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Celebrating Sunshine...!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Not enough snow for cross country skiing...yet!

So plan B...? Break out the Nordic walking poles and make like I'm skiing without the snow or skis...lol!

Couple of Nordic walking clips if anyone is curious to know more:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e7SvftztRg www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3VIVlYNIv4

Had such a wonderful time! Really getting the hang of this Nordic walking and feeling the benefit up in my shoulders and upper back! Beautiful sunshiney day and worked up a nice sweat, wishing I hadn't worn my coat...! Unzipped it at least...! Kicked it up a notch here and there and even started jogging along with the poles. I keep getting *impatient* with this "walking" business...may make a runner out of myself yet! :-)

Well, off to bed, guarding my sleep...keep SPARKING out there everyone!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SVELTINGTON 2/5/2010 12:21PM

    Wow! Great clip. Do I use the same muscles when I use my Nordic Track ski machine? emoticon

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TRAINOF4 2/5/2010 1:08AM

    Yaaay You! And good for you for wearing your jacket & only unzipping it when you were hot (and not removing the jacket altogether). Hypothermia is NO JOKE! emoticon

Maybe you'll get some of the snow we're expecting over the next 36 hrs. Then you can get some xcountry skiing in, too. emoticon

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GETDONE 2/4/2010 7:01PM


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PUDDLE_JUMPER 2/1/2010 7:16PM

    Glad you got out and enjoyed the sunshine! I took a walk too! It was beautiful but a bit chilly! You must have been really moving to unzip! Way to go!

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_VALEO_ 2/1/2010 2:40PM

    emoticon nordic walker buddy! I love my poles too!
Great video, but I don't have the same down hill technique than him.

I wrote a blog about it, if you're interested in: http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_p

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USARUNNERGIRL 2/1/2010 11:33AM

    Ahh bummer that you couldn't ski. Your walk/run sounds like fun. I know how you feel, sometimes I just need to break into a run now days. Maybe you will become a runner yet.

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DAYHIKER 2/1/2010 9:57AM

    emoticon I hope you get enough snow for cross country skiing before winter is over! The Nordic walking is great exercise, too, and lots of fun! Except for the socialism I'd love living in Switzerland where trekking poles and backpacks are EVERYWHERE! emoticon

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MAMAFISH1 2/1/2010 8:21AM

    Sounds like you had a good time, glad you enjoyed yourself.

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FERRETLOVER1 2/1/2010 7:57AM

    Hey, they ain't nothin' wrong with walkin', Don! It's great exercise, too.

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KIKICANADIAN 2/1/2010 7:03AM

    Sounds like fun...but brrrrrrr to cold to be out there right now. It's Feb don't you know...lol

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FRECKS96 2/1/2010 5:43AM

    Sounds great! It really was beautiful yesterday, glad you got to enjoy it.

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COLOURFULME 2/1/2010 4:24AM

    Nordic walking is what I do also in summer.
I love it. In my case it doesn't make me go faster but I burn more calories then just with walking. It's ofcourse because of the active arm movement.

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XENA1956 1/31/2010 11:53PM

    Loved watching the video. Maybe I will buy some of these in the near future. Thanks for the links! Teri

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JCORYCMA 1/31/2010 11:35PM

    I'm envious of your lovely outdoor pole walking! When I get over this latest round of stuff, I'm going to head out on a sunny day and enjoy the beautiful snow with a nice long walk!
You live in New York? Anywhere around Newburg? We used to live there and I loved the winter. You'd get these big wet blanket snows but the mountains blocked out that vicious wind. The prairie winds in Iowa are notorious! My hubby's job transferred him back to Iowa but I'd love to go back and visit that beautiful Hudson river valley again!

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SUZIAND 1/31/2010 11:06PM

    Sounds heavenly, Don!
I've read about pole-walking and have been interested in it. I'm no where near being a runner or even jogger...but sometimes walking isn't enough! I might have to check out some poles!

Have a good week, Don!

