Saturday, March 29, 2014
I've enjoyed getting back into the swing of things at Spinning Class this week along with some nice walk / jogs outside now that the temps are rounding the bend again and warming up some.
Rather than naming these Non-Scale Victories as is often spoken about 'round these parts, I prefer to consider them Non-Scale Awarenesses (NSA)...not necessarily a whoop for joy but a smile of appreciation and a valuing the progress that I am making. Doubly so in that I appreciate the progress not only in my body, but in my awareness and the ability to give myself credit for what I've accomplished.
I'm riding LIGHTER! It used to be while riding I would lean forward more and put pressure on my arms to lighten my "load" and lessen the discomfort of the saddle. Now I find myself often sitting up straight during some of the sprints and pumping my arms as though I was jogging or slapping my legs in time to the music...a lightness not only in my saddle, but in my spirit too!
I have found "the bike"...you know, the one bike in the whole room that makes the most sense as YOUR bike? Back in the corner, next to the fan :-) but ALSO situated so that I always have a view of the outdoors as window space is at a premium and I like to be reminded of where I'd RATHER be cycling so that I can at least virtually "go there" during my spinning efforts. The other benefit is that I'm also next to the mirror that runs along the far wall of the class so that I can better acquaint myself with my body, my appearance and attempt to dispel the distortions of my self-perceptions one baby-step at a time. I've been mirror-averse all my life...ENOUGH!
Freeing my hands from the handlebars also allows them to rest on my thighs and I can appreciate the strength and firmness of my quads: yes, I know they'll take me wherever I choose to go on my bike! Although the critic in me grimaces over the top-down view of my skin flapping around my thighs as if I was about to take off like a flying squirrel, I look in the mirror and to my surprise that skin isn't visible. Hoping to become as appreciative of this skin as I am of my quads...!
One night while doing my own spinning routine another young fellow was doing the same thing. He started before me. When he finished up I gave him a thumbs up on his hour-long session and said "feels good! I love turning into a soaking wet pile with a smile!" He smiled and said "that's the goal, isn't it?" winked as he stepped out of the room.
Another discovery: I have a SPINE! While showering I noticed that I could feel the definition of my backbone...no poking or prodding required! :-)
In the locker room I overhear some young fellows talking about their weigh-ins, one remarking on his 219 pounds. He's shorter than me, more muscular, but certainly very appealing build. Hmm... Strength training. Missing that! So important! But I realize too that even when I WAS lifting weights 3x a week I wasn't paying too much attention to varying what I was doing other than bumping the weights up a smidgen here and there. Not sure if I can put enough time & energy into doing more than the same-old same old. But weights continue to be off-limits until May 7th...which brings me to my latest medical timeline!
Got my staples out this past Monday, healing is progressing nicely. My son, the neurosurgical Physician Assistant, duly put the fear of God in me regarding the importance of respecting the lifting, shoveling, pulling, pushing restrictions in the use of my left arm until the May 7th date: doing so could risk having the pacemaker dislodged in my chest and require re-installation! Okay I sez back to him: we're running out of wood pellets and I have a ton to move this weekend. You willing to do it for me? Great son that he is, of course he did! But I insisted he plop those 40# bags on my good right shoulder so I could hasten the loading / unloading and he could take the bag off my shoulder on the other end...lol!
The most IMPORTANT timeline of all, however, is when can the anti-coagulant be discontinued! In April I get a black box which wirelessly reads my pacemaker and sends data back to the doctor and manufacturer. I'm followed up with the Nurse Practitioner in mid-May. If all goes well and everything is running as it should she said it is likely the anti-coagulant can be finally discontinued then. Whew!
I am so PSYCHED about riding this year, lighter and spriter than ever...feeling pumped in spinning class...just winding up tighter and tighter ready to go go GO! I have acquired the final pieces of my self-supported touring gear. Even so part of me warns, cautions that I'd better have a plan B just in case...heaven forbid!
Already the riding calendar is marching on and the ride I planned to lead for my bike club will pre-date any D/C of anti-coagulant. And other cool rides are going to come & go. I wonder about having enough time in the saddle to be ready for the 500 Miles Across New York at the end of July:
And I don't want to miss riding with everyone at our annual Great Finger Lakes Bicycle Tour!
In the meantime I will occupy myself getting ready for the Binghamton Bridge Run and my one & only 5K of the year...which should be a wonderful celebration of being lighter also!
Hoping everyone out there is thoroughly enjoying the weekend!
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Today started off with a bang when I hit my new low weight of the year...woo hoo! Only 17 pounds away from my goal of 200!
I had already had a plan to clear the closet of all my old clothes that are really too big. I don't want ANYTHING around to make it easy to backslide!
However little did I know what treasures I would find among the SMALLER clothes that I had forgotten I had outgrown! VERY nice stuff! And I'm re-kindling the fun and self-satisfaction of being able to look better in clothes. Not only am I shedding the pounds, but shedding the feedbag mentality! :-)
But the coolest thing I found of all? A few years back I had finally sprung for one of our bike club's jerseys. I am NOT a spandex kinda guy, but I love our club and wanted to be able to wear it with pride.
Little did I know how teensy their sizes ran. I was too embarrassed to take my XL back and ask for a TWO XL...! So in the closet it went.
I do enjoy a little dancing in the privacy of my home with the right tunes playing...but I have NEVER danced the Linus & Snoopy dance with such abandon, vigor and JOY as I did this morning! Totally Cloud 9! No music required!
Passing on a whole lotta clothes for someone to use. The heavy duty 30 gallon bag is out in the car waiting to be dropped off...whew! Feelin' so fine!
Spent the rest of the day buzzing about the house cleaning, hauling stuff out to the car for the landfill tomorrow also...clearing the decks!
