Saturday, April 19, 2014
A few years ago my neighbor was duly impressed by my health efforts and getting into bicycling. So he reclaimed what was once an interest of his in the past (cycling) and got back on the bike himself. Soon he was biking with his son and other friends and relatives. His forte is mountain biking while mine is road cycling, so our paths, despite being neighbors, haven't crossed too often.
Over recent years I've noticed many folks coming around to his place talking bikes and bikes coming & going. Upon further questioning my neighbor explains to me that he has developed quite the hobby, semi-business in taking in, purchasing used bikes and rehab-ing them, turning around and selling them for a profit.
Finally it occurred to me: Why take my bike into my local bike shop for its annual tune up when I can just step next to my neighbor's place?
So that's what I did this morning, sticking around to see if this all-thumbs, mechanically-compromised fella could learn a thing or two in the process.
Well I'm not sure I learned all that much, but did what I could to help here & there. I learned some things at least in my head a little...doubt my hands would know their way around without major assistance...lol!
Both front gears and rear cassette were pretty messy & filled with gunk and are looking mighty spiffy now! The derailleur (the original Shimano) was a wobbly mess and fortunately he just happened to have a brand new one (an even better grade of Shimano than was previously on it) that another fellow never came back for to have put on his bike, so *sure* I'll take 'er and get things running as good as new! A fresh chain, true-ing both wheels, lubing the cables and everything seems pretty ship-shape! He kindly only charged me for the parts.
No trip to the LBS needed!
It's so cool to pay my Spark forward to have ignited my neighbor's cycling interests so and even MORE cool to have it come back to me in the form of a knowledgeable bicycle repair guy living right next door! I've put in my request for him to keep an eye out for a Surly Long Haul Trucker for me someday...lol!
And why, pray tell would I care to have my bike all prepped and ready to rock & roll when I have designated it as off-limits while taking anti-coagulant medication?
Well, last Friday I paid a visit to the Arrhythmia Center and had a check on my pacemaker and everything was A-OK. I double-checked with the technician: If everything checks okay, then my pacemaker is doing what it should, there's no more blood pooling in the atriums and no further need for me to take anti-coagulants, right?
He confirmed this "in theory"...of course the doc / nurse practitioner / physician assistant would have the final word on this.
Well my appt. with the physician assistant isn't until May 19th.
Do you think I'm just gonna sit on my hands until then and wonder?
Heck no! Started an e-mail campaign and WOO HOO! Got my confirmation that I will be able to stop my anti-coagulant at the time of my May 19th appt. as protocol after an ablation is to stick with the anti-coagulant for two months afterward to minimize any clotting risks.
Break out the champagne! I've got such PLANS for this cycling season!
Which helps me to settle into my current focus: gearing up for my 5K on May 3rd. Last week I did 3 consecutive days of hour-long jogs, interrupted with a couple of spinning bike and and elliptical workouts. Now I'm on a 4 consecutive day hour-long-jog (#3 coming tomorrow).
The thought occurs to me that if my 5K time was as low as 33 mins. in the past, as I become accustomed to jogging for an hour, that's approaching perhaps, at least in theory, a 10K in distance, right?
And a 10K is a half-marathon, right?
And it occurs to me I must be starting to think at least a little bit like a runner.
Not bad for someone who doesn't consider himself a runner! :-)
Keep 'er Sparkin' everyone! Pay it forward this Easter! Pay it forward EVERY DAY!
It just might come back on ya in all sortsa super ways that you never dreamed possible!
ps...oops! goes to show how outta the loop I am to running...my bad, a 10K is only HALF of a half-marathon...! Google is my friend...if I care to USE it once in a while...lol!
Monday, April 14, 2014
I had such a wonderful jog yesterday in my favorite local park, Dorchester:
I maintained my jogging gait as I went up the ridge to jog along the top of the dam...the same angle as this photo was taken. This ridge is such a GLORIOUS place to be in the part as one is right on top of the dam which creates the lake you see on the one side and on the other side you see the valley of Whitney Point and its school sprawling, often with the athletic fields filled with kids playing football or other sports. Today was an amazing day because of the WINDS! Oh MY I felt like I was going to take FLIGHT!
I felt just like this little boy and remembered the image, spreading my arms like a bird as I jogged along the ridge smiling and laughing out loud...
Sending this out with wishes for everyone to dig deep, find your SPARK and CELEBRATE IT!
Saturday, April 12, 2014
We've been graced by stupendous spring-into-summer-like weather this weekend and EVERYBODY'S heading outdoors! Today I began in earnest to prepare for the Binghamton Bridge Run, my only 5K of the year...good timing since I am still taking the anti-coagulant and am staying off the bike.
So I focus on jogging...or fast-walking...lol!
One voice told myself before heading out to our Vestal Rail - Trail to jog 4 miles: first of the season, take it easy, it's okay if you need to walk some of it.
The other voice? "Heh: no WAY are you gonna walk!" ;-)
And nope, I didn't...my time for 4 miles wasn't TOO bad, 50 mins. or 12.5 min. mile. Considering my best 5K time over the past few years has only been an 11 min. mile I thought I did pretty good for my first crack at it today. My tunes were as helpful as ever...Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark had a spot-on pace for my jog. Got my salty upper lip, just like I do when I have a hard ride on my bike!
I waved at a couple of cyclists from the bike club as they rode by...longing to join them, but being oh-so-patient with the process!
Yesterday I met with the fellow at the Arrhythmia Center who ran the test on my pacemaker and determined that everything was looking good. I'll be getting my own box for doing the same in a few weeks. I was very precise in my questioning of him: So the readings today indicate that my heart is doing what it should, not dropping beats, no blood pooling in the atrium any longer? Correct, he said. And this is wired directly to my cardiologist, right? Correct.
Well even though I don't meet with the cardiologist until May 19th, I'm going to start e-mailing her next week about discontinuing my anti-coagulant and see if I can get started BEFORE May 19th...!
The box is a very non-intrusive process and unlike my earlier explanation of this occurring every night in my sleep I can run the test any time and it's only necessary to run once every few months. Easy peasy!
The pounds are holding steady these days...some zig-zagging but lately holding around 216.5. I'm enjoying downsizing my clothes...even though the pounds aren't dropping I feel like the inches are. Have to get cozy with the tape measure sometime. I'm actually getting a teensy sense of scrawniness around my shoulders and upper chest and eager to get back to my upper body strength training, but am still restricted: no heavy lifting, pushing, etc. This should be discontinued also when I meet with my cardiologist on May 19th.
Sometimes I get a little frustrated over the plateau, but mostly I'm "okay" with it...realizing that a "pause for the cause" ain't such a bad idea! This isn't a race, it's all about building a lifestyle that can weather the test of time. I also tell myself that numbers are one thing, but what works when it comes to living my life is another.
The "hungries" have reared their head now & then...and although I've overindulged in the quantity of food, I've stood firm in maintaining my zero-sugar, zero-grain, no-food from 9 pm until noon approach...occasionally creeping up to 10 pm. Avoiding sugar and grains has worked well for me and I think I will be able to stand by this approach, with some thoughts of adding oatmeal when cycling comes along...but keeping my oats "clean" with no sugar or butter, just lots of cinnamon and banana to sweeten it.
So all in all, I've been keepin' on, keepin' on!
Hope everyone is savoring weather that's just as tasty as ours has been this weekend! :-)
PS: Update! Down 2 pounds all of a sudden today! 14 pounds from GOAL! More proof that if you work your SPARK the pay-offs will come! :-)
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