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My 2 Year Spark Anniversary and week of my biggest Marathon!

Monday, January 03, 2011

First of all, I hope everyone is starting off their New Year in a wonderful way!

I can't believe I joined Sparkpeople 2 years ago today! I'm so happy that once I joined, I continued on my journey, reached my goal and have maintained for over a year now.

Me just prior to joining Spark:

Me just a couple weeks ago:

Prior to Jan. 2009, I had many starts and stops in trying to lose weight. I think the difference was that 1) I decided to lead a healthy lifestyle instead of dieting, 2) I set continuous fitness goals which kept me focused so I wasn't just thinking about losing weight, 3) I didn't worry about big results, I just wanted consistent ones, 4) I had an "Aha!" moment when someone told me how heavy I was after not seeing me for a couple years. It was the last straw. And 5) I barely missed one day over a year of tracking my food.

I averaged 1/2 lb of weight loss a week and many people would find that discouraging. My motto is "I didn't want to lose it fast, I wanted to lose it FOREVER."

So I'm happy to still be here. I don't look like I did when I did the Figure Competition. Please keep in mind I was practically dehydrated and virutally NO sodium at that point. Also, after the competition, I almost immediately went back to running and it's hard to maintain the muscularity running the mileage I was doing. With that said, I still fit my size 2, I just don't have the same definition. But I'm very happy with how I look and more importantly with how I feel. I continue to eat 90% clean with a little bit of cheats here and there, everything in moderation. I've learned to LIVE a healthy lifestyle and I enjoy it. Ruben (FLEXCHEF) still helps me as my Nutrition Coach and as I maintain he's my go to person when I need some nutritional help. He's been such a Godsend, and now he's helping my Mother (blog on that to come soon).

Well this coming Sunday is the Disney Marathon. I will qualify for the Boston Marathon by finishing the 26.2 miles in less than 3 hours and 51 minutes. I have to cut 54 minutes off of my previous (and only) marathon time from Feb. 2009. So I realize this is a very lofty goal, but I'm up to the challenge. And nothing great happens without great goals right? I've trained properly and feel good that I can do it. Am I nervous or scared? Heck yeah!!! I get palpitations sometimes when I think about running that fast for that long. I'll be with a 3:50 Pacer which means there will be a runner who will be holding a sign that says 3:50 for anyone focused on finishing the race in that time. So I just tell myself "Just stay with the sign, follow the sign..." This is what my husband did to qualify at his race. So I'm going to do it too!

Fortunately, the weather looks PERFECT for the race, low of 49, high of 68. These are great conditions for the race. So it will start off chilly (race starts at 5:40am EST) but once we get running, it should be great! Won't need to have a bunch of layers on thankfully.

If you're interested in tracking the race to see how I'm doing, either at intervals or just at the finish line, feel free to track me at this site:

My name is Tia Pettygrue. Would love to have as many cheerleaders as possible! This helps inspire so much!

So for my 2nd year Spark Anniversary, I'm resting today from running. I'll run 4 miles tomorrow, 3 on Wednesday, 2 on Thursday, and that's it until the race. I'm going to have my personal trainer give me a stretching session on Friday. I'll pick up my race packet on Friday at the Expo, and I'm sure it will really become real at that point. I hope to meet my Pacer there as well.

A friend of mine, Lisa who will be running Disney as well for her first marathon, invited me to watch The Spirit of the Marathon with her this week, so I look forward to it. I'm so happy Lisa and I met!
Pic of me and Lisa after our 20 mile run:

So thank you for reading this and I really appreciate all of your encouraging words, and I apologize in advance if I don't get to respond to you personally. My goal in 2011 is to be more encouraging and giving to others, as has been done for me.

Have an awesome day, and I'll check in after the race on Sunday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIAJAMES 1/27/2012 10:19AM

  Hi Tia, I saw you in Ebnoy and you looked great. You inspired me to start my journey, I made it through the first week. You keep up the good work.

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MZSPB1 11/27/2011 2:26PM

    Hi Tia,

I saw you in Ebony today, and think you are motivating! Congratulations on the weight lost and life change.

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BROWNSUGAR713 1/23/2011 10:44PM

  you look very good. an inspiration to us all. its amazing the results you receive when you are consistent. keep up the good work. emoticon

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BYERSDK 1/15/2011 4:59PM

    u look amazing emoticon

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LOVELY_DAY 1/12/2011 12:11AM

    emoticon this is amazing. Your are definitely an inspiration to everyone.

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  you are emoticon. Keep up the Good work!!

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BECKYLYNNE77 1/11/2011 5:57PM

    that is amazing emoticon

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REMONIAT 1/11/2011 9:14AM

    With tears of joy and a huge smile on my face….I'm soooo PROUD of you!!!
What an awesome accomplishment. Another one down and many more to go!
Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

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LINDY2202 1/10/2011 9:31PM

    You are amazing and a movitation to us all. WAY TO GO!

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AMYSNEWSPARK 1/10/2011 7:55PM

    You look amazing! Congratulations on your success!

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WHITNEYMARIES 1/10/2011 5:39PM

  Holy hot Moma you LOOK AMAZING. I love reading blogs like this they give me HOPE and MOTIVATION!

I can do this and you showing me that it is possible is such a great gift so THANK YOU!

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CMDAFFY 1/10/2011 1:38PM

  What an inspiration you are to us in our 40's! Keep Rockin'!

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HEYPINK 1/10/2011 1:17PM

    its amazing how far you have come and how dedicated you are to being healthy - a true inspiration! My goal is to run a marathon one day and your story gives me some much needed hope. Thanks for sharing your story!

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LALA0123 1/10/2011 12:12PM


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TURTLERAE55 1/9/2011 11:23PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Keep up the good work.

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MIZPAM25 1/9/2011 6:08PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon You look great! Thanks for the inspiration and motivation. I wish you continued success! emoticon emoticon

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ROBBIEK09 1/9/2011 11:58AM

    YOU LOOK MARVELOUS!!!!!!!!! I wish you continued success, and you are an inspiration to me! Thanks so much for sharing and congratulations on your hard work and determination.

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JULIESDREAM 1/9/2011 11:38AM

    Wow! I'm impressed. You've done a great job and it looks like you have really had a transformation both inside and out. Congratulations!

