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Monique, 40

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Every week or so I post a new model to the Exploring Beauty Project at www.exploringbeauty.org. This is Monique's interview:

Turning 40 is new and also positive for me. I started writing seriously this year. Both my kids are in school full-time. This is a new phase in my life and the focus is changing.

I can't compare to what you see in the magazines! After injuring myself last fall, I'm running again, and training for the Amsterdam marathon in the fall. The goal was to get fit and lose some weight. While I didn’t lose much weight, I definitely feel fit. It’s also helped me become more accepting of my no-longer-20-year-old body. I don’t want to beat myself up like I have lately.

I have carried, birthed and nursed two healthy children and run a marathon and numerous half-marathons. I’ve earned this body. This is a message I want to pass on to my daughters. My six-year-old recently asked me why I run so much. I told her: because I enjoy it and because it makes me feel strong and healthy. And to myself, I added because it makes me realize how beautiful my body truly is.

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