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Oh, what a feeling: Race Day!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

First off, I need to give credit where it is due. Today might never well have happened for me, were it not for a Sparkfriend, who challenged me, back at New Year's. Deanna, a.k.a. HOT4FITNESS, is a local Sparkler, and she was looking for someone else to step up to the challenge of the half marathon distance as a speed walker.

I did not figure my knees could take a jog longer than a 5K, and had almost given up hope of ever doing a half marathon, although in younger days I had those aspirations. Deanna didn't know what she was getting into, in all likelihood, but she triggered those desires in me again... and after all... we'd be WALKING! No big deal, right? emoticon

People, let me tell you, it is no small deal to walk 13.1 miles. Particularly if you have been unfit, particularly if you have been battling the bulge... you have to train. You just have to. It is not an option for a 50 something to "Bogart" a 13.1 mile race. If you were 18 or 19 and fit to begin with it's a challenge, but you could probably do it... but for us in the over 50 crowd... DO train, but DON'T think you can't do it!

I started upping my mileage and stopped jogging so much in preparation for this outing. I signed up in January, putting my money where my mouth was... and I'm glad I did, because I found others who waited until later in January and were locked out by the cap on number of runners.

There were 2,000 full marathon runners on the course today, and 8,000 of runners and walkers in the half marathon. It was a perfect day, in terms of weather: cold, but clear. Some wind in places. But gorgeous. We walked East into the sunshine, South past great old neighborhoods, West along the bike path, North back along the Country Club golf course, and then through downtown, and oh, my gosh, the last couple tenths of a mile to the tunnel walk music and into the huge football stadium to finish on the Husker Vision giant TV at mid-field. Except... I forgot to look!

Seriously, Deanna and I paced each other through 12 miles, then I lost her, weaving my way through some joggers, and I tried to slow a bit to catch up and my calves said, "don't... you... dare... slow down... or we will shut down!" So... my final mile was spent at a strong speed walk, and then, sorry, couldn't resist... broke into a jog on the ramp down to the field and across to the finish line. Woo-hoo!

Sadly, my son did not get to watch me cross the line. Why? One might well ask. Well, we kinda got drawn in by the adrenaline. I told him to show up and we'd finish between 10:45 and 11:15... oops. Actual finish time was about 10:28. He was still on his way to the stadium from his parking garage. Still, we linked up and celebrated... with him giving me the talk many parents give their kids: "I'm mad at you and proud of you at the same time" is the essential message. He woke up, checked the online tracker showing our pace, and said we were going faster at the end than the beginning... and in fact, that was kind of our pacing plan.

To all the people in our fair city who come out year after year to cheer the runners on (I know about the year after year, because that's normally my role for this event, as a cheering crowd member)... I have now experienced it from the inside, and it feels great. For each of you who put your boom box out with motivating music, for each one who yelled encouraging words, for each kid who lined the route and offered "free high-fives", for each sign to family members, we could imagine ourselves being that person. Those messages say "someone loves you". It was incredible.

Thanks to all my Spark friends who have put up with my training ups and downs... and a special thanks and congrats to Deanna. We did it, girl! We did it!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARON2014 5/3/2011 8:12PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

What a wonderful accomplishment!! I hope you know what a great inspiration you are to me!!


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JUST_TRI_IT 5/2/2011 11:31PM

    WOWZERS!!!!!! Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment. SO PROUD OF YOU! emoticon

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VTORIA3 5/2/2011 12:27PM

    Great accomplishment! You had someone to share this journey and success with too, sweet!

The farthest I have walked is 10K, which I'd been doing regularly until my knee and foot started to act up....fearing injury, it started to dash my hopes of ever completing a 15K and I have since cut way back. My mind is young, but my body is not on the same page.

Comment edited on: 5/2/2011 12:28:51 PM

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DARKTHOR 5/2/2011 10:58AM

    You are AWESOME!!!

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CONCHA77 5/2/2011 9:36AM

    What a accomplishment, Barb! emoticon
You made us proud!