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REDDIRTRUNNER 1/9/2011 11:23AM

    I wish you luck! You deserve Boston!!

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KIMAJOR 1/9/2011 5:54AM

    Tia, you're awesome! Thanks for the inspiration!! emoticon

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TEXASTEE1 1/8/2011 9:11PM


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MASE72 1/8/2011 4:58PM

    Good Luck! emoticon

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NONNI-MOMMI 1/8/2011 11:57AM

  Wow! You're awesome, and my new role model! emoticon

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HEALTHYME47 1/8/2011 10:53AM

    Good luck with the marathon!

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 1/8/2011 7:21AM

    Congratulations! When I read it at first, and I saw 3:50 pacer, I was thinking a 3:50 mile and thinking "What?!"... but it's also 6am emoticon

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WALKFIT 1/8/2011 12:21AM

    GOOD LUCK! emoticon

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CBARRETT10 1/7/2011 11:09PM

  MY SHERO!Thanks for sharing and GOOD LUCK! emoticon

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STORMIWEATHER 1/7/2011 10:19PM

    Very encouraging, this is why I am a sparkpeople member.
Thanks for sharing your story. emoticon

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NICA_LOSN_IT 1/7/2011 7:52PM

    You are such an inspiration!!! Keep it up...And thanks for posting this. Very encouraging.

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HONEYFLOWER43 1/7/2011 7:27PM


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LAROSEBAUGH 1/7/2011 3:08PM

    Good luck on reaching your time goal! I know you can do it!!! :D

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NACHOSMAMA 1/7/2011 2:51PM

    Go'head girl! You look fabulous. I hope to run a half-marathon in spring of 2012; my goal is to run a 10K this year. Good luck at Disney!

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MIRHLA 1/7/2011 12:50PM

    Good luck on your Disney marathon! Your story is very inspirational. I love the idea of losing very slowly, but permanently. This would probably be a more successful approach for me as well. Thanks!

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SWILLIAM621 1/7/2011 10:33AM

    Wow, great blog. Best of luck to you on your race and as you continue on your journey!

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LUVNY199 1/7/2011 10:28AM

    emoticon You are an inspiration and doing emoticon Good luck with the marathon.

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KTC0900 1/7/2011 9:41AM

  What an inspirational story. Keep up the good work!!! emoticon

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GIRLFS 1/7/2011 7:31AM

    Well done,keep it up.

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2BEEFIT 1/7/2011 7:19AM

    WOW, you are so inspiring! Just fabulous!

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KALORIE-KILLAH 1/7/2011 6:41AM

    I have a few running friends who are doing the Disney Marathon on Sunday, too! Best of luck, and happy SparkVersary!


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JULIEANNCAN 1/7/2011 2:23AM

    Congratulations and I wish you all the best with the marathon! This is very inspiring! emoticon

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MOUNTAINKATIE 1/6/2011 11:38PM

    You are very inspiring. It is so easy to loose sight of the "big picture" of loosing the weight forever. Thank you for reminding us all that every success, no matter how small, is still a success! Congratulations on taking your life back. ~Katrina emoticon

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BLACKGOLD64 1/6/2011 11:25PM

    You're my hero! Congratulations on your victory and your 2YR Anniversary! emoticon

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ADVENTURE-GIRL 1/6/2011 11:17PM

    Happy emoticon

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LUBAML 1/6/2011 10:53PM

    Happy anniversary! Congratulations!!! You are doing great! You look wonderful! I'm happy for you. emoticonLuba

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DAVIDSWOMAN54 1/6/2011 9:52PM

    Wow, you are amazing!!! You look fantastic and so healthy!!

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SAX_88 1/6/2011 9:24PM

    We are so proud of you!

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J-HANSEN 1/6/2011 9:17PM

    You are amazing! I wish I had the ability to run a whole marathon!

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ALICIA12387 1/6/2011 8:49PM

  Happy anniversary! I just finished my first marathon this fall! It was a huge accomplishment for me in my weight loss journey. Congratulations!


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ALICIA12387 1/6/2011 8:49PM

  Happy anniversary! I just finished my first marathon this fall! It was a huge accomplishment for me in my weight loss journey. Congratulations!


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ALICIA12387 1/6/2011 8:49PM

  Happy anniversary! I just finished my first marathon this fall! It was a huge accomplishment for me in my weight loss journey. Congratulations!



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3 Weeks till my Biggest Marathon...and paying it forward!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

So 3 weeks from today at this time of 9:49am, I should be a Boston Qualifier. Well, that's the plan. Race starts at 5:40am, so assuming it starts on time (and I'm sure it will, since we're talking about Disney), I need to be finished before 9:31am. So hoping around this time I'll be limping my victory dance! That's my visualization!

Did my 20 mile run yesterday and it went very well. It rained the entire time, but it wasn't too cold so we didn't mind. Went with a new running friend, Lisa who is also running Disney and this will be her first marathon. I looked at my blog from this past Feb about my first 20 mile training run. For that run, my hubby and I did it together. We ran it in 3:58. Yesterday I ran my 20 in 3:07, so I shaved off 51 minutes. Not bad but I have to shave off 54 minutes to qualify, and at race pace! Wow! Sounds daunting, but I'm up to the challenge!

Here's Lisa and I soaking wet but happy after our run yesterday:

This past week was fun. Our running club had a year end social to celebrate everyone's successes. So I had a shirt custom made for my hubby and presented it to him, along with the book 26 Miles To Boston to recognize him for qualifying for Boston. That was fun!
Here's a few pics from that:

So a few days ago I get an email that the Iron Girl Half Marathon is offering a $35 registration for 72 hours. My BFF Grace had been thinking of doing the Disney Princess Half (I call her a Princess so it was fitting). But Disney's $140, which is actually more than the marathon! Also, we were already into the 12 weeks of training and if it was going to be her first (she still hadn't decided yet), I wanted to make sure she had all the training she needed. So I told her about this, and since it would be mainly an all woman race, it would be just as fun as doing Disney. And for $105 less! :-) I didn't want to put any pressure on her, so I just gave her the details and a couple of training plans to look at. We were Facebook chatting and the said "I did it!" I was thinking that's what she was talking about, but didn't want to get too excited. Yes, Grace did register for the Iron Girl Half Marathon. I was and am still so excited! To do a Half Marathon is such a HUGE accomplishment, and I know it's just the challenge she needs to finish her healthy size goals. So once Grace was "locked in", I wondered who else I could "encourage" to do it. So I started with Cametra. After a couple of possible reasons why she couldn't, she registered. Then, my friend Kayla, who hadn't been running much recently because of some other goals, but I know she loves it. Kayla and I had done the Iron Girl 15k this past April and had a blast.
Pic of Kayla and I:

