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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

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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

    emoticon emoticon

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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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Sometimes I think I'll never be satisfied

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

OK, I'm at goal and maintaining. The screening yesterday put my BMI at 21.5, which is solidly in the middle to lower "desirable" range. I am definitely NOT diabetic, glucose looked solidly normal.

But dang, that total cholesterol number was right back where it was last year: 201 - "borderline" staring me in the face again! And it was 192 last August. What the hey? BUT, what went up was the HDL (good cholesterol)... and the ratio went down again (TC/HDL) to 2.8. Which is "good to ideal".

Despite all the great advice about relaxing thoughts and blood pressure, I arrived feeling rushed and late and with memories of last year's screening and ready to growl at the staff (I didn't actually, but that doesn't stop the underlying emotion that can drive BP). Yuck... so BP read higher than usual, too, "pre-hypertension" level. I can't blame moving around, I sat still, I did some deep breathing, but my thoughts were churning.

Still I wasn't as bummed out as I was a year ago. What made the difference? Well, this year, the people doing the screening were not nearly so snippy, and they actually listened. When I mentioned training for the upcoming half marathon and having worked hard to get to that healthy weight... they pretty much admitted I'm doing everything I can. I'm eating healthy, I'm exercising, my ratios look good.

So, we are back to one of the most basic lessons: It may be discouraging that the numbers don't line up with the effort expended. But if I am doing what I can, it's got to be "good enough". I have to focus on it being better than if I wasn't making this effort. AND... I have to continue to be vigilant, and track. That's the real message... don't throw a tantrum at the measurement... just keep working at it. Because... you're... worth it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 4/12/2011 8:55PM

    Numbers can be so deceiving so just do the best you can. You have so much to be proud of! HUGS!

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REJ7777 4/12/2011 2:07PM

    emoticon Those numbers look really good! And, yes, you're worth it! emoticon

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ROSEWAND 4/12/2011 1:30PM

    I would advise you to not be too hung up the
numbers. Current research is causing us to
rethink the numbers anyway.

For example, there is little correlation between
cholesterol and heart disease especially in women
Much of the medical focus on numbers is driven by
big pharma.

And remember:

The stress from attempting perfection is not good for
your health either. emoticon

You are doing so much so well enjoy your successes
Your body will thank you, emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/12/2011 1:34:53 PM

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_LINDA 4/12/2011 10:37AM

    Sounds to me like you are doing a great job at keeping those numbers and conditions at bay. You would like them to be lower, but if they are considered normal ratio, that is great. What you must examine, was why you were rushed and late to your appointment, that stress for sure wouldn't help your blood pressure reading. In the future, you need to give yourself plenty of time to get there..I like the advice someone gave of doing BP readings yourself to track your own progress and then give it to them. You could always use one of those pharmacy tester stations that seem to becoming more popular.
Well done! Keep up the great work!!

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FITFABJENN 4/12/2011 8:53AM

    Well said. You are worth the effort and it does sound like you're doing everything right. Hang in there!

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NOMUFFINTOP3 4/12/2011 7:56AM


You are doing all you can! Great job. Maybe find something that totally relaxes you would help. Yoga can be pretty relaxing.

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SAMI199 4/12/2011 7:42AM

    This might sound weird,but I always think of the "What if..." scenario.What if you weren't
working out? What if you didn't watch your diet? What if your stress was through the roof?
I bet your #'s would have been so very different. You have done an amazing job !


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Counting down... three weeks to the half-marathon

Monday, April 11, 2011

This morning in my e-mail was my packet number and instructions for picking it up the day before the race. It's getting more and more real.

Yesterday I answered the call of the trail again, the more urban or rather suburban variety this time. I went out in search of forsythia, and I found it. Apparently I'm not the only local who loves them.

Part of my route on Sunday also had a 3 mile marker, and I had to take it's picture... just because! I think I shall start collecting 3 mile markers! This particular one is along the Helen Boosalis trail. Our local trails are in fact a network of differently named trails, and each trail name has its own markers, which is part of why it is so confusing... but Saturday's were BOTH Bison trail markers. And the other significant bit is that the one from Sunday is along a part of the half Marathon route on May 1st. I've been walking bits and pieces of the route when they fit in with my other walking plans.

I was out and about for a trifle over three hours on Sunday. Not on the Half route, but on the full Marathon is Holmes Lake, and I was on the top of the dam for part of my walk. This shot shows the lake as seen from peeking over the lip of the dam, as I had hiked myself up the dam face, rather than walk up the long slope to its side... it was closer to home to do it as I did.

