Tuesday, July 05, 2011
So my boss came in to town tonight from Las Vegas, so I took him out to dinner with a few of my division chiefs to a local restaurant where I'm good friends with the owner.
What amazing progress I have made in 6 months!
As I look back at my blogs from Jan & Feb, I see how anxiety ridden I was going out for these big hooplah dinners. Tonight, same restaurant, same menu, same cook (my friend, the owner) and I'm perfectly comfortable ordering light items off the menu, no compulsion to wolf down appetizers or bread (well I did have a calamari from the appetizer tray we all passed around), I'm OK taking a few bites of his exquisite twice-baked potatoes, and enjoying a plate of broiled scallops and grilled veggies.
My colleagues are ordering cheese-smothered Veal Parmigiana:
Artery clogging Fettuccine Alfredo,
and White Sauce-laden chickens.
Me, I'm taking my time enjoying cutting those nicely grilled scallops, savoring almost a dozen at maybe 200 calories tops, telling stories and enjoying the fact that I can walk out of that restaurant with my head held high, and knowing my pants will still sag on my way out the door.
So here's to good Spark living and progress from a life of anxiety to smart eating even in tough social settings
Thanks and good night Spark friends!
Monday, July 04, 2011
OK, OK, so 2 days in a row I'm going to blog about bicycling....I'm excited, what more can I say.
Here's the deal, bicycling for me is such an enjoyable workout. I loved running, but for me, running was always about timing, distance, and endurance. If I was a minute or 2 longer on a 5-mile run, I'd look all over for reasons why. I'm a stats geek, so after every run, I'd plug the Garmin into the computer, pull up Google Earth. and start comparing heart rate vs. distance, avg speed, mileage this week vs mileage last week....I really goobered out. My runs were very structured; I had to be on pace passing certain landmarks, kick up the speed at certain distances (or when the right tunes kicked in)
I do the same on the bike, but with much less concern (for now anyway) for the numbers. I've got the same Garmin 350 strapped to the handlebars and get heart rate readings from the monitor. I like to keep my pedal cadence above 80 RPM, and every now and then like to max out the speed, but that's about it.
Today I rode out 10 miles to a local bike store, shot the breeze with the tattooed, granola-eating 20-somethings for a little while as I perused their wares (I'm also a gear junkie), then clipped back in and rode home. All in all a nice 80 minute workout, with a 30 minute break at the store in between. I never took a break while I was running...God forbid I do anything to bring down my pace!
So biking is an enjoyable, dare I say "recreational", workout for me. And the time flies! I can knock out 60-80 aerobic minutes in what seems like no time at all whereas 30-40 minutes on a stationary bike is all my brain can handle. But outdoors, BAM! Rack up those aerobic minutes!
Which is very good, because tonight SWMBO is grilling burgers on the patio....I might need to ride to the gym to go lift tonight as well!
Happy 4th of July Spark friends!
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!
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