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Balance and one thing

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It rained overnight. When I stepped out on my deck this morning, I saw a whole raft of weeds that had appeared seemingly overnight in the cracks on my patio. I decided my "one thing" this morning would include pulling a few of them. The soft, moist ground made extracting them fairly easy. There was this surge of "I did it" good feeling, immediate. Why? Because I truly dislike yard work... and when I do something I dislike, in a small amount, see the good result, and pat myself on the back, I feel a surge of victory.

Doing well in the 5K was a thrill of victory... but athletic competition is not the only way to get that feeling of living victoriously. Every day victories need to be recognized, cherished, and celebrated. Keeping small promises to oneself is the most empowering thing there is. So when you *do* the ten minutes of strength training, when you decide to have a smaller portion or make a healthier choice in a restaurant, when you alter a recipe to make it better for your family... toot your horn, if only to yourself.

Celebrate living your life victoriously. You are worth it!

Life's good. Spark on!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNYWBL 7/29/2011 12:49AM

    emoticonOn both!

I love to garden! I don't like weeds in cracks, I use a spray That kills and retards thiir return. I use a heavy layer of mulch to stop garden weeds from sprouting! emoticon

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LJCANNON 7/28/2011 9:07PM

    emoticonGreat Blog!! I might start applying this Theory to Killing the Clutter in my house!!

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SEATURTLE86 7/28/2011 9:34AM

    Great Blog! Celebrating the little things keep us going.
emoticon emoticon

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MEDDYPEDDY 7/28/2011 12:27AM

    Thank you so much for this, just what I needed to read this morning!

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SUNNY1432 7/27/2011 10:07PM

    emoticon on the 5K and killing the weeds, I hate yard work too! emoticon
Hope you had a great Thursday!!

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WATERMELLEN 7/27/2011 8:32PM

    Great concept: keeping the small promises to yourself is believing in yourself . . . and that matters. Lots.

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PENNYAN45 7/27/2011 5:31PM

    This is a very inspirational message.

We can focus on the everyday victories and on keeping the small promises to ourselves -- and then basking in our surge of victory.



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DEBRA0818 7/27/2011 5:08PM

    I love the idea of "small ball" which, as you proved, leads to great victories!

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KASEYCOFF 7/27/2011 2:35PM

    That is a great message, hon - excelsior!!!

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BESTSUSIEYET 7/27/2011 2:20PM

    "Keeping small promises to oneself is the most empowering thing there is." That is so very true! Keeping my promise to myself says, "I matter" and there are times I have tried to please everyone but ME. I don't want to live selfishly, but there is a happy in between, a place where I am free to take care of me, so that I am able to take care of others. I don't have to do it all, but I can do one thing to care for myself each day, and those I love will probably be better off for it, too!

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_LINDA 7/27/2011 9:01AM

    emoticon Well done!! It is always easier to pull weeds after rain. Each step we take in this healthy lifestyle is a victory. Trying to do all I could in that sculpting class yesterday was a victory as I have sore muscles to prove I tried hard lol. That which doesn't kill you will make you stronger.
Savor your victory!!

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KALIGIRL 7/27/2011 8:44AM

    emoticon I too have been 'grabbing' opportunities to pull those weeds - only wish I could do the same with the crab grass...

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JOURNEYTO60 7/27/2011 8:29AM

    Really, really a terrific thought. I love the thought of keeping "small promises to yourself" and celebrating all those little victories in the day! What an exciting way to look at life! Thanks for sharing...have a wonderful day!

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Transitions versus Finish Lines

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The gal who hates finish lines is here... with a little reverie over "when is a finish line NOT a finish line"? When it is a transition! Just about everything that "feels like a finish line" with a little bit of insight and work, can be seen as some kind of transition... because "there is no finish line".

Life has dozens if not hundreds, thousands, or millions of these transitions.

There are the tiny daily ones: bed to up and awake. From home to work mode, and vice versa. From one task to the next. In school, changing classes. In books, chapters, changes to a different set of characters or plot lines.

There are the annual ones: changing of the seasons, planting and harvest, Holidays, vacations.

There are the major life ones: Graduation from a given level of school, moving on to the next or to a working life. Marriage. Addition of members to the family (furry ones, too). Loss of loved ones. Kids growing up and moving out. Health issues or injuries.

There are major lifestyle (or financial) changes that can give pause: getting, losing, or changing jobs, moving to a new house or apartment. Downsizing, upsizing, relocating.

These changes happen to us all. They are a part of life. They shape us as we adapt to them.

Now take a look at the changes in your life and where you put health and fitness in your list of priorities as these changes occurred. Did you (as I did) leave it off the list of priorities? Drop it to the bottom of the list (just until this crisis is past)? Wish for it, but not act on the wish?