So Kayla was in. Now the big one, my Mom. Mom will turn 70 next month and I can just start crying now thinking of her and Grace crossing the finish line of a Half Marathon. Once I told her I had a walk/run training schedule, SHE WAS IN! It's going to be so much fun. We'll have shirts made and maybe we'll all wear running skirts! Grace teases me by calling me a Puppet Master but I think maybe it's a gift I have to encourage (well maybe twist arms a little), and as long as it's for good, I'm happy to do it. :-)

Pic of Mom and I:

Pic of Grace and I:

Pic of Cametra and I (from when finished her first Duathlon):

So I'm pretty excited about our April Half Marathon. I promised Grace and my Mom that I would stay with them the entire time, and as competitive as I am, I don't mind because it will mean so much to be there with them as we all cross the finish line together.

Setting goals is so important in your healthy lifestyle journey. No matter how big or small they are, keep setting goals for yourself, and as you get close, set the next one! Johnny and I watched the Iron Man World Championships yesterday and it made us both feel like "we have to do this one day", so after we both run Boston, we'll look at taking on the Iron Man. Guess we should start with a Sprint Triathlon since we've never even done that before, but hey, it doesn't hurt to have the big goal out there!

Thanks so much for reading and I wish you a glorious day! - Tia

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRICHICPAM 1/1/2011 7:40PM

    Wow... looks like you have got a lot of high goals! I have not BQ as I am too slow, but I am in training right now for Ironman Wisconsin and after having to DNF in 2009, it will be amazing finally making it. But you are right... start slow, do a sprint distance triathlon and work up from there! You can do it if you set your mind to it! :)

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ETTEZEUS 1/1/2011 5:10PM

    I'm in for Iron Girl too!! And I think this is the one my mom will be coming to. Not a full but she can see me run and get a medal. The only time she ever seen me run was for a Jingle Bell 2 miler.

Good luck on BQing Tia....you can do it...you are an accomplished runner!

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CRZYRUNRGRL 1/1/2011 5:07PM

    Tia, I totally have faith that you will BQ! I can't wait to congratulate you!!

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CCSDESTINY 1/1/2011 4:46PM

    I've dropped Disney Princess and in for the Iron Girl Half :)

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KJS_MOM 12/29/2010 8:35AM

    Good Luck with your goals! I know God will Bless you to accomplish them because of the positive effect you are having on people.
God Bless

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MOMMANURSE34 12/23/2010 4:32AM


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CBARRETT10 12/22/2010 6:05PM

  My Shero!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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-PAULA 12/21/2010 12:00PM

    Amazing, Tia. Congratulations on your great races and training. You are such an inspiration!

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SCHATZI4MO 12/20/2010 8:38PM

    beautiful family, beautiful friends... for a beautiful and inspiring lady.
Merry Christmas. hugs ~ april

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CANDOTHIS1210 12/20/2010 4:33PM

    Thanks Tia. You are so inspiring and that smile is infectious. I can see your spirit shining through it.

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COFFEE-MATE-Y 12/20/2010 4:26PM

    I loved reading your blog!!!! Now i'm going to follow it becuase I loved it so much and cant wait to hear more of what your up to!

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ANDREA0301 12/20/2010 2:18PM

    I absolutely devour your blogs Tia! You are such an incredible inspiration, both in your physical goal setting and your spiritual walk.

Keep up the emoticon work!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FUNFROG79 12/20/2010 10:27AM

    Wow! Good luck! Here's to Boston!!! emoticon

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OBXFIREGUY 12/20/2010 8:04AM

    I really hope you meet your goal. I just hope you don't get dissappointed about it later. The standards to BQ for 2012 are under review and have not been offically set for 2012. The BAA has hinted they will release the standards sometime in Jan. They BQ times are expected to be reduced due to the demand for the race this year. My goal is to always run my best race possible and if it is a BQ then great. You will have a great race. Hope to see you guys at Disney. Some of us Sparkers are meeting on Friday for a sandwhich.

I have a big goal of doing an IronMan one day too! You ROCK!

Comment edited on: 12/20/2010 8:07:07 AM

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MBSHAZZER 12/19/2010 8:51PM

    Tia, I love reading your blogs! You are such an inspiration and a reminder to me to belive in myself! I also love love love how supportive you are to that cute hubby of yours! You guys are an amazing team!

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RUN2BEFREE 12/19/2010 6:08PM

    Wow - I am so impressed with all you have accomplished! I look forward to hearing about about your BQ time!

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HEALTHYCHIC 12/19/2010 3:39PM

    WOW-You have done some great work!

I'm running disney too. Just had my longest training run yesterday!

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NEW-CAZ 12/19/2010 1:50PM

    You are AMAZING! Tia and you'll qualify no doubt!

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DEFINEMINE 12/19/2010 12:41PM

    You are emoticon!!!
emoticon on all of you've accomplished.
emoticon for inspiring us all. Im going to train for and run a 5K just because I can. After your last message I said "why not?"
I would love some advice. I just finished my first week of C25K and I feel great. My concerns are am I using the right equipment and developing a proper form to prevent injury. I think I need to see a podiatrist because I'm sure I'm flat footed and I wonder about running socks emoticon?? and I couldn't walk a straight line to save my life and I have to stay FOCUSED or I veer to the side when I'm running. HELP! LOL!
Have an wonderful week and Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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CAROLYN1213 12/19/2010 11:40AM

    Way to go girl!!!! You are a fabulous encourager!!!! I will be praying for your victory dance at the end of your race!!!! I'm with you in spirit! You are amazing girl!

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CRZYRUNRGRL 12/19/2010 11:05AM

    You will Qualify girl!
You are doing simply amazing!

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LIGHTNINGRUNNER 12/19/2010 10:22AM

    You are truly amazing. I have you to thank for my interest in weight training/strength training. You will make me a new woman - I hope I wish I could be as fast as you, but that will have to wait. I will be waiting for a text message from you on Sunday after your qualification for Boston.

