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Travel Misadventures

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Well this was a wild and wacky travel week! Actually it mostly went pretty well....a few minor hiccups....and a major snafu at the end.

Nutrition went pretty well....a little too much Mexican/New Mexican in Albuquerque. No green smoothies though....I couldn't take the blender with me this time.

Got in a lot of workouts....except I only did 5 days of push-ups!!! I totally FORGOT to do them Friday (for reasons detailed below)

Friday was another long day. Had breakfast at the hotel, then went to my meetings in St Louis. These went from 8:00 AM to noon, then I had to scoot to the airport to make a 1:15 flight out (my meetings were right near the airport)

I should have taken it as a bad travel omen when the guy in front of me through the body scanner was escorted out after TSA found a swiss army knife on him!

I got through fine (no swiss army knife), got the first class upgrade and got in some good reading on the leg from St Louis to Atlanta. Plugged in my Tabata Interval music and decided to power walk through the tunnels in Atlanta-Hartsfield from terminal D to terminal A. Grabbed a cup of coffee enroute to the gate....saw that I got the upgrade again, and I was feeling just fine.

Then the Kayak trip alerts started coming in on my iPhone.

"Delta flight XXXX is delayed....."

They did this 2 more times, then over the loudspeaker, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Delta flight XXXX is cancelled due to maintenance, the Delta Counter by gate XX will be able to re-book you"

There was a collective, audible "Ohhhhh Nooooo!!!" from the assembled crowd. One distraught woman went postal on the hapless gate agent, yelling at her, "why did you wait an HOUR to cancel and tell us now!!!!"

I saw the lines forming and said screw it. I huddled with the crowd that whipped out their phones calling Delta to get booked on the next flight.

AGENT: "Sir, both the 7:30 and 10:00 PM flights are over-booked"

ME: "OK, book me on an American or Jetblue flight"

Whirr, whirr, click, click

AGENT: "Sir they are all booked as well. I can get you out on a Delta flight at 10:00 tomorrow"

ME: "10:00 AM?"

AGENT: "No sir, 10:00 PM, everything else is booked"

ME: "You're bagging me? I can walk to Florida dragging my rollaboard and get there before that"

AGENT: "Yes, sir, unfortunately with spring break, many of our flights are full. Would you like me to look at flights in to Pensacola or Panama City?"

ME: "Sure, what have you got?"

AGENT: "Hmmmm, let's see. Pensacola is all booked for tonight....So is Panama City. I can get you on standby to Dothan, AL?"

ME: "Where the hell is that? Standby? Never mind, tell you what, cancel this leg, I'll get home on my own....we'll work the refund later!'

So I called Avis, booked a one-way rental to Ft Walton Beach and hit the road 20 minutes later. All good.

Till I came to a standstill half way to Montgomery, AL with a 20 mile long pile-up from multiple accidents up the road! (note for drivers....Waze is a pretty cool GPS driving app....Waze users can put in updates and warnings on everything from traffic jams to State Trooper speed traps)

Apparently a couple of trucks had over-turned in the storms that blew past yesterday. I was stuck there almost an hour. I pulled the Kindle out of my bag and started reading after I called SWMBO to tell her not to expect me till midnight.

It was then that I realized I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, except for a couple of bags of peanuts and an apple on the flight. I scanned the cars around me looking around for a Domino's delivery car stuck in traffic that I could luck!

Anyway I made it home just before midnight....pulled in to a Loves truckstop and grabbed a Cliff Bar and some water once traffic started moving again. 375 miles later, I rolled in to our driveway at home.

But it's all good....I'd rather do that than be stuck an extra day in Atlanta. And not checking a bag always.

I've got to go in to the office to finish up a bunch of reports tomorrow....then Monday it's off to Virginia Beach for a few days.

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I feel your pain! I'm waiting until I actually make it home before sharing my travel misadventures under the certain knowledge that if I say anything specific now I will not make it home as planned Saturday. And oddly enough, I fly Delta. Pray for me.

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    Ohhhh you made me laugh so much!!! "You're bagging me? I can walk to Florida dragging my rollaboard and get there before that" emoticon
I am glad you got home safely at the end!

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HEALTHIERKEN 4/2/2012 12:24AM

    Always marvel at your adventures! Way to deal with "stuff" : )


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SHERYL_B 4/1/2012 7:24PM

    Way to keep your head and struggle through. You need to remember to keep some bars in your bag!!

