Sunday, July 03, 2011
I love going fast...really, really fast. And that's the joy that bicycling gives me when I really get in the groove....like today.
As some of you know, I was an adult onset runner, coming to enjoy distance running late in life (trained and ran my first marathon at 48). After last December's surgery, the doc said to wait a year before even thinking about running and even then, to tone it down some.
So I joined another tribe, the tribe of cyclists, to make sure I had a good aerobic outlet. Like running, it's an awesome workout; each is dependent on muscle to get you moving under your own locomotion.
But what a difference in speed! On my best day, with good music, I could eke out a 7:00 minute mile...for about a mile. On a good bike day, with the wind to my back, I can pedal up to 25 MPH and that's on a flat & level road, forget about going down hills.
Today was a blast! I had the right music mix (a very nice "speed" tune, for running or biking, is "Buster Voodoo" a flamenco guitar mix by a couple called Rodrigo y Gabriela...I dare you to run or bike slow while listening to them!) It was typically hot & muggy here in the panhandle, but the key is to keep going fast to have the wind cool you down.
And fast it was today....what a great feeling! I've got a couple of nice routes I've developed that take me down some scenic paths, a few good hills to climb, and the occasional radar detector that I love to see flashing telling me I'm exceeding the 20 MPH speed limit!
Maybe it's just me, but I get an almost primal feeling of satisfaction pushing it up like that. It must be what a cheetah feels like when it lunges out of the tall grass at some unsuspecting ungulate. At one point I felt ready to jump off my bike and sink my teeth into a jack rabbit that bounded across the bike path. Instead I just let out a growl and pedaled even faster.
I'm almost at the point where I need to start setting some bike goals. So far it's been mostly for fun, kind of calibrating myself, gauging what my comfort zones are for time & distance. I know that if I don't set a mark on the wall that I'll just hang out comfortably under the bell curve. So I'm contemplating....I'd like to get toughened up enough to ride for 2-3 hours, something in the 30-45 mile mark, maybe even 50 in the coming months, we'll see. Right now, I get all sorts of aches after about 60-80 minutes.
Anyway, that's all for now, #2 son and I are going to see the new Transformers movie in a little bit.
Good night Spark friends!
Saturday, July 02, 2011
My God, is it true....I really haven't blogged in a week! Good golly, Miss Molly, that's how it starts....the slow, insidious process of veering off track.
But fear not intrepid readers, I've been on Spark People every day, logging food, aerobic points, strength training, updating my status, "Liking" your various feeds....I believe what I did is called "lurking".
I haven't been active, and being active on Spark People is the fun part. "But why haven't you been active?" you may rightly ask. "Surely you have been busy in the past? Those never-ending road trips that take you hither and thither across this great land, but still you blogged and logged, encouraged and shared? Why stop now?"
And you'd be absolutely right Spark friends! The reason I have not spent time on the boards is because I have been driving myself crazy. All sorts of crazy about what should be the simplest of things....a family vacation.
You see I lead a pretty large organization, make tons of decisions all day and all week on everything from finances to security to testing, blah, blah, blah, but planning a vacation for a family of 3....well it's been eating my lunch.
A few weeks ago, I had conducted a minor coup and blogged about how I got SWMBO and #2 son to agree to go on an Alaska cruise ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4309328 ). Well soon they started a low-level insurgency and before I knew it, mounted a counter-revolution and toppled my weakened Alaskan regime. She wants to go to Oklahoma (her mom is there) and he wants to go to Six Flags in Atlanta.
"STOP!" I shouted. "You lumpen proletariat masses don't know what's good for you! You need strong central leadership. This people's revolution is doomed to failure unless we have a firm plan."
I gained some breathing room as I divided their forces, exposing the contradictions in their vacation dialectic....how could we possibly go to Oklahoma AND Atlanta?
"Dear wife, I love you passionately, but Oklahoma in August? Really? It's 100+ degrees of sun and winds that come roaring down the plains. Young son, Six Flags in Atlanta is it? Humidity, crowded parks, screaming kids...is this your dream vacation?"
I worked fast and furious to keep up the momentum as I strove for the union of analysis and synthesis.
“OK, so you’re worried about the cruise. Small room, heavy price tag (this late in the season, they had limited good deals and I was paying out the nose for a 300 ft/sq cabin with a balcony), might be too cold in August, I get it. But open your eyes people, there’s so much to do and see in this great land….just give me a few days”
They put down their pitchforks and torches, turning back to plow their peasant fields while I adjusted our new 5-year plan. I had a few more days before they stormed the Bastille again.
