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Inspiration comes in many forms

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Yesterday my Netflix selection finally came, the one that was marked "very long wait" for some time: Secretariat.

For those of you who are younger than me, this may not mean a lot to you, but in 1973, when Secretariat won the triple crown, I was a college student. I had followed horse racing ever since I started reading books like The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. I used to purchase candy cigarettes, if you can imagine that... back before the Surgeon General's warning... and pretend to smoke while I watched the TV coverage of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes races. Each year I would cheer and observe and feel my heart lift as these gorgeous animals flew around the track. Each year I would hear stories of Man O' War and Citation and Whirlaway. Each year I would hope.

Then came Secretariat. It wasn't history or fiction, it was current events to me. He was gorgeous. He was incredible. And the way he turned on the gas and ran from behind, accelerating through each successive quarter... oh, how it lifted my heart. You could see it coming. I was most worried about the Preakness, since he was a come from behind runner, and that is the shortest of the three. When he pulled that one off, I had great hope... and when he blew Sham away in the Belmont Stakes... accelerating the way he did... he proved himself the greatest race horse of all time, before or since.

The movie brought back all those memories of being inspired... the same emotions. It got me up on the treadmill to move to the race scenes, as horse racing generally does. Nowadays I watch the triple crown from my treadmill... to feel that lift to move with them, to fly.

Another form of inspiration came this morning, as I was reading blogs of folks who come post on my page or my blogs. I found a person or two who are just starting their journey to fitness and health... their re-commitment. These folks also inspire me, because I've walked in those shoes. And blogs of those who are re-committing following a lapse... and blogs of those who are continuing a successful journey: we share something. We are sisters and brothers under the skin: battling tendencies in ourselves, striving for the victory... and as long as we keep striving, and never give up... we are winners!

Spark on, my friends! Find inspiration where it lands for you... lift your hearts, and live your lives. You can do it... and you're worth it!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 4/17/2011 11:32PM

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REJ7777 4/17/2011 9:05PM

    I had to laugh, because I remember buying those candy cigarettes too!

You're so right that Inspiration comes in many forms. Thank you for your inspirational blog!

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LUNADRAGON 4/17/2011 2:17PM

    Wow, you said it all here! Very inspirational blog!

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WATERMELLEN 4/17/2011 2:11PM

    Just love the image of you on your treadmill running with Secretariat . . . and all of us "running" together!!

(I read ALL of those horsey books as a little girl too!!)

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MNTWINSGAL 4/17/2011 1:35PM

    Horse racing was a big part of my growing up dad was from Iowa, my mom from Nebraska, and we used to go down to Ak-Sar-Ben at least once a year, and sometimes to see the dogs run (I think that was in Sioux City?) too. My folks were so thrilled when Canterbury opened here in Minnesota. It's the one "fun" thing my workaholic dad ever did, go to the races just about every Sunday. Such good, good memories. To this day I make it a point to see all three triple crown races on TV, and I most certainly do remember Secretariat.

Thanks Barb!

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_LINDA 4/17/2011 12:25PM

    I was old enough to remember those days:) It was awesome!! Unfortunately, I don't watch TV, but I will see movies and one of the most memorable was of that courageous Australian horse Phar Lap. Against all odds, having everything stacked against him all the time, he was my kind of horse, the one they didn't expect anything from, but showed them wrong time and time again..
Just like this site shows when the odds are stacked against you, it is possible to beat them! And it does help, having all the wonderful support!!
Enjoy your races and your run along with your champions!

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FITFABJENN 4/17/2011 11:42AM

    Okay, now I must add Secretariat to MY Netflix list. Thanks for the tip!

I completely agree. We never know where we will find our inspiration. As always, great blog!

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THIAGRAM 4/17/2011 11:31AM

  I do remember Secretariat, but only a little bit. Thanks! You are always an inspiration!

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    What a WONDERFUL BLOG!!! emoticon

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PRIMAVERA_81 4/17/2011 11:10AM

    I didnt live through the real events, but that movie made me cry. I was so inspired by both the horse and the determination of the horses owner. I was so afraid that his heart would burst out of his chest, or he would get sick, I wanted him to win, but afraid it would have been too much. I was rejoiced when he won the race and he was a healthy horse.

I watched it like 12 times that weekend!!!

Thanks for writting your blog.

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Adaptive workout - two weeks out from the Lincoln Half Marathon.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

As I whined in my status this morning, I did not awaken feeling my best. My training schedule says "12 miles". I thought about how I felt about that... and decided that the better part of valor would be to set aside the three Spark Maps I had made of approximate 12 mile walking routes, and instead do a virtual 12 miles on the treadmill.

