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Shoulda Moved The Ton!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Great day today! Up & at 'em, off to the fitness center, there by 9 a.m. and got my 1/2 hour of strength training in before my hour-long Spinning Class.

Spinning was even MORE awesome than usual as it seemed the instructor's playlist of songs were lifted right from my own mp3 player! At least from the classic rock portion of my mp3 player. Great tunes from Queen, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, others and Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run which almost ALWAYS pushes me up a notch or two or three beyond whatever I might be doing at the time. Which happened to be a standing climb with the resistance cranked way up...didn't matter: pedal to the metal time! Whew! Great workout!

Next pleasure up? Heading uptown to join my fellow social workers (mostly, one HR fellow too) for lunch at our local health food restaurant, the Whole in the Wall:


They had been badly flooded out during our deluge back last fall, so it felt nice to have the eight of us bringing them a little extra business by eating at a local establishment rather than a big chain of some sort. LOTS of yummy, healthy food there too!

Although I hadn't planned it this way when I chose this restaurant, earlier in the morning I thought: Hmm...it's only a couple miles away (actually closer, but I decided to add a little distance), so why not leave my car at the fitness center and pull out the Nordic poles and walk / jog there?

We had a lovely lunch catching up with each other! Who'da thunk it, social workers actually being SOCIAL?!? Go figure! :-) This was the first time some of us had laid eyes on each other in decades!

Folks were curious about my poles so I gave a little demonstration after lunch and then I was OFF, back to my car!

On the way home I got to thinking...hmm...our 1st ton of pellets on the porch have been used up, mebbe better move the other ton of forty pound bags from around the side of the house to the front porch, since it was sunny and mid-30s.

But after talking with DW I decided that there was too much laundry, housework and cooking to do that I would rather get out of the way today than tomorrow. So I started in around 2 pm.

Shoulda moved the ton. Would've been way easier! Ah well, they'll wait for tomorrow...weather is supposed to be equally pleasant.

Didn't finish up everything in the house until 9 pm. Non-stop up and running around doing one thing or another...oof! Finally settling in for a bit of cyber time and crossing my fingers that tomorrow morning will be one of those rare mornings when I'm WAY successful in sleeping in! :-)

Very fulfilling and rewarding day filled with time well, well spent!

If you've got some old friends, family and/or colleagues with whom you've lost contact I HIGHLY recommend you see what you can do to spirit them up and re-connect. It is SO WORTH THE EFFORT!

Hope all is well with my SparkFamily this weekend!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 2/11/2012 3:10PM

    Love the artists, but then ya know I **cut my teeth** on Led Zeppelin, still got their album sitting in my bureau. LMAO And the Rolling Stones...and the Beatles.....and Jimi Hendrix.....and Janis Joplin.....need I go on? LOL Wow....laundry, cooking, cleaning.....can I clone a female version of you to take home with me???? Oh wait..... I could never keep up with her....or you! LOL Kudos for having such an awesome meet up with your buds!

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MYLADY4 2/5/2012 12:30PM

    Music makes all the difference. Glad you had a great day.

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SASSYCHRIS1952 2/5/2012 10:49AM

    This blog is truly inspiring! Who DOESN'T like that music! emoticon emoticon Keep up the good work, glad you had a great day emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 2/5/2012 9:29AM

    Sounds like a fabulous day!

You are so right; it is important to stay in touch with family and friends. Just a call or a card can, any way to reconnect can change a day... a life.

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FERRETLOVER1 2/5/2012 9:24AM

    Sounds like you really had a great & productive day. It's always so great to connect & re-connect with current & old friends!

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L*I*T*A* 2/5/2012 8:10AM

    sounds like a very fruitful day all around...
enjoy your Sunday too....
cool idea to use your pools to walk instead of driving!!!
blessings and hugs.........lita

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SHIROIHANA 2/5/2012 6:49AM

    Wow! Great blog! I remember taking a spinning class where the sub instructor played my kind of music and I got an extra burst of energy. So I know what you mean! Do you also like Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf? That was one of the first songs on my Sansa. I used to have Kashmir but played it so much that it's on my reserve folder when it's time to switch to a different set of songs. Do you also listen to Hendrix? He also has lots of great songs to run to.

