around and try to get out the back door that is plastered shut by a ton of snow pilded up agains it. just sit back and enjoy the few days you have. it's not everyday a whole city is shut down (is nice to see a city slow down on the account of such beauty - love your pictures), so fire up the logs in the fire place (that could even be counted for as exercise, yes?)

I was born and raised northwest of Chicago, then moved off to California for 18 years - I am back home (Chicago) and sometimes wonder what possesed me ... then again, it really is a beautiful sight. :)laura

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KTTAYLOR21 12/9/2009 10:53PM

    YOU MOVED FROM FLORIDA TO WISCONSIN WOW!!!! I'm in Maryland we get that much snow every decade. If we get 6 inches here the city shuts down. Snow is beautiful as long as I'm not in it. Those are great pictures. One of my favorite things is getting snowed in. Have fun, stay warm.

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FIRENUT34 12/9/2009 10:46PM

    OMG, that is a lot of snow. It looks beautiful though. I would love to play in it again for a little while. It was a nice 80 degrees and literally 99% humidity. Please take care of yourself and be safe.

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BNAILS50 12/9/2009 10:19PM

    It dosen't snow here until Feb.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Well...winter is HERE! We are under a blizzard warning here in Madison. I don't know what to make of that. It's a little scary, considering that I still see 1" as a lot of snow, but the good news is that I won't have to go out in it tonight, and I can work from home tomorrow. And daycare is probably going to be closed too, so I wouldn't even be able to head out to work even if I couldn't work from home. Hopefully now that we're hibernating at home, the storm will pass event-free.

It's been a fairly busy week for me. Work has been steady, and the days have gone by quickly because they've been so busy. I'm hoping for a little bit of a lull over the holidays just to tide me over into the new year. Our son has been keeping us very busy with his two-year-old-ness. I've been busy getting ready for this Saturday's 5K and I feel like I'm as ready as I'll ever be!

The forecast for my race is predicting sunny weather, but cold. The cold isn't a surprise, and the sunny weather will be a welcome change from gloom, doom, and snowstorms. I actually may sort of enjoy the snow if it's glistening in the sunlight. (Otherwise I have nothing good to say about it!) I've been continuing with my Jeff Galloway training, and have settled into a comfortable 3:1 run:walk ratio, which puts me at a 10:30-11:00 minute/mile. I'm pleased with that pace for now, and am really more interested in building endurance and getting more comfortable with running than building speed. I've had a couple of challenging runs, but also some very good ones where running at 6.0 mph actually felt "easy." I never would have IMAGINED that ANY speed of running could have felt easy six months ago! I've also had a lovely new green iPod nano to keep me company while I run. When my old Sansa clip went up in smoke (literally) the nano became the chosen replacement! Anyway, I'm very excited about my Jingle Bell run, and after Saturday 10K training will begin in earnest. It will be another new milestone for me when I go past four miles...

Anyway, have a GREAT week, and if you live in the south, I'm jealous! (I have asked myself a million times this week why I can't just move back to Florida.) If you live in the frozen north like me, stay safe and warm!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_MSAPRIL17_ 12/9/2009 5:39PM

    LOL! Blizzard would be an understatement to me!! I think we are up to 14 inches now here. CRAZY!!! Happy to see it it can go away though, LOL!

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ANEPANALIPTI 12/9/2009 2:14PM

    Can't wait to hear about the race and you go for toughing it out in that weather! *hugs*

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ITSHOWYOULIVE 12/9/2009 1:21PM

    Glad you are keeping warm at home. Dumpingthejunk's comment is HILARIOUS!! Hurricanes, Blizzards, Sansa Fires oh my!! Makes me glad we just have earthquakes and brush fires here!! LOL. Keep safe and have a great run on Saturday-can't wait to hear how you did!!

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8THTIMEUP 12/9/2009 9:45AM

    Wow! You ran so much your Sansa caught fire?!!! Where was Firenut when you needed him?

Comment edited on: 12/9/2009 9:46:24 AM

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PHDMAMA06 12/8/2009 9:21PM

    Firenut - Hahaha. Up until last winter, my concept of BLIZZARD was something you bought from Dairy Queen! Living in Central FL can do that to you. Ah, how I miss it!!

Of course up here there is very little concept of the word HURRICANE. What's that, a football mascot or something? ;)

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FIRENUT34 12/8/2009 7:56PM

    A Blizzard? Isn't that Ice cream with cookies or butterfingers in it or something like that? That is the only thing I've seen for years. Just kidding, try and keep warm and safe. Good luck on your run if you can make it.

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LIUBOCHKA 12/8/2009 7:33PM

    Good luck with the weather and with your run! I'm sure it will be so fun!

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AAKROYD 12/8/2009 7:25PM

    Best wishes!

