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Reviving my Sparkpage.... 5 months of race reports.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wow, this might be a long blog. Sit tight.

I've dropped off the SparkPeople grid for months... just way, way, way too busy with life. But that's not to say I stopped trying to be healthy. Although I let a lot of good nutrition habits slide, I continued to run & work out. I even got a local moms running group going!

Due to poor eating choices, I gained a few pounds. Reviving my Spark account is my way of getting back to tracking my nutrition & be more focused on weight control. I can't be on here as much, but the little bit is helping my motivation....

So, in the past 5 months, I've run a 50K (Blackwater Trail Challenge 50K near Pensacola, FL), and 4 marathons - the Soldier Marathon in Columbas, GA, Disney Marathon, Warner Robins Marathon, & the Albany Marathon.

(2 photos from my 50K, the first one during the race, the second at the finish line)

2 weeks after the 50K, I ran Soldier. All my training had been super slow, my long runs usually being over 11 min miles, which is VERY VERY slow for me. I wanted so badly to shoot for a sub-4 marathon at Soldier, but thought it wasn't possible. I took the 50k very easy, then I tapered for the rest of the 2 weeks.

But the emoticon wants what the emoticon wants!! So I lined up with the 4 hour pace group!

As the marathon took off, I felt good & strong. I actually sped up & lost the 4-hr pace group, using the downhills to pick up momentum. I felt great. As I reached mile 10, I thought to myself... "This is gonna be MY RACE!! This is MY DAY!!"

I'm not sure when, but at some point, I caught up with the 3:55 pace group. I hit some tummy troubles, so I ended up having to hit the porto-potties a couple of times, but was able to jump right back on the trail & keep going. I was hanging with the 3:55 pace group until mile 19, when I had to hit the bathrooms AGAIN for the 3rd & LAST (thankfully!!!) time. After that, I couldn't quite catch up with them, but I made it my goal to NOT let the 4-hr pacer to catch up with me!!

And that is EXACTLY what I did!! Finished the Soldier Marathon in 3:58:35!!!!! I was ECSTATIC!! Totally blown away by the fact that I pulled that off! ..... AND EVEN WITH 3 POTTY STOPS!

My twin girls finished the race with me!!

I did the Disney Marathon in January. I wanted to be there for a friend for her first marathon. I planned to run it with them, & knew it would be at a much easier pace than I'm used to. So, when some of my local running friends started talking about the Warner Robins Marathon, a little marathon in GA, that took place the weekend following the Disney, I signed up to go with them! LOL

Not exactly the best training / racing plan. Don't do what I do.... It could be a recipe for injury & disaster....

I ran Disney super slow, but finished the last 6 miles a lot faster, finishing somewhere around 5 hours. Even ran it in a Super Girl costume!

6 days later, I ran Warner Robins Marathon. I did not feel strong, I did not feel like it would be anything spectacular. But a running friend of mine was running her first marathon & wanted to try to maintain a 9-min pace the whole time. So, I decided to hang with her as long as possible. To be honest, it felt FREAKIN' HARD! It was cold (in the 30s I think) & terribly windy for a long stretch. We were heading into the wind from about mile 16 to mile 20, making us slow our pace a bit. At mile 19, I wanted to walk SOOOOO badly, like... BEYOND WORDS! My friend told me she would walk with me if I wanted, but I wanted to stick it out until mile 20. That was about where the turn-around was.... After that point, the wind was to our backs & we had a slight downhill to help us recover. I started making a specific time goal for each mile, shooting just to maintain my tired-but-still-good pace. If I could just keep going, I was on track to get yet another sub-4 marathon!! I couldn't believe it! So, with these positive thoughts, I mustered up all the strength I had to keep my pace up.

My finishing time, you might ask???? 3:58:38!! Only 3 seconds off from a PR!! WHAT?!?!?! YES!

I won first in my AG, and almost all my friends I went with came home with trophies!!! Some serious BLING!!

After this, I was VERY motivated to shoot for a BQ time. For my age, a BQ time is under 3:35. I knew I was a bit overtrained, and only had a few weeks to train seriously before needing to taper, but I signed up for the Albany Marathon in GA (held on March 1st, 2014), a "fast & flat" course, & decided I'd shoot for the stars! Even if I didn't get a BQ, I knew I was capable of a serious PR.