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DEBRA0818 5/2/2011 7:37AM

    What a fabulous accomplishment and a great description of it! "Good for you" just doesn't even begin to cover the admiration I have for the verve and dedication it takes to do what you just did.

Cheers, Debra

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DEBRITA01 5/2/2011 6:32AM

    emoticon on your half-marathon. You're an inspiration! emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 5/1/2011 7:43PM

    How exiting!! How impressive!! You are it!! I just love it!! Someday I just might tackle it myself!! -Marsha

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BUGGYS 5/1/2011 6:52PM

    You set a goal and went out and did it, Barb! I am so proud of you and the pace you kept was unbelievable. It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. Thanks you for inspiring me to always do better!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LJCANNON 5/1/2011 6:18PM

    emoticon emoticonThose 18 and 19 year old 'Newbies' had better watch their backs!! This Over 50 Crowd is coming on STRONG!! Led by One Strong Kid's Mom!!
emoticonWay to Go, Barb!!!

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MSLZZY 5/1/2011 5:58PM

    SIL finished in 208th place, not sure how long it took him but it was better than
last year. Glad you did so well! HUGS!

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FITFABJENN 5/1/2011 5:51PM

    Woo hoo to YOU! You really are an inspiration!


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_LINDA 5/1/2011 5:37PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Am I to understand you had such a fast speed walking pace that you were actually passing people jogging? That is incredible!!
Very well done! You can be very proud of yourself, especially for finishing so strong! That is showing you still had gas left in the tank!!

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MNTWINSGAL 5/1/2011 5:19PM

    Bravo, Bravo! (Or is it Brava, Brava?) Who cares....WAY TO GO!! Congrats on a job well done, and one more thing checked off the bucket list. WooHoo!

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LINDAJOYWK 5/1/2011 4:54PM

    emoticonYou have certainly come a long way & yet you keep doing
more! emoticonyou have so much to be proud of!

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WATERMELLEN 5/1/2011 3:31PM

    Wow!! This is a very powerful blog: I can just feel your pleasure in your accomplishment!!

Yay you!! "Sing it out loud, you should be proud!!"

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REJ7777 5/1/2011 3:03PM

    You did it! You did it! emoticon emoticon (happy dance)
It sure is no small deal to walk/jog 13.1 miles! Thank you for representing the 50 and over crowd at the race! It's been a joy to see you plan and train for this half-marathon. I'm so proud of you!!! You did it!!! emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY1432 5/1/2011 2:36PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Truly Inspirational!! GREAT JOB!!!

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Human connections - one day out

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yesterday afternoon I spent with my son. The current research shows that human connections are a vital part of emotional/mental health, and spending time with my son is a precious event in my life. We aren't a "every Sunday dinner with mom" kind of family. And since he got back from Iraq and has been busy with school, I take the opportunities as they arise. My daughter in law was at work, so this was entirely a mom-son connection thing. And that meant it was soul-filling for me.

We went to lunch and just hung out after he took me down to pick up my car. We talked of many, many things. Deep things and surface things. And I got my share of son-hugs. He left with my charcoal grill in the trunk of his car... living alone and not entertaining much, I don't really need it... it's too big for one person. It saves the kids a few bucks to have it at their house, and it gets one more piece of unused clutter out of my house: this was a great decision!

I learned which muscles I have NOT worked on: my hands seem horribly weak when he tried to train me on a couple of actions! But that's for the next fitness drive: maybe it will make jar-opening easier?

Today is packet pick-up day for the half-marathon. I'll be heading downtown in a couple of hours to do just that. Tomorrow morning is forecast to be cold (36 degrees F), but in fact, that's a good thing for speed walkers... remember, we did the State Farm 10 mile in SNOW! But today I might just drop by the sports store and see if they have some of those hand warmer packs.

emoticon Onward... to tomorrow!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY332 4/30/2011 10:03PM

    Best Wishes to you tomorrow, Barb. I will be "cheering" for you.