Suz : )

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L*I*T*A* 1/31/2010 10:58PM

    sounds like you really enjoyed your pole walking.........i love it and will start again once the dr's give the ok so for now in the pool.............have a great week...........blessings and hugs..............lita

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Winter Outlets: Going, Going, GONE...?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A fellow member of SparkPeople (MIKIIO) posted a lovely blog about cross country skiing and a variant called ski skating. She included a couple of demonstrations from YouTube in her blog:


and ski skating:


It reminded me of the exhilaration which appealed to me about cross country skiing and I thought: 'Hey! I wanted to get back out there and take another crack at this!' The winter is half over and our snow is all gone from warm temps and rainstorms. So far there just hasn't been enough snow at the right temperatures...grrr! I am going to have to be more vigilant to make sure an opportunity doesn't slide right by without taking advantage of it!

I had a late workout tonight, as I overslept this morning, even though I went to bed on time...but I've been running the well dry lately, shorting myself of too much sleep. During the workout in my mix on the mp3 player came along an unlikely song. I DO have a few slow ones here and there as I listen to my music at other times besides workouts. Even though I was doing strength training and this music HARDLY suggests that activity, I was entranced by this mellow, jazzy, utterly de-stressing, soothing and relaxing tune by Madeline Peyroux, "Half The Perfect World:"


So if you've got a notion give this a listen and let the music transport you to a serene place such as basking in a tropical sun while lolling about on an air mattress floating on crystal blue water where the warmth is just perfect and one has not a care in the world. Or let it be your lullaby and head to bed as I am so I don't short myself on my sleep again tonight...lol!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PISTL67 1/30/2010 8:09PM

    relaxing tune by maddy brings out the french in me! tried cross country race when younger and i got smoked! definitely can't ski skate now. maybe i'll try if spark off excess baggage! emoticon i do some downhill skiing. my son snowboards but he had to learn on his own cuz i was too chicken to try! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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USARUNNERGIRL 1/28/2010 9:27PM

    Mmmmn thank you for ending this blog with something nice relaxing and soothing. So ready to go and get some rest as that is also something that I don't always get enough of. Take care my friend.

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KATRINA333 1/27/2010 5:19PM

    Get some sleep, my dear SP friend! Really important for your energy and health, and thanks for being such an awesome support for me and many others.

:) Katrina

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PUDDLE_JUMPER 1/27/2010 1:18PM

    Refreshing blog. I am going to enjoy checking out those links when I get back from PT. I am a little behind the eight ball. Can only do so many things at once. I may be a bit slow. Yet, I am a music lover myself. Joy to you and have a fab day!

emoticonKaren Ellen

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L*I*T*A* 1/27/2010 1:07PM

    will try the soothing music before day.......we can dream though right!!! oh the places we will go..............have a wonderful day.........blessings and hugs............lita

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 1/27/2010 10:00AM

    Dude. It isn't even February yet. Be careful what you wish for! Especially in Upstate NY... LOL

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FERRETLOVER1 1/27/2010 8:19AM

    Good thing that soothing music didn't put you to sleep while you were doing strength training! emoticon

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KELLI9001 1/27/2010 8:07AM

    Take some of our snow in Indiana...PLEASE!! I would be happy to send it in order to accomplish your goal!

Have a super day!

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DAYHIKER 1/27/2010 6:01AM

    Well, hey, you can have some of our snow, Don!! At least twelve years ago my younger son sent me a set of gaiters for Christmas and my dh was going to buy me some snow shoes. Since by Christmas we had had no snow I said let's wait. To make a long story short I have never yet needed the gaiters or purchased the snow shoes and I totally understand your frustration!

Great job on getting in your workout late! emoticon
Cindy in Indiana emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/27/2010 6:06:21 AM

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_VALEO_ 1/27/2010 1:59AM

    We have less and less snow over here too. I hope you'll have some snow to be able to ski at least one week-end. (I haven't checked yet where you live.)

