SUNSHINE20113   26,471
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One week until race day!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

And all I keep thinking is: 'don't get an injury now!!'

I'm ready. My past two long runs have both been 21km in about 2 hours. I know I can do it, now I just need to taper for this week, get enough sleep and eat well.

We've been away on holiday in Scotland and have not eaten as well as we usually do. I haven't jumped on the scale yet, so hopefully I haven't gained too much, but I do look forward to a week of balanced, healthy eating before race day.

I'll be running the half marathon next Sunday. I've been training for months now, so it feels like it's been quite an epic journey.

My last long run is this Sunday. I'm only planning on running for 90 minutes. My plan after that is two runs of thirty minutes each, and plenty of yoga.

I need to keep healthy and injury free now. I feel like the training part is done.

Phew. I'm excited!!

Any last minute tips??

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURIETAIT 9/16/2013 12:26AM

    You're going t do great. Can't wait to read about the race details.

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ANATASHIKI 9/14/2013 4:09AM

    good luck with the race! I don't know about tips but sometimes when I have muscle cramps while running I take magnesium supplements. but if you don't have this issue and are not used to them I don't know if they would help. I agree , the body doesn't make water reserves, we're not a cactus emoticon

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PASTAFARIAN 9/13/2013 10:53PM

    Ignore Bluenose's advice. You can't give your body "reserve hydration". You'll just pee it out. In the worst case, you'll have to pee mid-race.

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WORKNPROGRESS49 9/13/2013 6:25PM


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BLUENOSE63 9/13/2013 6:02PM

  Tip: Make sure you are properly hydrated during your taper week. In fact drink extra so that your body has a reserve. Don't forget the sunscreen and bug spray just in case.

Good luck, sounds like you got this all cased! Make sure you show a pic of the bling you win!

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ZMADAME 9/13/2013 5:59PM


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RAPUNZEL53 9/13/2013 5:57PM

  Good Luck!

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Anniversary time: Two years of sparking!

Friday, September 06, 2013


Although anniversaries are frequently the opportunity to look back and reflect on what we've achieved over the last year, this time I very much feel like I'm looking forward to the future. Much of the reason for this is because I find myself preparing for a few things that have been on my goal list for just a little bit too long.

Here's what I think has happened:

When I started spark people, I was given a few simple ideas to keep me on track to reach my weight loss goal. I wasn't just taught how to set goals, I was given simple ways to meet them and it worked for me. I got excited by spark points and fitness minutes and trophies. (I still do emoticon ) I also liked the idea of setting myself a goal of ten minutes of exercise a day. I knew that I could do that. I learned not to focus on the ominous final destination, but on the little steps I could take each day instead. Eating too much junk food was no longer guilt ridden because I simply added it to my calorie tracker, and, slowly but surely found myself eating less and less of it. For me, this really worked.

Once I reached my goal weight, I slowly began to toy with the idea that other goals in my life could potentially be reached too, if I just did a little bit each day. I now knew that I liked trophies and accumulating fitness minutes, and this naturally flowed into jogging. By signing up to races I knew I would earn myself some sort of medal at the end of the race, and I also knew that I would be spending time building up my mileage. Again, this has worked really well for me, I think because I'm learning what motivates me. This running routine is now such a part of my life that I get itchy feet if I miss more than a week doing it. I'm still amazed to have discovered a love for an activity that I used to dread when I was at school. We really are never too old to discover new things about ourselves.

Something intangible has changed. I think that I used to be really full of self-doubt. Now, I feel that I am actually a capable person. A worthwhile person. And that reaching out for what I want in life may actually be a worthy pursuit.

So, my husband and I went through our dreams. We brainstormed and realised that we had the resources to take a break from the rat race and be a bit brave. We moved to a small seaside town. Now, it is in Ireland, (not your first choice for a sunny seaside resort, I know), but a door opened which gave us the option to try out this dream and see whether living away from the city would work for us. We've been here a month now. We're still adjusting, so I'll keep you posted.

I will also be starting a Phd programme at one of the local universities here. This is another dream of mine. It's both daunting and exciting at the same time - but then so was losing all that weight and that worked out really well for me!! I'm nervous, but I think I have the tools in hand to do this (without the fresher fifteen!!)

Where am I now? I'm in a more confident place. I can't say it's a happy place because emotions come and go and problems and unexpected events are always there to put a spanner in the works, as we all know.