What brought you to Spark? It wasn't just that you heard about it from a friend, or saw an ad... there was a motivation inside you that said "I have to do something about my life, health, fitness"... and you came. Will you stay, through all the rest of life's transitions? Will you keep the Spark alive?

Life's good... Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATIE33MAHALA 7/28/2011 6:37AM

    Nice blog! I found SP while hunting answers to eating healthy meals on internet. Now, I look at SP as a life saver. Not only learning better eating habits, but also feel, I'm not alone, tons of support, and the icing on the cake- wonderful friends from all over the world. Will I be a lifer? Yes!!!! Until I can't type or see to read any more!


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WATERMELLEN 7/26/2011 7:55PM

    Oustanding blog, thank you!! There are no finish lines when it comes to tracking nutrition . . . or at least not until I stop requiring nutrition (the ultimate finish line, I suppose!!)

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WILMASOTO 7/26/2011 5:04PM

    Awesome blog!! Life is full of transitons we just have to look for them and KEEP ON SPARKING our way to good health!!

Wilma emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/26/2011 2:35PM

    I think I can honestly say that I will be an SP "lifer." Finding this website and all of the information and GREAT sparkfriends has been life changing. I may take breaks from time to time, but I can never stay away very long!

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ANDI571 7/26/2011 2:08PM

    Very good question. You are so right. I came back to Spark because I knew I had to do something. I can't let "Life" throw me off course and not get to the finish line. The finish line being, a healthy body for the rest of my life. No wheel chairs for me.

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KALIGIRL 7/26/2011 1:17PM

    It's a good question for me as I am seriously considering leaving after reaching my 2 year anniversary of weight loss this winter. I made a pledge to Annie to stay until that point and will keep my promise, beyond that who know?

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HOT4FITNESS 7/26/2011 11:48AM

    How funny that I wrote my Tuesday blog before reading yours, Transitions, changes, trimesters, chapters. We are on a constant journey of changes, learning, and teaching. Lets keep moving forward to the nest chapter. Great blog!!

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PATRISNA 7/26/2011 10:45AM

    emoticon Great blog!


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CONCHA77 7/26/2011 9:56AM

    Great blog!

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KASEYCOFF 7/26/2011 9:20AM

    Great analogy re finish lines. I so agree - if you're static, you're not living, in just about every sense of the word. IMHO

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_LINDA 7/26/2011 8:41AM

    I was always good about exercising, pretty much have to with RA, stop moving and the disease will take over, but my nutrition was horrible. I did eat healthy fruits and veggies because I was vegetarian, but I also used to drink loads of pop and eat cheese doodles by the huge bag full as well as chips and buttery popcorn. The one thing Spark did for me, was open my eyes to the calories in even healthy foods and thus learned portion control and what a serving size was really meant to be. Now I have the tools, even during surgical layoffs when I can't exercise, like what is looming closer for me, I will still keep careful track of everything I eat and have no real excuse to let any weight creep back on. Surgeries are a constant in my life, don't know if I will ever get peace and see the end of them, but must deal with them like you do with everything else that gets in your way.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Another photo from the triathlon on Sunday. This one shows people in transition.

The young woman in turquoise / blue is one of the juniors, transitioning from her bike ride to her run, pulling her hair down and headed for that blue archway where the run begins. The one in hot pink is one of the adults, transitioning from swim to bike, on her way to the bike starting line.

Transitions in a triathlon are very specific, but we have many transitions in the larger sense of life. Whatever change comes our way, we need to transition to whatever new routine will support that change. There are short transitions and long ones. Some can be planned for, others not so much.

The triathletes who think ahead and have everything laid out to make for a smooth transition shave vital seconds off their race time if the race is a close one. In life, some transitions can be similarly planned for and laid out... adding a new job? Changing schedules? Think ahead and plan for how you'll handle it without undermining your larger goal of living healthy... will you carry your lunch to work? Will you alter the time of your workouts? Will you take breaks? Stretch at your desk if it is a sedentary job?

Things can be unpredictable in transitions. A competitor has to be able to alter plans without becoming ruffled. Shoelace break? Having trouble finding the clip on the bike pedal... take the time to adjust and fix it, and your race goes smoother.

Life's journey has many transitions... here's to not letting them frustrate us, but to resiliently making them and getting into the rhythm for the next phase as smoothly as we can. It may be difficult (I know it often is for me)... but it is well worth it!

Life's good. Spark on!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 7/26/2011 1:14AM

    Thats an interesting subject - transitions. Thans for inspiring me to think about it!

