Monday, May 05, 2014
Hmm...been busy lately with mostly good stuff happening, but for whatever reason it hasn't really come together as blogs usually do for me. So I'm just gonna rattle on with what's been happening. I think it's related to not having pushed the envelop in any significant way lately...no overly-inspiring thoughts or experiences, perhaps?
Getting ready for my Binghamton Bridge Run 5K yesterday has been enjoyable...going outside and jogging for an hour at a time several times a week over the past month or so. Picking different routes...taking in the beauty that is in such abundance around the Southern Tier of New York. We've been on the cusp of everything green preparing to BURST out of the zillions of buds that are just crackling with the promise of summer and life.
This past Saturday was the ride I had signed up to lead for the bike club, before I knew anything about my cardiac condition. Another member led the ride for me, for which I was appreciative. The starting / finishing point of the ride was just north of my home. I didn't think my timing would be right, but as it happened while out on my jog up through town and over down the towpath into the nearby state park my return back through town coincided with everyone's return from the ride so while it was bittersweet to meet up with them, the accent was definitely on the "sweet" as I reassured them all that at the end of the month after my anti-coagulant has stopped and worked itself out of my body I would be returning to the wonderful world of cycling once again! Some kidded with me saying: so did you follow us on our ride? :-)
Actually the irony was while jogging down the towpath stones kept multiplying and becoming less and less level and out of the blue WHAM! the front of my sneaker caught a stone with just enough force to send me sprawling flat on my front-side with my hands flat out beside my face. A sort of reverse-dolphin pose from a standing position.
So I'm jogging instead of cycling because it's less risky? ;-) Ah well, no broken skin, just a little sore in my wrist which cleared up fine.
For the 5K on Sunday I joined with another bike club member who was doing the run also. It was nice to chit-chat and start with her, but it soon became apparent that my pace was going to be faster and I really wanted to see if I could beat my record which I think is 33 mins. around an 11 minute mile.
My theory behind jogging an hour during my preparation was that if I was used to jogging that long a 5K would take considerably LESS time so I would have some gas left in the tank to kick in the "afterburners" and hopefully bump up my speed overall. Not sure yet what my official time was, but I think it will be a new personal record for me...stay tuned!
A couple other bike club members greeted me at the finish...they had been volunteering as marshals for the half-marathon earlier in the day. It was nice to catch up with them.
Next Sat. our bike club will pull a MASSIVE effort together as we celebrate another Bike Giveaway during National Bike Month. Hundreds and hundreds of bicycles have been donated and refurbed to be given away to children and families with limited income. Safety classes will be held and riding demos. Busy, fun and WAY gratifying day for all of us!
The following Saturday we honor one of our bike club members who was tragically killed last year by holding a family event at one of our local state parks. There will be both mountain bike rides and road rides of varying lengths. I'm toying with the idea of camping overnight to test out all my self-supported camping gear which I've accumulated since last September so I'm more familiar with it by the time I use it for any of my self-supported touring rides which I hope to do later this year.
This past Friday I went to a reception a friend of mine and his wife had for their newly married daughter and son-in-law. Meant to get a photo of me all duded up...doesn't happen often! But overlooked it.
It was a wonderful time with fairly healthy food choices available...until I dared to venture into the room filled with a zillion desserts. I foolishly thought I could retrieve some goodies for a family member and firmly maintain my resolve not to indulge. Ugh! This was my first foray into the world of sugar and flour since I stopped it all in January.
But yanno? It was just one night, lesson learned and not too much of a blip on the scale which has been fluctuating between 210-213 over the past few weeks. Now the challenge is, do I want to get serious and keep shedding those pounds to reach my goal of 200 or what?
So THAT'S been what's cookin' in my neck of the woods!
A work in progress, as we all are, learning to be kind, yet firm with myself...iron fist in a velvet glove!
ps.. Oh! Forgot to share this very intriguing article. Yes, I'm a Michael Pollan, "Real Food" fan, but I gotta say my curiosity is so PIQUED by this concept! Who hasn't had at least SOME periods of time in their lives when food just gets in the way. The shopping, the preparation, clean up, storage, not to mention COST, etc.
What if we could just do away with all that muss & fuss? The simplicity of this, the lack of triggers...SO ALLURING! Read on!
THE END OF FOOD
Has a tech entrepreneur come up with a product to replace our meals?
PPS...and another cool thing: I've decided to spring for an upgrade to my bicycle saddle and am awaiting delivery on my Brooks Flyer Saddle to replace my old seat. Brooks saddles are renown among distance cyclists and I thought, what better treat for my ride? :-)
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!
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