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Bonus blog: the state of the maintenance

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I have started to suspect that I am discovering (in year 3 of maintenance) the "normal" cycle of a gain over the winter, loss with more active times come Spring and Summer. My "maintenance range" appears to be a little wider than Polly Perfectionist wants to see, but then I HAVE been trying to kick her to the curb, and she's still out there camped on the lawn (not so subtle reference to growing grass...) . emoticon

Anyway, I here present two Weight Commander graphs. Each shows two years of daily scale recordings, graphed. The first is from end date of May 4th, 2012.

The second is ending today, May 11, 2013.

Speaking of progress photos, theses graph pictures show the long-shot of how my weight has varied over the past three years. What is of interest to me is how the emotions and the swings of the scale interact, and how Sparkpeople interacts with the emotions... to remind me of two things: how far I've come, and that I don't want to go back to the 200+ pound range!

My friend Marsha (SLENDERELLA61) blogged a few months back about having to potentially choose between maintaining her "happy weight" and maximizing her athletic dreams, as some expert or other she read seemed to thing these were not necessarily achievable at the same time. She identified that the happy weight was more important to her, at that time.

Faced with a similar situation on my end, where I was about 10 pounds on the scale heavier for the Lincoln HM, compared to the St. Pete one last November? I ran 18 minutes faster this time. Hmmmm... given the choice? I want my body to choose what's right for it... I don't care to obsess about the number on the scale. Been there, done that, have the closet full of T-Shirts.

HOWEVER... I do use the scale and a clear and honest appraisal of my behavior to tell me when it's time to "get real" if I've been sliding. There are reasons for every tool we have in our tool box. Scale included. Graphs included. We just have to keep them in perspective, and use them appropriately. Don't take extreme action over one number. Just nudge ourselves back into the behaviors that lead to...

A HAPPY LIFE! Which is GOOD. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINAJANE76 5/14/2013 6:59PM

    How very neat to see things spelled out so clearly. My maintenance seems to be on a similar path to yours and while I'd also love to see a bit less fluctuation, I'm constantly improving and feel so much more settled in than I did just a few months ago. Thanks for setting such a great example!

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SIMONEKP 5/13/2013 11:44AM

    Interesting, BTW, fighting my own battle with the lawn, I have a stubborn patch that will not fill in no matter how many times I fertilize and seed, it's been 5 yrs.

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WATERMELLEN 5/12/2013 5:21PM

    Great blog. "Means to an end, not end in itself": the end is health, strength, happiness and not a number. Yeah. (But I have to keep telling myself that . . . ).

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LEANJEAN6 5/12/2013 8:07AM

    Well I must remember this--You are so good to show this to us Barb!-Happy Mother's Day- emoticon

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MSLZZY 5/11/2013 10:49PM

    Very informative and good points to consider. Happy Mother's Day!

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LRSILVER 5/11/2013 10:13PM

    Good blog. Interesting points.

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1CRAZYDOG 5/11/2013 8:58PM

    Great bonus blog, Barb!

Hmmm....I know my body has a weight variance between the winter and spring/summer too. But I think like you pointed out, it is natural to be more active as the weather turns warmer! I know I'm more active for sure

given the choice between my "happy weight" and healthy weight, I'll take healthy weight.

HUGS Barb. Happy Mother's Day.

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PATRICIAAK 5/11/2013 7:41PM

    I agree it is important to listen to your body.

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DLDMIL 5/11/2013 7:24PM

    Another thought provoking blog. Thanks Barb. emoticon

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CASEYTALK 5/11/2013 6:42PM

    It's possible to gain GOOD weight. If you packed on ten pounds of muscle between the two half marathons, no wonder you did better the second time.

The scale number is only part of the equation. When was the last time you had your body fat percentage calculated?


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_LINDA 5/11/2013 3:58PM

    Somehow, I think the athlete in you is more important then the scale number. Here is to building more muscle, becoming faster, stronger, and doing even better at future races.

