Tuesday, September 13, 2011
OK, I've been having computer issues, so much so that I could not get online this morning when I usually Spark and blog! So... if I disappear for a while, it is because it completely fried and I haven't got the backup plan in place yet!
As has become a pattern here in the "retirement red zone", every time something breaks, I carefully consider whether I will replace it. Remember my fantasy blog last year about possibly giving up having a car? Anybody who does gets extra brownie points for longevity as a reader of my blogs!
So, this morning's fantasy was how I would live if I gave up the computer! It did not take long for me to realize that this is not truly an option for me. While I can fantasize about going to the library for internet and e-mail... let's face it, for many of us, e-mail, FaceBook, SparkPeople... have kind of become the telephone of our generation!
So, with that realization in mind, I'm starting to look at replacement options. I downgraded my cell phone last year... perhaps this is the year I downgrade the computer! And in the meantime, hope I'll still be Sparking along.
Speaking of Spark... I've found this amazing book that is named "Spark" but *isn't* Chris Downey's book... it's a book on the mind-body connection... from the point of view of exercise helping your brain stay healthy! As if feeling good and being more fit were not reward enough in itself, Dr. John J. Ratey, M.D., the author, cites all kinds of scientific research that shows it fights mental illness and helps us learn better!
Who knew? I've always thought of mind-body being things like Yoga and meditation... it's aerobic exercise, too!
Life's good. Spark on!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Cool, a little chilly before the 8 a.m. start of the Buffalo Run. This is in a hilly park, locally, and the distance is 5 miles. I am not particularly confident of my ability to run at this distance, have been waffling over whether / how much to walk in the midst of jogging, and had even given myself permission to walk the whole way.
But... this is one of those races where the "real runners" show up, and the competitor in me gets awakened... kind of want to test myself against them. I found Deanna (HOT4FITNESS) before the race, and her husband was running, as well. I started out with her, walked the first four minutes by my watch, to get a good warm up, but then felt impelled to start using the gravity of the downhill slope to increase my pace, especially since there were slow joggers in front of us that I probably could have walked past (Deanna did).
At mile one, I was blown away by the time of 11 minutes (they had folks with stop watches at each mile, telling off the times as runners passed). I found my natural inclination had me running 7 minutes before I dropped to a recovery walk for one... the amount of time jogging reduced over the course of the race, but the walking recoveries remained about a minute each. I mostly ran the downhills, slow jogged the uphills, and did my recovery walks on flat (OK, on one uphill, too, let's be honest).
In the end (which was uphill to a short flat), I crossed with the gun clock reading 51 minutes and change. Woo-hoo... I *did* blow away my anticipated time of 11 minute miles. (Official time for 5 miles was 50:21, or a 10:05 pace per mile.) Remember I said the "real runners" show up for this one? The winner in my age/gender group had an 8:35 pace... and that was not even a record for the race. Good for her! I was 8th in my age/gender group. Felt great!
Next outing: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, on October 2nd.
After the race - Me and Deanna:
After the race - Deanna and her hubby:
Saturday, September 10, 2011
This has truly been a chopped up week. I let stuff get to me on Monday and had a fatigued, lazy, anxious, grazing day. Tuesday I handled things better, getting back into my program and pepping myself up. Had a dental appointment that morning, and work is going crazy, so a part of me stresses over even time off for health care.
Wednesday I broke a tooth, requiring a second dental visit. He took care of the broken tooth, thankfully not needing to put on a crown. Almost as soon as I was done with that and put my stuff away at work, it was back across town to be extra ears for my sister at the Cancer center.
The decision she'd been struggling with was taken out of her hands by the recommendation of the doctor we were talking with... his recommendation for her continued therapy was clear, it does not include the option she would have to fight the insurance company over... because of something in her pathology. So... thanks for all the prayers for guidance and wisdom... looks like they worked! Another layer of stress removed.
Back to work only to get faced with a challenge to another project that I had thought was going well. More stress, and a choppy day. But I had done my bit... I had written my pep talk to myself, and I was mentally prepared.
The work bottom line is that I've decided I need to go to work today. I did find an important code bug, and fixed it, but testing turned up another misinterpretation of a requirement on Friday. It is in code someone else wrote, but that coder is not available, having been moved onto another priority. I had not resolved it by end of business yesterday. I wisely came home and got a good night's sleep.
Today, I pick up my race packet for the Buffalo run tomorrow. I may just end up walking the whole thing, and that's OK. After I get my race packet, I will go to work, to catch up on status reports and maybe give that second implementation problem a look. If I get it, OK, if not, I've given it a shot.
And tomorrow? I have a great Autumn Day for a morning walk in the park, and quite possibly a distant view of the air show. We've got the Blue Angels here for the weekend!
Life is good... I am determined... let us all Spark on!
Friday, September 09, 2011
I read a blog this morning, in which a Spark person contemplates walking in her first 5K. She mentioned the fear of judgment of others and my mind went back to a 5K I ran back in 1991, I think it was. I may have blogged about it before, but it bears a revisit.
This particular 5K was in Canton, Pennsylvania. It featured a course that was pretty flat for the first mile, almost straight uphill for the second, and a huge breezy downhill to the finish, rounding a corner to cross the line.
I kept playing leapfrog the whole way with a speedwalker, while I jogged. I put in my personal best and was on a huge high. I had lost 80 pounds and was in the best shape of my life then-to-date. I hung around the finish line cheering the remaining finishers on.
One of the last finishers was a very large woman. She reminded me of myself during the journey. She walked the whole way, and as she rounded the corner, I muttered aloud (remembering well my own fear of judgment) that it took a lot of guts for her to get out there and do this. My admiration for her courage was bigger than her body size, for sure!
Some jerk nearby quipped for his friend, "Yeah, in more ways than one!" I wanted to punch him out. But seriously, there were far more people whose hearts were touched and spirits soared seeing her out there, than those who were shallow judgers. And here's the kicker: will we let those who hold jerk attitudes prevent us from fulfilling our dreams?
NO WAY! If 90% of life is showing up? Let's not miss out on that 90%. Let's go ahead and "just do it". Let the rush of doing it overpower the opinions of the small-minded. We are worth it, every last Sparker of us!
Life's good. Spark on!
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Anybody over the age of 25 has probably had at least one or two moments in life where the limits were reached: Something has to give! If you haven't, guess you're a Teela Brown (an incredibly obscure reference to a Science Fiction novel called Ringworld by Larry Niven... she was a character who lived a completely charmed life).
So... when you reach that point, where something has to give, what gives?
At various points in our lives, different things have "given". For many of us, our efforts at self-nurturing "gave", as we threw our all into some other aspect of life, or even several aspects of life, juggling the balls and dropping that one.
Often we think we'll pick it up again "once this big push is over". Only to find when this big push is over, another crisis or big push follows it. Sometimes it seems the ball has suddenly become much heavier and unbalanced, and it's not all that easy to pick it up again.
Resolved: Not going to let that happen any more! If something has to give, it will have to be something else. Because my health is worth more to me now, and I no longer take it for granted. I may dial things back a bit, change the plan a little, but there is a point beyond which I will not give up the ship:
1. I will not give up my 30 minutes of walking each day.
2. I will not give up getting sufficient sleep.
3. I will not give up eating well-planned and balanced meals and snacks (even if it means I buy pre-packaged and convenient single serving sized foods... I will read the labels).
Because I'm worth it! What about you? What's going to "give" in your life, next time push comes to shove?
Life's good. Spark on!
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