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VALERIEMAHA 2/4/2012 11:32PM

    What a spirited and wonderful story. All-in-all a great day! I'm so glad...you need a few'a those here and there to help push through bleaker times.

Whole in the Wall sounds like the perfect place for old friends to gather too!

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WATERMELLEN 2/4/2012 11:22PM

    Wow! Sounds like good times! I've been mostly moving office today -- started at 8 am, finished at 10 pm. Should be good to go on Monday . . . computer's humming, files all put away!!

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Putting the Hammer To It & Great Finger Lakes Bike Tour!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I've been on and off the nutrition tracker and of course paying for this by muddling along with my weight. Feeling a bit down on myself today, but somewhat more motivated after meeting with my fellow bike club members at today's annual meeting as so MANY of them are looking SO slim & trim here in the dead of winter! Fellas with bellies-no-more! And here I am doing same-old, same-old...argh!

Here I am chatting with everybody about my plans to do a multi-day cycling tour...yet feeling like a FRAUD with these extra pounds!

Gotta put the hammer to it and get as serious with the nutrition tracker and accountability with my food choices as I am with my workouts and exercise!

Spring Ain't Here Yet


...but it will be before you know it and I want to be ready to SPRING ahead and celebrate hitting the road again on my bike!

I gathered lots of information on my idea of cycling to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania as well as Plan B of heading north to the 1,000 Island area bordering Canada up north of the Adirondacks and even a smidgen of info on the rail-trail that connects Pittsburgh to Washington DC.

I also signed up for my third or fourth time at the Great Finger Lakes Bicycle Tour up around Watkins Glen and Keuka Lake wine country! This is a SUPER DEAL if anyone is interested in joining the fun! Our bike club sponsors and organizes this and offers a weekend of great cycling in June for only $75 (including meals!) if you camp, $85 if you stay in a cabin...which is always my choice...no camping for me, thank you...lol! I'll probably haul my guitar along for some fun.

Here is the link to more info and the form if you want to sign up for this wonderful weekend of fun:


It would be so cool to have share this with some members of my SparkFamily!


Updated thoughts: Thx everybody for your support. I've always been my own worst critic. While I *know* I'm not a fraud...sometimes I get to feeling that way when it seems like there is such a disconnect between grand plans and aspirations of cycling the globe over yet not shedding the pounds that would truly free myself up to do so!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 2/11/2012 2:57PM

    You are so hard on yourself, Don....I suppose all of us are our own worst critics, but this is one of the things I've chosen to leave behind, now. I would rake myself over the coals repeatedly for not living up to my own expectations, and it actually became a totally self-defeating thing, for me. I can't labor under the burden of any more guilt. I know all about feeling like a fraud...I have spent most of my life there, for one reason or another, and that is also what finally caused me to leave nursing. It all adds up to a total lack of self-confidence in your own abilities, and all that does is defeat you. I'm choosing to just plain live, now.....I work on each day, and leave it go at that. I don't worry about ***the big picture***, or the following day, or the following week. And if I have a day where I just wanna toss it out the window and enjoy pizza with my kids or cookies with my grandkids, I just do it now without viewing it as any kind of cosmic failure. I know that when a new day comes along, IF a new day comes along, that it will be a whole 'nother day to make better choices and then call it a day. And it's making those better choices for the vast majority of days that keeps you going, I think, just one day at a time.......and no guilt about the slight 'tumbles' here and there, 'cause we ALL have them. Hugs, sparky bud.

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ZELLAZM 2/3/2012 4:49AM

    Read your last couple of posts this morning and it does sound like a case of cabin fever along with frustration at your ST "wall" - learned a lot from reading other poster's comments, so thanks for sharing your dilemma so we could all benefit! ;)

Spring WILL come!

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LADYGWEN25 2/2/2012 4:03PM

    you'll get there DOn... I agree..we are always our own hard critics. Just tackle it one day at a time and we'll both be chasing each other around the Southern Tier..

BTW...those bike tours look AWESOME!