I've learned to embrace the journey towards reaching our dreams, and, maintaining my weight has taught me that there is no finite end when we reach those goals. We just move on to something new, something just a little bit more challenging. It's a good place to be.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANNA202 9/14/2013 3:18PM

    Oh I'm so pleased to see how things are working out for you. Congratulations on your 2 years, and all the exciting changes you've been making! I'm sure last time I checked in you were running much shorter races too so good luck with the half!

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FLORIDASUN 9/8/2013 8:58AM

    Fantastic...I want to hear all about your new adventures...and my theme is...if you don't break off the beaten track every so often you will miss some great adventures along the way! are doing so GREAT! emoticon emoticon

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CHICA_BORICUA 9/7/2013 11:36AM


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KRISZTA11 9/6/2013 4:32PM

    Congrats to your emoticon !
I'm jealous of the small seaside town you moved to.
My country has no seaside and all my family members love to live in a big city so no chance for me now ; ) but maybe sometime later in my life...

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WORKNPROGRESS49 9/6/2013 2:58PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MADEIT3 9/6/2013 12:38PM

    What a great Blog! Thanks for writing it. Good luck with your PhD program. I loved grad school - you can set goals and see what you've accomplished via feedback from your professors and your grades!! Almost like the scale...

Best to you!

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The real secret to weight loss

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Yesterday I watched a programme on the BBC documenting the various weight loss gurus over the years. Two of the diet programmes that were reviewed were Weight Watchers and the Atkins diet. The whole premise of the show was that diets don't actually work and that, statistically, people can end up gaining even more weight than they started with after dieting.

This is not new information. The news really tends to be quite bleak for people who want to keep their weight off, so I got to thinking about what it really is that people need to lose weight and this is what I concluded:


It doesn't cost a thing, but boy oh boy, is it a hard to keep up that motivation.

More than that, this self-motivation never really ends.

Even though I'm at my goal weight and have been for a year and a half, I still have to make tough decisions about what to eat. The decision to stay healthy and slim is still something that I have to make consciously, and, at the end of the day can sometimes be a very difficult, and very tiring, thing to do.

Yes, we have support systems, tracking tools, etc, but it's up to us to use them. Up to us to eat within our calorie range and go out and do a bit of exercise, and, ultimately, if we want to keep the weight off, up to us to decide to keep on doing those things for a very, very long time.

** I realise this may not be a very up-lifting blog, it just struck me that I needed to write about it as I'm starting to get tired of keeping up with my maintenance and it seems to be happening six months before I reach my two year maintenance goal, so it falls into the statistic where people start to gain weight again. I suddenly understood why. For me, at least, it's getting a bit harder to stay motivated and on track. I'm actually needing to work harder at it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MWWENSIN 9/23/2013 4:33PM

    Reallly great blog the diet never ends. That is why it's really a lifestyle change. You're definitely on the right course - eating right and exercising.

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FLORIDASUN 9/8/2013 9:08AM

    I love this's all about self awareness...we constantly have to be aware of where we are, what we are feeding ourselves, and where we intend to go with our goals. You hit pretty much everything smack on the need to track you calories in and out.

I've got aways to go...I rebel against actually I'm self sabotaging...NOT a good thing! emoticon

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WORKNPROGRESS49 8/15/2013 11:33AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon info!!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/15/2013 11:35:26 AM

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DIHEALTHYHAPPY 8/14/2013 10:28AM

    I agree! I have maintained a 100 pound weight loss - give or take a couple of pounds every now and then - and it seems to get harder. September 8 will be my 7 years anniversary! Woo hoo! One thing I have accepted, having once been morbidly obese, I have to spend a lot of time each day exercising and I also have to be accountable for my calories.

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LAURIETAIT 8/13/2013 1:32AM

    I think a big part of your success can be attributed to your exercise of choice, running. Poor nutritional choices can be off set with regular strenuous exercise. Embracing an active lifestyle is the key to maintenance I think. You've done a great job so far and you look amazing. Keep fighting the good fight. We're all here for you when your energy and commitment start to flag.

Insert emoticon that says: YOU"VE DONE IT BEFORE ! YOU CAN CONTINUE TO DO IT!

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KRISZTA11 8/11/2013 4:20PM

    Maintenance is so much different from the weight loss phase...
It is easier because we can eat 500 calories or more a day, and it is easier be satisfied with good, colorful tasty food.
But it is harder because it is longer, it is a lifelong thing -isn't it scary?
And sometimes it is harder to follow a flexible schedule, because the difference between maintenance mode and "normal" previous lifestyle is smaller.
I totally understand your feelings.

