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Really people? Do I have to run through a cloud of smoke?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

There is a “loop” in my town, a 2.75 mile route with paved sidewalks and no streets to cross. There’s also a short “notch” along the way which adds just enough distance to make it a 5K for those so inclined. It’s a favorite of runners, walkers and strollers of all ages and levels of fitness.

There’s a school along the route and a hospital across the street about 1.5 miles further on. Smoking is banned on both properties. Occasionally, I would come across a person standing just off the property and smoking. Recently I ran at the wrong time of day, specifically noon or 3 PM. Then groups of smokers were congregated in both locations and I literally ran through a haze.

I’m glad times have changed enough that school children and hospital patients don’t have to breathe polluted air. I remember being in the maternity ward with the lady in the next bed puffing away along with all her visitors. However, I’m also glad I don’t live in one of those adjacent houses. The cigarette butts on the ground provide evidence of the daily activity.

I well understand the addiction of nicotine. My Dad smoked for over 40 years before his heart attack. He told the ER staff, “I quit this morning!” And he did!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THE_FOG 10/18/2012 11:06AM

    First world problem.

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PMRUNNER 10/18/2012 9:14AM

    That's one of my peeves too. That and parents smoking with their kids, like pushing them in a stroller or driving.

I have lived in states with inside smoking bans for about 12 years now, but when I travel it is a bit of a shock to go into a restaurant and get asked "smoking or non?" and then get a dose of second hand smoke whether I wanted to or not.

I still remember flying commercial with a smoking section!

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SPEEDYDOG 10/18/2012 8:13AM

    I live in Colorado that is, by some measures, the healthiest state. There is a proposal to ban outside smoking on the Boulder mall. The proposed penalty is $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail!

The problem is that young people aggregate in large groups and smoke. There are clouds of blue smoke haze and people are starting to avoid the mall. The owners of shops and restaurants are losing money!

My dear old dad died of lung cancer after 50 years of smoking. If these young people want to commit slow suicide, no law is going to stop them. But they can be stopped from inflicting deadly smoke on others.

Thanks, Bruce

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MISSILENE 10/18/2012 6:58AM

    My Dad also had his last one @ 50 years old. At that time 50 years ago, It was cool to smoke. I run away from smokers, sneezers and coughers.

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MOOSLADY 10/17/2012 3:09PM

    Since 80% of the night shift workers smoke(has someone done a study on the reasons for this?), my husband often ends up going to meetings in the smoking area of the plant(picnic tables by the hourly entrance). When he takes a vacation, it take fully 4 days to get the smell out of his sinuses. Corporate has demanded for them to go smoke free but hasn't happened in the 2 years since. I suspect it is because such a high percentage of the employees smoke, they doubt it would be enforceable. Since once they arrive for a shift they never clock out, there would be no congregating on a corner off property since they cannot leave the property while clocked in. What would probably happen is people hiding out to smoke in the box cars of paper, room where the rolls of paper are stored or the room where the paper scraps are baled, a fire safety nightmare from any angle.

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LADYPIXEL 10/17/2012 12:29PM

    I quit smoking in February after 25 years of smoking. Perhaps it's because I've seen the hell that smokers go through nowadays trying to find a place to smoke that I'm less inclined to be upset about such things. Nobody provides a smoking area. Smokers are ostracised, told to go away with those things no matter where they're at. If there was a designated place to go TO, it would be easier... but many places have gone to completely nonsmoking properties, and that makes it so that you're going to find smoking-clumps on streetcorners rather than one or two smokers here or there.

I can't be upset about people smoking on the street, no matter how much I dislike the aroma (because it spawns cravings). And it's not the nicotine that I miss, because I still HAVE nicotine via electronic cigarettes and through natural sources like tomatoes, etc (you did know tomatoes are a high-nicotine food, right?). It's the 4000+ other chemicals in the cigarettes that are the addictive part, and the part that smells so damnably bad.