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SLENDERELLA61 5/11/2013 3:39PM

    Great job of maintaining -- and of blogging. Thanks so much for sharing this information. It helps me accept my fluctuations and weight changes a bit more, too. I still run for health, fitness, and to help me maintain my weight loss. Athletic performance is a side benefit, not my primary goal. But I'm still hoping for some bling tonight -- even with a minor injury. We'll see. -Marsha

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LESLIELENORE 5/11/2013 3:12PM

    Yes... the scale is just a tool we can use. You have a good attitude about your weight.

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KRISZTA11 5/11/2013 3:01PM

    Congrats on your wonderful active lifestyle!
Great job listening to your body, rather than obsessing about weight fluctuations.

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MOBYCARP 5/11/2013 12:54PM

    Definite food for thought, here. I know where the lower end of my maintenance range is, but I don't know for sure where the upper end should be or how wide it ought to be. I've maintained in a narrow range by watching the scale and adjusting what I eat; but I'll bear in mind that the focus to do that might not be sustainable long term.

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KELLIEBEAN 5/11/2013 12:29PM

    So true, I no longer get on the scale hoping for a loss. I get on every morning now to make sure I'm no veering of course. If I indulge in pizza or ice cream, I wait a couple days because I know.

Congrats on beating your time!

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VTRICIA 5/11/2013 10:10AM

    Good to think about.

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RUN4FOOD 5/11/2013 10:06AM

    Good blog and good focus.

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NEW-CAZ 5/11/2013 9:59AM

    Quite right!

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Progress photos

Saturday, May 11, 2013

First day (April 26th):

This morning (May 11):

I've watered it three times, and Mother Nature has provided a couple of rains, some overcast days and some sunny ones. The point of THIS blog is to make some comparisons between growing grass and improving lifestyles. In fact, any long term project takes time. Progress can SEEM invisible. Nothing is more frustrating than that feeling that one isn't making progress. But given a little time, it becomes visible.

So the entire "take a before picture" and "take progress pictures" is quite a valid concept. When I looked at my picture on race day? I had stopped taking those progress photos, and my concept of my body had deteriorated since last November. The scale was saying something a bit higher than I'd like... but the pictures really do say it better: I'm still the little old lady in training!

If you AREN'T taking progress photos and you're working on losing weight... start where you are. Continue your program for a month, and take another. You'll most likely surprise and please yourself!

LIFE is good... and YOU are worth it. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Wonderful comparison.

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DLDMIL 5/11/2013 7:23PM

    Great blog and reminders of what we need to do for ourselves. emoticon

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REJ7777 5/11/2013 6:27PM

    How true that progress can seem invisible. Thanks for the reminder to take progress photos!

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_LINDA 5/11/2013 3:49PM

    Looking good! Amazing what a little water does for us and nature!
I have no before or after photos. My picture was never taken because I was usually the one behind the camera! I was also good at hiding behind larger, taller family members :P May regret it now as I have none of those famous before and after photos to share my story with which are so popular around here.

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MARIO432 5/11/2013 10:59AM

    I'm so glad I took progress pictures. I took one after every 10 lbs. I lost.
This is the first time that I have after pictures & not just the before - ha.

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RUN4FOOD 5/11/2013 10:00AM

    Taking progress pictures is a good idea. I almost never do it. Should start doing it more often.

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DALID414 5/11/2013 9:48AM

    This is where a picture is worth a thousand words comes in.
It's an odd thing, too. We can stare into the mirror all day long and not 'see' the changes, but looking at a before photo THEN looking in the mirror changes everything!

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1CRAZYDOG 5/11/2013 9:17AM

    Grass is looking prety good, Barb! And you're so right. Those progress pictures really DO serve to show us that those improvements that may seem to be invisible or not apparent ARE happening!

HUGS and Happy Mother's Day.

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MESEATURTLE 5/11/2013 9:12AM

    sounds good!!