Congrats on following your Plan B and on doing your workout in the evening. If you overslept, it means your body needed it, and it is so important to sleep well.
I didn't know Madeleine Peyroux, very nice song, so soft like a whisper in my ear. I just woke up, I can't head back to bed, although this idea is appealing! ;)

Comment edited on: 1/27/2010 2:00:15 AM

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Spark Book Rally: Binghamton Area Losers

Sunday, January 24, 2010


One of the GREAT accomplishments of our local SparkTeam is that when adjusted for population, Binghamton is NUMBER TWO in the USA on the city leaderboards for accumulating Fitness Minutes!! We even beat Cincinnati...woo hoo! :-)

Our local SparkTeam the Binghamton Area Losers held our Spark Rally yesterday from 10:30 to 2 pm. Nine of us (including THREE SparkTeam Leaders!) met at a restaurant where we had lively discussions about "The Spark" along with other topics such as creating vision collages, some of the goals we had for ourselves, suggestions for health foods and food preparations, types of workouts we preferred, tips for maintaining a healthy kitchen and the importance of motivating ourselves through positive coaching strategies for ourselves. We also looked forward to types of gatherings we would enjoy in the future including returning to the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life fundraiser (and other fundraisers as well!), kayaking and potluck get-togethers at our local parks. We also want to be sure to have meet 'n greets which are "user-friendly" for those who have limitations which prevent them from being more physically active.

Another idea was to become more connected and involved with any / all local health events such as health fairs, conferences and conventions by doing presentations, discussions promoting SparkPeople and Spreading the Spark!

Around noon time we moved outdoors to our local Rail to Trail for a 4.2 mile walk on a gloriously sunny 40 degree day. We continued to enjoy super conversation while having fun moving along the trail. I even broke out my Nordic Walking Poles to *at long last* USE 'EM! A tad awkward at first, but I soon felt natural with them and was pleased by the upper body work they offered while walking. It's been said that they add another 20% caloric burn to one's walk...so hey, why not? :-)

I am SO PSYCHED and LOOKING FORWARD to getting to know more of my local fellow members of SparkPeople and getting together in the future for more fun and good causes!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 1/26/2010 7:46AM

    Sounds like you all had a blast. Great ideas about sharing the Spark! WTG on using those poles!

...who's working on that list...

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USARUNNERGIRL 1/25/2010 3:36PM

    What a great Spark filled day Don. You guys sound like you had a blast.

I really like that you guys are going to try to get involved with health fairs and rallys. That is a really good idea. I might have to check out when some are around here too.

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JGOLFER 1/25/2010 2:11PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Your team did a fantastic job with your Spark Rally. I really like your ideas for different gatherings. Keep on sparking!

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ZIRCADIA 1/25/2010 1:19PM

    That sounds so cool! :D That thing about the fitness min/pop is really cool! :D What a great group of Sparkers you have!

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LEELYNN2 1/24/2010 10:08PM

    you socialite you.

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FERRETLOVER1 1/24/2010 6:26PM

    How cool that you all were able to get together like that!

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AZIMAT 1/24/2010 2:57PM

    Oh, that sounds like so much fun. I'm going to forward this to one of my good Bingbong friends.

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L*I*T*A* 1/24/2010 1:43PM

    how wonderful is that being able to get together with others on similar journeys that live near by and are sparkers as well..............have a great week ahead.............blessings and hugs...............lita

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PUDDLE_JUMPER 1/24/2010 11:45AM

    I am so happy you all had a fab time and swapped great ideas and came up with some good plans!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon


emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DAYHIKER 1/24/2010 11:44AM

    The Spark book rally looks like great fun, Don, and I'm glad you finally got to try out your Nordic Poles! Aren't they great?! I don't have official ones, just my old Leki Makalus but they work just fine since I rarely walk anywhere that allows use of the rubber tips. Most of the walking around me is quite hilly and I love the freedom they give me to walk where I want to. This is kind of a "mom" thing but don't forget to get some probiotics going when your antibiotics are gone. Don't mean to sound bossy...I forgot them last round and I didn't really perk up until I got some good kefir. Hope you are about done with the ear troubles!

Sparky Cindy who was thrilled with the 15 minutes of emoticonwe had about an hour ago!

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An Object At Rest...Needs a Big PUSH!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Or a good swift kick!

Although ear troubles knocked me outta commission on Sun. and on Mon. I still felt "blah" and out of it...today? Just wasn't willing to let it slide by yet one more time! 45 mins. treadmill 1st thing this morning, 30 mins. ST tonight...YES! I'm not 100%, backed off my speed from 5 to 4 mph...we'll see what tomorrow brings. Felt good to be back in the SPARK of things!