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CRYSBROWN1 12/19/2010 10:16AM

    WOW, love that you have recruited your friends & your mom! That is going to be a great "girl power" race for you!

Great job on the training, you have this Boston qualify in the bag!

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One more step toward the Boston Marathon...

Monday, November 29, 2010

So I've set my sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. 6 Months ago, did I even think this was possible? NO! After running my first marathon this past February with a time of 4:46, I never even dreamed Boston was possible. At my age group, I'd have to run a 3:50:59 marathon. That's 54 minutes better than my time...almost an HOUR!!! Seems impossible right? I thought so.

But after working with my Nutrition Coach Ruben (FLEXCHEF) and Personal Trainer Stefanie, and placing 3rd in a Figure Competition, which I never would have thought possible to even be in shape enough to do it, I realized...once again...very few things are impossible. I didn't run for 3 months while doing this training and I thought it would have slowed me down, and I just knew I'd be taking a step backward in my running...but when I started back, I WAS FASTER! I couldn't believe it! Ruben told me I would be, but I didn't think I'd be THAT much! I shaved 20 minutes off of my 15k, then I saw my 5k speed increase, then I just ran my 2nd Half Marathon and shaved 27 minutes off that! So, with all that said, I started thinking...maybe I could qualify for Boston...

So my husband had gotten that bug after finishing his last marathon (we did it together in Feb). He finished in 4:04. He needs 3:20:59 to qualify for Boston. He decided to go for it. He works almost 60 hours a week with Waste Management. He's a safety supervisor, but many days he's throwing garbage which is super hard work. I found a Hal Higdon Training Schedule that worked for him and he followed it as best as he could with his schedule. Did I also mention he's a Pastor too, so he also prepares Sunday worship and does a LOT of Bible reading and study.

We spoke with a couple of running coaches, and they didn't feel it was realistic for his to qualify THIS year, based on his Feb Marathon time and work schedule, which made reasonable sense (but I'm not very reasonable and don't have much sense!). He decided to run a marathon before the end of the year just to see where he stood. So he picked the Space Coast Marathon in Cocoa Beach, FL which is just 2 hours from where we live. It's known to be a pretty fast and flat course. While he's training, his times were good, close to Boston good. But when someone would ask him what he planned to finish in, he'd always say: "Around 3:30." Remember, he needs 3:20 for Boston.

I'm the kind of person that when I set a goal, I am determined to reach it and will do what it takes, and whether or not I reach it, the satisfaction is knowing I gave it my all. So just last week I heard him tell someone that he expected to finish in 3:30. So I decided to have a serious talk with my husband. I told him I didn't want to hear anything but 3:20 come out of his mouth. He had to think it, talk it, say it, and believe it or he'd end up finishing the race at 3:21!!! I told him he had to go into this race with every fiber of his being knowing he was going for 3:20:59 and nothing less.

This marathon had pace groups, which allow to get with a group who expects to finish at your desired time. There's a Pace leader who holds your goal time sign up the entire race. So all you have to do is stay with him/her and you'll hit your time. So race morning, I immediately led hubby (name is Johnny) to the 3:20 Pacer and introduced him. I said "Tony, this is my husband Johnny and I need for you to get him to Boston." Johnny told me after that he had planned to sneak over the 3:30 Pace group, but got afraid I'd see him. :-) Now he was stuck with the 3:20 group.
Johnny with his Pacer Tony:

Meanwhile, we got to hook up with our wonderful Sparkfriends (LIGHTNINGRUNNER, SUEZETTE-414, CRZYRUNRGRL, DRAGONFLY1974) and met even more!!! Had dinner, hung out celebrated everyone finishing, it was just great! Everyone had a great race, even some Personal Records (PR) came out of it! I had done a 16 mile training run on Saturday, so it was nice just being a spectator!

Ok, so once the race got started, I went back to the hotel and worked out, had breakfast, blah blah blah. Went back to the race to be at the finish line. Race started at 6:15am, so I knew he had to be coming across the finish line around 9:35. What was really cool was Suezette, Sueann & Mary kept texting me saying they saw Johnny at different parts of the course and he was looking strong and still with the group. That made me feel good, I hope they know how much I appreciated that!

So around 9:25, I started getting really nervous knowing he had 10 minutes to come through that finish line. I just knew that as long as he hadn't gotten injured (cramp, charlie horse, etc.) that he could do it.
Pic of me looking for him with 5 minutes to go:

So around 3:19:20, we see the Pace Leader coming toward the finish line, and no sign of Johnny. But he still had well over a minute! My heart was beating so fast and I was already emotional because I could just feel that he was going to make it. Then a few seconds later, friend Brad yelled "I see him!" And here he comes around the curve and sprints through the finish line at 3:19:46, with over a minute to spare!!!

HE DID IT! He qualified to run the Boston Marathon by shaving off 45 minutes from his previous marathon 9 months ago to the day! I was SO proud of him. He told me it was all me. He said he could have never done it if I hadn't put the belief in him the way I did. That made me feel so good. It was just one of the moments in your life that was just so special.

He ended up placing 4th out of 71 in his age group (40-44) and 34th overall out of over 800 finishers. Not too shabby! He still can't believe it! emoticon

So while many told him he couldn't, I told him he WOULD!!! Now I'm going to use that same energy for my marathon at Disney. I have to take off 54 minutes, but I know with every fiber in my being that I will run to do it! It doesn't even matter whether I do or not. My mission is to do it and I will know I've done all I can do! So my husband is Boston Bound, but in 6 weeks, I plan to be Boston Bound with him for 2012!!! Our 20th wedding anniversary is Jan. 26th. Disney Marathon is Jan. 9th so it would be really cool to have both qualified for Boston for our anniversary!

Moral of the Story:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FASTERMOMMY 12/19/2010 8:38PM


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RUN2BEFREE 12/19/2010 6:21PM

    Wow you are so inspiring!

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PHLESIAZHOPE 12/19/2010 9:18AM

    emoticon This blog is so motivating ! You give me hope that I can motivate my Hubbie(EqualizerH20) and myself to be the best we can be !

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CRYSTAL1963 12/18/2010 9:52AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CRISPINI 12/17/2010 12:11PM

    WOW. Great blog. Way to go!