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KASEYCOFF 5/11/2013 8:53AM

    Like the time-lapse pix that are currently showing up on the 'net - you know, the ones of "I took pictures of my child each day from birth until age 12" or whatever? Wonder how difficult it would be to take a picture of yourself every day in roughly the same place / same pose to do a time-lapse of weightloss and fitness?

A long-winded way of saying - good blog, Barb!

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NEW-CAZ 5/11/2013 8:49AM

    Great point!

Have a good weekend hun emoticon

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ROXYZMOM 5/11/2013 8:47AM

    Nice blog, great point!!

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PATRICIAAK 5/11/2013 8:41AM

    Good idea.

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It's FRIDAY... what do I need to remind myself of?

Friday, May 10, 2013

This morning's pep talk is brought to you by FRIDAY... wear red today! The State Farm 10 mile t-shirt this year was red, and on casual Friday, I can wear it to work.

Speaking of work, my continued trek of survival through "the big project" goes on. Yesterday's lesson: everybody gets into conflicts, unless they are being passive-agressive or a doormat... everybody on occasion has disagreements, professional or otherwise. Thing is, when your job is to think, and to work in a group, there will be differences of opinion. You reason them through, and when a decision is made, you support it, whether it is the idea you originally had, one you thought was ridiculous, one you really truly believe is brilliant, or anywhere in between.

I was listening to a fellow professional talk about how she'd been dressed down by HER boss. Last week I'd been feeling about the same because of how I felt in response to comments from MY boss. Funny how a half marathon can adjust one's attitude... all this seems so small since Sunday!

The bottom line is that differences of opinion are NORMAL, and can be healthy. Hopefully when expressed they can be expressed with kindness, rather than judgement. I can't control how someone else expresses their opinion... I can only manage my response. I can't necessarily control my initial EMOTIONAL response, but I CAN and am responsible for my actions in response.

So, for today... the reminders:

* Be a professional, afford respect to all. If you must disagree... do so as skindly as you can.
* Eat what's in the bag, it's why you packed it!
* Drink your water.
* And no matter HOW much fun your job is today... remember to "go to recess"... i.e. take those walk breaks. You'll work better for it!

LIFE is good. Spark on my friends! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 5/11/2013 8:16AM

    I have no doubt that a half marathon can adjust someone's perspective on things! We can get so wrapped up in our own emotions.

Lots of wisdom in your blog (as usual).

My family is going through a crisis, and having to make very difficult decisions about our elderly parents (86 & 88). I had planned to do something very difficult, today, in order to help. But my sister expressed hesitation. I couldn't understand it. I told her I'd check in with another sister for advice. She expressed the same reserves. I was stunned! But lovingly bouncing things off each other kept me from making a HUGE mistake, which would have caused problems. I had been misinformed about a crucial detail. As the proverb says, "in multitude of counsellors there is safety".

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MSLZZY 5/11/2013 7:58AM

    Kill them with kindness LOL! Glad you could put it all into perspective. HUGS!

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    Conflict can be extremely fruitful or it can destroy development.
Keep your chin up!

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SUSANNAH31 5/10/2013 9:56PM

    What do they say... we must learn to disagree without being disagreeable.

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PATRICIAAK 5/10/2013 9:42PM

    We all matter and deserve to be heard.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 5/10/2013 6:18PM

    You have the right attitude. Learning how to disagree professionally is an art.

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DLDMIL 5/10/2013 4:54PM

    RED Friday, yes I have my red shirt on today and every Friday. Bogged down in work is not good for us. And now that the Union negotiations has been cancelled for today, I will be leaving early. Keep calm during union negotiations is very difficult when they continue to call off the meetings with management. Oh well, it gives me a couple of hours off this afternoon.
Have a great weekend every body. I am off to the EIF Revlon Run/Walk tomorrow. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 5/10/2013 11:35AM

    Very wise words. Sometimes I struggle with trying to be kind and not doormat. Expressing ourselves while remaining in emotional control, thoughtful and respectful of other people with differing views, is without a doubt the best way to operate. I suspect I will need these wise words very soon. Thanks! And, of course, you eat the good healthy things you pack and take your walks. You matter!!