This morning is a work "biometric screening" and for once I'm looking forward to seeing my progress. Last year I was confident stepping onto the scale, knowing I would be in the healthy BMI range. This year, the same, and more hopeful for a better cholesterol screening, too. And maybe my white coat hypertension won't show up this morning! I hate it when that happens, because then they focus on that and it is NOT an ongoing problem... I know, I bought a meter for home and I know what my normal readings are. Sigh.

Anyway, fellow Sparklers... these little measures are what we take those small daily steps for... the measures that say we're doing what we can to support our health. We're taking care of the one body each of us is issued in life. And for all the wonderful things our bodies do for us... it's worth the effort.

Let's be good to ourselves today! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 4/11/2011 1:19PM

    Great photos - they represent how well you're doing!
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_LINDA 4/11/2011 10:53AM

    Beautiful flowering bush! We don't get that here. The only thing greening up so far is the weeds lol.
Here is where meditation and relaxation would come in handy for your appointment. Think calming thoughts while you close your eyes and ignore what is going on around you. Focus on just one thing, like your beautiful yellow bush. Take deep breaths. I hope it goes well for you!
You have interesting places to walk. Its great you can go on the trails where your marathon will be. That will be a pile of walking! I am so impressed you can do that!

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SUNNY332 4/11/2011 9:35AM

    I did not know you were doing another half-marathon. How exciting.!!! Woohoo and good for you.

Keep up the great work.

Love the Forsythia. It is beautiful.


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BUGGYS 4/11/2011 9:00AM

    Love forsythia!!! Have three beautiful bushes across the street from my house but they aren't in bloom yet. I am sure you will do awesome for your half marathon and am hoping to do one in about 6 months. Having foloowed you here on SP I am amazed at how far you've come, Barb, and your determination to maintain. You rock!

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WATERMELLEN 4/11/2011 8:08AM

    Love your forsythia! Sunshine in bloom!! Hope you're thinking "forsythia" when it's time for the blood pressure cuff!!

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MSLZZY 4/11/2011 8:02AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REJ7777 4/11/2011 7:25AM

    When we look for beauty, we can usually find it! I'm glad your search for forsythia was successful.

Wow! A half-marathon. What a challenge!

Have you thought of taking note of your blood pressure readings at home? I take my readings at home regularly. My doctor told me to test my b/p at the different times of the day. Then, when I have an appointment, I show her the numbers (date, time, b/p). It gives her a better idea of what my blood pressure really is. She told me that it really helps her when I bring those results in. (I also test my blood sugar, because I'm diabetic, but I'm not taking medication for it anymore.)

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Yesterday's camera stroll

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I had been missing Pioneers Park... hadn't been out there since last Fall. So yesterday I set out to walk a few trails there. I did not find blooming flowers. Here's what I found:

1. Trail markers are just as confusing as elsewhere in town. I found two marked exactly the same, in two different places:

2. The nature center is attracting folks, but there is enough space for individual privacy.

3. The prairie grass shows the wide expanse of the place, and if you look in the right places, you can find the water buffalo.

4. I'm not a good photographer... the blob in the middle is actually a Western meadowlark, our state bird. It has a distinctive song. Missing the sound track here really doesn't do the walk justice. I heard the cooing of doves, the meadowlarks, the breeze in the tall grass. You also can't feel the heat of the sunshine.

Edited to add a link to the Western Meadowlark's song... Watermellen added a link, but it's to the Eastern Meadowlark's song. They are similar, but not the same.

5. Of course, some prefer the more civilized activity of a round of golf. There is a course in the park.

6. And an important factoid: fifty years since Brownie Day Camp, the lay of the park looks much the same... the path leads to memories!

Wishing you all pretty places to enjoy moving your body.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY1432 4/10/2011 10:30PM

    That looked like a wonderful walk!! Thanks for sharing the pictures.

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ETAGGEL 4/10/2011 7:48PM

    Thanks for sharing. I dont think that there is anything so peaceful as a walk among nature's beauty!

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GROEDER 4/10/2011 4:14PM

    Thanks for sharing the pictures of your wqalk. It makes me anxious to get out and do the same.

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WATERMELLEN 4/10/2011 3:55PM

    It's amazing the intensity of our affection for those landscapes we knew first as little people!!

Here's a link to your meadowlark song!!

I love this site: MAHA introduced me to it!!