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    Good luck! I hope you don't suffer a lot of blizzard conditions regardless of the forecast.

Good luck on your Jingle Bell Run!

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DOINFINE 12/8/2009 7:18PM

    The storm is coming my way! We're supposed to get hit early Thursday and Friday.
You really get the blizzards in Madison!
Be proud of your accomplishment in your running! I'm very happy for you. You're doing sooooo good! Enjoy the Jingle Bell run! emoticon

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    Glad you made it through your day safely... I know you were concerned about it. I too am planning on working from home tomorrow if necessary...Just hunker down and keep warm....

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December is here!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

This is my favorite month of all...cooler weather, Christmas, holiday cheer, goodwill, all that good stuff!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

I'm struggling a little more than usual to feel the Christmas cheer, because I've always remembered Christmas as a time to be with family and friends, and we're pretty isolated up here in Wisconsin. It's so easy to fall into homesick-ness, daydreaming about the evenings we'd spend at Disney World seeing the Osborne lights (in my SparkPage background is a photo I took there on my son's first Christmas!) or listening to the music at EPCOT. But really, there are so many joys in my life, and I know that hubs, my son, and I will make some wonderful new holiday traditions and have a nice season. We have so many blessings in our lives, and there is no reason NOT to be joyful!

As with many Sparkers, I'm thinking of my December goals and what I'd like to accomplish during (in spite of?) the holiday season. Some of them relate to health and fitness, others to quality of life in general. And here they are...

1 - Continue to maintain my weight

2 - Keep track of my food/Weight Watchers points, stay accountable

3 - Go to at least two Weight Watchers meetings this month

4 - Stay in touch with my SparkFriends, and support them through the holidays too!

5 - Run/walk my 5K on December 12, hoping for a sub 36 minute time again

6 - Stay on track with my fitness routine as much as possible

7 - Budget a day off from exercise every week and use it to enjoy my family

8 - Stay grounded in my faith, keep going to church and reading the Word

9 - Find little ways to savor the season every day

10 - Give my son a wonderful third Christmas

Have a wonderful month!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANEPANALIPTI 12/6/2009 6:06PM

    I know what you mean... I"m away from my family for the first time this year, so it'll be weird not being all together!!!

Nice goals girl, ROCK IT!

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JILLIANPRNCSS 12/5/2009 8:51PM

    You have reminded me to be diverse in my goals that it is not all about the weight. Good Luck with your 5K.

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Your December goals look fantastic! They cover fitness, nutrition and fun...good for you!

Let's rock December and send the year out in style!

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KAYDE53 12/3/2009 11:51AM

    Keeping busy & setting new goals sounds like a good way to help overcome the homesickness! Enjoyed your blog and I'm praying for you! emoticon

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BKNOCK 12/3/2009 10:37AM

    Sounds like you have set some fantastic goals! Good luck making a special Christmas for your family. Starting new traditions can be a lot of fun!

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MINDYJ1 12/3/2009 9:42AM

    Sounds like you have some good goals set for yourself!

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Black Friday 2009 wouldn't be complete...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Without some kind of crazy, big-ticket purchase. Right?!

Well, you see, I was deprived of the traditional "camp out at the mall, wait in hour-long lines, endure the wrath of rude people, and eat lunch at eight AM to save $50 on a camera or TV or some random item." I had to work today. Yes, I hear the world's tiniest violin playing the saddest song for meeeeeee. But work wasn't so bad, really. I think my clients thought we were closed because I didn't hear a peep out of them all day. Bringing me back to my Black Friday action. So. See my status update? *Clearing throat dramatically*

I registered for my first half marathon today. emoticon

Screeeeeeeeeeech. I did WHAT?! Two feelings come to mind. TERRIFIED. But STOKED. OMgoodness, this is going to be sooooooooooo cool!

So here's the thing, my $50 registration fee may seem like a crazy, impulsive Black Friday purchase, but it really wasn't. This has been a project in the making since...well...since right after I started on this whole running journey. A couple of weeks into Couch to 5K, I totally and utterly fell in love with running. Seriously, I know that sounds like so incredibly cheesy, but I DID. I knew I wanted to work towards the 5K, as the program dictated, but I just KNEW in my heart that I had far to go once I reached that end. I wasn't feeling mentally prepared for 26.2, but 13.1 sounded pretty attainable!

I initially set my sights on the Walt Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, to take place on October 2, 2010. What better place to run a half marathon than Disney World?! Seriously! However, I knew that working to this end would have its challenges: negotiating vacation time when fall 2010 is going to be SUPER busy for my clients, making travel arrangements, running my first HM in hot, humid conditions (as a Floridian, I KNOW that the weather can be BRUTAL even in October), among other things. While I kept this HM on my radar, I was starting to wonder if I was better looking at a quieter, cooler time like JANUARY!