So every night this week, after work, the gym, and dinner, normally my time to get caught up on SparkPeople, I’ve been surfing the USA, literally, looking up vacation spots; National Parks, Mountain Lodges, Spa Resorts, Cross-Country train rides from Puget Sound to Nova Scotia, Buddhist Retreats (OK, I’m joking about that last one...but maybe I just need to renounce this world and go meditate alone somewhere).
You see we live on the beach, I mean right on the water here in Ft. Walton, so we don’t need a sea-side vacation. The only thing I want is some cool, dry weather. And here’s the kicker….everywhere I looked, I demanded that they have a high quality gym! What a concept…all due to good Spark living!
So by Wednesday, I was going totally bonkers, just not coming up with anything, so I asked my secretary, who takes 2 big vacations a year (Trans-Atlantic, cruising down the Rhine Valley type vacations) to hook me up with a good travel agent. She did and I spent a good 45 minutes talking to her about what we needed and what we were looking for. She did pretty good, but somehow, nothing was clicking for me (A resort in Scottsdale, AZ….too hot; a Mountain Lodge in Telluride, CO…too isolated), Finally, I told her thanks, but let me have you plan next year’s vacation and took matters back into my own hands and picked….Santa Fe, NM!
It turns out I have enough accumulated airline miles that I can fly the three of us out there and get a hotel for a week for nothing, so I pulled the trigger on the airline tickets today, rented us a nice big 1000 ft/sq one-bedroom place we can sprawl out in, then surfed all morning till I found a local “boutique” travel agent/concierge in Santa Fe and told her I needed some serious trip & itinerary planning, with a few historic tours, some good New Mexican restaurants, a spa or 2 for SWMBO, a jeep tour of some scenic spots, and maybe even a Balloon ride or helicopter tour (this will be a surprise and may still spark a peasant revolt, but with the money I saved on the plane & hotel, I’m willing to splurge). We talked for about an hour and turns out she and I are pretty simpatico on what I’m looking for and what she can provide, so this will be a first where I actually pay for some professional tour help. But hey, like any good dictator, I’m willing to spend money to keep the bourgeoisie happy when they harbor counter-revolutionary sympathies.
Well too long a blog about “stuff”, but that’s what’s been going on with me….not an excuse, just me getting caught back up with good friends…in the future, I’ll be shorter and more frequent, you don’t need to hear a dissertation on Marxian dialectical materialism!
Sic semper tyrannis!
Good night Spark Friends!
Friday, June 24, 2011
So I was at the gym early this morning, and while I was there, I cruised by the admin office and on a whim asked them to measure me up some.
I was pretty flabbergasted to tape in at 35" on the waist measurement! Pretty darn cool I tell you. In December, I was 38"
My goal is 34" (actually 32 would be uber-cool). So while my weight is on a slow but steady decline (186+ this AM) I am quite a bit happier with the tape-measure than the scale-measure. As a matter of fact, if the scale stayed the same, but the the tape measure keeps constricting, I would be just damn fine with that!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
So it has come to this....I scamper off during my one-hour lunch break to wolf down a healthy lunch salad (details below....I know you can't wait) and to blog about the experience on Sparkpeople.
Truly, I am a sick man!
As usual, a fairly busy schedule while I'm on the road. Days start around 7:00 AM getting ready for meetings, a full schedule all day and we get over around 6:00 PM. Today I hightail it to the airport when we're done so I can catch a 7:30 flight back home.
I'll admit I haven't worked out this trip. Last night, after getting changed back at the hotel and checking in with SWMBO, I said screw it and went to go see Super 8 in IMAX (very nice flick btw).
But I have eaten well. Stocked up on a few things for the room fridge so I could eat healthy at night (bags o' salad, Makoto ginger dressing, fruit, microwave veggies, yogurt.) This morning I noticed I still had 2 bags o' salad, some dressing, and fruit. Should I throw it all away (I had to check out of the hotel in the AM)? Well, I am philosophically opposed to waste (normally a good thing, but this also causes me to clean off full plates of food, and, in the past, eat leftover food from the kids' plates....but no more!), so I chucked it all in the hotel's plastic laundry bag, stuck it in a fridge by the conference room I'm in all day, and voila, instant lunch during my break while everyone else goes out for pizza.