I did so to an internet viewing of this week's episode of The Biggest Loser, followed by a Netflix online viewing of an episode of "A Touch of Frost", a British police drama that I've been taken with recently. I took breaks as needed for water, for restroom, and even for a mid-walk snack... but I kept at it and in a little over 3 hours, got my 12 miles done. Victory!

Two weeks from tomorrow, the real event... hopefully I won't wake up that morning in quite the shape I was in this morning. We're going to do this, no matter what, though!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 4/16/2011 11:57PM

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FITFABJENN 4/16/2011 5:49PM

    I'm sure you'll wake up excited on walk day! Kudos for getting through your 12 miles. You're way ahead of me!

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WALKINGANNIE 4/16/2011 5:33PM

    How strange - A Touch of Frost is filmed near where I live.

In fact, I went into a local supermarket a few years ago, noticing a burned out car in the corner of the car park. I filled a trolley and went to the checkout where I was told that the shop was closed and I couldn't be served. I pointed out that other people were being served and she then explained that they were 'extras' and that the store was being used as a temporary set for an episode of Frost!

Good luck with the training.


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_LINDA 4/16/2011 4:21PM

    So glad you got your workout in spit of how you felt.. I sure didn't feel like getting out of bed this morning either, but I did and got it done. But what I do pales in comparison to what you did. THREE Hours!! 12 miles!! That is just incredible!!
You rock!!
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SUNNY332 4/16/2011 3:43PM

    I am cheering for you and know you won't have any problems. Hang in there and do post photos.

Hugs, Sunny

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HOT4FITNESS 4/16/2011 3:32PM

    Rain or shine! Slow or fast! Ready or not! We are crossing that finish line.

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CONCHA77 4/16/2011 1:54PM

    I have no doubt that you will accomplish your goals, Barb. 12 miles is quite the accomplishment in itself on the treadmill. emoticon
Keep up the good work,
Happy Saturday!

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Endless possibilities

Friday, April 15, 2011

I've been thinking a bit lately, as I've started to incorporate more "walking as transportation" into my life. Funny how walking for a time period gets the thought process going. Besides my trips down memory lane, these walks have me thinking about the future. The future and the endless possibilities of paths I might take.

Right now, I'm at a point in life where things are opening up: the son is married and on his own. The ex... well, can't do anything about that. The pets have all departed. No attachments at all, really. Just me. Living life.

I started thinking about the last 25 years of grandma's life sometime last year... actually, this particular grandma has been my aspiration since I was very young. I stayed with her on several visits where I just watched how she lived. She lived very simply. She was a widow. She did not date, but she had many church friends. She did not drive. She did not have a television set. She did not have a dryer, a microwave, and her washing machine was one of those wringer kinds (anybody remember those?) She had no air conditioning. She did not have a job, but she did church volunteer work, maybe half a day a week. The rest of her time, she took care of her home, she grew a garden, she read, and she worked crossword puzzles. She kept her mind young. As a kid, her life may have looked "boring"... but not to me. She was clearly happy, content... choosing her own activity and following through with it. She was frugal, she lived within her means.

Her son (my dad) and daughter (my aunt) were both on their own, married and living their lives when her husband died. She did NOT collapse and lean on them. They helped out with things like putting up storm windows or screens, and they came to visit on holidays, but for the most part, she just lived her life.

And that's the kind of future I want to have: making my own choices, being responsible about them, not being overly dependent on folks, but having a circle of friends, not being isolated, either.

Here's to choosing our futures, not just letting them happen! They don't have to be glamorous. They don't have to be anything someone else thinks they should be. But they do have to be in harmony with our own sense of who we are and what we're about.

To life, and living it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_TRI_IT 4/16/2011 1:06PM

    Oh man.. I have not had time to come to read my friends' pages but today I have a few moments to catch a few. So glad I landed here. Saw all your updates and got drawn into this story of life from your perspective. Very touching and calming.

Enjoy a movement-filled weekend!


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REJ7777 4/16/2011 9:55AM

    "“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.” -Thucydides

The freedom to make our own choices about how we live our lives. We are both blessed to live in countries where we do have that freedom. Being free to make my own decisions about how I live my life is one of the things for which I am the MOST grateful!

It does take courage, and it also takes good health. The ability to get around, be mentally alert, and do the things that need to be done. We can enjoy our retirement if we have the health to do the things we want to do. Here's to freedom, and courage and Sparkling good health!

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MSLZZY 4/15/2011 11:36PM

    I do remember the wringer washer we had in the basement on the farm. My mom disliked
air conditioning, had no plumbing in our farm house until she was 65, listened to the radio
and stayed on the farm her entire life. I miss the simplicity of it. Even the hard work was
just a way of life.
Here's to the possibilities! HUGS!