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JESPAH 2/1/2012 9:51AM

    Yanno something - the pounds - they are a pain in the patoot but they are not a fraud or any indication of anything, except maybe that you're not 16 years old anymore. Don't shweat it.

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DAVEINSEOUL 1/30/2012 11:04PM

    First - I really love the background pic as well.

Second - unfortunately, a little weight backsliding happens to all of us - it doesn't make you a 'fraud'. Just get back to the tracker (I fall off the use of the tracker far, far too often - always sets me back when I do this)

Third - your spring bike plans sound like soooo much fun! Should be motivators for you to shed those winter pounds!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 1/30/2012 9:26PM

    A fraud?? Oooh no far from it! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 1/30/2012 7:02PM

    Oh that "I'm a fraud" thingy . . . yeah, been there, struggle with it all the time. Can't get my weight to budge back down below 140 GRRRRRRR and it's annoying me.

But: you know we are NOT frauds, we are just human and we keep right on working it. I'm focusing on on my nutrition tracker a little more stringently too: gonna do my best to make February the month that sees middle 3 again!!

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GIRANIMAL 1/30/2012 3:53PM

    I know how you feel since I have a handful of pounds (and the flabby proof) creeping back on -- and that's while still biking! -- but trust me, you are no fraud, my friend! Winter is sometimes unkind to the best intentioned of us. But you are doing just fine because you are being mindful and accountable and as active as possible. Be nicer to my friend Don! emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 1/30/2012 11:38AM

    here are some definitions of your word fraud!

1. A deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain.
2. A piece of trickery; a trick.
a. One that defrauds; a cheat.
b. One who assumes a false pose; an impostor.

you are a work in progress and definetly not as you describe... it looks like many here agree........
all the best with your plans and sure you will reach your goals.......
blessings and hugs.......lita

m emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SHIROIHANA 1/30/2012 9:57AM

    You are no fraud. A fraud would not be attending his Spinning classes nor meeting his fellow bike club members all while calling himself a cyclist. A fraud's only means of cycling is 'pedaling' to the kitchen and back to the couch. The good news is that you are holding yourself accountable and know what to do to get out of this. Continue preparing for the bike tour, Don! You will rock this!

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BILL60 1/30/2012 7:42AM

    Best of luck with you nutrition and bike plans for the summer. Don't forget to consider RAGBRAI.

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VALERIEMAHA 1/30/2012 7:28AM

    I'm with FERRETLOVER 100% Don. Get ride of *that* word (not repeating it!). Maybe we can somehow encourage and call one another on staying with the food tracking. We KNOW beyond a doubt that IT IS THE KEY!

Your touring plans all sound awesome. GO YOU!!! Curious where the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania" is. Guess I'll have to google it. WOW! Dream on...on doing your local club's bike tour.

What smooth mellow Pat Metheny...the rhythms of spring. Gawd, they're having SUCH a good time.. Ahhhhhh....I was just about to say that it looked like UC Berkeley's Greek Theater where I saw him around that time..and then I saw it was Austria!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Hahahaha Freudian slip up there on the "ride" typo? Or...pun intended? LOL -- and NOW I see that Chris slipped in while I was writing with her crazy-fun humor. LOVE IT/HER!!!
Laughing is ESSENTIAL in this crazy life!
This is "laughing so hard I cried":

Comment edited on: 1/30/2012 7:34:02 AM

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PUDLECRAZY 1/30/2012 7:20AM

    Oooh, yes! Haul that guitar along! emoticon

You are NOT a frog! emoticon

Oh, you said FRAUD emoticon You are not one of those either.

Can't wait for spring and breaking out the bikes.

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FERRETLOVER1 1/30/2012 7:12AM

    First off, I have to tell you how much I LOVE your background picture!!

Now, on to your blog - you are NOT a fraud in any sense of the word, so take that word out of your vocabulary, Don!!

Comment edited on: 1/30/2012 7:12:49 AM

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Up Against The Wall...!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Just wondered if folks out there have any suggestions as although I've been really dedicated to my workouts I seem to have hit a wall over the past several months which has been frustrating.