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MYLIDDLEDALLAS 12/17/2010 11:57AM

    Oh my gosh you set this blog so perfectly, I was on pins and needles to the very end, although you know, I didn't doubt one bit that he'd make it ....you guys are incredible!!! emoticon

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TEENY_BIKINI 12/17/2010 11:43AM


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-CORAL- 12/16/2010 3:41PM

    Wow, this blog was so awesome.. what a great story and a great lesson.

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LAGREBE 12/16/2010 2:45AM

    That is soooo sooo way cool! You just gave me a kick in the butt, girl! Thank you!

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LUCY2011 12/14/2010 9:50AM

    That was truly inspirational!!

Comment edited on: 12/14/2010 9:56:40 AM

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GIRL_WALKING 12/10/2010 11:30PM

    I'm crying over here! I'm so happy for both of you! I never understood why people got so hyped over marathons but I'm starting to get it! And your energy is so positive! WooHoo Boston here you come! I'm already cheering you both across!

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SLIMGOODY160 12/6/2010 3:02PM

    I love it!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TIAGAYEPFA 12/2/2010 9:19PM

    OMG, I just read this and started crying all over again! I just love my husband and am so proud of him.

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CAROLYN1213 12/2/2010 9:14PM

    Awesome race report!!!! I got all teared up waiting to 'see' Johnny come across that line! I was sitting here cheering "Come on Johnny! Push! You got this!!!" You are a great encourager!!!

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ERIN4771 12/1/2010 8:55AM

    oh tia, that is so awesome!!! i am blown away by the fact that he did this while working so much and his pastor duties as well, what an inspiration!!! congrats to johnny, and also to you for being the little voice reminding him that he would be able to do this!!

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DRS510 11/30/2010 9:55PM

    You have an amazing attitude. What a lucky guy! Enjoy life!

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BUGSMOM211 11/30/2010 5:36PM

    Incredible..way to believe in your hubby! Good luck with your race.. emoticon

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JANEMAR2 11/30/2010 4:49PM

    Congratulations to you and your hubby! I am sure that you will qualify and both of you will be running the Boston Marathon in April.


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ANDREA0301 11/30/2010 12:08PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon blog!!!

*Isaiah 40:31*
...but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.


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MBSHAZZER 11/30/2010 10:21AM

    Tia, what a fantastic blog! Congratulations to Johnny and to YOU for being such a wonderful inspiration for him! What a fabulous day for you both! With your attitude, I have NO DOUBT you can make your Boston goal!

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ELFITZPA 11/30/2010 10:13AM

    What an excellent story!! Your husband did amazingly well and must be such an inspiration for you to get your own BQ! I'm going to add you as a friend so I can keep tabs on you. From the amount of time you dropped off your shorter races PLUS the fact that you know the marathon distance in a way a first timer just couldn't, I think dropping 54 minutes is completely possible. Best of luck!!

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RUNTRILAUGH 11/30/2010 9:00AM

    I was so excited to hear from the girls about this!

SO EXCITING!!!!!!!!!!

Congrats to your hubby!!!!

Now, when you qualify we'll really have to celebrate!!!!


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RAINEMARIE214 11/30/2010 8:19AM

    This blog is sooo motivational and inspirational!! I could feel all of that excitement and emotion you and your hubby must have been feeling!!! You have such a positive attitude and you both are just truly amazing!!

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FLFITBEE 11/30/2010 8:15AM

    Tia, I love how supportive you are of him and his goals! What a wonderful marriage! Congrats to both of you!

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FIRENUT34 11/30/2010 7:39AM

    It was so great meeting you guys at dinner and then to meet an actual Boston Qualifier after running my first Marathon was great. I would have to shave 43 minutes off my time. You and your husband will be Boston bound in 2012 I know it. See you at Disney.

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DRAGONFLY1974 11/30/2010 7:10AM

    I know you will do your very best!! You are the most determined person I know!!!!

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MRSSIBRAT 11/30/2010 6:56AM

    thats so amazing!! i love that you two can share that love and passion for running togather!!! tell him congrats!!

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DEUSMACHINA 11/30/2010 3:30AM

    Oh WOW! Congratulations to your hubby! That is an AMAZING time! I'm sure you'll nail your time, too. You are, as you say, so determined. I doubt it not at all.

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NEW-CAZ 11/30/2010 3:04AM

    emoticon how wonderful for you both!

You're such an inspiration Tia! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MKKAYA 11/30/2010 12:31AM

    Congrats! you did awesome!!! I love the feeling of reading your blog! Such an inspiration!!!

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BEANCOUNTER2 11/30/2010 12:03AM

    So cool! Wahoo to both of you! Can't wait to meet you at WDW in January. I'll take your 4:46 for my first marathon...

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NEWME0519 11/29/2010 11:49PM

    Awesome Johnny & Tia! Good Luck in the Boston Marathon next year!

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PHDMAMA06 11/29/2010 11:09PM

    How amazing and exciting for your husband!!! Congrats to him!
All the best with the Disney marathon coming up - sounds like you have a great plan!


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SGRAY478 11/29/2010 10:53PM

    How awesome! Love the quote at the end, and how true it proved to be!!
I will be hoping for your qualification too!!

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AMADEUS620 11/29/2010 10:40PM

    this is so exciting!!!! you can definitely do it!!! Congrats to your hubby!! :-)

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SCHENPOSSIBLE 11/29/2010 10:37PM

    Your spark is bright. It's totally a family thing. Good for you and hubby!

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VICKI1215 11/29/2010 10:07PM

    Great blog! emoticon

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APIRLRAIN888 11/29/2010 9:59PM

    awesome way to go! you look great

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ETTEZEUS 11/29/2010 9:37PM

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog!
And I LOVE even more that I got to share in your happiness and Johnny's victory!

You are such an inspiration! And you will BQ too!
God has bless you richly!

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CBARRETT10 11/29/2010 9:35PM

  Your blog gave me such a warm and inspirational feeling! All I can say is...Go Johnny Go!! Great job! I know that you will do a great job also! Best of luck guys! Continue to keep us posted!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KIMSFITJOURNAL 11/29/2010 9:19PM

    emoticon blog!!!

Believe and Achieve!

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MVIRGO28 11/29/2010 9:17PM

    emoticon Johnny!