Also cooking up a storm, new soup o' the week a cauliflower, barley, celery, onions and garlic combo. I also have a bundle of asparagus for cooking but never got around to doing anything with it. I had a lovely conversation with my sister recently about re-visiting vegetables which had formerly been dubbed "yuck" veggies in my childhood. I've been wanting to see if they are still "yuck" or not. Already tried Brussels sprouts and yep, still yuck IMHO. She agreed, which had us chuckling, flashing back to various methods of ditching veggies we didn't like when we were kids. :-) I mentioned asparagus to her and she said she is a big fan of asparagus. I looked at some recipes, considered even adding them to my soup with the cauliflower, but then thought perhaps that would do a disservice to the asparagus...which btw was on sale for the low, low price of 99 cents a pound...prompting me to nab some to try. Perhaps I'll just try munching some raw? We'll see. Any suggestions out there? Stay tuned for asparagus adventures!
I'm back behind the wheel of a car again! So what's the first thing I do? Pack it up and head out to the fitness center for the first spinning class I've had in a few weeks...YES! I managed a nice balance between not overdoing it, but challenging myself into a good sweat. The best thing about it? My quads had been nagging at me since overdoing it with a 5 mile walk - jog I had done earlier in the week...putting the accent heavily on jog, thinking of my annual 5K coming in May. All the stretching and walking I'd done since then didn't seem to alleviate the nattering my quads were giving me. But when I finished my spin class? No more pain! Sweet double benefit!
Okay, going to wrap up with some fun stuff like Crazy Russian Hacker and cycling tidbits!
Crazy Russian Hacker cracks me up. Sometimes his schtick just gets me eye-rolling and smiling, other stuff is laugh-out-loud hilarity. This one with his mother is some of both. This one caught my eye as between my home made soups and home made garlic I crank through a fair amount of garlic and hey, an easy way to peel garlic? I'm up for that! Perhaps this is old news to some of you, even if so these folks will crack you up. Plus: I can vouch for the technique! It works like a charm!
Okay, on to a cycling smile:
As seen on Twitter: Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach him to fish & feed him for a lifetime. Give a cyclist a fish & "hmm...good for 150 km!"
I have to give a special shout out to Willie Weir and the chronicles of his cycling adventures around the globe. I know I've spoken of him before, but I keep ever-so-slowly progressing through his book SpokeSongs and find SO much delight in his stories! Not that I'll ever take to cycling through such daunting venues as India, South Africa or the Balkans...but I just love his way of opening up with people and inspiring them to open up with him. As he often says in his writings, if he was just another token tourist bopping about with backpack or luggage most people wouldn't give him the time of day. But to see someone rolling along on a bicycle toting panniers and camping gear...? As he puts it: "Bicycles Are Magic. They Open Doors."
Plus he's a cheapskate like me! Not that I would sign up for THIS cost-saving measure he took in the Balkans where they were going to charge him WAY too much for setting up his tent. He discovered that nearby campgrounds for nudists were half as expensive...off he goes! Wow! This guy really knows how not to push the envelop or think outside of the box...he TORCHES 'EM! LOVE his audacity and hope to pull more of that into my life!
Let's get Sparkin' our way through another week, shall we?
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Another member inspired my blog for today when she pondered the fact that others considered her to be a "leader" but she wasn't so comfortable thinking of herself in that way...it didn't seem to "fit" her perception of herself. Here were the thoughts I shared, plus a little "bonus"...
"Leader" is one of those tricky words isn't it? Often we can think of a leader as a General Patton taking the bull by the horns and barking out orders.
But I prefer to think of a leader as a person of influence. And when we think of it that way we begin to realize how much impact our behavior has on those around us.
For example when I began to make healthier food choices I realized to resist the tempting treats and snacks that my colleagues were always bringing to work I was going to have to bring lots of fresh veggies and fruits to slice up into a big bowl for healthy gnoshing through the afternoon. My office partner used to have a candy dish on his desk that used to be a big hit.
But day in and day out I quietly went about preparing my freggie bowl and invite folks to feel free to help themselves. I didn't take to the bully pulpit, pick up the megaphone, wag my finger or prosetylize...at least not TOO vigorously...lol!
And yanno? Over time the decadent snacks and treats brought to the lunchroom trailed off into increasingly rare occurrences, even bringing about a finger-wagging from others: "Why did you bring in that CONTRABAND?!?"
And whereas contraband used to vaporize into mouths within minutes in the past, it now sits for hours and sometimes ends up being tossed into the trash (Where it belongs...lol!).
Some of us now get out for power walks at lunch now. More folks are off to their fitness centers after work.
In my own quiet way I see myself as having been a potent influence on this process and feel justified in considering myself a "leader," NOT of the General Patton variety!
I think ALL of us have this power to influence those around us in extremely potent ways! We ALL can be leaders, whether in our homes or beyond!
So many of us know and are so fond of Gandhi's words: "Be the change you want to see in the world." My play with this is to say: "Be the SPARK you want to see in the world!
I enjoyed a lovely 4+ mile walk after an early dinner tonight and was able to take advantage of the lengthening days. I made sure to pick a route with some nice uphill challenges PLUS had a super conversation with my youngest sister while walking part of the way. After finishing the conversation it was time for TUNES and one of my faves came up.
I DARE you to NOT clap your hands, swing your hips and sing along with this like I was doing during my walk... :-)
Near the end of the walk the sun was setting and playing off the clouds in a striking way when my music took a turn for thoughtful, pensive mood which was a perfect fit for this sunset and wrapping up my walk:
Thank you everyone for all your blog support these days! I'm humbled and doing my best to soak up your praise and compliments...like many of you this does not come easily but I've resolved to strengthen my abilities to be kind to myself and to truly take in deserved recognition.
Take care and keep it SPARKIN'!
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