My wall: I use the same amount of weights on my upper body / core strength training. I use most of the upper body / core exercises which are part of the Cybex VR-1 system at our fitness center:


I typically do strength training 3 times a week, 2 sets of 15 each with arm exercises, 2 sets of 20 on the abdominals & back extensions. Sometimes I'll throw a third set of 15 on top of them. But most times on the arm strength training I find myself having to back off a notch on the amount of weight I use.

My annoyance is that for all the weeks and months I've been doing this every time I do my strength training I find myself hitting the same wall: being just BARELY able to complete the last few reps of an exercise and sometimes on my 2nd set I even have to back off a notch on the amount of weight. I know it is important to increase the amount of weight one uses when you do strength training, but it just hasn't seemed possible for me. I'm sure doing the same-old, same-old is better than not doing it at all, however I'd like to get the most out of the time I invest in my strength training.

Similarly when I do cardio at the fitness center I do 30 mins. on the elliptical, usually the Octane 3700:


and 30 mins. on the upright stationary TrueFitness CS800 (sometimes rolling hills, sometimes hill intervals):


I find myself able to reach certain fitness numbers, i.e. distance, calories burned, etc. and just all SPENT, totally soaked & dripping with sweat and unable to push BEYOND those numbers. While I realize the calories burned is not accurate in the sense that they measure the actual number of calories that I've burned, but they are at least internally consistent as a means of measuring whether today's workout was better or worse than yesterday's.

I shake things up by going to Spinning class once, hopefully twice weekly and FINALLY got out for cross country skiing this past weekend. Once or twice a week I ditch the fitness center and opt for a fast walk / jog between offices or our local rail-trail for around 3-5 miles depending.

What do you think? Is this just hair-splitting and cabin fever leaking around the edges as I wait to hit the roads again with my bike? Should I just keep on keeping on and be satisfied with this? Or am I missing something that can make a difference in my workouts at the fitness center and bring greater rewards for my time and effort?

Appreciate any thoughts / feedback my wonderful SparkFamily may have!


PS...additional info: I never do my strength training on consecutive days, always a day in between. Despite all this have not been able to increase the weight I use for a LONG long time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 2/11/2012 2:49PM

    Wow, Don, did you get this worked out, I hope? I also have to go with BOBBYD....that is exactly the same thing my buddy, Derek, told me when he worked me up a weight routine, and he used to bodybuild professionally so seems to know his stuff. I never went beyond 12 reps in any of my workouts, tho. And he said that when I began noticing that it was fairly easy for me to do my routines, it was time to upgrade some. I only reached a certain point with it and never chose to go beyond, tho, so I was happy to just keep doing what I was doing, which I suppose is not a 'good' thing! LOL

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WATERMELLEN 1/30/2012 7:06PM

    Totally agree -- time for a tune up with the trainer. But I'm thinking the trainer is likely to tell you pretty much what BOBBYD thinks: that is, 8-10 reps rather than the 15 . . . and the "rest" weeks too.

Are you doing cardio first, then ST? Apparently that does help as well.

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ABURRIS2 1/28/2012 12:37PM

    Another suggestion is to change up your lifting occasionally by lowering the weight significantly and doing each set to muscle failure, perhaps stepping down the weight between sets if you need to.

It seems counter-intuitive but perhaps more rest days between workouts would help prepare for a leap forward.

You are an inspiration, Don!

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GIANNA345 1/27/2012 9:53PM

    Are you eating enough protein to build muscle? I've read that you need 1.5 grams per pound of ideal body weight. If not, you may be losing the muscle you are trying to build. The book I've been reading is called: "You are your own gym," by Mark Lauren and Joshua Clark.

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BOBBYD31 1/27/2012 8:19PM

    ok i think i can help here don.

* keep at 2 sets only per session
* you are at 15 rep per set, what you need to do is increase weight but reps drop down to 8-10 for 3-6 weeks then increase reps by 2 (10-12), your last 2 reps should be a struggle to get them up. once you build to 15 increase weight and reduce reps
* one week per month cut back ST sessions to max of 2

cut your cardio workout every 3rd week by 30-50%

reasons for the cut back is a recovery week for you body allowing the muscles to heal all the micro tears you cause when working out hard.

you should notice improvements in both areas in a short time

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PUDLECRAZY 1/27/2012 7:09PM

    Do they have a fitness trainer at the gym? I would check with someone there with this question. I just don't know the answer to that.