I'm so glad to be off those things. But at the same time, it is an addiction, much like an addiction to unhealthy food, and so I just hold my breath for the few seconds that it takes to move past an ambulatory cloud. :)

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MAHGRET 10/17/2012 12:03PM

    I can't stand smoke.

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RTCT2013 10/17/2012 11:44AM

    Sorry to hear that you had to run through a haze of smoke. My mom smoked heavily (2 packs a day) when I was young, she'd smoke in the house, in the car (with me) & that's just the way it (unfortunately) was. That was "back in the day" before people really knew all the dangers of smoking. I somehow learned to live with the smoke, but I hated it. Now, I am so sensitive to smoke, that just being around it for a few seconds makes me cough. The smokers throwing their sig. butts on the ground are also creating a danger for something catching on fire. A friend of mine who lives in my neighborhood had her house catch on fire yesterday. She was smoking outside in her backyard (she won't allow smoking in her house), and she put out her sig. butt on the ground...guess it wasn't completely out, because she went inside, and minutes later, her garage was on fire. Luckily the house wasn't heavily damaged (except for all the water from the fire dept. dousing the fire) and no one was hurt. Sorry to go off on a tangent here! Keep up your great work with exercise and maintenance!!!

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MJZHERE 10/17/2012 10:12AM

  My dad died from emphysema after being a chain smoker his whole life. What a terrible death it was - don't know what they do now, but then no pain meds as it slows down the breathing (no matter what - he had to have gallstones removed and they didn't even knock him out). I never touched a cigarette because I so hated growing up with the smoke.

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CELIAMINER 10/17/2012 9:28AM

    Ugh, truly hate running (or walking) the gauntlet of smokers! My parents also had that terrible addiction. Mom quit after her big stroke, but Daddy would have smoked while on his deathbed hooked up to oxygen if he could have gotten away with it.

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WILLOWBROOK5 10/17/2012 9:26AM

    The previous Medical Director at the mental health agency where I work used to say nicotine is more addictive than cocaine. I believe him. My dad also quit smoking cold turkey after he was told he had the beginning of emphysema. I've seen that sort of diagnosis or medical experience cause people to finally stop smoking or else you pretty much knew they never were going to.

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WILSONWR 10/17/2012 9:15AM

    That is bad. Smoke didn't bother me when I was younger, but I can't stand to be around it now.

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RUN_BAKE_BLOG 10/17/2012 8:31AM

    Funny that you mention that, at my last 5k (during the race) I smelled cigarette smoke... was in a park, it was a trail run and there were not any spectators along the route.
Lo and behold, there was a 'walker' smoking emoticon
The walkers were still on the 'out' and I was on the 'return', some moron was smoking.
If I wasn't concerned about my time, I may have gone back and poked him in his eye!
So far, almost every race I have been in, I have sucked in my cigarette smoke from someone watching the race.
I am glad we live in a different day and age, as well.
(Remember being on an airplane when smoking was allowed?)

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KANOE10 10/17/2012 8:20AM

    That is too bad that you had to run through a haze of smoke. I hope you can later your times to avoid the groups of smokers. I would not want to walk through them either.

Great job on exercising and maintenance. Have a great day. emoticon

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The soundtrack of my life echoes through my workout

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Many SP articles, blogs and threads involve workout music. At age 65 I have to admit that I’m not familiar with much of it. The last I remember being surrounded with popular music, my 3 kids were in high school (1983-1993). Soon afterwards technology allowed everyone to carry around their own personal soundtrack and tune out the world around them.

Other than stores that pipe in seasonal music, the only time I’m surrounded with sound is at the gym. I’ve discovered that I choose my aerobics class as much by the music favored by the instructor as for the moves she incorporates. When the music triggers an emotional response, I’m energized to put more effort into the activity. When the song reminds me of a time or place, I’m transported back there and a younger version of myself takes over. While “lost in the sixties” the hour session just flies by. Of course, it helps not to look too closely in the mirror or the reality of how time has actually flown by disrupts the atmosphere. (I remember Jamie Lee Curtis in “Freaky Friday” –“EEK, I’m the Crypt Keeper!”)