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CAROLISCIOUS 8/11/2013 1:15PM

    Maintenance is a tough and lonely road sometimes. You stop hearing all those motivating "Hey, you look great," comments because people have gotten adjusted to the new way that you look. It's easy to start feeling like it isn't important any more...but it is, and you can't give up.

I am a 5 year maintainer. I keep some side by side before and after pics posted in various places so I see them often. I posted a couple of blogs recently about accountability in maintaining that you might find helpful.


I still have good days and bad days, good weigh ins and bad weigh ins. More good than bad keeps me out of the danger zone.

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ANATASHIKI 8/11/2013 12:54PM

    thanks for saying these things . I don't know why everybody , dieters and non dieters think that hey , you make an effort for an year or two and after that you return to the " normal" life. there is no "normal" life . maintaining requires the same effort if not more.
don't give up , I like seeing people like you , that means there's hope for me too emoticon

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Running update

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Everything is looking good for my upcoming half marathon. I had signed up for a 15km race, but it got cancelled, so I created a virtual 15km with the team 'Runner Girls United' which was one way of giving myself a goal halfway towards the half-marathon time.

I also decided to measure my long runs according to time as opposed to distance. Now I try to increase my long run by 5-10 minutes a week, depending on how I'm feeling. My last run was 1hr 37 (I was 500m away from hitting 17km, so I just carried on running until I reached it) and it went well.

I must thank people for all their advice. As soon as I started bringing water along with me and slowing down my pace for the long run all my frustrations disappeared. I felt less tired and my legs have been able to keep going without much pain at all! My muscles did ache a little yesterday, but I think that's probably quite normal. I never thought I'd ever say that, but...... I'm really enjoying these longer distances...... (I bet my old Phys Ed teacher just felt a shiver down her spine....she would never believe it!!)

I've also taken that advice that even if I can't fit shorter runs in during the week, I must still try and do a weekly long run. In fact, I've been quite flexible with myself about when I run - as long as I take a day off between runs and two days off after my long run. This has made it much easier to fit the training into my last two weeks of work. Now that I'm on vacation, I have more time, which will help.

All in all I feel quite confident that I'll reach the 21km mark. I'm so aware that I need to be careful and not push myself because I don't want an injury now! I'm also finding that all my routes (that once seemed so endless) are getting a bit short. I'm having to double up on them! In that respect I'm happy that we will be moving to the countryside soon where I'll have a lot more space to run. The city parks are getting a bit small now, and those long runs are becoming quite epic!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURIETAIT 7/29/2013 1:15PM

    emoticon emoticon You will ace this half!

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ABETTERBETTY 7/28/2013 5:49PM

    Congratulations on your training. Sounds like your plan is working out.


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ANATASHIKI 7/28/2013 1:14PM

    great job! and lol , mine too , I was almost half of my actual weight and couldn't run back then. I never thought I can run emoticon

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PMRUNNER 7/28/2013 6:05AM

    Sounds like great progress and a solid plan! Good luck!

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KRISZTA11 7/28/2013 5:07AM

    emoticon to your effective and safe training plan and to the great progress you made!

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Emotional over-eating

Saturday, July 20, 2013

It's just so busy at the moment. And when it's busy it's hard to keep up with exercise, healthy eating, and my newest focus: emotional well-being.

This last week I became painfully aware of the power of emotional eating. As part of maintenance plan I allow myself small treats almost every day. Incorporating these small treats was one of the things that helped me break the restrictive dieting/ overeating cycle that I was once in, and I'm sure has been really helpful in keeping my weight so steady. I've been doing this for over a year now, however, this week, whenever I was about to eat a treat, a small voice inside me kept saying, 'go on, have some deserve it.....'

I've heard this voice before. It visits me whenever things get a little bit emotionally overwhelming. This time, however, I was able to step back a little and consider what the impact of that 'little extra' would be. Then another voice, the one that likes to be thin and healthy, was able to rationalise with my desire to treat myself.

Let's face it. I could have eaten every cake in that coffee shop, but once I had finished eating, I would still feel just as stressed out, as well as guilty about how much I had over-eaten. The food was not going to take the stressful feelings away.

In that moment, I was able to catch myself before the emotional eating took hold, but, as a precaution, I'm tracking my food quite carefully just to stay aware of how much I'm eating.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANATASHIKI 7/20/2013 11:54AM

    well done and thanks for the reminder , I'm in the same stress danger situation right now , luckily I have no treat here emoticon

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