Thursday, October 16, 2014
It's been a WAY crazy busy week with not much room for celebrations but I already have SO many ways to celebrate the passing of another year.
So as busy as it's been I slowed down tonight to take stock of my "presents":
---of course every time I hop on my bicycle I am so grateful for the pay-off of a body that can immerse my being into the world of nature and friends who share my enthusiasm. And the journeys I've made this year locally and to the Catskills...all have been precious and cherished.
---bouncing back from the blood thinner jitters!
---tweaking and finding even better ways to manage my Achilles Heel: FOOD!
---checking in with RealAge www.realage.com and finding I'm still staying ahead of the curve with a "Real Age" 3 years younger than my chronological age...growing YOUNGER not OLDER! :-)
---checking in with my waist & hip measurements, finding them to be another couple of inches down from the springtime of this year!
---creeping ever closer to my goal weight of 200
---wearing my "skinny" size 38 jeans!
---wearing "large" or size 16 shirts not only with room to spare, but noticing while wearing a more trim t-shirts greater definition of my biceps. No muscle man, for sure, but I'll take muscle curves over flab anyday! :-)
---noticing more muscular definition in my super-duper, Catskill-mountain-climbing quads and calves!
---improving my self-image a notch or two, as measured by a lessening of self-perceived unattractiveness...still haven't reached a point of being able to psychologically claim an increase in attractiveness...but in time...? Who knows?
Arriving today for my birthday are my new bicycle tights. Another milestone. Back in the day I absolutely ruled out wearing any lycra / spandex stuff, sparing myself and the world of such a horrible sight! That was before my backside met the hard truths of good bicycle saddles...lol! So begrudgingly I was dragged under protest into the world of bicycle shorts, or what I called "dorkey" shorts! Not that I was calling the shorts "dorkey" but actually calling MYSELF "dorkey"-looking when I wore them!
Now? I'm kicking it up a notch a ready to tackle full length bicycle tights! Louis Garneau Oslo Airzone Tights...arrived today, right on my birthday, whaddya know?
Now I'm ready for cycling a bit more in colder temps. Although I doubt I'll ever be anything but a fair-weather rider in terms of precipitation. I just cannot imagine enjoying myself, regardless of gear, enjoying cycling in the rain or snow.
It's great to take stock of our accomplishments now & then and am sending this out not only to celebrate MY birthday and accomplishments but hoping you all are either savoring accomplishments made or YET to make!
Thank you everyone among our SparkFamily for adding your part to making this the place where we continually make our dreams come true, share, celebrate and pay them forward to each other!
Monday, October 13, 2014
It's been a while since I've used my home gym which I've dubbed my "SparkHaven" :-) The fitness center with it's elliptical, rower, spin bikes and weight machines run a stiff competition and because it's so close to work I can fall right into my workouts pretty easily there.
Once upon a time, pre-fitness center, I had a long, good streak of morning mojo in which I would wake up and hop right onto my treadmill in SparkHaven. Quad speakers set up in all four corners of the room around my treadmill kicking out the tunes.
Since I'm off most of the week doing lots of special projects around the house, the fitness center isn't so convenient. So it was time to dust off the treadmill and start off with the dumb bells, resistance bands and crank through the body weight exercises.
The cool thing about doing this at night is that I leave the lights off with only my 17" laptop running iTunes visualization set to full screen shuffling kaliedoscopically through my thousands of tunes. With the laptop set up just a little way in front of the treadmill I could zone out to the music and the light show on my laptop while working up a sweat with the elevation set to the max of 15 and doing a slow jog, fast walk of 4 mph.
Nice to remember such a different way to work up a sweat!
Keep 'er Sparkin' everyone!
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Well phooey...the scale is UP! Unfortunately I out-ate the miles I climbed this weekend.
The extra pounds are TOAST and lesson learned re: gauging food that's necessary for the burn vs. indulging the carbie tiger, which has been dutifully re-shackled!
Keeping the SPARK!
Sunday, October 05, 2014
Today's ride was a triple challenge: 2 REALLY TOUGH CLIMBS each of which brought me a whisker away from having to get off the bike a walk and one WAY chilly day that caught me under-dressed with shorts when I really should've had pants...course that propelled me above and beyond my USUAL need for speed...!
I chatted with a local who asked if I was warm enough to which I said: BARELY! If I pedaled hard enough I could just get by! :-)
No time to post pics yet...perhaps a part II upcoming?
These climbs don't appear TOO terrible on RideWithGPS, but I'll tell you they were nail-biters for me and tougher than anything I'd dealt with during my Catskill Mountain tour loaded down with 34 extra pounds of gear! I dug down and gave it EVERYTHING I had to make these climbs with NO WALKING ALLOWED!
Here's the route:
There were ten of us on the ride...nice number of folks and of course the very BEST people, cyclists always ARE! :-) Although we had full sunshine when we started, the clouds surprisingly gathered and froze us out during our lunch stop at Launt Pond on top of Bear Spring Mountain. I don't think there was anyone who wasn't shaking & shivering when we left...for a screaming downhill of wind pounding away at us...BRRR!
The country through which we pedaled was absolutely GORGEOUS and well populated with large birds of prey of various types arcing through the skies. We saw a flock of wild turkeys grazing in the fields.
The foliage was a bit of a disappointment as much of it had already fallen, leaving many barren limbs of grey throughout the hillsides. Most of the bodies of water were extremely low, if not barren. Even the Cannonsville Reservoir was extraordinarily low. New York City has been THIRSTY, I wisecracked... Plus this water has been leaking and flooding out downstate homes in Warwasing:
What a crime!
Well it's time to shut the carbie tiger down. Had my oatmeal this morning and a sub sandwich later. PLUS I even indulged in a brownie before our last climb. I will learn on Weds. weigh-in what price I'll pay for that.
A very curious article I found this week in Medscape, a medical news & research journal which you may have heard of:
You may not be able to open the link without subscribing to Medscape so I'll give a brief synopsis: A preliminary study of only 10 subjects (hardly a significant sample size) suggested that there may be some lifestyle changes which could slow or delay the progression of symptoms for people with Alzheimer's disease. "Six participants had discontinued working or were struggling with their jobs at study outset because of memory problems.
All were able to return to work or continue working with improvement performance, and improvements have been sustained."
What, pray tell, did the interventions entail?
"The interventions used in the 10 patients involved in the UCLA pilot project were tailored to each individual, but they shared similar elements. Typically, patients were asked to eliminate all simple carbohydrates from their diet.
They were also asked to increase consumption of fruit, vegetables, and nonfarmed fish and to follow a strict meal pattern with specifically timed interludes of fasting.
Exercise was a key component of all interventions, and participants were counseled on ways to reduce stress through practices such as yoga and meditation."
I was particularly pleased to see how closely the "lifestyle changes" which were made are so similar to the ones I have made since January of this year: eliminate all simple carbohydrates (i.e. for me it has been eliminating all sugar & grains), increasing fruits and vegetables and eating a can of tuna almost every workday. PLUS they talk about specifically timed periods of fasting. For me that has been a roughly 16 hour fast between bedtime and noontime every day.
It also makes me wonder about the ill effects of eating simple carbohydrates...! Of course I realize the sample size is extraordinarily small and one can't drawn firm conclusions, but this is very interesting...! Also it's great to see a study in Medscape that quasi-legitimizes the benefits of a pattern of eating that pretty closely mimics what I developed for myself thinking it was fairly unique...or weird...lol!
Wrapping up, I'll borrow ONEKIDSMOM's line...life is good! I'm doing my best to make it so! Hoping all of you had a super weekend filling your lives with SPARK!
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