Note: This doesn’t apply when running outdoors. There, as I’ve written in a previous blog, being alert and aware of my surroundings is more important than any boost from music. Be careful out there!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONMYMEDS 10/16/2012 12:55PM

    When it comes to music, I confess I'm stuck in a 60's musical time warp although I do like bluegrass from any era. The music (noise) at my fitness club is atrocious and an assault to the senses, but I just leave my hearing aids at home and that helps a lot.

When I'm running outdoors, I never listen to music. Like yourself, I like being alert and aware of my surroundings, and I like to monitor my effort from the sound of my breathing and the way my feet are striking the pavement.

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BOILHAM 10/16/2012 12:52PM

    Hey, you know I'm a geezer, so I totally get this blog. Though I'm not a gym rat these days, I used to be one.

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MJZHERE 10/16/2012 10:13AM

  I really enjoy the music while rollerskating. Also the only time I listen to it - unless my dd is here as she immediately turns it on. DGC keep theirs plugged into their ears.

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SUZYMOBILE 10/16/2012 8:35AM

    Disco had its benefits--in exercise class in the 70s and 80s!

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I know where all the men are – at least the old ones

Monday, October 15, 2012

No, this isn’t like one of those spam emails “meet sexy singles in your area.” But as I get older I’m coming face to face with the statistics of life expectancy. Sadly, I’m attending more funerals lately and have even begun to read the obituaries. People are showing up there who were born in MY decade and men outnumber women.

I see the gender gap all around me. On the river cruises and bus trips favored by senior citizens, there are many couples, but the solo travelers are overwhelmingly women. In the nursing homes I visit, it’s unusual to see a man in the dining room or at any of the activities.

However, there are 2 areas where the balance is more even or actually tipped in the other direction. I live in an area popular with retirees and certain times of day are dominated by us old folks.

Looking around the gym one morning, I counted equal numbers of both genders. Women were the majority in the classes, but the men were there on treadmills, lifecycles, ellipticals and pumping iron. In the pool women gravitate toward water aerobics, but the men are well represented in the lap lanes.

Then there’s our local road races. The highest age groups are not equally defined. Women are grouped into age 65 and up, sometimes even 60 and up. Men, on the other hand, continue their 5 year grouping until 75 or 80 because there are just more of them. At one winter race (in bad weather I must add) there was a prize (a turkey) for the oldest participants in the race. I won as the oldest woman and I was only 61. The oldest man was 79!

My conclusion? Women may still outlive men, but those men that do beat the odds are out there working out and staying fit.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSUSRIVERRAT 10/18/2012 8:03AM

    Very interesting observation! Thanks for sharing this observation. I've seen evidence of the bad stats among friends, family and at the nursing home. Good to hear some good news to offset that.

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MISSILENE 10/18/2012 6:59AM

    Same thing here in South Florida.

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SOUTH_FORK 10/15/2012 10:39AM

    In the 5k I ran last month there were two 80+ men, but no women in that age range, sadly... i hope that I'll be plugging away when I hit the 8-decade milestone. I know I have genetics on my side, but I'll have to do the work to keep it up!

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WILSONWR 10/15/2012 10:34AM

    That's pretty interesting insight and I agree with your observations - I just never really thought about it before!!

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LESLIE871948 10/15/2012 10:18AM

    Ok, when I first saw the title I was all Yeah, Tell Me, Where are they, and then it looked like the answer was going to be 6 feet under in the cemetery and I was like all RATS that is not what I wanted to hear, but then at the End, oKay, I guess I need to sign up for more public active stuff.

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BOILHAM 10/15/2012 8:43AM

    I know! It is so hard to get win an AG these days. So many damn geezer-guys out there!

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ONMYMEDS 10/15/2012 8:28AM

    So I guess my competition is going to be around for a long time. I'm going to need more speed work. Damn.


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DABLUECAT 10/15/2012 8:23AM

    How interesting!