Hugs, Sunny

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RONOSOF 4/30/2011 8:39PM

    I cherish my mother/son days too emoticon

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SUNNY1432 4/30/2011 8:12PM

    Best of Luck tomorrow!! I hope you can walk fast enough to stay warm. emoticon

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NEAN789 4/30/2011 5:50PM

  What a wonderful blessing to have the visit and to truly appreciate it! Awesome!

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REJ7777 4/30/2011 2:30PM

    As mom to a grown son, I couldn't help but be happy for you as I read about your lovely day with your son! I remember when you were counting the days, waiting for him to come home from overseas. I think that one of the secrets of making a relationship work with our grown children is respect. (With anyone, for that matter!) Having a loving and close relationship with our adult children is a wonderful treasure to be guarded carefully!

I've been thinking about you and your upcoming half-marathon. emoticon

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FITFABJENN 4/30/2011 1:51PM

    Enjoy your half-marathon tomorrow. I KNOW you'll do great!


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THINBUCKEYE 4/30/2011 11:44AM

    Those moments are so precious and deeply heart-warming. While we do wish them well in finding someone special and living in a happy marriage, it's hard to find time alone with them, once that happens. Please thank your son for his service to our country. My SIL recently came back from Iraq, also. Thank God they're both safe! Good luck with the race today.

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_LINDA 4/30/2011 11:00AM

    That is just wonderful you got some great time alone with your son! Happens few and far between when they are married..
All the best with the race, and yes, hand warmers at that temperature are a great idea!!

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HOT4FITNESS 4/30/2011 11:00AM

    See you at the start.. and the finish. I bet we warm up by mile 5. I love those mom-son moments, glad it was a great day for you.

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WATERMELLEN 4/30/2011 10:34AM

    That mum/son thing: wonderful!!

All the best tomorrow.

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MNTWINSGAL 4/30/2011 10:26AM

    Barb, I'm so glad you got this time with your they get older those times become more and more precious.

Good luck tomorrow. It'll be cold but invigorating! Can't wait to hear all about it!

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DEBRA0818 4/30/2011 9:39AM

    Good luck tomorrow, Barb! And congratulations on meeting a superlative fitness goal!


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Royal Wedding

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yes, I did get up at 3 a.m., US Central time. This really is not a particular hardship for me, because I normally rise at 4:18 anyway. We are into "rest" day on the exercise program, and I have my comfy jeans and sweatshirt on while watching these incredibly beautifully turned out guests arrive at the wedding. Love my pomp and circumstance... and it brings echoes of my niece's wedding last Autumn which was pretty posh, but of course NOTHING like the scale of a Royal "do". Also thinking of the wonderful Easter church service, which also tends to pull out the stops, in terms of worship days.

As I told a co-worker yesterday when I mentioned getting up to watch this, "the hard part will be keeping my feet OFF the treadmill, because my default for TV watching is to do so while walking on the treadmill"!

I took my last long walk yesterday, as it was an incredibly nice day. I walked home from work, with earbuds in for a change. Listened to Andre Rieu... a whimsical conductor... kind of the European Lawrence Welk of classical music. One of my sisters took me to a live performance by his orchestra, so I can see in my minds' eye just what he is doing... the physical gags that go with some of the sounds.

As a consequence, the auto is sitting in its downtown garage, but since I'm not to do any more long walks until Sunday, I have offered to take my son to lunch in exchange for a ride down to pick it up. That way he can sleep in, as he has no classes today. And since it's a State Holiday, I don't have to be governed by a schedule.

This is definitely going to be a good day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 4/30/2011 2:12AM

    Enjoy your holiday! Its actually fairly interesting seeing the assortment of hats they were wearing. So different from North American culture. I too, love the ceremony of it all. Its a shame it cost 50 million, that is just staggering, and like someone said, could have been put to much better use..

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MNTWINSGAL 4/29/2011 8:18PM

    I recorded all 6 hours of it you I love the pomp and circumstance. I watched the highlights on "Entertainment Tonight" and will probably curl up on the couch late Saturday night to see the rest. Ah.....a fairy tale come true!