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_LINDA 4/15/2011 9:53PM

    Up until she had a stroke that put her in level 4 nursing home care, my grandmother lived in a little shack with heat supplied by a wood stove and an outhouse in the back woods. She lived in the far north in extreme cold temperatures, but didn't want to live anywhere else. She chopped her own wood. Kept her place neat and clean, and yes, washed things by hand. She hated it in the city and would only go to help her daughter out with her kids. When she was in the nursing home in the city, all she ever asked for was to go back home (her remote small town did not have a nursing home). She suffered for 20 years in the home, totally unable to do anything because of a massive stroke that left her paralyzed. I would hope we all have the freedom to live our lives as we please. Live and let live. I have always enjoyed living alone totally and wouldn't have it any other way..

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TURTLETALK 4/15/2011 9:49PM

    To life and living it! emoticon

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MT-MOONCHASER 4/15/2011 9:46PM

    I've lived the simple life with a wringer washer (when I was a kid) and I can still remember lugging all those heavy clothes out to the clothesline in below freezing weather. At least then you could put the pan down on the snow and scoot it along instead of having to carry it. Give ma a washer that spins the water out -- a lot better!!!

I actually would prefer to hang my laundry outside, but the wind blows so much dirt around this area that the clothes come in needing to go through the wash again...

Some things can be simplified, but some need modern technology...what would we all do if Spark never existed?

And you know, to our kids and grandkids, WE are probably living the "simple" life!!


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LEANJEAN6 4/15/2011 8:10PM

    She mustve been a good person-- Good you have memories of her! --I like the simple life too!! And walking does make yu think eh?---Great blog! Lynda

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SUNNY332 4/15/2011 2:06PM

    Give us the simple life - for sure!

Thanks for sharing your walk down memory lane.

Hugs, Sunny

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STEPHIEKNITS 4/15/2011 11:07AM

    You made me think of my grandmother. She walked 5 miles a day, including her last day.

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ARTSY_CANDICE 4/15/2011 9:37AM

    Your grandma sounds like she was a remarkable lady. You are already walking in those footsteps!

Reading your blog made me think about how much we have all lost as we have all become so technologically advanced. Even when I was a kid, families spent time together OUTSIDE way more than in front of the TV.

Thank you so much for the reminder that I want whats best for my daughter, not what has become the norm.

Great blog!

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SAMI199 4/15/2011 8:36AM

    “Such to me is the new image of aging: growth in self and service for all mankind”
Ethel Percy Andrus

You are,as always, an inspiration & one groovy lady!

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DEBRA0818 4/15/2011 8:20AM

    I like the simple life too. My mother in law recently asked me to describe what I do all day (since I do not work outside the home). The list involved a bunch of mundane things and I could see her wondering how such a lively person lived such a "boring" life. Well, I love it!

There's no explaining it -- if you have a taste for simple living, you tend to live simply.

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DEBRITA01 4/15/2011 8:15AM

    You had a great role model for living the good life...simple, yet fulfilling. emoticon

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KATHRYNLP 4/15/2011 8:12AM

    Life is for the living.. and we never get out alive. I totally agree with your comments here.

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777GRACE 4/15/2011 8:08AM

    Awe, what a beautiful thought. You are right and your grandma was smart to do all those things to keep her young. We had a wringer washer, we did not use, in our basement of our first house. But the simple life is better, I think. I just wish I had a maid sometimes with all the work I still have to do!!

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How like April

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The 7-day forecast has precipitation in 6 of the 7 days. OK, only a 20% chance on two of them, but if I were a betting woman, I'd say Saturday is my best bet for the long walk workout. emoticon Rest of the week, likely indoor activities.

Meantime on the reading front: I picked up a piece of fluff at the library, because the cover art just drew me right in. "A Body to Die For" is a Savannah Reid mystery, it says. G. A. McKevett is the author. The general idea is a fitness guru's husband gets murdered, and Savannah, a gal with curves who also happens to be a private investigator, is working the case. The cover shows a pile of goodies being apparently "hidden" behind her back.

What jumped off the pages at me, even as I chuckled at them in print were all the lies we tell ourselves about treats and food. The author clearly has a sympathy for those of us who love junk food, but she also writes an assistant character who is thin but still loves her junk food loving boss. The book gently critiques the assumptions we make about one another based on size.

So, as "fluff" as it may be, on the surface... it's turned into a "wait a minute, let's think about that" read.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 4/15/2011 7:32AM


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WALKINGANNIE 4/14/2011 5:20PM

    Lovely to catch up with your blog.

Congratulations on having a "body to live for".


Annie x

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STEPHIEKNITS 4/14/2011 11:58AM

    Weather has turned here and my beautiful sunny skies from yesterday are now snowing. But I will get outside this weekend for a walk, don't know how long a walk but I am going to do it!