Actually on Monday I DID take time to do something I hadn't yet concentrated on: using the balance board I got from the SparkStore. We were doing Wii bowling, so I decided while not bowling I would see how long I could stand on the balance board. Horrible at first but could see some nice progress as I persisted. Could feel the effort in my glutes of all places...! Also noticed the straighter I stood, the quicker I muffed it and stepped off the board. I think there's a DEFINITE parallel to cross country skiing.

Also called the company and got my Nordic Walking Poles straightened out...stay tuned!

I had a pleasant, unintended compliment today when I bumped into a nurse I worked with when back at the hospital. He asked me if everything was okay. I gave him a puzzled look and he explained: You've lost so much weight, I wasn't sure if you were ill!

Nah, just healthier than I've ever been! Woo hoo!

Now: let's kick this EAR thing already, right...? It's still bugging me, but diminishing. No point in speaking up yet as I have another few days of antibiotic left...going to have to finish that I figure.

Hoping to rally a meeting of local SparkPeople members for a book discussion this weekend. It's late notice...but we'll see if we can pull it off!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XENA1956 1/20/2010 11:10PM

    See isn't it great when people don't know what a person can do with a healthy lifestyle. I can't believe that nurse's first thoughts were that you must be ill, "How else could you have gotten so thin" Right? Hope you told him about Sparks. I am sure he was not trying to be unkind. You do great on the balance board. Took me a while to get the hang of one. I still keep getting dizzy myself but I still don't know what the cause it because I went to the family doctor. I see my specialist on Friday, maybe something will show up by then. emoticon

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JCORYCMA 1/20/2010 11:00PM

    Wow, I can sympathize with the not feeling as you know, but I am feeling TERRIFIC as of yesterday and today! So hang in there. Hopefully you'll be feeling 100% Sparky in no time too! Good idea to back off a little on your speed. The balance board intrigues me. I may just have to look into one! I've always kind of longed for the J-Lo glutes!!
Joanne emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 1/20/2010 10:46AM

    way to go.................have a great wednesday!!!
blessings and hugs.................lita

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FRECKS96 1/20/2010 10:14AM

    Sounds like a super day, even though you're still a bit under the weather. Way to keep Sparkin'!

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ZELLAZM 1/20/2010 9:25AM

    I like how you're changing up your "workouts" with the Wii and the balance board and the poles!

Feel better,

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ARAC76 1/20/2010 9:18AM

    Way to stay persistent! Keep up the focus!

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PUDDLE_JUMPER 1/20/2010 7:01AM

    I'm envious of your stamina. I was so weary from a little cold and a fever and bunch of silly aches and pains. Look at you go!!! But, I have to say, I got my spiritual balance back. But, I really need to hit the exercise today or I will be a cranky gal!!! And there will be no more spiritually fit chick here!!! I am sick of being sick but it is not going to get better just by laying about. I need to move. Get the blood circulating again. Thanks for being a great example.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DAYHIKER 1/20/2010 6:51AM

    emoticonDon! Glad you are improving quickly! Goodness, I walked like a drunk when I had my ear troubles in the fall! No way I could have balanced on that thing! emoticon

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FERRETLOVER1 1/20/2010 6:40AM

    I'm really impressed that you could do a balance board with an ear problem. You rock, Don!!

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ZIRCADIA 1/19/2010 11:39PM

    Congrats on working that balance board -- that sounds cool! And yes, I feel it in the glutes when I do balance stuff too -- like standing on a BOSU or something.

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Sparking FINE Before the Crash...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Just a quick one tonight as I'm heading for bed *on time* tonight...scary! :-)

Had a GLORIOUS walk in yesterday's January thaw day...around 40 degrees, sunny blue skies...had *intended* to walk one of our local parks (the Rail-to-Trail) with my Nordic Walking Poles for the first time. No go...just could NOT figure how to adjust the poles in such a way that they would "hold" and not slide in / out. Ah well, a regular walk it'll be then!

Only it wasn't a regular walk! Through the winter I had been upping my baseline speed from 4 to 5 mph pretty steadily. As fast as I could walk I still felt something was "wrong"...like an itch I just couldn't reach!

So I started to jog...ah, yes...THIS is what I've become accustomed to! More SPEED! Bring it ON! :-) Short sleeves and jeans...sweating away and loving it! A passer-by asked if I thought it was summer and I said: "Close enough for ME!" I really got into my music and at times was clapping along to the beat while jogging...must've been a SIGHT...lol!