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Who are these people who get 100% in Trivia?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Not just for 1 day, but for a whole month! After 3 years of lurking on SP, reading and learning, and 150 weeks of maintenance, I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about food, fitness and health. After 1 month being active here, it turns out that I’m about 66% knowledgeable. I’ve got a D average. Looking at the results board, I’m on the last page, page 6.

Regardless of my score, I like this activity.
I started out this morning with 2 questions right. Maybe this is the day I’ll get 100%?

Next question:
The same 2 bacteria cultures are used to make all yogurts (T/F)
I eat a LOT of yogurt, about 12 oz every day and I got it wrong.

Next question
How often to get blood pressure checked if HEALTHY?
I know that high BP is called the “hidden killer” and I know a lot of people consider themselves healthy when they’re not and I know people who avoid doctors for a lot of reasons, so the answer “Everytime you see your doctor” was a surprise to me.

Finally #3 correct since I know how long it takes to begin to lose muscle strength if you stop ST. I’m an on again/off again ST person.

3 of 5 = 60% Darn it!

This morning the Trick or Treat Quiz on the Start Page caught my attention. Let’s see what I know about candy. The result: 6 of 9 correct.

It seems like I’m still stuck with a D average. Like an underachieving student, I could drop out at this point and just not participate anymore, but as the trivia page says, “even when you’re wrong, you’re learning.” So that’s what I’ll continue to do. I didn’t quit during my slow, slow weight loss journey and it’s fun to start my day this way.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOILHAM 10/15/2012 8:48AM

    I wondered this also. Finally found out it's easy to cheat. As others have said- just do a google search.

In a separate browser tab, do your search by copying and pasting the question. Then go back to the quiz and check off the correct answer.


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ROSEWAND 10/14/2012 2:23PM

    Do not worry about it. Lots of the answers are
based on one prospective and I do not even
always agree with that prospective.

I use for extra points when I need them
for the bonus wheel. And IMO, that
is the only reason I use it.

Comment edited on: 10/14/2012 2:25:35 PM

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HANSBRINK 10/14/2012 12:35PM

  Yes, there is a way to game the system. Do a sparkpeople web search with terms from the question and you can find the correct answer.

My suggestion is to use the trivia as a way to reinforce what you've read in the Sparkpeople articles. Don't grade yourself.

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SUZYMOBILE 10/14/2012 12:07PM

    I gave up on trivia when I discovered that I'm so lousy at it that I miss the same questions multiple times. And they do show up multiple times. I stuck with it for a while, though, because I don't LIKE never getting 100! Grrr. I tried gaming the system. I tried to cheat. I figured those who got 100 must be doing that somehow. Then I just ... quit.

Don't feel bad about the candy quiz. I only got 3 correct, maybe because I don't care about Halloween candy. Not a weakness of mine, thank God.

The important thing is that you know maintenance! I wonder how many of those who get 100 are even in maintenance?

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WILSONWR 10/14/2012 11:57AM

    I agree - I feel I'm lucky to get 72% in a month. A lot of "trick" and "obscure" questions.

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KANOE10 10/14/2012 10:21AM

    I am going to have to look for that. It sounds fun..I am suspecting a low score also. How long does it take to lose muscle if you don't strength train?


Great job on 150 weeks of maintenance!

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CELIAMINER 10/14/2012 10:02AM

    Swede_Su has it. I use Trivia as a learning experience, so if I don't know the answer, I look it up. No one said Trivia had to be a closed-book test. If I haven't read the article I look up, then I read it and get my 3 points for the article, too. And still, I miss one sometimes.

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SWEDE_SU 10/14/2012 9:48AM

    there's only one way - to google the answers. it's not a test of what you know, but what you learn! and i still blow it...

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MJZHERE 10/14/2012 9:12AM

  Lol. I thought trivia was the standard trivia that I always know almost nothing so I never even clicked on the link. Now nutrition that is a different story I thought - till I came to sp and learned about bmr (which I knew nothing) and found out I was undereating (ok, I confess this hasn't been the first time but now older knowing I am not immortal i had "fresh" eyes to learn about it). I didn't read the whole blog - will come back after I try out trivia - didn't want to see the answers ahead :)

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ROX525 10/14/2012 7:47AM

    LOL. I am excited to do the Trivia and when I get one wrong, it is "Darn it" and then when you get one wrong, it is 3 out of 5! Darn it.