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DALID414 5/10/2013 11:18AM

    I 'blew up' at work once, embarrassing (emotional) response. Since then I pause and stay quiet for at least 20 seconds, to allow the initial emotional response to subside before opening my big mouth emoticon Some things we learn the hard way emoticon

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LESLIELENORE 5/10/2013 10:50AM


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NEW-CAZ 5/10/2013 10:45AM

    Love your perspective hun emoticon
have a good weekend emoticon

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CELIAMINER 5/10/2013 10:43AM

    I'm approaching the end of my professional life (I hope, I hope, if I can actually afford to retire), and these reminders are just as valuable now. Thanks!

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CAALAN23 5/10/2013 10:02AM

    LOL, I loved this! Especially, the "eat what's in the bag...", that did amuse me considering I'm always looking about no matter what I've brought. I've learned to stock my work fridge with options since I'm so fickle.

All those Keep Calm posters with twists on the phrase really do tackle the point...Keep Calm! It helps every situation.

Have a great weekend and thanks for the reminders! :D

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_LINDA 5/10/2013 8:59AM

    Here is to hoping professional people will treat each other like they themselves would like to be treated and work towards the goal with an open mind so as to see all possibilities and angles not just their own. Cooperation gets you a lot farther then conflict for sure. We are responsible for how we react to a situation -the most difficult lesson to learn when emotions are running high. So glad your running is helping you see the bigger picture and controlling the physical and mental responses to stress!
Spark On!

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1CRAZYDOG 5/10/2013 8:33AM

    Compromise! Not an easy thing, but when we develop that skill, makes life go lots smoother. Like you said, the 1/2 marathon helped you put things in perspective, and that's the secret for all of us . . . finding what helps us put things in perspective.

HUGS and here's to a great Friday and weekend.

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LEWILL1982 5/10/2013 8:16AM

    Relatively young in my professional career, that's great advice and a great reminder. Thank you for posting!

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MEDDYPEDDY 5/10/2013 8:13AM

    How wise... spent three days of working nonstop, no walks, no exercises... I AM happy to get that work done, but I could have gotten it done AND became exercised as well!

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Big Shiny Things... and motivation

Thursday, May 09, 2013

It dawns on me, as I signed up (yes, I did succumb to the temptation) for that Double Half Mary in September, that this pursuit of "shiny things" is not just a trait of my athletic side. It's a trait of my work side, too.

The "big shiny project" has brought me to more than one job. If you want me to sign on to your company, team or whatever, don't tell me about benefits or pay (although those can be roadblocks)... sell me on the work itself. Sell me on the project.

No wonder I keep going after the different and quirky events... it's a part of me, or my curious self... of my competitive "A Student" self... of the kid that read the magazine article on making your own binary card sorter with index cards, paper punch, and scissors... and went out and got a paper punch just to try it.

So, if you want to be both happy and successful... find what trips YOUR personality triggers... and USE that bit. More carrot. Less stick. Right?

LIFE is good... Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEW-CAZ 5/10/2013 2:12AM

    All for encouragement!

Comment edited on: 5/10/2013 2:12:34 AM

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CEHALLA 5/10/2013 12:30AM

    You are so funny! I can just see you there with piles of index cards and a paper punch! I was a comp sci major back in the late 70's and had my fun with the card punch machines!

Its good advice to find out what kind of rewards work the best for you, I'll give that some thought!

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OPTIMIST1948 5/9/2013 9:35PM

    Racing is both my carrot AND my stick!

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PATRICIAAK 5/9/2013 9:02PM

    I'm all for carrots!

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KARIDIAN1 5/9/2013 8:47PM

    My husband and I seem to always do quirky things to. We get involved in sports not many do, and we go into it big time.