So the sick part is that I can think of no better way to spend my lunchbreak than digging into this salad, logging my nutrition points, and blogging about the experience, while simultaneously being extra careful to not spill dressing on this public computer's keyboard. Very odd really, I couldn't explain this to any of the people I'm here with.
But that's OK, 'cause while they're all coming back 800-1000 calories heavier, I, even with a generous 4 tablespoons of Makoto, will come back refreshed and recharged with less than 200 calories of leafy greens and ginger dressing.
That's worth blogging about!
Talk to you tomorrow Spark friends!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Well this was a very nice Father's Day. At times relaxing, at times busy, good family time (even though I had to spend an hour on the phone for work), then a nice dinner on the patio, and the inklings of an idea that got my creative planning juices going which could make this one hell of a nice summer.
That's right, I'm talking about a cruise....a cruise to Alaska! But first, a recap of the weekend.
After 20-something guy showed me a pretty neat 12-mile bike loop on Friday, I decided to try it out on my own Saturday. However, just as I pedaled out the driveway yesterday AM, my new neighbor across the street (40-something guy) was out there in his neon-yellow cycling gear about to brave it alone. So we circled each other cautiously on our carbon-framed cycling machines, exchanged pleasantries while sizing up each others' gear and regalia, then simultaneously said, "let's do it!"
It was actually a very nice ride. He took me on a route near our neighborhood where the sheriff had planted some mobile radar trailers. So, like kids, we'd speed up to see how fast we could get it to flash (23 MPH was the record on a straightaway). It was a pretty decent ride, enough to have me drinking water like crazy the rest of the day.
Last night, another of the neighbors had a deck party (this is turning into a very social neighborhood), where we ate pretty light (SWMBO had made a big vat of tabbouleh, laced with parsley, garlic, and lemon....we left half of it home for today). Ate light that is until the cute, chubby hostess brought out her home-made peanut butter ice cream, laced with hunks of dark chocolate! Good thing we did speed work on the bikes!
But that was yesterday. This morning I got out for a nice leisurely ride alone. I enjoy the solitude of riding, so this was good. I like company, that feeds my competitive side and contributes to a good hard workout. For Father's Day though, it was just me, so I rode slower and went a little longer.
Came home, showered up & shaved, had a nice big bowl of leftover tabbouleh and finished hanging some of the larger pictures in the living and dining rooms. As SWMBO and I went over calendars for this week (I'm on the road back to Norfolk, VA tomorrow) I told her that the earliest I could take any vacation this summer was the first week of Aug. She said, "well hell, we live right on the beach with white sands and emerald green water, what should we do?" Of course, #2 son chimed in and said, "Why don't we go back to Hawaii?" (we spent Christmas of 2009 on Oahu)
"No, we should see some more of this great land," I said in my best Atticus Finch voice gazing down upon him.
SWMBO and #2 son got worried looks on their faces and clamored in unison, "Like where?"
"Well scouts, I'm thinking somewhere cool & dry. Montana perhaps, Yellowstone park, or maybe Nova Scotia....wait a minute.....what about....Alaska!"
They looked at each other, then at their shoes. #2 son asked, "what's wrong with Hawaii? It's pretty cool there."
You see, Spark friends, your friendly blogger has wanted to go on a cruise for years. We came real close in 2005. I finally talked the family into it (#1 son was still at home then. You wouldn't believe how they resisted me on this...that's for another blog though.) We planned it, researched the ships, sat down with a travel agent, and in Aug 2005, booked 2 very nice side-by-side rooms for a XMAS cruise down to South America.
2 weeks later, the travel agent called me and said, "Sir, all ocean going vessels have been commandeered by Military Sealift Command to aid in the Katrina relief efforts. Your ship is one of them, so we'll have to refund your tickets" Arrggghhh! (even 6 years later, I feel Katrina's pain)
So today, Father's Day, was the perfect opening to resurrect this long forgotten dream. What, they're going to tell me "No" on Father's Day? I think not!
So I had a blast this afternoon, looking up ships, reading reviews, planning the dates (it could be tight with my work schedule). I sent out a few e-mails to some recommended travel agents (of course they're all closed on Sunday). I think I'm going to need the help. I don't have the time to plan this in detail and if we get a dud cruise ship or cruise line, I'm a dead man with the family, so it HAS TO BE GOOD!
More to follow...this is going to be a fast moving train.
Good night Spark friends....and Happy Father's Day to all Dads out there!
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