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FITLIFE6 1/27/2012 1:19PM

    It sounds like your body has adapted to your routine and might want to switch things up a bit.
For myself, using a stability ball or BOSU in my workouts have given me increases in my fitness level. Combining weight training while on ball or BOSU creates instability and forces more muscles to be involved ie bicep curls while seated on stability ball, lift a leg for extra fun - not easy!

If you've never used stability balls/BOSU you could see if your gym offers classes or maybe a PT could create a routine for you..

Try not to get frustrated and push for too much from yourself - there's a risk of overtraining there, and that would actually hinder strength gains.

Good luck!

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GUITARWOMAN 1/27/2012 12:19PM

    No expert here either.....

But, if the last few reps in weightlifting are just about impossible, that is the right amount of weight and repetition, as far as I know.

Are you taking days off between lifting sessions? The muscles need the recovery time.

I kind of had the thought that you may be doing too much.

But, talk to an expert, maybe see your doctor.


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AZIMAT 1/27/2012 12:04PM

    I would talk to an experienced trainer.

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SHIROIHANA 1/27/2012 10:54AM

    I was thinking the same thing as our fellow Sparkers. Is it because your body is exhausted and isn't going through change to prevent a breakdown? Maybe you can change things to trick your body. Good luck.

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L*I*T*A* 1/27/2012 10:19AM

    i have no real comments as i too have been sitting on a long plateau......
are there any trainers at your gym.....
perhaps speak to them for suggestions....
i say keep on keeping on.....
stick it out...i can relate your frustration....
all the best and hopefully someone here has your answers
blessings and hugs..............lita

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/27/2012 10:19:32 AM

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BECKYANNE1 1/27/2012 10:17AM

    I agree that maybe you're just doing too much. I just read an article on the web about this topic. I'm not sure where I found it though. To me, it always seems harder to workout indoors when your used to working out outside. I miss my long outside walks. The treadmill just doesn't do it for me. The advantage though is I've started running and can't wait to do it outside. Just don't beat yourself up. Change things up a bit and I'm sure it will get better.

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JLITT62 1/27/2012 9:49AM

    Having read about some of your workouts, it's actually crossed my mind that maybe you're simply doing too much. Just throwing out food for thought! Muscles get stronger during recovery, when they can repair themselves.

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SKINNYPOWELL1 1/27/2012 9:21AM

    WOW, you are doing a lot to keep busy during the no-biking season. I don't know alot about weighs but I do know from doing P90X that the last two or three reps of an exercise should be hard, and this sounds like your case - so to me...you're doing it right. And mixing up all the different forms of exercise is a good thing, muscle confusion...excellent. I would just keep on doing what you're doing - staying busy, mixing it up, working hard. I'm no expert and I would like to see what others suggest, to see if you are missing something, but I don't really think so. The only thing I can think is maybe you are NOT eating enough for all those calories you're burning - just throwing that out there, something to look at.

I'm sure you're probably suffering from a touch of cabin/spring fever amd Vitamin D withdrawls since you are such an outdoorsy kinda guy. Hang in there.

Comment edited on: 1/27/2012 9:21:51 AM

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Cutting my XCS Teeth!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Today turned out to be a pretty decent day!

Yesterday I was a bit gnarly and snarly when I was a little late calling in to reserve my spot for today's spinning class and by 11 am I was already shut out of the class and put on the alternate list! Sheesh!

But then Mother Nature came along and helped in more ways than one by dumping a few inches of snow on us and shaking loose enough from the spinning class that I was IN!

So that was the start of my day...nice to run into an old colleague of mine at the spin class too. I had helped her learn the social worker ropes up at the state psychiatric hospital way back when.

As usual I was a pretty soggy, smiling mess by the end of class and went on to take care of my upper body and core strength training.

On my mind throughout the morning was whether or not there was enough snow for me to at long last break in the cross country gear I bought used this past November.