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DLDMIL 5/9/2013 8:17PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon We all knew deep down inside that you would GO for it. Keep the carrots out front and you will achieve. I am in awe of your accomplishments and courage to try new things.

Comment edited on: 5/9/2013 8:19:05 PM

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MIRAGE727 5/9/2013 4:09PM

Barb! I love it! For me in retirement, its..."Show me the BLING!"

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SLENDERELLA61 5/9/2013 2:52PM

    Great self-awareness.... Some really great characteristics you've harnessed for you.... Good for you!!! -Marsha

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LESLIELENORE 5/9/2013 2:34PM

    emoticon You'll do awesome!

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DALID414 5/9/2013 11:39AM

    I so knew you'd sign up! The shiny thing is too great to pass up on!

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-STARRYEYED- 5/9/2013 9:56AM

    The double half sounds like fun! YOu are gonna have a fun time! woo hooo!!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 5/9/2013 9:31AM

    Yes, go for that big shiny "carrot." I'm looking forward to your report.

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MSLZZY 5/9/2013 9:30AM

    Another great adventure ahead of you! You inspire me so much! Have a super day!

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LEWILL1982 5/9/2013 8:40AM

    You signed up for it, awesome! Can't wait to read about your training and your updates!

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GABY1948 5/9/2013 8:36AM


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SPINNINGJW 5/9/2013 8:27AM

    Watermellen, you aren't missing much by not being "into" TV. There are relatively few shows that are worth watching.

Barb, I need to find my "carrot." Unfortunately, I think it is 10 feet of water with a springboard one meter above it.

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WATERMELLEN 5/9/2013 7:53AM

    More carrots indeed! And thank you for the explanation, much appreciated: I feel so out of touch (not raised with TV and just never got into it . . . ).

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1CRAZYDOG 5/9/2013 7:52AM

    I just had this feeling yesterday you were going to go for that double 1/2 marathon! You are phenomenal!

I love learning too. It's a wonderful trait to nurture!


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DEBRITA01 5/9/2013 7:22AM

    Love your last statement about being happy and true! Keep going after that carrot... emoticon

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LEANJEAN6 5/9/2013 7:19AM

    more carrots--less stick--sure is right!--You have to be interested doncha?---- Anyway Barb---Keep on keeping on -----interesting blog---Lynda emoticon

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Devilish Spark Friends!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

emoticon Gotcha to come look!

This morning's moment of humor comes courtesy of MIRAGE727. He commented on one of my recent blogs about an event, dangling some serious bling in front of my eyes. Here's the link to the event: Note the pretty little "bifurcated artifact"... um, for non-Warehouse 13 fans, make that "divided medal". It is in three parts: one side for the Saturday HM, one side for the Sunday HM, and the "plate" holding them together.

Which led me to ponder motivation. Wisdom would tell me this is crazy... half marathon, followed by half marathon the next day? But my brain (which y'all know is halfway to crazy already), the third morning after my most recent HM, was muttering... "you could totally do this... you didn't feel that bad the morning after... you even went for a nice walk..." Then the justification side of the wannabe marathon runner started whispering... "it would be LIKE a full... but with a good night's sleep in between the halves..."

OMG. I have not succumbed to the lure... yet. But let me tell you... most of the really craziness that has been my athletic "career" (if I can call it that), has been spurred on by some devilish Spark Friend... from HOT4FITNESS getting me to walk that first half... to SLENDERELLA61 luring me to drive all the way to Florida for another... to KALIGIRL supporting me through my secret triathlon dreams. And, admit it, a few devilish in person friends, too... my son dared me into my first mud run, remember?

I have some amazing Spark Friends, yes I do. And what on earth would we all do without a little nudge from our friends?

Nope. I have not succumbed... yet. But it's now planted like a seed in my mind... DSSECRETS, your hubby is the next in my line of "my friend made me do it" accusations, if I do!

