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Desserts – My biggest challenge when cruising

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Although you’re never hungry, river cruising is more about the sights and touring than the 24/7 food of ocean cruises.

Lunch and dinner is ordered from the menu with an occasional lunch buffet exception to accommodate tour schedules. So you actually have to make an effort to overeat. The wait staff will bring you additional servings if you request it.

This is what dessert usually looked like.


Occasionally I did order two.

They were small, very delicious and usually an example of the culture of the port we were visiting and I really wanted to try them.

Then there was “Afternoon Tea!” Fortunately, the trays of local cookies were heavy on the gingerbread, not a favorite of mine so I was OK trying just a few. Sometimes we were in port and DH and I spent “tea time” there. That was a different challenge since the Christmas Markets include LOTS of food. More on that tomorrow.

But one day we were sailing during the afternoon and I was confronted with this.

OK, I give up. I ate THREE of these.

Still, as I wrote yesterday, I came home only 2 pounds heavier and that is gradually going down. So I’m happy to report that it is very possible to cruise, not feel deprived and maintain.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COCK-ROBIN 12/22/2012 10:06PM

    Glad to see you back, and you survived all those things., emoticon emoticon emoticon

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COCK-ROBIN 12/22/2012 10:06PM

    Glad to see you back, and you survived all those things., emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CELIAMINER 12/22/2012 8:10PM

    Brooklyn, so glad you are back! The desserts look heavenly, especially the size! I love just a taste, but if someone puts a big hunk of cake in front of me...I'll eat it, unfortunately. Hope you had a blast on the cruise!

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DEBBY4576 12/22/2012 7:34PM

    There is no one on earth, okay well on Sparks, that would have resisted those yummy things. You did well on your portion control obvioulsy, since you came home with only 2 extra pounds.

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WATERMELLEN 12/22/2012 1:42PM

    I'd call 2 pounds up stupendous success in the face of THOSE temptations!!

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BOILHAM 12/22/2012 11:58AM

    Moderation is one of my favorite words.Deprivation is not such a good word. Good for you.

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KANDOLAKER 12/22/2012 10:19AM

    Welcome home! And, two pounds is not bad for having temptations like that. Way to make it happen.

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SUZYMOBILE 12/22/2012 9:48AM

    Lesson learned! I don't think I had a single dessert on our cruise. Maybe I would have had a lot better time if I had!

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DAWN14163 12/22/2012 9:35AM

    The desserts look lovely and you have to try the local food when travelling....I think you did a great job!

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KANOE10 12/22/2012 9:23AM

    Those deserts look amazing. Two pounds up from a cruise was great. YOu will lose them quickly! I think you did a great job of enjoying yourself and staying healthy.

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ONMYMEDS 12/22/2012 9:19AM

    With all that dessert available, the only thing that would save me is jumping overboard and swimming down the river behind the ship.


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WILSONWR 12/22/2012 8:52AM

    Great job! I'm glad you had an enjoyable cruise without all of excess calories! Two pounds is "nothing."

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FITFOODIE806 12/22/2012 8:32AM

    Sounds like fun! Nice work. Enjoying the local treats without overdoing it!

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Never hungry on the River Concerto

Friday, December 21, 2012

Back in the USA! A wonderful trip exploring the Christmas Markets along the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam, marred only by the horrible news from Connecticut.

After sleeping for 12 hours, I had my regular breakfast of peanut butter on ww toast with OJ and coffee.

This is what the breakfast buffet looked like on the River Concerto.

I began each day with lots of fresh fruit, yogurt, oat cereal, scrambled eggs and cheese and a few strips of bacon. I avoided the pastries, pancakes, waffles, syrups, deli meats and assorted sausages. With all the fresh citrus available, there was no need for my morning orange juice either.

Lunch and Dinner were from the menu:
Appetizer, soup, entrée, dessert with a salad and pasta buffet available as alternatives or additions. I always included salad (so many types of fresh vegetables and fruit!!), but I skipped the pasta. More on this tomorrow.