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SLENDERELLA61 7/25/2011 7:17PM

    As someone with 2 days work left until retirement, your blog is extremely timely for me. Here's to smooth transitions!!

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ANDI571 7/25/2011 2:34PM

    Never thought as life having its transitions. Trying to do life smoothly is not always easy, but makes the journey much better if we can.

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_LINDA 7/25/2011 11:25AM

    Here is to smooth transitions no matter what curve balls life throws at us!!
Great photo! I always wonder how they can keep it smooth in their transitions if a whole pack of people come in getting to the next part of the race..

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KALIGIRL 7/25/2011 8:48AM

    Here's to handling transitions with grace and style!

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LRK4CHRIST 7/25/2011 8:20AM

    Good for u! Keep up the Good work!

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ELRIDDICK 7/25/2011 7:53AM

  Thanks for sharing

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You can get a good workout as a spectator, you know!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I just had the best morning. No, I did not run another race... this time I took my camera with me and walked over the the venue where the State Games was having the Triathlon competition.

In case anybody who reads these has been living under a rock and doesn't know what a triathlon is, it combines a swim, a bike ride, and a running event, all into the same race. In between the events is "transition", where the swimmer changes into the biker, and the biker into the runner, and starts the next event in the sequence. That said, here are a few shots of the Juniors, for whom this was a qualifying event for "real" events later in the year.

Swim start:

First swimmer got out (0.47 mile swim) when the clock said:

Here he is starting his bike ride:

At the end of his first loop of the ride (there were three loops around the outer perimeter of the park containing the lake where the swim was done all the way out to the Library I sometimes walk to, adding to a total of 20K / 12 miles):

Him again, returning after the third lap:

Starting his 5K run:

And coming on toward the finish line. I missed the clock, the shot was badly lighted, but he did this all in an hour and eight minutes and change. Amazing performance for a 16 year old. His 14 year old sister finished ten minutes behind him, and his nearest competition 8 minutes.

Next year? me as a participant? that's a huge time commitment to train. We'll see... but some of you all know about me and my bucket list... a TRI is on it.

Oh, and as a spectator, I put in 15,000 steps, moving from spot to spot to snap my photos and cheer the athletes on.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNYWBL 7/25/2011 12:25AM

    I just bet that was a great workout! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 7/24/2011 4:47PM

    WOW! That is awesome! That brother and sister must be incredibly fit! A shining example to people their age!!
Well done on keeping up with it all! I can't imagine the stamina and training you need to complete one of these. If you are going for it, all I can say is I am in awe!!

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HOT4FITNESS 7/24/2011 4:11PM

    So cool!!! Hope to be a spectator for that one!!

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SLENDERELLA61 7/24/2011 1:50PM

    Thanks for posting. I've often wondered about the transitions. Perhaps I'll go watch one myself. I do run, ride and swim, but have yet to actually put a Tri on my bucket list. Just might, though. You are encouraging me to seriously consider it! -Marsha

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    Wow, you really did get in a workout while spectating! emoticon

Perhaps you could attempt a duathalon to work up to it...?

Great pictures!

Comment edited on: 7/24/2011 1:37:34 PM

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/24/2011 1:26PM

    SOOOOOO fun!!! And like I said, you just.. just... just might be ready already! That bucket is closer than you believe it to be! Let your imagination guide you!

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WORDLILY 7/24/2011 12:22PM

    What fun!

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Craziness fulfilled

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I've been whining about and questioning my sanity in signing up for the Cornhusker State Games 5K for however long it's been since my son talked me into it. Last night was the night.

We got to the Minor League ball park where the event was starting and finishing way early. I follow directions well... when they tell me to show up early, I do. So we had a lot of hanging around time watching them prepare the ball park for the baseball game that would be concurrent to the run.

Interestingly enough, they are featuring their Friday home games as "fitness Fridays". You know the drill, "T-Shirt Tuesdays"... etc. Well, it's Fitness Fridays. Which made a great tie-in for the State Games to start their 5K between the two ball parks and finish inside the stadium itself.

We stood in respect as the national anthem started off the ball game, then lined up for the 7:30 p.m. start to the footrace. I spotted HOT4FITNESS and her husband, and introduced my son, who had missed meeting her at the Half Marathon since I'd so badly estimated our performance and finish time.

It started rather abruptly with an air horn. Large group of runners began that slow-motion start. It was HOT in the setting sun, but there was a good breeze, especially inside the stadium. Son promised to run "mom's race", staying with me to prod me on. Jogged until the first water station, which was beyond mile 1. I dropped to a walk telling son that I would walk through the hydration... and I really needed the water by then. Didn't matter how much I took on earlier in the day. I walked several more times, but each time I did, I got recovery and started jogging again.