Home for snow shoveling, out for a few errands and FINALLY! Off to the northern end of our local park where there are 3 or 4 soccer fields sprawled out. There are no groomed trails around our neck of the woods so I knew I'd have to bushwhack my own. Had some hassles getting one of my boots properly clicked into the bindings, but after some nuisance work on this I was OFF!

There was just enough to ski...a few scrapes here and there, but otherwise did all right! Only a couple tumbles as the skis wobbled a bit on top the snow knocking my balance off. Never really got to gliding along as well as I remembered doing in the past, but figure that was due to not having enough snow and the un-even skis with my bushwhacking efforts. I discovered re-tracking over my trails helped and could move along a little better then.

I think I'll stick to such venues till I feel a little more confident!

If only Mother Nature could be more helpful...mid-40s and rain showers on Monday will take this all out...sigh...

Between Spinning and XCS it's been one great day breaking out of my same-old, same-old routine! Feeling that good sore and tiredness that oughta spell a mighty fine night's sleep. :-)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 2/11/2012 2:26PM

    I gotta go with Giranimal on this one..... Somehow, 'gnarly and snarly' are not words I ever associate in my brain with thoughts of you! LMAO The weather here in Ohio has been ridiculous....sleet/freezing rain one day, then up in the 50's, then snow, then up in the 60's....O.....MY......GOD. I drive past the ski mountain every day going to work, and it's been rather vacant this year, for the first time since I can remember. But at least you can keep on spinnin'!

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DAVEINSEOUL 1/30/2012 11:11PM

    Oh man, XCS???? I'm all kinds of jealous - that's something you have to go three hours to do here :-(

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SHIROIHANA 1/24/2012 10:22PM

    It's great that you didn't let snow stop you. As the year progresses, less and less people will take spinning. My gym (24 Hr Fitness) lets people reserve in advance... I think you can pay $1 no more than 24 hrs away from the class start time. I don't know if all the clubs do this but the Saturday 8AM spinning class is one of their most popular classes (besides Zumba, which is always filled). Keep up the great work, you ball of energy!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 1/24/2012 10:03AM

    Sounds like you had quite the busy day. I can picture you bushwhacking and skiing. Rock on dude, you're my hero. emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 1/23/2012 9:16PM

    I simply cannot imagine you ever being gnarly or snarly! emoticon

I'm glad all your workout dreams came true!

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REDSHOES2011 1/23/2012 8:52AM

    Great to hear things turned out ok!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 1/22/2012 12:55PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon You have incredible energy, great job!

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BILL60 1/22/2012 7:37AM

    Sounds like fun. No such ventures in South Texas.

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JLITT62 1/22/2012 5:42AM

    Where the heck do you find the energy? After shoveling the driveway & running for 2 hrs - thank God for yaktrax - I was all ticketed out!

I'd be more than happy to send all our snow for the rest of the yr your way. If only I could.

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WOLFKITTY 1/21/2012 9:54PM

    I'm sore, too, and ready to go to bed. Is before 7 too early?! LOL!
Take care!
Sounds like fun,

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GR8CATSBY 1/21/2012 9:53PM

    Glad you got to enjoy the snow!

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L*I*T*A* 1/21/2012 8:28PM

    our winter has just been washed away......
enjoy what you have......
blessings and hugs...........lita

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WATERMELLEN 1/21/2012 7:43PM

    This sounds like a great start!! I had a little tumble today myself on a down hill stretch when I . . . lost my balance!! But no biggy: back up and at it.

Re gliding: did you have the right wax? Glide and grip? It's that kick/pull thing . . . planting the pole and pulling forward while kicking with the opposite foot . . .

So happy that you got out . . . hope there's lots more this winter.

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Sharing | Just DANCE!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

As I near my first year of membership at the Riverwalk Athletic Center I've come to realize something: since I began last February I missed out on all the "fun" of dealing with the busiest month of the year at the fitness center: JANUARY!

The place has been SWARMING with new & old members and it's been a challenge to get on my favorite equipment (stationary bikes) and into my Spinning classes. Last winter I could just show up for Spinning class...no problem! NOW? I learned the hard way this past Sat. that you have to sign up no sooner than 24 hours in advance of the class because there just AREN'T any no-shows or empty spots you can take advantage of. While I'm pleased to see so many folks tuned into working out I have to admit to more than my share of grumbling over "sharing"...lol!