This was an amazing AND healthy trip. I gained only 2 pounds and I bet some of that is due to the salty airplane food on the way home. Now it’s time to get back to real life. No one to ask if “Madame would like more coffee” Sigh!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MJZHERE 12/22/2012 2:29PM

    Good job! I am glad you had a good time and are safely home.

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DAWN14163 12/22/2012 9:39AM

    Welcome home! I'm pleased you enjoyed seeing a bit of Europe. I'm loving the weather here in Orlando but struggling to find healthy options on the menu......sort of expected that though!!!

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KANOE10 12/22/2012 9:24AM

    What a wonderful trip and so fun to be waited on. I think only gaining two pounds was great!

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GREENGENES 12/21/2012 8:29PM

    What an awesome trip.

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JESSICABOOTY 12/21/2012 3:55PM

    Sounds like a fantastic trip. The food was a challenge but I think you did great. And you are so right about airplane food. 100% salt. Glad you made it back safe and sound.

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WILSONWR 12/21/2012 3:38PM

    Good for you - eating healthy while on vacation! I hope you had a great time.

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DEBBY4576 12/21/2012 3:25PM

    I'm thrilled you had such a trip of a lifetime!!! I am REALLY glad you hardly gained anything. You HAD to have been really really good. Congrats on that and glad you are back.

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LOLATURTLE 12/21/2012 1:56PM

    Welcome back!!

Sounds amazing!! Well done on keeping the weight in check; I hope we hear more about the amazing sights you got to see!

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COCK-ROBIN 12/21/2012 1:02PM

    I am jealous as well. But it looks like you survived the buffets, which are minefields for people like me.

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BOILHAM 12/21/2012 12:35PM

    So jealous! But, glad you had a good time and ate healthily.

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SUZYMOBILE 12/21/2012 11:56AM

    Can't believe your cruise is over already! I guess that was one thing I liked best about traveling abroad and cruising--being called "Madame"! Haha!

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LEB0401 12/21/2012 11:36AM


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Off to Europe

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Today we leave for our cruise - Christmas Markets on the Rhine.

I’m at the bottom of my goal weight range.
I won’t overstuff myself and I won’t drink any alcoholic mixed drinks.

However, I will
Enjoy the local culture – sights, food, wine and beer
Run a few miles in each country (Switzerland, France, Germany, The Netherlands)
It may be a VERY few since it’s really really cold over there right now.
Visit the boat’s fitness room daily for some treadmill walking.
(small room, too hot to run)
Too cold, too hot – I sound hard to please, don’t I?

I’m taking my tablet so if there’s connectivity, I’ll even try to post.
SP keeps me accountable.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOLATURTLE 12/10/2012 10:16AM

    OH, I missed this so you may not see until you get back, but have a WONDERFUL trip!!! It sounds lovely. I hope you do get to run a few miles in different countries, how exciting!!

Have a lovely time and a safe trip back. emoticon

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KANDOLAKER 12/10/2012 8:38AM

    Bon Voyage - and have a fabulous river cruise!! Safe journeys!!

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WILSONWR 12/9/2012 8:17AM

    Have great vacation! It sounds fantastic!

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DAISYBELL6 12/8/2012 9:58PM

    Fantastic! I hope you have a great time.

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DEBBY4576 12/8/2012 8:48PM

    Okay, I'll admit it, I'm jealous. Be sure to take a picture in each place, and post when you return. What a trip of a lifetime.

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BOILHAM 12/8/2012 6:02PM

    Have a great time. I love my Nook Tablet and iPhone for when I am on the go.

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STRIVER57 12/8/2012 4:26PM

    enjoy! it's not quite that cold. not for a New Yorker.

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SMILES4383 12/8/2012 2:43PM

    Have FUN emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/8/2012 12:26PM

    Enjoy! See you on the flip side!

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ONMYMEDS 12/8/2012 12:16PM

    Have a safe and enjoyable trip. What a neat thing, to run in all of those countries.

Good travels.

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KANOE10 12/8/2012 8:44AM

    Have a wonderful trip. I am excited for you. I take my IPAD when I travel to keep accountable also. Good for yu being at the bottom of your weight range.