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_LINDA 4/14/2011 11:40AM

    After a week of being spoiled and getting temperatures above zero, the other shoe has dropped here. Cold, strong winds with clouds are the order of the day. Back out come the toques and mittens.. Chance of rain mixed with snow tonight. It was so cold on our walk last night, my hands felt numb even though I had two layers of jacket covering them. Guess when you are stuck with foul weather, you have to make the most of it. The cold sure makes you walk faster to keep warm though lol.
Sounds like a very interesting book. What I don't like with women centered books is how, quite often, they either show the female rarely eating, or putting away the meals like a man, but always being slim and slender..
Enjoy your book!

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SUNNY332 4/14/2011 10:16AM

    I spent most of the day yesterday at the Garden Center and today, we will do some planting but waiting on most of it due to the forecast. We need this ground to warm up some. It is still very cold and damp so we wait.

The book sounds interesting. I just picked up some new books so will add it to my list of possible reads down the line.

Take care. Have a GREAT day.
I am off to the garden soon.


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DEBRA0818 4/14/2011 9:27AM

    I will have to check out that author! Thanks for the tip, Barb!

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46SHADOW 4/14/2011 9:00AM


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ARTSY_CANDICE 4/14/2011 8:51AM

    Even fluff makes you think from time to time!! Have a great week and Im crossing my fingers for enough blue sky to do my virtual 5 k on Sat! Have a great walk!

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KATHRYNLP 4/14/2011 8:44AM

    I guess the old adage, "Never Judge A Book By It's Cover" applies here. Sounds like a god bit o'fluff! emoticon

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SAMI199 4/14/2011 8:19AM

    I love it when a book surprises me & makes me think! I might just have to read this myself.


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The call of the sidewalk, trails and so on.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yesterday was the best weather day of the 5-day forecast, and I could not resist. It drew me out the office door and onto the sidewalks toward home. I did not listen to music this time, or rather I did, but it was live performance art of everything around me. I love to hear the laughter of children as they play outdoors. I love to see if I can still remember what a red-winged blackbird's song sounds like. I love the sound of the breeze in the trees. OK, I kind of tolerate the traffic noises, but thankfully there is enough "trail" in my trek I can get away from it for the more subtle sounds. Bike bells as they approach you from behind. Snippets of conversations as work-out buddies jog past.

And in the midst of all the natural sounds, there is a white noise element... and the quieting of influences so you can hear your own soul and spirit... and get this: with gasoline at $3.79 a gallon? I'm saving money by combining exercise with transportation! Think about it folks... it's like getting paid for doing the right thing for your body.

Does it take some kind of investment? You bet... it takes time. But shouldn't we all be taking some time to just exist and listen to the sound of our own hearts?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOBF15 4/13/2011 9:41PM

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This is what I fondly refer to as a health trifecta, a win, win, win. You helped your body, your mind, and your spirit.

When you can do this, it is always victory ground.


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DEBRA0818 4/13/2011 8:32PM

    I agree with you, Barb -- we should take time to listen to our hearts and the natural sounds around us. There is something about walking for a long time that clears the mind and awakens the soul. I'm so lucky in our new digs we have a walking trail that goes around the lakes. Yum!


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FITFABJENN 4/13/2011 1:53PM

    That is a wonderful way to think about it. Nice!

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DEBRITA01 4/13/2011 1:32PM

    emoticonGetting fresh air and exercise AND saving money...that's a winning combo! Enjoy your walks...

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EMSJOURNEY 4/13/2011 10:31AM

    i love listening as well... =)

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ARTSY_CANDICE 4/13/2011 10:19AM

    Well put!! emoticon

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SAMI199 4/13/2011 9:39AM

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HOT4FITNESS 4/13/2011 8:57AM

    I think that is wonderful. Nature, saving money, and building strength and endurance for that 13.1 coming up!!

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KATHRYNLP 4/13/2011 8:55AM

    Fantastic... I love your enthusiasm.. And those Forsythias.. WOW! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 4/13/2011 8:20AM

    Music of the spheres!! Although I like my i-pod for the elliptical inside, I'd rather listen to the world around me when I'm outside.

And, yeah: fitness takes time -- I like to think about my investment in me in terms of "billable hours" foregone: because I'm worth it!!

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CONCHA77 4/13/2011 8:07AM

    Good for you, Barb. Enjoy! I live to far to walk to town but planning on driving to town and then walking the sidewalks and trails. Haven't done that in a while. In fact, my sister is going to join me. We begin the first of May with a three times a week walk challenge and it's a 5K. Can't wait.

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    WTG! Awesome!!

... and we're walking!!

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MARTHAWILL 4/13/2011 7:33AM

    I'm with you!

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