I trained hard for a few weeks, focusing on speed work, tapered for 2 weeks, & set out for Albany. After my training, I really didn't feel a 3:35 was doable, but felt a 3:40 or 3:45 was. I wanted to start with a 3:40 pace group, but when I got to the expo, found out they only had 3:35 or 3:45... Decisions, decisions!!!! I ended up trying it out with the 3:35 pace group, but felt like he was going a bit fast... At mile 8 my tummy started acting up!!! I know this is TMI, but TOM tends to do this to me! UUGGGHH! I tried to ward it off, but the tummy wasn't happy. Stopped twice by the half way point, but kept on moving. I didn't feel as strong as I'd hoped, but I kept my pace well under 9, even though an 8:12 pace was way out of reach (the pace I'd have to do for 3:35).

Kept on going, kept it pretty strong, got past mile 20 & was still cooking at a pace around 8:45, but my tummy started speaking to me again.... I knew at mile 22 or 23, I would have to make one last pit-stop. At this point, I knew I was going to have a time near 3:45 if I could keep it up! After the pitstop, I was just counting the miles.... I was in the home stretch. It was hard. I was feeling it. But I was on my way to a great PR.

The last mile was strong! Here's a photo somewhere near mile 26, almost to the end!

My official finish time was 3:47:22!!! An 11 min marathon PR!!!! Again, WITH 3 POTTY STOPS! A HUGE step closer to a BQ time! Hubby got a great shot of me racing into the finish line:

Yes, very intense, I know!! That is my super-focused "I'm so glad this crap is almost over!" face....

I will be backing off the higher mileage for a while.... Until the fall when the marathon season in the south starts to pick up again. I'm going to be working on speed, with the goal of getting a BQ time in November or December and/or February or March of next year.

So, that's my update!!! Sorry, I will not be able to reply to every comment on here, but thanks so much for reading!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PMRUNNER 7/31/2014 4:12PM

    Impressive improvements over a challenging season! Way to go! Love the photos and commentary to go with it too.

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WONDERWOMAN 3/15/2014 11:39AM

    Good to see you here again. I, too, continue to use Spark for tracking. Tried many of the others, but just seem more comfortable with what I know and am used to. Hope to see you at a race again this fall. I'm registered for the half at Soldier and Becki caught me at a vulnerable moment and got me to sign up for the FULL at Space Coast. We'll see how that goes, I am still in total recovery mode; will be starting from step one again in a couple weeks.

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TATERCAT 3/14/2014 1:47PM

    Welcome back! Wonderful job on all those races!

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IRP1114 3/14/2014 10:33AM

    So happy to have you back! Glad to hear you so motivated too! Thank you for taking time to share your recent races. YOU ROCK! emoticon emoticon

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I already wrote a race report, but I forgot one VERY IMPORTANT detail:

This was my first marathon in MINIMALIST SHOES!!

I ran this marathon in my Saucony Hattoris, true minimalist, 0-drop shoes. As of mid-February or so this year, I have ONLY been running in these or my VFF Bikilas.

So, how do I feel post-marathon???

*** I have absolutey NO sore muscles whatsoever. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. Null. Indicating that I really did take this marathon at a comfortable pace, without pushing myself.

*** I have no other aches or pains, other than ever-so-SLIGHT tenderness in my ankles. Obviously, running in minimalist shoes puts a little more strain on those stabilizing muscles & tendons. But even this is not debilitating or extremely painful!! I had some slight pain in my hip on Sunday, but that had even vanished by Monday morning.

*** I went for a very slow & easy 5-mile run this morning in my VFFs, & felt GREAT!!

I am gonna chalk this up as a HUGE success in the minimalist running for me!!! WOOT WOOT!

I also feel like this marathon was that absolute BEST choice for me to do my first minimalist marathon. The relaxed atmosphere & lack of pressure for a certain pace was PERFECT! I did not want to tear up my body, & it absolutely worked, even WITH lots of hills & pavement the entire course!