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FITFOODIE806 12/8/2012 8:22AM

    Enjoy! Europe at Christmas time is beautiful. Europe at any time is beautiful! I love the buildings and streets and colors. Have a fabulous trip.

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SWEDE_SU 12/8/2012 7:50AM

    have a wonderful trip! enjoy!

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TINAJANE76 12/8/2012 7:46AM

    Hope you have a fantastic time. Schöne Reise!

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SUZYMOBILE 12/8/2012 7:00AM

    Have a great time! Bon voyage!

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COCK-ROBIN 12/8/2012 6:58AM

    Have a great cruise!

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NWLIFESRC 12/8/2012 6:44AM


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Change has to come from within

Friday, December 07, 2012

I began writing this awhile ago as yet another whine about living with someone who doesn’t share our healthy lifestyle goals. I’m referring of course to my 45 year marriage to the junk food king. Then he had a physical, his first in 3 years. His numbers are not horrible, but not the direction you want to be heading at age 68.

My original point was that all we can do is model healthy behavior and hang out here for support when those around us don't provide it.

However, sometimes an outside push or wake-up call is helpful. Without saying anything to me, I notice DH making some subtle changes. I spied him getting on the scale. Hmm.

A few weeks ago I wrote that he actually gave away a package of cupcakes. Just this week I found him reading my book “Eat This not That.” He even commented on the calorie/nutrition content of a “Bloomin Onion.”

Perhaps, this is the start of a long term trend? Or maybe it’s just some early damage control for our upcoming cruise. Either way, it’s a welcome change of direction.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOLATURTLE 12/10/2012 10:13AM

    I know that so well from first hand experience! For so many years *I* was the person who wasn't ready to change, or at least not ready to hear what was necessary to change!

My husband doesn't have the healthiest habits either. He's not overweight currently, but he doesn't eat well. Some days he'll eat large portions of high calorie foods (entire pizza!) and then other days he barely eats anything. He says this is how his hunger works though (the days he doesn't eat much he just isn't really hungry) so I don't nag him about it.

I am thankful for one thing: He'll eat whatever I put in front of him, so if I cook a healthy meal with big portions of vegetables, that's what he eats!!

I hope your junk food king keeps spying on you and stealing your books!! emoticon

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MANDELOVICH 12/8/2012 7:14AM

    I too am married to a junk food king. And sadly, things are not going well for him. I'm soooo... happy to read that your husband is starting to make changes toward a healthier lifestyle!

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SKEEWEE2MEK 12/8/2012 12:00AM


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JESSICABOOTY 12/7/2012 7:35PM

    Either way, it's moving in the right direction. And if he's reading and commenting then the wheels must be spinning. And, of course, your example is the best thing that can happen to him. Give yourself a pat on the back.

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TINAJANE76 12/7/2012 4:43PM

    Good for your DH and good for you for leading by example. He can only benefit from the wisdom you've accumulated from your experiences living a healthy lifestyle. Great stuff.

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MJZHERE 12/7/2012 3:00PM

    Encouragement goes a long way (learned that as a third grade teacher). Was taught to teach discipline by picking out and encouraging those who were doing right rather than harping on the wrongs ("look at Mary waiting so quietly" rather than "shut up, Tom"). It never ceased to amaze me how the kids misbehaving would fall over themselves trying to copy "Mary" the one being praised. When I did point out negative behavior it usually led to a power struggle (seldom changed behavior). In our adult lives, as an example (and usually a "quiet" example), we can do a lot more to change behavior than we know.

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CELIAMINER 12/7/2012 10:09AM

    Good for your DH! We make our changes on our own timelines, and it sounds as if the time is right for him.

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BOILHAM 12/7/2012 8:47AM

    When Junk Food King meets Health Nut Queen if can be intimidating. Seems like he's taking some baby steps in your direction. Encourage him. But. Be subtle. We don't like being told what to do.

Have you asked him if he'd like to go for a short walk with you? That could be a nice warm up for your training run, so you'd both benefit. My DWs slow paced runs were a great way for us to be together before I continued on for my longer runs.