So now? I've got cell phone and e-mail reminders to SIGN UP for those classes! Hoping to get to two Spinning classes each week instead of just the Sat. and add Monday too...although there are other times, they just don't work for me (5:30 A.M.? forgeddaboudit!).

Swing Dance: I did better than I thought I would @ Swing Dance last night. It's been a month or so since I'd been there. Felt like I had Alzheimer's: basic stuff like "inside" and "outside" turns...? Um, yeah, did those once upon a time...! At least it comes back to me a little more quickly and I'm hoping to have a way to remember: hold my partner's hand up over her right shoulder for the outside turn, left shoulder for the inside turn.

The hardest part? After the initial 45 min. lesson where partners swap around a lot and the lesson is over the dance floor opens wide up and anybody can dance with anybody. So it's up to me to take the plunge and ask someone to dance. Such a simple thing. The club does a wonderful job to promote a VERY laid back, accepting atmosphere. People of ALL ages, sizes, dressed to the nines or jeans and t-shirt...yet inside I'm a jumble of doubt and self-criticism and have to PUSH through that crud to just "ask". Nary a rejection EVER on that dance floor...! I've seen myself at times just be a wallflower without asking a single person for a dance, yet refusing to leave because I know I want to be out on that dance floor just like everyone else!

Last night I was successful in asking for a dance four times. A good night! Hoping for better ones yet to come! To be able to just tune into my natural love of the music, the rhythm and just DANCE!

I'll share again for the benefit of those living in the Southern Tier:

The Southern Tier Swing Dance Society


"Our main activity is a weekly Tuesday night dance, which is held above Rexer's Karate Academy on Washington Avenue in Endicott. The beginners lesson goes from 7:30-8:15, open dance starts at 8:15 and goes until 10:30. All of our events are smoke- and alcohol-free and are open to all ages. We also sponsor live band dances, and our members present a number of swing demonstrations at various local events.

There are several varieties of swing dance that our members like to do. This includes: Jitterbug (East Coast Swing), West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, and Hustle. Our music selections are designed to support this swing dance mix. You will occasionally hear a Cha-Cha or a Waltz, but almost all of our music is aimed at one or more forms of swing.

It is not necessary to know how to dance to attend our dances. We hope newcomers will join us and we provide a beginner Jitterbug lesson at the start of each dance. Dancers can take our beginner lesson as often as they like, and indeed, it is helpful to beginners to have more experienced dancers in the class. We encourage our dancers to become more advanced by taking swing dance classes elsewhere, and we provide information on outside classes and workshops that we are aware of, including those in other towns, such as Ithaca and Syracuse.

It is also not necessary to have a partner to attend our events. We change partners during our classes, and most swing dancers like to dance with many different partners in the course of the evening. We strive to create a friendly atmosphere, where dancers of different levels feel comfortable mixing and asking others to dance. Also, in the swing world, it is common and welcomed, for women to ask men to dance.

Dress is very casual at our events. We ask people to bring clean, soft-soled, non-marking shoes to both protect the dance floor and facilitate your dancing (especially spins and turns).

We ask for a $3.00 donation for admission. Most of the money that we collect goes for the weekly rent for our dance location. Our other expenses include insurance, CDs and tapes, equipment, advertising, and the expenses of our other events. All of our events are organized and run by VOLUNTEERS, and no one is paid for her/his S.T.S.D.S. work."

No smoking, no drinking, just folks looking to have a night of good, clean fun!

I also hear great things about the Salsa Music Appreciation Club in our area:


I plan to check 'em out once I get this Swing Dance down better. I don't want to confuse my dances just yet...lol!

And here's a suggestion for those of you NOT living in the Southern Tier: You may have similar organizations in YOUR community to check out! Google it!

And just DANCE! :-)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHIROIHANA 1/24/2012 10:24PM

    This sounds like so much fun! I never took a dancing class, should give it a try sometime.