Since fully transitioning to minimalist shoes earlier this year, I have noticed I suffer from significantly LESS aches & pains following my long runs than EVER before. I am not sure if it can definitely be attributed to the shoes for me, OR if running in minimalist shoes has just helped me be more attentive to my form, & through changing things up along the way & improving my form, I am protecting myself from injury.

Either way, I LOVE the minimalist running!! I do NOT foresee myself EVER returning to "normal" shoes!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You have come a long way! emoticon

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HHOLT6 10/4/2012 3:31PM


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LZY0108 8/15/2012 3:05PM

    That's really cool! emoticon

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PROJECTFIT4LIFE 8/14/2012 12:14PM

    interesting...i have been eyeing some minamalist shoes but am afraid to make the switch....i just might have to dive in after all!

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JUNEPA 7/22/2012 11:21PM

    wow, your journey is inspirational !!
A few months ago I started using minimalist shoes, in my case Merrell gloves, Pace and Dash and I really like them and they are for sure improving my fitness and running endurance. My weak point in running is my feet, and these type of shoes allow the feet to strengthen instead of being overprotected and always being sore after long runs. Kind of not logical that my feet are less sore in shoes that protect less haha, but it did work that way.

Comment edited on: 7/22/2012 11:23:54 PM

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    Love to hear about minimalist shoe success! Glad to hear it all went well. emoticon

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SLEEPYDEAN 7/19/2012 6:03PM

    I didn't know you'd been running in Hatori's. Very cool!

I've been using Saucony Fastwitches which i think have a 4mm drop and I love them, but was worried about using them for higher mileage (half distance) because someone here commented that they had foot problems in them over 6 miles.

I guess it just takes time for those different muscles to get used to it, but I think I may just try them on a long run to see if they'll work for my half in September. I think the big, cushy shoes may be contributing to my knee/foot pain.

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 7/18/2012 8:39AM

    hmmm, interesting. I have never thought about this before. wheels are turning-thanks!

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    emoticon You did awesome.

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AELARLEE1 7/17/2012 3:47PM


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IRP1114 7/17/2012 10:11AM

    You are such an inspiration Darcy. Give me plenty of notice when you come to my neck of the woods so I can pick up my running just enough so I can keep up with you on one of your "easy" runs girl!
Definitely a success. emoticon

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RUN2BEFREE 7/17/2012 9:44AM

    Awesome Darcy! I have bought some 0.4 mm drop shoes to walk around town in - just to see what this is all about. I'm not sure with all my issues that I will ever completely convert over to minimalist shoes for running - but I can tell a difference in my calves and knees just from wearing these to walk or run errands in.

Very impressive!

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GOLFERGIRL21 7/17/2012 8:42AM


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Make It By Midnight Marathon - RACE REPORT!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

I FINISHED that marathon, made it by midnight, & earned my little tiara, YEEEEAAAAHH!!! I also had an AWESOME time meeting other Sparkers! WOOT WOOT!! I've waited a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG time to get this opportunity!

We left on Saturday morning for Becki's house (Marathon_Mom). She had invited some of us runners over to her house for a pre-race get-together. We got there a bit later than anticipated, but I was able to meet Becki, Runtrilaugh (Wendy), IMARUNR, CCSDESTINY, & Suezette-414. The kids had a blast playing in Becki's pool, & the food was GREAT! Thanks to Becki & her hubby grilling for us! What an awesome bunch of people!

Took a few pics on the drive:
This one was very interesting.... and a bit disgusting! GATOR JERKY?? FOR REAL?? I lived in FL before, but I never knew they had such a thing!


Then it was off to check into our hotel & get ready for that run! Then we headed to the Clubhouse at the subdivision where the race was held, where I picked up my race packet, & pinned my bib on. In all my nervous excitement, I really did not take very many pictures, but DH did snap one of me right before the race:

I did NOT want to put any pressure on myself time-wise, so I planned to take this as a very slow long training run. I left myself plenty of time to take it really slow & easy, & still be back by midnight. =) With the heat, humidity & hills, I did NOT want to push it. It was over 90 earlier in the day before I started, & had cooled down just a little before I started, but was still terribly humid!