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HELLENACKERMAN 10/14/2012 7:40AM

    I wonder the same thing!! I just did my trivia and got the first 2 right also!! Then 6 wrongs later I finally got my third!

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The absolute best exercise ever.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

We’re constantly bombarded with advertisements for the magic pill or gadget or activity that will allow us to “melt away the pounds.” I remember this even way back in the 50s when Lucy Ricardo tried to shake away and steam away the extra weight.

Today we have so much more information available at our fingertips. Now we understand calories in/calories out and use our trackers to monitor our behavior and adjust our diet to fit our own needs and lifestyle to find the best balance for our bodies.

Often we do the same with exercise.

Just yesterday at the gym a man told me that he uses the elliptical not the treadmill so he can burn 1200 calories in an hour. Wow! The most I ever burned on a tm was 500/hr. Even given the difference in our weights, maybe I should switch? Wait a minute. I’ve tried the elliptical. I didn’t like it. Somehow the motion felt unnatural to me.

When step aerobics was first introduced, I joined that group. It was a great workout, but somehow I was always standing on the leg the instructor wanted me to step with. The same happened with Zumba. How could you not be attracted to the rhythm of that music? What a fun, energetic hour! Sadly looking in the mirror, I saw a pseudo-Latina dance team and one uncoordinated klutz. Not only was I standing on the leg I needed to move, but I was even facing the wrong direction. In both cases I thought I’d get the hang of it in time, but then they would move on to a different routine.

It’s been a 40 year quest. I was an original member of Spa Lady when they opened in our area. They introduced me to aerobics and those machines. I loved to walk and bike ride with my young family. At age 28 I learned to swim well enough to do 1000 yards at a time. 25 years ago I started running.

I always belonged to a gym and continued to check out their new offerings. Some like those described above were utter failures. Some I enjoyed and continued to incorporate into my routine. Low impact aerobics with weights works well for me. Tai Chi also – finally a repeated regimen slow enough for my brain and muscles to communicate and the steps haven't changed for thousands of years. Today there is definitely something for everyone, even organized sports teams for adult women. You just have to look for it.

So what about calorie burn? There was a thread recently asking about the best exercise and many suggestions were offered. I liked and agree with the response of DGYOUNG1. “The exercise that you will actually do, is better than the exercise that looks good on paper, but you won’t actually do.” My feelings exactly!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUNNERKDB 10/14/2012 9:57AM

    Agree totally! Find you passion, for me running, and do it consistently! Seems we are always looking for some fancy glamorous but easy emoticon answer to become fit, Great Blog!

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WILLOWBROOK5 10/13/2012 11:09AM

    Big time agree! I was just telling a friend that exact thing -- find activities you enjoy doing because then you are much more likely to stick to regular exercise. I used to love step and regular aerobics, but now they are more supplemental exercises because I tend to get a bit bored. My favorite, do it every day, go to exercise is unglamorous, not high calorie burning walking. I can't even walk as fast as I used to, a mere 3.5 mph. But I love it. The dogs love it. And I am bound and determined to walk 3.5 miles each and every day, getting up early every day to do just that.

Thanks! emoticon

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LESLIE871948 10/13/2012 9:29AM

    Great blog. I am old enough to have Used one of the shake away things. And pretty much every other thing that came along. TODAY the very best exercise in the world is mowing my yard.
Yesterday it was running with my dogs
The day before that it was power yoga and free weights in my dining room
Tomorrow? who knows. Maybe a rest :)

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SUZYMOBILE 10/13/2012 9:27AM

    Couldn't agree more about "the exercise you will actually do." Bill and I were talking about that just last night. I look forward to walking every day because I love it. He has just discovered that he loves doing laps in the pool. We'll never successfully join a gym. Been there, done that, don't stick to it myself, and Bill ends up not going! Sometimes it takes 65 years to get something through your head.

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