Take my suggestions with a grain of salt, my DW says women don't like to be given solutions, or even advice. They just want us to listen.


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SUZYMOBILE 12/7/2012 8:40AM

    Bill and I have been together for 13 years, and I haven't always been the health food queen during that time. But I did seriously change my eating and fitness behaviors when I joined SparkPeople, and it has had a gradual impact on him. When he read "Wheat Belly," the change was dramatic. Now if I could only get him to quit smoking and using that heavy cream in recipes! As you say, change has to come from within.

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DEBBY4576 12/7/2012 8:28AM

    Reminds me of the day my husband gave up Diet Coke. He read about it on line. What? I'd been off it 3 years, and told him everything he'd read. Another reminder that each of us is responsible for ourselves only. AND...Living a healthy lifestyle ourselves may be why they finally change theirs, even if it's just a little at a time.

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KANOE10 12/7/2012 7:52AM

    I hope your husband moves in a healthy direction. It is hard to watch someone making poor choices, but like you say, it must come from within. Those tiny signs you see are good ones.

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WILSONWR 12/7/2012 7:08AM

    Glad to hear it. It just takes the right "wake up" call to get started.

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MCSWIGAN 12/7/2012 6:42AM

    Sounds like he may be headed in the right direction! Good luck!

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“Anti-Mugger” speed and distance

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Yesterday I wrote about my innate sense of “good enough.” I should also add that I try to train so that I CAN hit another level when I need or want to. I refer to this pace as “escape the mugger” speed. There’s another gear in reserve. I know it’s there because occasionally I’ll take off with the field in a race and not realize until the 1 mile mark that it was a personal record mile. That’s not smart in a race, but in case of danger, that’s when to give it all you’ve got.

Growing up in Brooklyn I was taught early on to minimize my chances of being a victim.
I learned to:
Walk confidently and with purpose
Not walk close to buildings or parked cars
Avoid known dangerous areas
Be aware of my surroundings

Even now I never listen to music when walking/running outdoors.

My Mom told me to sing when walking home from the bus stop at night.
“Muggers never bother anyone acting STRANGE!” LOL

I don’t know if any of this was responsible, but fortunately, I never had to deal with a mugger. However, my daughter did. When in college and out running on a Sunday morning, a guy got out of a parked car and grabbed her. She fought him off and ran to the 7/11 for help, returned with the police and they caught the guy.

So along with my “good enough” reasonable pace, I also do interval training and strength training too. I know there’s no way to be 100% victim-proof, but I want to give myself every chance I can. I’m not naïve. I know I’m not faster and stronger than your average criminal, but maybe the extra effort needed can discourage him.

It’s the same mindset that makes me lock the deadbolt on my door. I can’t stop a determined burglar, but if I make his job more difficult, maybe he’ll decide it’s not worth the time and trouble.

In any case, I want to do what I can for my health and also for my own safety.

Be careful out there!

(Thank you to LOLATURTLE whose comment on yesterday’s blog entry prompted my topic this morning.)

Edit: There’s one more time I’ll go for that higher gear. If in the last tenth of a mile before the finish line, I see a woman who looks like she’s in my age group, then you’ll really see me kick it in. I really do like to win stuff.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOLFKITTY 12/6/2012 10:18PM

    Absolutely! This week I ran in my neighborhood at night for the first time, no music, just me and (the darker and quieter than I anticipated) night.

I tried to do all you suggested. One other thing is to not get too distracted by your cell phone or other tracking device as you run. I didn't have music, but I was trying to get my GPs to work on my return part of the lap and I nearly ran into someone. I realized what a dumb move that was, so I was on an even higher alert when I was almost home and a car stopped on the dark road ahead-- I went down a street that was more like a normal neighborhood and let them think I was walking home. By the time I circled back around they were gone.

But then right as I was crossing the last street home, a pickup stopped in teh middle of the road in front of me! The guy rolled down his window and asked how to get to the hospital (on the same road, but with a dead end in between). Even though his request was seemingly valid, I kept my eyes on him the whole time and kept almost 200 yards between us, stayed on alert. He drove away and I jogged around the corner back to my house quickly.