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SAFARIBABE 4/1/2012 1:22PM

    WTG!! I probably would have been going ballistic! Now that I find myself on the road...have a question for DO you adjust to all the different equipment at all the gyms you use? The bike here in Paris is very strange....AND in French! I miss MY bike at my gym! Welcome home! Enjoy the movie!

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HAKAPES 4/1/2012 4:09AM

    I was laughing throughout! What a day. So in the end your calorie intake was withing the budget?

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KAYZAKCX 4/1/2012 1:15AM

    As I read your blog, I was watching Apollo 13. Coincidence? Glad you made home in one piece.

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NEPTUNE1939 3/31/2012 11:57PM

    You will do well. You have a sense of humor where many would get rattled and took charge of your own fate. Great thinking! In my military days our motto was "When the going gets tough the tough get going". To this day I still live that way. Stay strong, stay healthy, Earl

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I Love my Heart Rate Monitor!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

SWMBO tells me that, as sentient beings, we cannot love inanimate objects.

Yet I have this powerful feeling, this strange attraction, affection it definitely feels a lot like love....for my heart rate monitor. I mean, if I can't love something that is so close to my heart, what then is love?

So usually, as I drive over to the gym, I glance down at my HRM to see what my heart rate is before working out. I've usually got a resting heart rate of between 55-60. Today it was around 72 or so. Hmmm? Well we had a long day of meetings, but they went real well (Fantastic actually!), but nothing to get antsy about.

Then I went to warm up on the elliptical before ST, and wham! My HR rockets up to about 130 within a minute. It usually take 10 minutes or so to get past 120.

What the hell?!?

This has been going on since Tuesday when I arrived here in Albuquerque.

Well today as I walked out the gym, I got a phone call, and as I putzed around the parking lot, I looked up and saw:


I finished up the phone call, tapped on my Theodolite app, and there it was!

I'm up at 5,290 ft!!! To hell with Denver, Albuquerque is 10 feet higher than a mile! No wonder my HR is up. Mystery solved!!

Here's the other reason I love my HRM. Your trusted author is only human, and sometimes gets tired during workouts. When I do, I usually look down at my HRM and voila! The reason I'm feeling winded is because I'm about 10-20 beats over my zone.....ease it up a bit.....HR comes down 10-20 beats....Bam, I'm back in the groove and can just keep going and going.

Now lest you say, "Yeah, but those HR handles on the machines measure your heart rate too, so there," let me tell you, "Bull-loney!"

Most all of these machines will read a Polar HR monitor, and will favor the reading from a chest strap over the handle grips.

Well the one I was on today, favored the hand grips over the Polar strap. When I let go, it gave me the same reading as on my watch, but when I gripped those aluminum handles, it consistently read about 10-15 beats lower!

So maybe this kind of love appeals only to a data-hoarding marauder like myself, but in the end, the heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TATYPREZ 5/5/2012 10:15AM

    Love it! I noticed on the machines it says my heart rate is higher and I am burning more calories. Probably because like a lot of people it thinks fat=out of shape. Not that I'm in shape but my endurance is way higher than your average 198 pound person. :) Thanks for sharing my love!

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HEALTHIERKEN 3/31/2012 12:42AM

    yep. *love* hard data for stuff like HR and (sigh) weight. I know, I know, non-scale indicators of success are important too, more important in real life, but I LIKE DATA : )

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SAFARIBABE 3/29/2012 6:11AM

    Go figure YOU love a gadget!! I really have to start using one of these. I have been relying on the ones on the machines. I know, I know! Bad Girl!! WTG on being a smart cookie and figuring out the altitude issue! Congrats on your meeting!

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CLAIREINPARIS 3/29/2012 2:09AM

    Wow, this is so interesting! The 'mystery solved' about Albuquerque being higher makes sense but I would neve have thought about that.
It seems to me this is a very good and useful love in your life! emoticon

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SHERYL_B 3/29/2012 12:24AM

    I haven't gotten into the habit of using my hrm even though I have one. I need to work on that.