Well, off I went! Right off the bat, I got a slight case of side-stitches. They last pretty much the whole first lap, then subsided, thankfully. They weren't so bad, but just annoying. I think it was all the excitement! On top of that, I also felt queasy from the get-go too.... REALLY queasy! Like I might have to throw up at any moment! Even the thought of nibbling on my organic energy bars for fuel made my stomach turn!! BLECH! I don't know if it was the heat & humidity, or the nervous-excitement, or the fact that I ate a bit more sugar before the race than I normally do.... no idea, but UUUGGGHH! Felt like I was gonna need to hurl in the bushes!! So I didn't eat ANYTHING, didn't fuel at all, just kept chugging fluids like CRAZY!! I refilled my water bottle multiple times to keep myself hydrated. The cold water from the stations was the BEST, & helped the queasiness a little.

But in spite of not feeling well, I kept truckin' along. I was going at a very slow pace (for me), but steadily moving forward. There were 2 MONSTER hills on the course, in addition to a whole bunch of other hilly parts. It was no easy course. But my reserved pace kept it doable. The 4th round started getting TOUGH! I thought for sure I would need to stop & walk the hills, but I just kept jogging up them. The only point where I walked was about 100 meters maybe, when my Garmin was being finicky, & I had to fiddle with it to get it to work right. Other than that, I ran the whole way. When someone told me I only had 3 miles left, it gave me the courage to pick up my pace!! I was even able to run strongly up the MONSTER HILL right at the end!

Gotta love a STRONG FINISH!

Afterwards, I hung out with the other runner girls, cheering the other people coming into the finish line, chatting about the race, dancing to the DJ. =) We then took some pictures of all the Marathon Maniacs (I'm not one.... YET!!), & I got a pic with the girls.

L-R = Becki, Wendy, ME, Suezette, Jeanine & Chandra.

And THEEEEEENNNN, the awards came. They only award first place awards, since the focus of the race is not to be competitive. And since I had taken it "easy" in my mind, I was totally shocked when they called MY NAME as the winning overal woman!! WHAT?? So, not only did I get a tiara, I got a clock with the medal mounted on the front! LOL My smile says it all, right?

Good times!! Running with friends around is just AWESOME!! I do need to work on taking more pictures, though! I get so focused on the run, I forget..... =) GREAT RUN!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LZY0108 8/15/2012 3:09PM

    Wow!! Great job!! very inspiring! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PROJECTFIT4LIFE 8/14/2012 12:16PM

    how awesome! congrats!

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ETTEZEUS 8/2/2012 9:34AM

    The look on your face when they called your name was priceless!!

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CCSDESTINY 8/1/2012 8:32AM

    I'm such a loser, I just found you on here (: Great race report!! Cant wait til next time!

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    Big beautiful smile. Sounds like a fantastic experience!

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RUNTRILAUGH 7/19/2012 4:03PM

    just now saw this blog! loved meeting you and get a big ole smile when I think of you and that award!!!!

congrats again!!!!

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BOILHAM 7/18/2012 8:11AM

    Congratulations on your win! Great race report, too! I too live in FL and by the time I found this race, it was already filled up.

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MARATHON_MOM 7/18/2012 7:07AM

    Congrats!!! You did awesome! So glad to have finally met you... and can't wait to see you again in November, when you smoke me again! LOL!

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AELARLEE1 7/17/2012 3:46PM

    Such an amazing experience!! I am so glad you got to meet everyone. I must say though, I saw you looking so beautiful and slender and immediately put away my snack emoticon

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SUSIQZER 7/17/2012 1:53PM

    Darcy, how awesome!!! Congrats on your win!!!!

You're looking absolutely fabulous too, my friend... I agree with everyone else that you can't be far from your goal now! WOO-HOO!!!!

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SEEHOLZ 7/17/2012 1:34PM

    You look fabulous and fabulously happy!!!

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FITFOODIE806 7/17/2012 1:28PM

    Wow! That is so awesome! What a cool experience. Love the pics. You are very pretty. And an amazing runner!!!