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ASTRALL 11/29/2010 9:15PM

    How absolutely wonderful. I read your blog with anticipation and then a warm smile. Very well done for motivating your hubby - it sure did help him to accomplish what he did not believe was possible. I wish you all the best with your next goal and look forward to your blogging all about your adventure. emoticon

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CRZYRUNRGRL 11/29/2010 9:13PM

    What a great blog! I am so excited to have been there to watch him qualify!
You guys are just amazing!
I'm glad my texts helped! I was so excited to see him on the course and know how well he was doing! It was a blast!

See you guys soon!

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MJASR5 11/29/2010 9:08PM

    Wow Tia!!! This blog brought tears to my eyes! Congratulations to Johnny... and to you for being such an inspiration to him!

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2BEATIT1 11/29/2010 8:39PM

    Thanks for this wonderful blog. Keep up the good work.
God is your source of strength.
Philippians 4:13

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My Second Half Marathon in the books!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This has been an incredible weekend!

This weekend last year I ran my first half-marathon with no plans of ever running a full. Then 3 months later I ran my first full, and got the marathon bug! I really enjoyed it and planned to do another one. Then after a 90 day hiatus from running to compete in a Figure Competition, I found I was much faster. My 5k, 10k and overall pace was just faster and surprisingly so.

I remembered how nervous I was last year preparing for this race. I booked a hotel to make sure I made it on time even though I live only 45 minutes away. I just wanted to finish and had a goal of 2:30, but then really wanted to beat Rebecca from The Biggest Loser as they showed her completing her first marathon the week of mine with a time of 2:22. I ultimately completed mine last year in 2:19 and was very happy with it. My husband, some friends and clients were there to cheer me on! I really needed and appreciated it.

Fast forward a year. I now have my sights set on not just completing another marathon, but on qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2011. So as I've been training for the St. Pete Women's Half Marathon, which I did today, I'm also training for the Disney full marathon on Jan. 9th. So after each training run I compare to see where I need to be for my Boston pace. I've been pretty close and on track for the most part. I'm not necessarily expecting to qualify at Disney, but my mind will plan to do it (I don't know another way). I have time to do at least 2 or 3 more marathons to qualify so I'm not worried about this one.

But I was interested to see how I'd do at the Half Marathon today, as I know it would be a big indicator of where I really am for Boston pace. Unlike last year, I had no family and friends come to cheer me on. I basically didn't "invite" anyone and told my husband to sleep in (he needed it as has his marathon next weekend). But I didn't miss anyone. I was able to meet some Sparkfriends (FLFITBEE, DRAGONFLY1974, SUEZETTE-414, CRZYRUNRGRL, LIGHTNINGRUNNER and I feel like I'm missing someone). This is one insane group of runners (I say that with total love). I hope to be able to go from race to race like them some day! But it was so awesome meeting everyone!

I also met some friends that I only knew from Facebook and finally got to meet in person as well, and some people I knew for a while, and from the Figure Competition!

And saw some people from a group I run with during the week:

So while last year I really didn't know anyone as I was so new to the running community, but this year, I felt like I had family there! I probably ran into 25 people I knew between the Expo and the race itself. I love the running community! I just love the fitness community in general! It's so positive!

Ok, back to the race today. So the weather was definitely warm. Race started at 7am and it was warm by 8. They did corrals this year which was great. I think there were 8 corrals and I was able to get into the first corral based on the goal time I put to finish. That was really cool! I went with my Personal Trainer and dear friend Stefanie, as we had been training together and had similar goal times.

For Boston pace I need to do an 8:47 pace so I was watching each mile marker carefully. I had just bought my first Garmin Forerunner 405cx, but hadn't learned to use it yet so just had my Nike Ipod, which conked out at mile 7.

Mile 1 - 7:55
Mile 3 - 24:22
Mile 4 - 32:30
Mile 6 - 50:33
Mile 9 - 1:17
Mile 10: 1:26
Mile 11: 1:35
Mile 12: 1:43

Finished my 13.1 Half Marathon at 1:52:40!!! Woo Hoo! I honestly could not have been more pleased! I averaged a 8:36 pace, better than expected! Was definitely my best race yet and makes me very optimistic about Disney!

I was texting people like crazy afterwards and it sounded like all my running buddies had a great race as well!

Yes, I'm excited I've gotten faster, but I also know that at the end of the day, that's not what counts. It's going out there and setting a goal and hitting that goal, no matter how big or small. A Facebook friend posted this quote which I'll end with:
"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." -John Bingham, running speaker and writer

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALYFITN 11/29/2010 6:20PM

    Love this blog!!!

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DEFINEMINE 11/24/2010 6:39PM

    Yay!! emoticon!! I really liked the quote at the end. Just keep starting and I'm sure you'll finish fine. You inspire me to run; I'm taking my baby steps and who knows if I'll ever do a 5k but just being able to run is an emoticon thing! Have a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!! emoticon

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RUNTRILAUGH 11/23/2010 4:44PM


I really want to work on speed, but don't even know how to start! LOL

Congrats on a ROCKIN time!!!!

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DRAGONFLY1974 11/23/2010 4:10PM

    I will be cheering you on when you qualify for Boston and I have no doubt you will!!! You are simply amazing!!!!

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CRYSBROWN1 11/23/2010 3:56PM

    Great job! What an amazing finish & you are fast!! Boston here you come!

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MICKIDEE44 11/23/2010 12:43PM

    Way to go Tia. I am so proud of you for setting your goals and tackling them head on. You don't know (or perhaps you do) how much of an inspiration you are. Thank you for staying on track, it gives me something to always look forward to. Again, thanks!!

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MJASR5 11/22/2010 8:05PM

    Awesome run Tia! Sorry i missed meeting you. We ended up running late and didn't arrive at the expo until after 4. Hopefully next time for sure!

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    Awesome race report and awesome job on setting goals and reaching them. I purchased that quote on a car sticker at an expo earlier this year. Love reading it when I am heading out for my long runs on Saturday morning!! Looking forward to reading your Boston Marathon 2011 race report.

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NANCYANNE55 11/22/2010 12:36PM

    I love how you set a goal and do everything you can to accomplish it!

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CAROLYN1213 11/22/2010 12:28PM

    Love it!!! You are a beautiful inspiration to me!