I didn't jog the ENTIRE length (@ 5 miles), but a good share. When I was done, however, I had FAR more fatigue than I should have and it wasn't long before I could feel my right ear come back with it's aching once again...even though I'd been taking antibiotics & eardrops since Monday!

I slept 12 hours straight and woke up feeling all grogged out with sounds muffled again, ear aching. So here's another antibiotic to which I've become immune...great! This has become VERY OLD! I've never been an earache kinda kid, let alone ADULT! My energy level has been very much half-mast today, the infection seems to have so swiftly pulled the plug from that awesome high of yesterday. No cardio, no nothing...heading to bed and hoping to feel better soon...off to another doc tomorrow possibly.

I SO admire those of you struggling with any chronic illnesses...this recurring ear thing has me very much appreciating how TOUGH it is to keep SPARKING when it feels like your body keeps snuffing it out!

Don (who makes a VERY IMPATIENT patient!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 1/19/2010 4:03PM

    UGH---I know how you feel...my cold/sinus thing is back again. I am SOOOO ready for three weeks in Florida about now!

Feel better!

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SHUCG1004 1/19/2010 8:58AM

    I admire your courage to exercise despite chronic pain! emoticon

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USAKIBAT 1/19/2010 3:52AM

    So sorry about your ear problems. Earache is right up there with toothache! Sounds like you are doing better and enjoyed your "warm" weather walk/jog. I hate the cold weather, but when we lived in Michigan whenever the temperature would get back up in the thirties, I would think it was a heat wave, too! We're having cold weather here in the south too, but nothing like what you get. Some people were born to be wild; I was born to be warm! emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 1/18/2010 11:23PM

    am a little late reading this.........hope you are feeling better now................blessings and hugs................lita

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PUDDLE_JUMPER 1/18/2010 5:39PM

    I really hope that your ear improves soon. Gee, That's been going on way too long. I'm wiped out today. The creeping crud is nipping at my nose. And I think I've tired myself out with persistent exercise everyday. I'm one of those with the physical health conditions and I guess I just get worn out from time to time. But, I'm wishing you all the best for your recovery. I am sure glad you made hay while the sun was still shining though. Good for you!!! Saturday was glorious in the Southern Tier. We sure were blessed! Take care of yourself!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ZIRCADIA 1/18/2010 2:13PM

    BUMMER... sounds like you had such a good time on your run, though! I hope you are back to feeling better ASAP!

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DAYHIKER 1/18/2010 11:12AM

    Bummer about the ear, Don! Glad you could get in such a lovely day before it hit! I went through this a couple months ago and it too two rounds of antibiotics then probiotics to get me back up to speed!! Take care!!

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FERRETLOVER1 1/18/2010 7:35AM

    Don, you have to give yourself a break. You need to rest and recuperate - I don't think you're supposed to exercise when you have an infection of any sort. Just take it easy for a couple of days.

I was wondering about those Nordic walking sticks - interesting that you couldn't really figure them out.

Great to hear that you were clapping along with your music and walking so fast - that's wonderful...but get well first, okay?

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MARJIJANE 1/17/2010 10:55PM

    Big Bummer for my not-so-big-buddy! Ear aches affect everything! You're lucky your doctor will prescribe antibiotics! My Dr usually says use drops to alleviate the discomfort ...but the balance issues are far greater a problem! Warm moist wraps are a Godsend, to say the least, just be careful not to burn yourself!

Feel better, my friend...good thoughts and prayers sent your way!



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KENSINGTONC 1/17/2010 10:43PM

    Feel better Don! Great workout yesterday, though, and very inspiring to read! I wish you did have a picture of that!

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FRECKS96 1/17/2010 10:16PM

    Ugh, so sorry you're not feeling well. It can really take the wind out of anyone's sails. But...woo hoo for a great walk/jog yesterday!! I was actually a little bummed I didn't get to enjoy it more and it really has me wishing for spring. Hope you get your walking poles figured out before the next warm-up. Feel Better Soon!

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USARUNNERGIRL 1/17/2010 10:13PM

    So sorry about year ear Don. Yuck. I sure hope you start to feeling better. I think it is great that you were out there and running, I am just sorry it ended with you feeling not so hot. I will pray for you.

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