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CRZYRUNRGRL 7/17/2012 1:15PM

    Congrats on your first place finish!!It is such a tough course!
I wish I could have made it to Becki's and stayed for the after race chats and MM pics.

Congrats again!!

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IRP1114 7/17/2012 10:19AM

    Great pictures. I agree with Sara! You look so small!!! No way you are far from goal weight!!!! emoticon

You are AMAZING. Can't believe you didn't notice you won! And with out trying. CRAZY. Hope that didn't upset the ones who did!

You totally where ready for this. You could probably do a marathon every weekend with how much you run! And the way you listen to your body to fuel it right also is a big contributor to your success. Super proud of you Darcy.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RUN2BEFREE 7/17/2012 9:46AM

    Awesome race report!

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CAROLCRC 7/17/2012 7:55AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Super congratulations on an overall WIN!!!

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WONDERWOMAN 7/17/2012 7:04AM

    What a great report. Thanks for sharing. GREAT JOB!!!!

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LAUROCHKA 7/17/2012 3:05AM

WELL DONE!!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
It sounds like you had a great time and you obviously ran a great race too! Go girl!

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KIMBERLANG 7/17/2012 12:29AM

    WOW congrats. emoticon

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MADLYINLOVE 7/16/2012 11:57PM

    Girl you are so flippin amazing! I'm so proud of you. You put in the work, every time. You consistently train, putting in the hours, and the distance, and it's really incredible to see God's work at play with you. Keep on shining bright... you are inspiring us all. And my goodness chica you are looking very very little! Are you sure you're not already at goal? ;)- Your run with friends sounds fun - and I know that was your primary goal! Congrats!

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HELP!! Pre-Race Munchies Meltdown!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Moment of truth:

My eating yesterday & today has been off the charts!!

What is it about running a marathon that drives me to a Munchies binge?? LOL Of course, I'm sure my body can use the extra calories starting in about 8 hours. But all the nervous excitement is just too much for me!!!!


Not just about running, but about meeting other Spark Friends who'll be there! I've ALWAYS wanted to connect with other runners, more than just through Internet. But when I lived in the States before, I never knew any other dedicated runners who did events. In Germany, I was all alone for the most part too... So excited to meet other CrAzY RUNNING NUTS!!

I have no expectations about this race. The course is hilly, the atmosphere fun & non-competitive. I'm just looking to run at a comfortable pace & have a blast with new running friends!!

Bring it on, Make It By Midnight Marathon!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    So proud of you

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AELARLEE1 7/15/2012 5:04PM

    Wishing the very, very best!!

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JENNNY135 7/14/2012 9:40PM

    Came across your blog through Wonderwoman's comment. Have a great time and don't worry about the calories, you'll be burning them up.


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WONDERWOMAN 7/14/2012 9:22PM

    Waiting to see a pic with your tiara! Hope you are having fun right now.

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SUSIQZER 7/14/2012 7:21PM

    Have fun, and no worrying about the snacks. There's a pretty good chance you'll burn that off... ;)

I can't wait to hear all about it!!

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FITFOODIE806 7/14/2012 6:17PM

    Have fun!!!!!

And enjoy those calories. You body need em.

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MADLYINLOVE 7/14/2012 5:15PM

    Your body will probably dig all the glycogen!

Have a GREAT time out there tonight!!

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CATHRINE2010 7/14/2012 2:01PM

    Don't worry about the food! Just enjoy yourself. It sounds like so much fun! Come to Pittsburgh next year for the rock n roll half marathon! We will set you up! emoticon

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LAURIE5658 7/14/2012 11:49AM

    Darcy, I LOVE LOVE meeting up with Spark and FB running buds and alot of the ones I love are the ones you will be meeting today!!!!! I have to laugh. When I first met Becki at Space Coast last year all I could say was...geez, you are short! I am 5'4" and I was looking down at Becki. Oh and Becki has a cute southern drawl. Suezette is a dynamo and Wendy is AWESOME!!!!!!!! SO jealous!

Have a great time and throw caution to the wind and just eat!