The hardest part was getting back into the stadium around that huge concrete parking lot, radiating heat absorbed during the day. I was speed walking at the turn back toward the stadium, and the workers said something nice about my form. Pride puffed me up as there was a photographer along the sidewalk along the outside of the stadium leading around toward the finish line. Guess who started jogging yet again? I finished in 32:51. This is not a personal best, but I figured it's pretty respectable for me under the conditions. I was NOT going to kill myself for this race.

Son was right behind me at the finish, pushing me on. We returned our timing chips, hydrated, stretched, and walked around, cooling off. I had to go get a paper towel from the women's room, as I was dripping sweat into my eyes! But it felt good. We did it!

We each had a hot dog... probably my one concession to that particular nutritionally suspect food for the year... it tasted wonderful in the aftermath of the run. Then they started announcing the finishers. First the overall winners, male and female. We're talking 16:30 (almost half my time) for the fastest finisher overall... young men, obviously fit and serious runners. You know there are a whole lot of serious runners out there, but the State Games are a special deal: more to promote activity for the joy of activity than a competition for the elite.

They also do the age/gender division awards... and they started with the youngest runners. We applauded and oohed over the times as they handed out the medals. As they got to my son's age division the times were awesome... I think the three top finishers in that age group were within seconds of one another.

When they got to the 40 something females, the times started sounding more reasonable... and my son kind of joked at me that I could be among the top finishers in my division. I discounted this at once, knowing we have a number of "real runners" in town. You could have knocked me over when they said, "Females, 55 - 59" and announced my name as "first place". O-M-G! So, when you see the photo, there is this look of amazement on my face.

This "tough old bird" is now in possession of a gold medal. And can't stop grinning. Who'd have thought?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATRISNA 7/26/2011 10:54AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Barb you are emoticon

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LINDAJOYWK 7/25/2011 6:23AM

    I'd have thought! You are awesome! You've got a lot to be proud of-including a great
son to do it with!!

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SUNNYWBL 7/24/2011 8:59PM

    I couldn't be prouder of you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GINABUG 7/24/2011 9:02AM


Sincere congrats to you! What an inspiration you are! I did my very first 5k this year (the Run for the Homeless for the People's City Mission) but I certainly did not run the whole thing. But, I am hoping that is in the future, and every doubt I had that I could accomplish this feat has just evaporated!

You're the best! Congrats, again!


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SEATURTLE86 7/24/2011 1:28AM

    emoticon emoticon
Well now I am doing the Happy Dance with you!! How about that! We both had a great day! emoticon

We always knew you were a big winner! emoticon Now you have a gold medal to prove it.
I am proud that you stuck it out and ran in spite of the heat. That is just awesome!I love the picture!!
emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 7/23/2011 9:40PM

    So fabulous!! Love that grin!!

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_LINDA 7/23/2011 9:27PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
WOW!! 'Not even your personal best'!! You rock!!! Fantastic!!!

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JULYRAINDROPS 7/23/2011 7:55PM

    What a great story! Congrats on the race and a surprise gold! Congrats also on having a supportive son to keep pace with you!

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CONCHA77 7/23/2011 6:25PM

    I couldn't be PROUDER of you, Barb!!!!! Unforgettable for sure! Great Picture too! emoticon

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KATIE33MAHALA 7/23/2011 4:28PM

    This is so awesome! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU MY FRIEND!!!!!!! YA HOOOOO!

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KALIGIRL 7/23/2011 12:21PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
emoticonplace!!!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/23/2011 12:22:06 PM

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/23/2011 10:57AM

    Congratulations, Barb! Way to go! LOVE the background photo, and you look extremely proud and happy. Good for you!

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WORDLILY 7/23/2011 9:16AM

    Congrats, that's awesome!!! :D Way to go!

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HOT4FITNESS 7/23/2011 8:30AM

    That is so Awesome!!! Congrats on a great finish! And in the extreme heat none the less. Now onward to the next place on this wonderful journey we are on!!

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MOBYCARP 7/23/2011 8:24AM

    So, once in a while you're surprised that no one did better than you. Well, you showed up and you finished. Gotta do that much before you have a chance for a medal, and it doesn't matter if some other 58 year old lady *could* have run it in 30 minutes, if she decided not to in the heat. emoticon

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MIZCATHI 7/23/2011 8:04AM

    I am so happy for you! Fantastic!

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REJ7777 7/23/2011 7:29AM

    WOW!!! CONGRATULATIONS! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Can I have your signature! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GOHUSKERS2 7/23/2011 7:06AM

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! That is a great picture!!! What a terrific kid you have.

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46SHADOW 7/23/2011 7:03AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonSo proud of you.

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