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ANDREA0301 11/22/2010 12:20PM

    Love, love, LOVE this blog!!

Disney - Here you come!!!

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    Holly, Sueann, and I were so excited when Holly told us your time. You are amazing runner and woman. I am so glad I got to meet you.

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LORENVER 11/22/2010 5:20AM

    That's fantastic! I knew you were going to rock it, but you totally blew it away! I really look forward to seeing how you do for your full.

Keep it up!


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NEW-CAZ 11/22/2010 3:56AM

    emoticon emoticon Tia, you are truly an inspiration hun.

Good luck for Boston! emoticon emoticon

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LADYBUGRUNNER 11/22/2010 12:12AM

    What a great and inspirational blog!!!

Great Job and Congrats! Watch out Boston!!!!!

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SCHENPOSSIBLE 11/21/2010 11:09PM

    Looks like you had a lot of support from your cyber friends. Great job on surpassing your time from last year. Best wishes with the training and qualifying for the Boston marathon.

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APIRLRAIN888 11/21/2010 10:16PM

    wow inspirational! hope to follow your foot steps ;p
just starting b210k ;p

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Maintaining your goal weight isn't the easiest thing, but it's worth it...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just had to check in, lots of good stuff to share!

Over the past couple months I've transitioned from training for my Figure Competition to serious training for the Disney Marathon on Jan. 9th. There have been a lot of mental (and physical) battles during this time.

If you've seen my pictures from the Figure Competition , you'll see how tight and toned I was. Well, keep in mind I was also pretty dehydrated and had very little sodium (or food) in me at that time.

Two days after the competition, my weight went up 8 lbs (my Nutrition Coach Ruben had to talk me down from the figurative ledge). Fortunately, I've been able to remain there or within 5 lbs of there, but when it happened, it was a total SHOCK. I wasn't totally ready for that. But it was just from adding normal water, sodium and regular food.

Then, while I continued eating clean and transitioned back to running within two weeks of the competition (I hadn't ran in 90 days), it was also a shock to see my beautiful muscles not standing out as much. I had to realize #1 that my Figure Competition body wasn't realistic to maintain (I do like to eat) and that once I started putting some mileage in from running, I couldn't maintain as much lean muscle mass. It's taken a while to accept these two things, especially the second one. So can you still see a six-pack in my abs? Only slightly. I'm still a size 2 but by the time I competed, the size 2's were falling off. So I'm happy to fill a 2 believe me. I didn't want to be a size zero.

I won't lie, it played with my mind. I started to think I was fat again (at 125 lbs and size 2). Then I started to realize that this was just as bad as when I was size 14 and 160+ lbs. I had started to obsess. I'm such a competitive person that it almost made me want to compete again just to have that body, but I realized that was not the reason to do it.

Even knowing I was planning to do the marathon, ran a couple 5k's, a 10k and doing my best time ever wasn't enough...until recently. Then about a month ago, I had a breathing episode while doing a 3 mile group run. I couldn't control my breathing and it was so scary. Went to the doctor and my lungs and chest were fine so they think it "might" be Exercise Induced Asthma" but not sure, but to be safe they gave me a Rescue Inhaler to use before I run. It has been helpful and I haven't had any more problems. Then a couple weeks ago, had a hip issue, was in so much pain after my last 5k on 10/9. Found out I have a rotated pelvis. Thanks for a wonderful Sports Medicine Chiropractor, got an adjustment and the pain went away (my first experience with a Chiropractor). So these ailments were having think the marathon may not happen...

So here I am 3 1/2 months after my competition and finally feeling great about myself again. I recently registered for the Disney Marathon and did a 13 mile training run today and felt great. One month until I do the St. Pete Women's Half Marathon and less than 2 1/2 months until the Disney Full Marathon.

So I'm focused on being kind to and proud of myself because this is me. I'm leading a healthy lifestyle and have a healthy body. Is it a "model" body? Not by any means. My sister, who is 5'9" and rarely works out, doesn't eat right at all, maintains a tiny waist, she has a model body (she's also almost 10 years younger than me) . I could be jealous, and I used to be. But it is what it is. My 5'3" 42 year old body needs more work, and I'm happy to do it.

Another highlight has been that I got to finally meet my Nutrition Coach (who I still work with), Ruben Sandoval (Sparkname FLEXCHEF), who coached me for the Figure Competition. He lives in California and was in the area visiting family! He did a healthy cooking class, a Nutrition Lecture and a bunch of us went to a Figure Competition to see one of his clients compete that I referred to him. She also went home with a trophy!

So if you're feeling challenged to get to your goal, to me it just re-emphasizes how important it is to make sure we're leading a healthy lifestyle versus dieting. When training for the competition I was dieting. A diet ENDS but our healthy lifestyle is for life. So when you have setbacks, remember a setback prepares you for a comeback! Just don't wait to come back! We can have a bad day, week or month, but I refuse to let anything make me have a bad life! I love me and my life!

So I've realized that it takes a bit to truly get comfortable in our own skin, but what helped me was continuing to set goals for myself and continuing to encourage others.

Thanks for reading this and I wish you well in your journey and healthy lifestyle! - Tia

A few pics (you know me):

August with my cousin (in middle) and sister (on right)

August, I coached a group to run their first 5k over 8 weeks

End of August with my Personal Trainer, Stefanie

End of September with friend Grace (in middle) and sister (on right)

October, with my Nutrition Coach Ruben (Sparkname: FLEXCHEF)

October, me with my posing coach for the Figure Comp, Erin Stern, who recently won the coveted title of Ms. Figure Olympia

September, me with my brother-in-law after his first 5k (I was his coach :-). He took 1st in his age group (30-34)

And finally, me running my first 10k.

Okay, so we're all caught up now in word and pictures ha ha! Can you tell I LOVE taking pictures??? Have a great day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CYD1057 3/30/2011 8:53AM

  "...a setback prepares you for a comeback!' I love that!!! Just found your blog (thank you APRILBLESS!) and have not only been inspired, but find your observations on all the changes and challenges you have faced really informative and useful. Thanks for the wonderful blogposts!

Comment edited on: 3/30/2011 8:54:28 AM

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    I love reading your blogs! They're so inspiring!