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    mmhmm, I love my HRM too. Alas, as the weight goes the amount of calories I burn drops. Therefore, it's currently a bit of a disappointment at the end of my classes or runs as I'm not hitting the 'high' caloric burns anymore. LOL But it's good :)

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

So If I had to pin down the biggest change in my thinking since joining Sparkpeople, I'd have to say that today, I look for opportunities to workout. Before, working out was something I "had to do". Now it's something I look for openings where I "get to work out"

It's subtle, but that little mental shift has made a huge's how.

Sunday I got stuck at the airport waiting for my flight from Ft Walton Beach, through Atlanta, to Salt Lake City. Around 11:00 AM, my Kayak Trip Alerts starts pinging the phone, "Flight XXXX is delayed 10 minutes.....20 minutes.....1 hour"

I'm hanging out in the lounge, haven't gone through TSA yet, watching as I miss my first connection. I get the Delta Skymiles guy on the phone. "Hey dude, can you get me to Salt Lake tonight or not?"

"Well, let's see, I can get you to Atlanta at 3:00, and your flight to Salt Lake City departs at 9:30 PM, or I can get you to Atlanta at 7:00 and you can make the same flight out"

Hmmmm......what to do? Hang out at the airport here or in Atlanta-Hartsfield, home of the 1000 calorie fast food jungle? Hang out here, or......hang out here, go to the gym, catch the later flight, get in to Salt Lake at midnight!

Go the gym!!!

Printed out my boarding pass, did the mental math on no later than departure from the gym to get back, park, go through TSA, etc....I had 90 good minutes to work out, shower, & get back in the car.

Oh yeah, I GOT HIS!!!

So that all worked out good.....I wasn't about to let friggin' Delta screw up my healthy living plans!

But then, of course, Mother Nature tried to......

I get in to SLC after midnight and it was after 1:00 AM (Mt Time!) by the time I got to bed, and I have to get up at 6:00 to make my first meeting by 7:30.....all good....

.....till I walk out the door!

It's snowing, there's a winter weather advisory, and I woke up thinking I look pretty spiffy in my long sleeve shirt & tie!!!

OK, OK, I can handle this. Do the "purposeful walk" to my running, I don't need to do a front aerial layout on my ass on the ice.

Anyway, I make my meetings, check the timing on my flight out, and, as planned, I've got a good 2 hours to get in a workout before having to check in. Change in to shorts & workout shirt, brave the cold and hit the gym, do my ST, abs, and pushups for the day....and I've got time to spare before the flight.

Got in to Albuquerque last night, got caught up on e-mail from work and hit the sack.

Today was a dry run of some presentations we're giving tomorrow for a high roller coming to visit my division out here in Albuquerque. Things went pretty good, but went long, we finished up at 5:30. I've still got to duck out and meet the high roller at the airport at 9:00 PM.

What to do? Go to the room & rest, grab a sit down dinner and go to the airport.....or can I fit in a workout, shower, change, and grab a bowl of Pho to go on my way to the airport?

You guessed it!!! I had the was something I "get to do", not something I "had to do"

It makes a big my brain anyway.

So I plugged in some 90s Goth Rock and got in some's visualization:

I am Maximus....Commander of the Armies of the North...General of the Felix Legion

I am....


Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAIREINPARIS 3/29/2012 2:06AM

    Gladiator, you ROCK!!! Way to go! You definitely have the right attitude. And when we exercise so often, it is fun!

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ROAD2RIPPED 3/29/2012 12:16AM

    Great blog, (front aerial layout on my ass on the ice) that's funny stuff. I admire your dedication.

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LOTUSLIFE 3/29/2012 12:10AM

  This is AWESOME!! I am not quite there but I am getting there about exercise.

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SAFARIBABE 3/28/2012 9:45PM

    Yeah..... I don't picture you as Goth Guy either! Perhaps it's because I can't see you in a gladiator skirt banging around to Goth music! I'm pretty visual but that one's excaping me!! LOL But hey...whatever works for you!! What I DO know is that I want to be just like you when I grow up!! That is seriously impressive!!!

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VTORIA3 3/28/2012 6:08AM

    You show by example that attitude IS everything! You are an authentic 'can do" kinda guy. Good for you!

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HEALTHIERKEN 3/28/2012 12:06AM

    You're one intense guy! Remind me never to get in your way : )

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    Very Gladiatorish. emoticon THAT'S dedication. emoticon

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MUNKYBUG 3/27/2012 11:06PM

    Yay you! WTG!! That mental shift is so important. Also - that part about the "front aerial layout" made me totally LOL. Cracks me up when gravity wins another round. ;) Keep up the good work!