Meantime, tri training is swinging into gear for late July.

LIFE is good, my friends, Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LJCANNON 5/10/2013 12:46PM

    emoticon With "Friends" and Family like Yours, who needs any other kind?!
emoticon I am looking forward to hearing all about your Half Mary!!

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DLDMIL 5/8/2013 11:50PM

    Wow, that is some serious bling. I agree you should go for it. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 5/8/2013 11:06PM

    I don't watch TV so not familiar with most of what is on there, but that looks like some serious bling to try for. I can see a certain tri athlete trying two half marathons back to back.. Aren't Spark friends just the best!!

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PATRICIAAK 5/8/2013 10:32PM

    Think about it - it's in your home state!

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SHARON10002 5/8/2013 9:32PM

    My bet's on that you're gonna go for it, Barb!

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WATERMELLEN 5/8/2013 8:52PM

    OK this is just one of the many cultural references (I'm guessing) that I just don't get. Gorgeous medal, however, and a really interesting concept . . . I'm wondering whether MOBY couldn't be inveigled into joining his sister??? Worth taking vacay time??

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MOBYCARP 5/8/2013 8:06PM

    OMG. That would be so attractive, if I lived in Lincoln . . . I'd have to close my eyes and not look at it.

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KARIDIAN1 5/8/2013 5:55PM

    Go for it!

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LESLIELENORE 5/8/2013 3:57PM

    Ooooh, I totally think you should go for it!

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MNTWINSGAL 5/8/2013 11:26AM

    I didn't (still don't) "get" the reference, but the race sounds like a very interesting way to do a marathon -- half at a time! I wonder if you'll sign up in the end? I bet you could do it. But the day after a big race is usually a recovery day, so this one will require a lot of extra training. However, if I know ANYBODY who could do this, it's you! I'm a little excited for you already!

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DALID414 5/8/2013 11:22AM

    Wow! The medal looks so tempting to try to get all 3 pieces!! Im sure not many folks will have all 3!

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LEWILL1982 5/8/2013 10:54AM

    See, that's good! Our friends know what we are capable of more than we do. They believe in us when we have doubts. Never say never, my friend! If you will, I will....maybe.

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CAALAN23 5/8/2013 9:42AM

    Okay, got a little giddy at "bifurcated artifact," LOVE Warehouse!

You know you want to do it just for the fact that it even reminded you of Warehouse, LOL! You'll have your very own artifact that "splits" things!

Good luck in your training for whatever race you're tackling!

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CELIAMINER 5/8/2013 9:19AM

    What a neat idea! I have no trouble walking 20-25K two or more days in a row (as we did on vacay), but running back-to-back 21K events would not be in the best interest of my knees. Good luck to you!

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GABY1948 5/8/2013 8:33AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EBEAMS 5/8/2013 8:06AM

    Love it when others plant the seed and our brains start to nurture them. I look forward to seeing what it is that you end up harvesting! emoticon

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3G1RLS4ME 5/8/2013 8:06AM

    Cute blog congrats on the halfs my foster uncle is traing for his first Tri. Me I'm just doing my 5 miles a day

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MSLZZY 5/8/2013 7:45AM

    Very ambitious but I know you will give it serious consideration. I expect to read that you signed up any day now.

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1CRAZYDOG 5/8/2013 7:39AM

    Go for the bling, Barb! Only one go-'round in this life.


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    Ah, another chance fore me to ride on your shoulder through to personal victory!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 5/8/2013 7:25AM

    What an interesting event! And yes, I did get the W13 reference.

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MJREIMERS 5/8/2013 7:23AM

    I agree on all parts! Our sparkfriends are so vital in this journey and their nudges, sometimes shoves, are much needed! I'm glad you are at least thinking about "the challenge."

Keep at it and keep considering those runs that others are nudging you towards. I know emoticon

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CHERYLHURT 5/8/2013 7:22AM

  Wow, you write very well! emoticon

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