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Sunday, January 08, 2012

I've been Spark sentimental lately. Maybe it's all the reflective and goal oriented blogs. It just is that time of year. Or maybe it's because it's my mental Sparkiversary.

A friend told me about Spark in Feb. 08 and I used certain tools and it helped. Throughout my pregnancies I used but always missed Spark. A year ago I started logging on daily. I joined more teams. Some challenges. I read blogs. I finally started commenting on blogs. And then I even wrote a few of my own. And it's incredible how those simple acts have changed my life.

I signed up for a 5K because of so many inspirational c25K blogs. I fell in love with running along the way. It was not that long ago when I struggled to run 5 miles. I remember when that distance was my PR. And it was hard. 5 miles is far. Then I read some more blogs. I got the courage to sign up for another race, a 10 miler. I joined the HM team. Reading those threads, those blogs made me want to run that distance. They gave me the confidence that I could. And I did.

Somewhere in the midst of all this my dad asked me if I would run Grandma's Marathon with him. Yes, it had always been a lifelong fantasy for me. And yes, Spark made me think this was a normal undertaking. I truly do respect the distance. And I have laid out my training plan carefully and know that it will be a challenge. I think I forget what a big deal it is because I read so many blogs about training and races that I feel, "everyone's doing it. so can I!"

I've been running 8 miles with two new friends early Tuesday mornings. They've both completed an Ironman. My sparkfriend's encouragement helped me take the risk and meet them for the first time. It was a tough morning and I thought about your words as I pushed through with these athletes. Every week it's gotten easier. The body is amazing; it does adapt fairly quickly. So does the mind. I mentioned running 8 miles at work one day and a friend said, "You did WHAT this morning??!" I wasn't trying to brag. It really has become normal for me. 5 miles used to be hard and now 8 is easy. In a relatively short time. Remember, everyone on Spark is doing it! It's not a big deal, right?

It is a big deal. Spark has become such a big deal to me. Just this week a few significant things happened.

emoticon A sparkfriend sent me a message with a link to some rundies (look em up!) that made her think of me. How cute is that?! Such a simple gesture made my day. Thank you.

emoticon Another friend opened up to me about a part of her and her family's story that is life changing. There aren't words to describe this one. The only thing I can say is that I desperately wish I had a way to fly to Canada so I could give her a hug and then we'd go on a run together. I'm not trying to be cryptic. Just trying to convey how meaningful these Spark friendships can become.

emoticon I joined a new team and mentioned something about working on push-ups. A sparker that I was not yet friends with wrote to be and suggested a challenge. I'm in! For the past 3 days I've been sick and missed my cardio, but you better believe I got some push-ups in! Some new sparkfriends are being made.

I love this site. I never thought I'd say that about a website. But, truly I do. And I love how it spills onto life outside the internet.

emoticon At the starting line of that 10 mile race in October I was nervously & happily bouncing around to keep warm with, oh, about 8,000 other runners when I heard my name. It was my best friend from high school. We had a falling out our senior year of college and hadn't talked since. We chatted for a minute and she said that we should get together for a celebratory race drink sometime. Sure, I thought, that'll never happen. But then, you guessed it! I read some Spark blogs and I contacted her. What did I have to lose? We got together and talked for hours. We talked about running and we talked about what happened 10 years ago. It was very therapeutic. We got together again with our kids. It's a friendship that feels right. Today we're meeting for a run. Pretty cool, huh?

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonThank you Spark. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love your story about running and the SP! I grew up watching my dad run Grandma's marathon, so I think it's a great goal. Good luck with the training, and I'm glad you've taken advantage of ALL the benefits of using SP.
    2259 days ago
    Very cool! Thank you for sharing your fantastic journey!
    2259 days ago
    This really is a great blog. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm loving the renewed sense of vigor these days around Spark with the start of the new year. It's really helped give me a pep in my step.

    Grandma's sounds like the perfect idea. I'm not up to Grandma's distances yet, but I'm planning to do the Garry Bjorklund HM this summer. One year ago in April I ran my first 5k in Duluth. I think it'd be such a fun accomplishment to do a HM just about a year later in Duluth.

    2260 days ago
    I heart this blog entry emoticon emoticon
    2260 days ago
    I feel the same way about Spark - such a great way to connect. Also, we need to have a Spark meetup at Grandmas - I think there's a bunch of us out there doing it.
    2260 days ago
    I know the feeling with saying I ran 8 miles and it sounds like a lot. I mentioned the other day to someone that we could do this half marathon race because it was a down week for me. When did 13 miles become a light week? Keep up the good work.
    2260 days ago
    I'm so happy that SP and running have become such a part of your life!

    2262 days ago
    Wonderful blog!
    Spark changed my life, too.
    Now, I hear you are a little competitive & that I'd better keep my eye on you. I can't let you beat me in the push up contest!
    2262 days ago
    This is such a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing!
    Good luck with your training you are going to do amazing!
    I hope you are feeling better.
    2262 days ago
    Great entry. My anniversary with Spark, my wedding anniversary, and my 2nd full marathon are all on the 15th. Nuts eh?
    2262 days ago
    2262 days ago
  • AMBER281
    You are amazing!
    Thanks for sharing your journey.
    Fellow sparkers, like you, are what make this place so special!!
    Spark on!
    2262 days ago
    You have definitely been a bright spot on Spark for me emoticon
    thank you and congrats on all your hard work!
    2263 days ago
    Gotta love SP!! And our fellow sparkies are what makes it such an awesome place to be!!
    2263 days ago
    You cease to amaze me! Way to go on all your accomplishments/overcomings but also on your upcoming challenges - YOU TOTALLY GOT THIS!! :)
    2263 days ago
    Such a nice blog-am singing *frosty* in my head-sparkety spark spark, sparkety spark spark, look at Maura go-hahaha.

    You have made such leaps and bounds this year with your fitness. YOU are someone that I read about on SP and than think, hey, she's can I:)(just can't beat your time yet-I'm trying but man you're fast-ha)

    This site is what you make of it. And you are taking all the good and rolling with it-love it!

    Am so happy that you are training for the marathon-you are going to do amazing. How many weeks are you giving to training?

    Have a wonderful day. And thanks for the shoutout Maura...luvs ya:)


    2263 days ago
    You just made me cry. I could attribute that to the fact that I'm overly emotional, but I'd rather say that the fact that you're healing a relationship is emoticon . Everything else about this blog is wonderful, too, but that's my favorite part. I hope you have (or had) a great run with your friend!
    2263 days ago
    A great tribute to Sparkpeople! Congrats on all of your awesome accomplishments. You are such an inspiration.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2263 days ago
    JOYCE emoticon
    2263 days ago
    Happy Sparkiversary!!!
    2263 days ago
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