One of my fears about getting smaller is that I might be more of a target for people wanting to hurt me. But then again I have to remember that I'll be more nimble and stronger. Plus all of the other benefits. ;)

Take care!

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JESSICABOOTY 12/6/2012 7:16PM

    Thanks for all the great ideas. I plan to put some of them in action. The "Brooklyn Effect" is good for all places. You just never know. You'd like to think the best of people but at the same time realize that the feeling may not be mutual - and think fast! When I lived alone I was always, and still am, very careful of my surroundings. Better to be cautious.

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KANDOLAKER 12/6/2012 2:08PM

    Great advice - you are a smart lady!! Be prepared - always a great idea!!

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CELIAMINER 12/6/2012 11:32AM

    Such a good reminder! I don't wear ear buds when I am walking or jogging because I want to be able to hear traffic approaching from behind, and I want to maintain my situational awareness without distraction. However, recently I've been considering listening to music...perhaps I need to rethink that.

I've had a couple of scares along the way, one with two guys who kept driving around the block or turning around to "follow" me as I walked. I gradually ramped up my speed to a jog and kept switching sides of the street to the opposite of where they were until I finally got to an area with more traffic, and they went away. The other was in the St. Louis airport parking garage, where I saw a man approaching my car in a strange manner. He faced straight toward the terminal, but he was angling toward me. I jumped out of the car and RAN into the terminal. It could have been nothing, but I was taking no chances.

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CAKEMAKERMOM 12/6/2012 11:08AM

    I'm glad your daughter was able to fight back and got away safe, plus she managed to help the police catch the guy so someone else doesn't have to deal with him.

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COCK-ROBIN 12/6/2012 10:57AM

    Good advice! And it's a way to have fun while running.

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STRIVER57 12/6/2012 9:46AM

    i try to pay attention and i try to be careful where and when i run ... but i don't think i could or would run without music.

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WILSONWR 12/6/2012 8:50AM

    Another great blog - and I liked your added edit!

I once came upon a scene in the Washington DC mall area where a man was pulling a $5 bill from a sleeping man's pocket. I told the man to put the money back. He said he didn't take anything (I saw him put the bill in his pocket). I told him once more to give it back, but he denied it again. I put my hand in his pocket to retreive the bill, and he suddenly said, "I've got a gun." Talk about adrenaline kicking in! I wrapped my arms around the guy tightly and tried to search him as best as I could under the circumstances. He had no gun, though, and I gave the $5 bill back to the gentleman that was sleeping. The other man took off running. After that incident, I was trembling for an hour, thanking how foolish I had been and how lucky I was. I guess I was a little naive, but I just couldn't see letting him get away with that. Today I try to think out things a little better before I act, and I try to be much more aware of my surroundings. It's a shame we live in a world where there are those that want to hurt others, but we have to be prepared.

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SPEEDYDOG 12/6/2012 7:22AM

    Wow! What a blog! When your are being chased you probably have a couple more gears you haven't used yet. Very scary about your daughter being attacked. I am so glad that had a happy ending.

I personally love speed training. It is that distance stuff that I have to work on!

I am a pretty big guy and was an offensive lineman in college. Yet, I know I am not victim proof. My son, James, was on offensive lineman for Colorado State and is quite a bit larger than me. Someone tried to mug him using a knife! My son stupidly disarmed his attacker. My wife was chased by a guy that came out of a parked car just like your daughter. My wife escaped. My wife is a speedy little thing and my son has reactions like a cat and bone crushing strength.

Thanks for such a thoughtful blog.


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SUZYMOBILE 12/6/2012 7:14AM

    There's an excellent reason to "push"! I've got a black belt in taekwondo, but I have no illusions about being able to fight off someone bigger, faster, or more well armed than I. I try to remain aware, carry my cell phone tuned to my Attack Alarm app, and am prepared to scream my head off in a most unladylike way if necessary. Dogs and bears are a whole 'nother story. Luckily there are no bears here.

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