When I picked up my Berbee Derby packet the other day, it included a flier for the Madison Mini Marathon (which has a HM divison), to take place on August 21, 2010. I checked out the website, and it just felt RIGHT. A great course, a nice amount of time to train properly (and safely), attractive "perks", no worries about time off work, good time of year for running. Good stuff! I mulled it over for a few days, knowing that if I did this one, it probably wouldn't be feasible to do the October 2 one at Disney World. Two HM in two months?! TOO much for a rookie like me! After thinking and talking it out, I decided tonight to take the plunge!

I've THRILLED, beyond thrilled, that I have a half marathon to work towards. I'm the type of person that craves, even NEEDS a concrete goal, a light at the end of the tunnel, to stay motivated and focused. I've never been one to do things "just because." I've heard nothing but good things from my friends who have run HMs. It's not about the time or about beating any of the other racers, it's just about doing your best and finding out how much strength you can pull from within. I see it as a challenge which will really help me to connect my mind, body, and spirit, and crossing the finish line will give me confidence that I probably never knew I had!

So yeah, wham bam, I wrote the post declaring my participation in the Madison Mini Marathon, but it's by no means an impulsive act. I have been in two HM Spark Teams for a bit of time now ;) I already have my training plan picked out and sketched out in a spreadsheet. I'll be using Jeff Galloway's plan from his Half Marathon: You Can Do It book, the one designed for beginners who don't have a time goal. Out of necessity (race rules) I have a time goal, but it is 3:30, so that can really be accomplished by WALKING the whole thing. I can totally do this!

I look forward to sharing my Madison Mini Marathon training journey with all of you. And I still very much have my sights set on a Disney race, probably in 2011 sometime. There's the Walt Disney World Half Marathon (who could say NO to a shiny Donald Duck medal?!) or the Princess Half Marathon, or the 2011 Wine & Dine. So many choices, which one to pick?! Time will tell...

Here's to hoping that I'll be able to slap one of these babies on my car in August 2010. You better believe I'll do it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHRISCROW 11/28/2009 11:19PM

    awesome!!!! congrats.. I can feel you love for running I just started C25K a few weeks ago.. starting week 4 day 1 tomorrow (actually today it is almost midnight) and I love it!!! Good luck on the 1/2 marathon.. :)

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ITSHOWYOULIVE 11/28/2009 5:24PM

    Congrats on signing up for your first HALF!!! I have my eyes on the Disneyland half in September!! Will probably have to wait until January to sign up though!! I am so inspired by your goal!!

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FIRENUT34 11/28/2009 2:42PM

    Thats great. I was very nervous about signing up for my first half and then excited afterwards. You will be nervous till they yell go and after you cross the finish line, you can't be pulled down from the clouds.

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KR2165 11/28/2009 7:16AM

    Awesome...congrats! You've really motivated me today and I thank you for that...Kelly

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SWIMLOVER 11/27/2009 11:47PM

  Good for you for enrolling in a half Marathon! I am cheering you on! Actually, you have inspired me to walk more. I will seriously start walking daily around one of the parks here in Arizona. I do but not daily so I will start tomorrow morning since it is 9:45p.m. now! I did not go shopping either! I don't like crowds. I will be praying for you while you are training for your Marathon! I know you will do well!

Comment edited on: 11/27/2009 11:49:42 PM

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Berbee Derby Race Report!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

First off, thank you to all of my SparkPeople who stopped by to support me and wish me well on my first timed 5K! Your words of encouragement mean the world to me.


I was feeling very nervous about the Berbee Derby, especially when the heavens opened up late last night and unleashed some surprise snow showers! I spent some time choosing my outfit (with the agony of selecting items which wouldn't be too hot...but not too cold either), deciding what I was going to eat for breakfast, and mentally preparing myself for the big event. I got up at six o' clock, right when my alarm buzzed. No need to snooze when my blood was already pumping with all the adrenaline!

We got to the race venue about an hour in advance, which was a smart decision given that parking was tight. There were already mobs of people there, and the DJ who was acting as emcee announced that there were 5000 participants, between the 5K run, 10K run, and walking divisions. WOW! There's something uplifting about being among a group of people all working towards a common goal...even if it is "just" finishing a race. Many of the runners and walkers were dressed up in costumes or wearing goofy turkey hats in honor of Thanksgiving.