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_LINDA 4/10/2011 3:27PM

    Awesome! Green grass! Blue skies! We have the blue, but not the green yet. We have meadowlarks here too, so I know the sound :) We are just getting birds back now, waxwings 1st geese 2nd, now robins, next maybe pelicans. Would love to get back on my woodsy trails, but they are very muddy and wet and take a long time to dry out as they are well shaded and at the bottom of the river bank's slopes.
This is JHADZHIA. I am slow getting back to it as I realize I have to reload everything, including my food list:( I don't have my clock photo, so I think I will try go back to my old page and see if I can save it then reload it to my new page.

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STEPHIEKNITS 4/10/2011 3:19PM

    Thank you for sharing your walk!

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SAMI199 4/10/2011 1:02PM

    Thanks for sharing your walk with me! What a beutiful park! WaterBuffalo-how cool.
I think your pics are great!

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MSLZZY 4/10/2011 12:37PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REJ7777 4/10/2011 12:37PM

    You're right that seeing photos is not the same thing as actually being there, hearing the birds sing and feeling the sun on our skin! That looks like a lovely, peaceful place to walk and enjoy nature. Aren't we blessed to have places like that! emoticon emoticon

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MNTWINSGAL 4/10/2011 10:54AM

    What a nice place to amble about! We are blessed with lots of parks here in MN too, but I haven't been out to enjoy them since last fall. Your photos inspire me to get out and about!

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CONCHA77 4/10/2011 10:25AM

    Wow, very nice! You are lucky and blessed to live near such a lovely place. Makes me wish that I was there walking with you.

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BESTSUSIEYET 4/10/2011 10:16AM

    Looks beautiful. Nice to walk in natural settings, minus all the homes. Though I do enjoy seeing the landscaping some folks do!

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Maximum step day, so far

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Friday I followed through on my planned walking as transportation day. A grandma kind of day. I tsk'd myself for a wimp when I whined a bit to myself about the misty morning, and then set out at a brisk pace to walk 3 miles to a timing point to catch the bus the rest of the way to work. I was quite damp by the time I got to the shelter at that stop, but it felt good. I stretched before boarding, having a few minutes before the bus caught up.

After work, I meandered the six plus miles home, faster than Monday, as I chose to listen to music instead of reading. As I am fond of doing, I varied the route and in one spot ended up with a little back tracking as I forgot how the streets dead-ended just there. But it gave me a change to pay attention to how much the flowers have progressed in those few short days since Monday's walk! My goodness! Spring really is springing, it's not just the nose dripping... it's the flowers and trees and everything that causes the pollen that leads to the nose dripping. Is it any wonder I have this love-hate relationship with the season? It is beautiful, and I dearly love the lit-from-within look of forsythia on a cloudy day.

This morning, I am thinking about taking a camera walk in one of the public parks. Since I put in long mileage yesterday, it will be a more gentle walk today, but I want to see what the plants are doing. Armed with my trusty Zyrtek and my pockets full of tissues... today I shall see what is being offered up!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 4/10/2011 7:00AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 4/9/2011 11:02PM

    "I dearly love the lit-from-within look of forsythia on a cloudy day": me too. And this lovely description!!

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SUNNY332 4/9/2011 1:51PM

    Good Job, Barb.

Anxious to see the Park walk photos.


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LJCANNON 4/9/2011 1:18PM

    Sounds like a GREAT Walk!! I am looking forward to the pictures from your Park Walk.
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FITFABJENN 4/9/2011 10:06AM

    Sounds terrific! Please do share pics from your camera walk...

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GOOSIEMOON 4/9/2011 9:44AM

    That sounds great!

Have a happy, healthy day!

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REJ7777 4/9/2011 9:21AM

    Sounds great! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CONCHA77 4/9/2011 9:19AM

    Take some pictures to share with us. I do believe Spring is springing here in MI this weekend. FINALLY!!! Close to 80 tomorrow, but rain!!!! Time for me to start planning my walks too, can't wait! Happy Saturday! emoticon

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SAMI199 4/9/2011 9:13AM

    Have fun! I love taking nature pictures-so much beauty right before our eyes...I hope your nose behaves.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HOT4FITNESS 4/9/2011 9:13AM

    Sounds like a wonderful time. Only 3 more weeks ans we will be finishing that half. Enjoy your day!

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CLIMBERS_ROCK 4/9/2011 9:11AM

    I envy you. I miss walking soooo much. You walk sounds magnificient. Enjoy your camera walk.

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