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SASSYCHRIS1952 1/22/2012 12:51PM

    The dancing sounds like alot of fun! That is one of my favorite ways to exercise emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 1/21/2012 7:26PM

    Glad you got a little skiing in before it all melts again. This has certainly been an odd winter with the temperature fluctuations.

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LUVS2BIKE101 1/21/2012 4:49PM

    Wow! What confidence! Such a great feeling to succeed in stepping out of your comfort zone, isn't it?

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SCOOTERGIRLOZ 1/21/2012 2:47AM

    Hi Don,

I think your Swing Dance club is terrific. So much fun and experience in a healthy environment for so little money. If I lived there, I would be asking you to give me a twirl every chance you are free.

After watching the homepage video on your club's website, I am wondering if Rock n Roll dancing is a type of Swing? See http://www.footlooserockers.c

Scootergirl in Oz

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GIRANIMAL 1/19/2012 5:48PM

    Thanks for the reminder! My BF and I met at our favorite club, but as you can imagine over several years we hardly go anymore. (We joke: "Why? I'm not looking to pick someone up anymore!"LOL) But we went once rather last minute and had a BLAST dancing for hours. And I noticed I wasn't out of breath and feeling like I would pas out anymore! How's that for fitness. emoticon

emoticon these two need to be dancing! emoticon

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JLITT62 1/19/2012 12:50PM

    So much easier to be female. I'm sure there are gals asking guys, but it's still expected to be the other way around. Kudos to you for conquering that fear!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 1/19/2012 7:39AM

    Dancing sure burns up the calories fast, good job in keeping moving and having a blast while you're doing it. We have a place similar to what you've described here, my sis used to go regularly, but I'm a big chicken with two left feet.

About your gym being overcrowded...give it till mid February and it will be back to normal, sad but true. So many ppl make new years resolutions and by Feb they give up.

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WATERMELLEN 1/18/2012 7:32PM

    I have been reading about "contra" dancing, not yet available in my town but apparently very popular in the bigger cities -- all inclusive too.

Don, you are clearly just a very very nice person (and also handsome I could add) that it's impossible for me to believe people would not welcome your invitation to dance. Really!!

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PUDLECRAZY 1/18/2012 6:44PM

    Way to go, Don! That sounds like SO much fun and you really put yourself out there going out of your comfort zone and asking people to dance.


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    Good going on the asking!

I appreciate your comments on my blog. For many years, I have tried different ways to get into the vegetarian act. Have done lacto- and ovo- in the past, so really do understand this new choice. One of the SP coaches likes flexitarian, which works for many and I called myself that for a number of years too! Whatever works works and so going all out is just where the progression had led me. For the time-being, anyways.

I do love your blogs! The Fat Trap blog was interesting and, I must admit, kind of grieved me for a few days. I'm okay now, really. The truth sometimes hurts and I do hate fighting with the weight!!! But it's the way it is and I am making much better choices now than I ever did before SP.

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WOLFKITTY 1/18/2012 1:20PM

    SWING DANCING?!??!!?

Sounds like you had fun!

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DARK_CINDERELLA 1/18/2012 12:59PM

    We actually have a salsa club in Pittsburgh that does this every week. My husband and I have only made it to one (pesky nursing/travel schedules), but it's an amazing time.

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L*I*T*A* 1/18/2012 12:37PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TOOTHFUL99 1/18/2012 12:21PM

    Sounds like a fun time! I give you a lot of credit. I'm more the wallflower, even at weddings.

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FRECKS96 1/18/2012 11:47AM

    Awesome! I did a little swing dancing in clooege and loved it. I should check it out sometime.

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PIGSOFGREEN 1/18/2012 11:07AM

    Awww this makes me miss Swing - I took classes in high school! There's a place near me that does a similar weekly thing...perhaps hubs and I should start going!!

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RAINBOWFALLS 1/18/2012 10:45AM

    Wow - that sounds like such fun. I love music and I love to watch people dance and always wished I had the grace. There may come a day when my feet actually are capable of all those fun things. At the moment a nice walk would be nice. I so miss them. Hopefully by spring I will be able to walk a distance again.

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VALERIEMAHA 1/18/2012 10:42AM

    You make my heart dance!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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