At eight-fifty, a young student sang the National Anthem, and the 10K'ers lined up. At nine, their gun (air horn) went off, and they were off and running! I walked around behind the line a bit to warm up, and then they started lining up 5K'ers, runners first and then walkers. I found a spot about two-thirds into the back of the running crowd and double checked that my running watch was "awake" and ready to go. Before I knew it, we were on the thirty second countdown, then fifteen, then GO TIME! I started up my watch, and it took about 45 seconds from the gun to get across the starting line. And I was off and running! I had committed to doing run/walk/run, using a 4:1 ratio, because I did NOT want to exhaust myself with too much all-out running all at once! The other runners motivated me to keep my pace up, and the one-mile marker hit before I knew it! A guy dressed in a turkey costume was cheering us on as we ran by. The mile marker had a race clock which said 11:00 when I passed. Up to about 1.5 miles, we ran down the same street to the turnaround point. I skipped the water station (didn't really need it or want to spend the time) and kept right on going. After the turnaround, we were running against the cold wind, which was kind of yucky, but eh. But I got to the second mile marker, and was still at about the same pace, since it said 21 something. (COOL! Right in line with the pace I had for Gilda's Run last month.) The third mile was rougher going though because there were some majorly mean booty-kicking uphill stretches! My run/walk/run would have had me RUNNING up the hills, but my logical side told me, "Christina, you probably will not be able to run this hill much faster, if at all faster, than you can walk it. So just walk it." So I abandoned my 4:1 timing and just walked the uphills, ran everything else. I was feeling pretty tired by about 2.5, but then I could spot the finish line in the distance and that motivated me to press on at a brisk (but not insane) jogging pace.

When I crossed the finish line, I felt relief and some tiredness and COLD, but felt SO proud that I had made it! The race clock said 34:31 as I crossed the line, but my actual time should be 30-45 seconds lower since it took me a while to get to the starting mat at the beginning! The race organizers have not posted the official results yet, but I'm anxiously stalking their website to see how I did! In any event, my goal was to finish the Berbee Derby in 36 minutes or less, and I KNOW that I managed that. Even with the walking breaks! This Jeff Galloway running is really working for me, and my experience today confirmed that I want to continue using his run/walk/run method to carry me through 10K and half marathon races next year and beyond. I feel like I earned my turkey and mashed potatoes today.

So that's my report! Thank you again for all of your support, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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UPDATE! The race organizers just posted the results. My chip time was 33:41!!! WOW, that is faster than the practice 5K I did on the treadmill on Tuesday! I placed 1793/2450 overall, 855/1336 out of all the female runners, and 104/164 in my age division. I crossed the finish line at the same time as a 19 year old, a 27 year old, a 12 year old, and a 21 year old (all female). Not too shabby. I wasn't "in it to win it" but it surely does feel good not to be dead last LOL...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SINGERNM 12/3/2009 1:07PM

    Thank you so much for sharing! The Berbee Derby was also my first 5K and my time was 33:44. I was right behind you!! Reading your blog brought me back to that day and the same emotions of anticipation/accomplishment! Great job! I noticed your signed up for the Jingle Bell Run.....I'll see you there!! emoticon

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KUANGIE 11/30/2009 9:06PM

    Great job. I love reading race reports. Keep up the good work!

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DOINFINE 11/28/2009 6:01PM

    Great job on the race! Yay for you! Your blog makes me want to lace up my sneakers and go out and run! So motivating. I felt like I was right there.
Glad you jumped into the second race too. You can do it!!

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YANSKA 11/28/2009 4:50PM

    OH my gosh - what a great account of your 5K! And what an amazing time! You totally rock. I loved the details you gave - it really made me think of different ways to approach my upcoming 5K on December 5th, my first one. I figure the 5mile run was a good warmup for that. ;) I hope to do it in 40 minutes, but now you've got me fired up and I'm allowing myself to daydream about coming in under that. :))))
Thank you for posting on my blog today - it really meant a lot. Keep up the great work and keep on runnin' in the cold! Let's not let some silly weather stop us! LOL!


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TERRI289 11/27/2009 10:41PM

    You did great!! Do a little happy dance-you deserve it!!

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FORTHEGIRLS 11/26/2009 10:17PM

    Congratulations on your first race! You did great and should feel so proud of yourself. Way to go!

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FIRENUT34 11/26/2009 6:37PM

    Way to go on your first run. It snowed all day yesterday here in southwest Florida. Only it melted before it got to the ground. Probably due to the fact it was 80 degrees.

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PINKCOCONUT 11/26/2009 2:45PM

    Way to go! What an awesome race report!!!

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LAURIE5658 11/26/2009 2:37PM

    Christina, I am so proud of you, my Spark running buddy!!! My wish for you is to savor today and enjoy that runner's high for it is a gift!!!

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IHEIDIBEFIT 11/26/2009 2:19PM

    Oh you did so awesome! You beat my first 5K time of 34:43! Imagine what your next race time will be, awesome job!!!

Enjoy the mashed potatoes and turkey! lol

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