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LJCANNON 4/29/2011 7:36PM

    I did NOT get up at 4AM, but I did turn on the TV as soon as the alarm went off. I watched as much of it as I could. It was Beautiful, and I LOVED the Dress!! Hard to believe that they kept it a secret!

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SUNNY332 4/29/2011 5:44PM

    I thought the wedding was awesome - perfect dress, beautiful bride and an equally handsome and very proud groom.

Loved it!


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KSHAGGY 4/29/2011 5:14PM

    I hope that some channel replays it later; would like to see at least a little of it.

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KALIGIRL 4/29/2011 1:02PM

    Love your 'free' day - what better way to celebrate than lunch with a loved one!

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MSLZZY 4/29/2011 8:23AM


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MMNICKS 4/29/2011 8:09AM

    I watched bits and bytes but don't think I could tolerate the entire event. She did look lovely though.

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SAMI199 4/29/2011 8:01AM

    I am watching,too! emoticon I remember watching Prince Charles & Diana's wedding- It certainly beautiful & I LOVE her dress.Have a wonderful day!


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DEBRA0818 4/29/2011 7:51AM

    I taped it and cannot wait to watch it. I love the pomp and ceremony too!

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 4/29/2011 6:55AM

    Glad you are enjoying your day off. DH and I are also off today. Getting ready for travel out of state to his 50th class reunion. We'll have to watch the Royal Wedding after the fact.

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Less than three

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Less than three" is chat-speak for a heart (which Spark won't let me type on my blog, thinking it to be HTML tagging). And a heart is the symbol of love.

Three days (and probably half an hour from right now to get to the starting line) is the time we shall start the half marathon. There are some frothy promotional things that happen before that, i.e. packet pick up, a marathon expo, a pasta-thon, motivational speakers... even a church that comes and holds an early service for the runners.

Meanwhile, we're looking at lots of coverage of the Royal Wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kathryn Middleton over the pond. It brings back so many memories of his parents' wedding. I was a newlywed myself when that one occurred. My husband and I got up at 4 a.m. our time to watch the coverage live... because there's something about being in the moment. Our son was born the same summer as Prince Harry. So, I expect I shall rise about the same time to take in this event... 4 a.m. is not that far off my normal wake time anyway!

Wishing all of you a wonderful Thursday... preparing for and living the events that have been put in your own lives for today! Spark on!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 4/29/2011 5:45AM

    On your mark... get set... emoticon

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MSLZZY 4/28/2011 11:40PM

    Good luck!

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WATERMELLEN 4/28/2011 9:24PM

    Lots to look forward to: wishing you all the best!!

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BUGGYS 4/28/2011 7:16PM

    I just got back from vacation and didn't realize that your marathon was this must have a mixture of emotions going forward and I can't tell you how much I admire your determination. The wedding will be fun to watch but I won't be getting up at 3:00 am here...I will watch bits and pieces because my thoughts are with the people and the devestation in the southeast!

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STEPHIEKNITS 4/28/2011 5:19PM

    Sounds like fun!

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_LINDA 4/28/2011 2:22PM

    Sounds great! It will be fun to watch all the ceremony live, far better than recorded!

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DEBRA0818 4/28/2011 11:38AM

    I remember getting up in the middle of the night and sitting in my studio apartment in downtown Chicago and just marveling at the wedding of Charles and Diana -- she was so beautiful. A young singleton, I wondered would I meet a man I could marry and what my wedding would look like. The answer: yes and a beautiful sung mass at a cathedral church in the Bahamas. Pretty cool to look back!


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Four days out

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Last night I did my five miles on the treadmill... to watching The Biggest Loser at its scheduled broadcast time, for a change. I'm normally an NCIS watcher, but it was a re-run, and I was restless.