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LALA0123 1/4/2011 12:15PM


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DANCEJAC 12/20/2010 2:09PM

    Thanks for sharing all the emotions behind your current journey ... emoticon

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GIRL_WALKING 12/10/2010 11:18PM

    Really awesome blog! Thanks for the reminder that this really is a lifetime of work, you've given me something to look forward to, hopefully in a year or 2 from now- being able to help train others once I get healthy! ( I won't even think about 10k and marathons right now, I might turn off my computer lol! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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APRILBLESS 11/30/2010 3:27PM

    How much fun is that! Thanks for sharing in your journey... the obsession happens, but great reminder that we always have to step back from it. Rock the pictures! You STILL look absolutely fantastic.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SCHATZI4MO 11/23/2010 12:33AM

    your blogs are the best! :-)

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ERIN4771 11/6/2010 9:40AM

    wow...thanks for sharing your experiences with us, it's so awesome how you are paying it forward!!!! u are a rock star!!!

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ABSOLUTZER0 11/4/2010 1:09AM

    Thanks for allowing us to take part in your journey. You have accomplished so much! Woohoo! Yes, I would love taking pictures, too, if I were as photogenic as you! Keep up the spectacular work! Happy running!

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SUNSHINE667 11/2/2010 8:03PM

    Awesome blog Tia!!! You look great and should be so proud!!!! emoticon

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CRYSBROWN1 11/2/2010 7:15PM

    I love this blog! This is really what I needed to read, even though you are faced with challenges you get right back up & try again harder. Lately I've been having rather slow races times, slower than I would like & it was starting to make me even more hard on myself than usual, because like you I'm so competitive. You're right, the comeback will be great! Happy Training & keep being an inspiration for all!

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KJS_MOM 11/2/2010 4:44PM

    Hey Lady!! I love reading your page! You are an inspiration. emoticon for being my emoticon

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PSSN4FITNESS 11/2/2010 4:31PM

    Thanks for sharing you incredible journey since your figure competition. I really needed your words of encouragement and advice right now, especially when you said "So when you have setbacks, remember a setback prepares you for a comeback! Just don't wait to come back!"...

You look amazing and you are still blazing trails with all your races. You will rock the marathon! I am so proud of you and everything you have accomplished. I am glad that you are finding a healthy balance and learning to appreciate how lovely you are.

emoticon emoticon

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WE_PA_FIT 11/2/2010 4:18PM

    thanks for the advice and for sharing your experiences. U rock

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WALKWITME 11/2/2010 6:18AM

    You surely have Inspired me to keep on running

Just 1 of these days I'm going to get there...lol

you look great !

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IMOGEN39 11/1/2010 1:42PM

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post this blog, it is very inspiring and gives you food for thought.

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ANDREA0301 11/1/2010 1:21PM

    Tia - I can never find the words to express to you how you motiviate me daily: physically, emotionally, spiritually... You truly are one of those rare individuals who has a healthy outlook in so many areas.

Thank you, dear Sister, just for being fearfully and wonderfully made YOU!


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ASTRALL 11/1/2010 7:34AM

    Your blog is so motivating and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey and your perspective! Well done on following through with what you want! emoticon

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REJ7777 10/31/2010 3:38PM

    I love your discipline and positive attitude. Congratulations on your win, and adaptation to "real life" afterwards. You look emoticon

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FELLE442 10/31/2010 6:07AM

    Awesome blog, Tia! Such valuable lessons learned. A healthy lifestyle is the goal I am aiming to maintain....quite literally it is for LIFE...and like you I want to live mine to the fullest!

Thanks so much for sharing your experience and I enjoyed the pics as well!!!

emoticon emoticon

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NEW-CAZ 10/31/2010 5:02AM

    emoticonblog Tia, you are such an inspiration hun, I look at you and just think amazing achievements.

You motivate me to stay healthy emoticon emoticon

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LADYBUGRUNNER 10/31/2010 12:23AM

    Great Blog!!!

Love it!!

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NLMARSHALLJX 10/30/2010 10:54PM

    You look fabulous. Definite;y an inspiration to anyone trying to get physically and mentally where you are. I am still working on it. Thank you for sharing a piece of your life. You look Beautiful. Keep it up. I hope I can share some picture of myself soon. Stay tooned. emoticon

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CATHY814 10/30/2010 9:37PM

    Great blog! I liked "I may have a bad day, week or month, but I refuse to let anything make me have a bad life!"

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MVIRGO28 10/30/2010 7:21PM

    I love this Tia! "A diet ENDS but our healthy lifestyle is for life. So when you have setbacks, remember a setback prepares you for a comeback!" I sure wish I could afford Ruben. :)

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KIMSFITJOURNAL 10/30/2010 6:59PM

    A setback prepares you for a comeback!!! LOVE THAT!!!

How nice you got to meet Ruben, very cool.

I mean no disrespect to your sister, but I'd take your body any day of the week over hers.

Great pictues, great blog, great woman!!

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APIRLRAIN888 10/30/2010 6:55PM

    you look awesome! keep it up., but keep it real ;p you can do it!
you've come so far

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NANCYANNE55 10/30/2010 6:13PM

    Great blog! I also have been struggling with not being the weight I was after the cutting diet. I didn't understand at first that they are temporary weight. By the time that reality hit me I was too far into the thing to back out. I am proud of myself for completing it, but I've HATED being back at the weight I had started at. As we've discussed privately I am back to the process of bringing my weight back down to my cutting diet weight, but by sane means. I have 7 pounds left to go. Honestly, my final cutting diet weight IS a maintanable weight for me. I really should be about 10 pounds slimmer than that, or more, if I were to compete.

I think there should be disclaimers with cutting diets. It's so very emotionally difficult to see all of the weight that you worked so hard to take off come back on. Fortunately I had some warning because of blogs other competitors posted post-competition, but I think some kind of therapy might be handy when it comes to accepting ones self at a non-extreme weight. ;-) Dehydration is tough at the time, but Man! Does it make us look good! :-D

Comment edited on: 10/30/2010 6:16:14 PM

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MAMAMARY8 10/30/2010 5:21PM

  Love this! So glad you are still working on you and your goals. I have found the mental battle to be the toughest. You're right - a bad day should not turn into an excuse for a bad life. A reminder that I have been needing lately (can you say Halloween candy?). Love the pics!

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