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3 days until Marathon #3!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wow, it's coming up so fast! I will be running the Make It By Midnight Marathon in Macon Georgia with Marathon_mom (Becki) & Runtrilaugh (Wendy) & a couple of other Sparkers. This is my first marathon Stateside, my first race after being back to the US, & my first opportunity to meet some fellow SparkFriends! I am so excited!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Hubby, who is totally NOT a runner, is even excited about taking a little roadtrip - the first since we've gotten settled - even if he is going to be surrounded by a bunch of CRAZY RUNNING NUTS! It's gonna be fun.

Then I decided to change things up a bit, and signed up for a 5K! Wow, I haven't run a 5K in, like, 7 years or something crazy. But this one is locate, in fact, it's only a few miles from my house, and it's being held where I have been doing some of my long runs. My plan is to run there from my house (ca. 4 miles), & run home afterwards, to make sure I get a "long run" in. But I'm really looking forward to seeing what I can do as far as a 5K goes. Plus, I think I convinced another Sparker to meet up there & run it too!

As far as my ST goes, I met with the trainer at the Y on Monday, & she walked me through the workout....

I think she is trying to kill me...... BUAHAHAHAHA!!! It was H-A-R-D!!

She has me doing kettleball / barbell swings, Tabata training style in intervals. Then she has me doing intervals with several explosive plyo moves.... She says it's to improve my running, but I think she's really trying to kill me, like I said.... emoticon T-O-U-G-H! But I'm looking forward to seeing some improvements & benefits from this.

Then she assigned me certain ST moves, mostly with free weights & a few with machines. The goal is to do lots of weight & only 2 sets. This will be a change from BodyPump which is more endurance ST.

Today, I did the workout, minus any leg stuff.... Don't want to tire myself out for Saturday's marathon! Even just doing upper body & core/abs, that workout was INTENSE!! I was working HARD for nearly an hour straight!! It will be so great to see in 8 weeks where I am, and where I have improved from when she took my measurements & bodyfat last.

Keepin' my eyes focused on the prize!! YEAH!!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRZYRUNRGRL 7/17/2012 1:11PM

    How did you like MIBM??
I was registered for the full but with the knee issue healing I didn't want to push it. The half was good enough for me! LOL!

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RUN2BEFREE 7/17/2012 9:51AM

    Girl, you are such an inspiration. I was going to chicken out on my 16 mile bike ride this morning - and now I think I am going to go do it! Can't wait to meet you!

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AELARLEE1 7/14/2012 11:44AM

    You are going to have such a GREAT time this weekend! Your commitment and dedication to workouts and STing, is so amazing! Hope hubby gets a kick out of being with the crazy runners and you all do well!

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MADLYINLOVE 7/13/2012 11:08AM

    Tomorrow, tomorrow! Are you pumped up or what!!?!! Enjoy this unique opportunity!

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SEEHOLZ 7/13/2012 9:44AM

    Have fun!

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1EMMA2011 7/12/2012 9:27PM

    Thinking of you!! Have a super time!!! emoticon

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IMARUNR 7/12/2012 12:16PM

    Wow, wow, wow!! Lots of awesomeness in this blog!! Have a great day and looking forward to seeing you in a couple of days!

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SUSIQZER 7/12/2012 8:26AM

    YAY!! Have a great race!!! I can't wait to hear all about it!


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CAROLCRC 7/12/2012 8:03AM

    Rest those legs! You're going to have a great time.

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JILLIANPRNCSS 7/12/2012 6:33AM

    That is great you have a good trainer. I have gotten some not so great ones in the past.

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WONDERWOMAN 7/11/2012 7:58PM

    I am soooooooo jealous. Someday I'll convince hubby we need to be at our place in GA for MIBM. You will have to be there that year. :)

I can relate to the Y thing. I went for my orientation on Monday. I was soooooo sore. I thought BP was putting me through the wringer. I love the workout!!!!

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IRP1114 7/11/2012 3:52PM

    Yay for road trip with the family! They can be so fun! And I am sure you will have fun running that marathon!!! You are going to rock that race! Can't wait to hear all about it afterwards ;-)

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    emoticon emoticon

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LAURIE5658 7/11/2012 2:17PM

    Have a great time, Darcy!!!!!!!

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    Have a blast with everyone.

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