I have never been a huge follower of the Biggest Loser, considering it to be unrealistic (as most so-called reality shows are). Many of them are psychology experiments, televised and produced for entertainment of the voyeur in all of us. BUT... since weight *is* an issue for me, and I've been working on this puzzle for essentially my entire adult life, even highly-produced psychology experiments might have *something* I can glean for my own use. Even if it's just the music and artificial tension that keeps me walking on the treadmill to finish out my five miles. emoticon

One HUGE lesson, though, from all of these shows, and all of the programs, and even from the low percentage of long-term success in the arena of weight management: in the end, it's all about YOU... you, deciding you're worth it. You, choosing action over inaction. You deciding that even though you had a bad day, or week, or month, you're not giving up. You... choosing life. Nobody can make that choice for you, but you can make it for yourself.

In a family culture and a work culture that prizes self-sacrifice... self-nurture can be an alien concept. When surrounded by others who flatteringly ask your help and your time and your attention... self-nurture can be hard to come by.

But today is the only day you have. And YOU are worth the investment of self-nurture. Today. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY1432 4/27/2011 9:02PM

    Great blog!! You have to want to make the change and than put the effort into that is necessary to make the change!! emoticon
Good Luck on your Race!! emoticon emoticon

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NEAN789 4/27/2011 10:57AM

  Thank you for your post. I have so much success and strength when helping others and just almost pathetically fizzle when it comes to me. Well, I'm changing that...yesterday I was getting ready to do a workout dvd in my living room and my daughter was on the couch studying. She said oh mom if you do your workout now I won't be able to concetrate...well I realized, see, this is one of my problems. I just told her she could take her books to the basement and study there for awhile because this was my time to do something for me! It sure felt good!

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_LINDA 4/27/2011 10:38AM

    Being single, I really had no excuses, I was putting me first, allowing myself anything I wanted, so I alone was responsible for my weight gain, and I alone made the choice to take it off and keep it off too. Here is to all the married, working and people with kids finding the time to put themselves first!
I like listening to music while on the elliptical. I avoid watching TV completely. I find the beat of the music very motivating to keep up with as I like fast, hard music with a good beat.
Keep up the great work!

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DEBRA0818 4/27/2011 9:32AM

    The dedication of purpose is the only thing that can overcome all the pulls in the other direction. You're right on (to borrow a phrase from the 60's)


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DONNALYNN22 4/27/2011 9:30AM

I started watching Biggest Loser but realized I can't possibly model that as I have NO personal trainer, nobody fixing my meals and I have to live my life every day, and not take a break from it for a few months to hyper focus on "ME". People rely on me to be here for them and I have priorities. YES, I am one, but not the only one.
I'm happy for their success and wonder when they get off the show, will they too, be able to continue with it just as it was...they'll be back where I am, in REAL LIFE.
So I'll catch the show sometimes, but YES, it is all about me and my ability to cope in my real life situations.
THANK YOU for that reminder, Barb!
D emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 4/27/2011 9:03AM

    I agree that the culture of self-sacrifice (highly gendered, focused primarily on women) is an impediment to spending the time on self-care essential to weight loss maintenance.

However, it can be helpful to think about personal health care as a form of caring for those who depend upon us: I am not much use to my family/friends/colleagues when I'm too ill to function. And so I'm "required" and not just "entitled" to exercise and eat properly and all the rest of it . . .

All best on your big day coming up!!

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HOT4FITNESS 4/27/2011 8:48AM

    All the hard work, all the training. we are worth it!! See ya in four days

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KALIGIRL 4/27/2011 8:32AM

Here's to all of us taking care of #1 first - then we can 'serve' better. Maybe that's why they say put your oxygen mask on before assisting others?

Comment edited on: 4/27/2011 8:33:29 AM

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FITFABJENN 4/27/2011 8:30AM

    Yep, that's about the size of it. Absolutely worth it! Thanks.

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MSLZZY 4/27/2011 8:11AM

    Powerful and positive message! Thank you!

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WVFAITH 4/27/2011 8:00AM

    YEAH! You've figured it out. Thanks for sharing it with me. Its very inspiring!!

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