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SHERYL_B 3/27/2012 10:48PM

    I think this is the first time you've disappointed me - goth???

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/27/2012 10:04PM

    90s Goth Rock? I'm just not seeing Gadget Gladiator Guy as Goth Rock. But why not, if I can listen to everything from the Abba to White Zombie I suppose you can do Goth.

Way to go on keeping up with me on the push-ups!

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CHEEKY1000 3/27/2012 10:01PM

    Don't let this go to your head...but you are my hero. Seriously, that's an awesome paradigm shift. You ROCK!

Keep the inspiration coming. Truly, you just made me *choose* to try a P90X strength training DVD tonight (a friend loaned me her DVD's).

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Change up the Saturday plan...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Well we had to re-evaluate our plans today. We were going to go for a day outing, grab some lunch at the beach, and hang out by the water, but dearest SWMBO got a flare up of shingles that have laid her up.

So #2 son and I went out, did a little shopping, picked up sandwiches for lunch and brought them home so we could eat them out on the deck. It was a beautiful day, almost hot, so we enjoyed the good weather and the sun on our faces.

I finished up my second non-fiction book this month, and loaded up the kindle with some fiction to read today and on my travels next week.

Hit the gym, feeling surprisingly sore from yesterday's ST session....go figure! But I did a warm up and got in 2 sessions of HIIT, did my back extensions, abs, & push-ups on the stability ball....these really are pretty cool....I never imagined push-ups requiring so much concentration and control but that's what these take or you go careening off the ball into a floppy mess!

That completes my 6 days of push-ups this week.....glad to have found a new way to keep them interesting....and these hit a whole new set of muscles in chest & shoulders.

I cooked up some salmon on the grill tonight, while SWMBO sauteed some veggies. Laundry's getting done and I'm getting ready to pack up for another 6 days on the road this week.

Oh, and btw, I decided I can't take the blender with me this time. On a six day trip, I don't check bags. SWMBO pointed out that TSA would likely confiscate a blender with sharp blades in a carry-on!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHIERKEN 3/25/2012 6:18PM

    Sounds like a grand Saturday! You really pack a lot of activities into your waking hours : )
Have a good week on the road.

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KAYZAKCX 3/25/2012 1:25PM

    It's a shame about no blender. Are you going to have green smoothie withdrawls? You are raising my interest in push ups. I've gotten pretty used to sucking at pull ups. I may have to add push ups to my daily demonstration of my legendary lack of upper body strength.

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/25/2012 9:03AM

    You do now that there is no prohibition on checking bags just because it is a 6 day trip, right? So check your bag & take the blender. You are correct about TSA, they would probably arrest you for a "violation" of that severity. They confiscated my teeny tiny nail clippers once because of the 1 inch flimsy nail was a "weapon". Blender blades would give them a heart attack.

I start my own road warrior season tomorrow with a week in Houston, home for one day and then off to France for another week; then get to stay home for 2 weeks before heading to Mexico for 1.

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JOYLINNKNITS 3/24/2012 11:59PM

    Oh that Salmon on the grill sounds fabulous! DH and I are in the process of saving for a new grill (Old one is really in need of an innards transplant!) Wil have to cook some salmon on the new grill right away! Thanks for sharing

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SHERYL_B 3/24/2012 10:13PM

    I can do those push ups!

I forgot to tell you yesterday's blog inspired me to start doing pull ups. I always felt weak that I can't do them, but your comment about your goal inspired me to try again. I need to work on them so I can tackle the monkey bars at Tough Mudder in September!

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SAFARIBABE 3/24/2012 9:50PM

    OK First..I have to many times did you end up a floppy mess on the floor??? As for the DO know there's a really easy solution to this dilemma...check the bag! Pushups really didn't work for me this week. I'm going to have to try those swiss ball ones! I think you can also do them with your legs on the ball. Gotta check that out! Have a safe trip. Hope SWMBO is feeling better soon!!

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Setting records....good ones!

Friday, March 23, 2012

I've got to admit, I was a little leery about working out today.

Being on the road these past 3 weeks, I haven't had a session with trainer guy since 2 March. While I've been working out on my own, both cardio and ST, I haven't been doing the full gamut of heavy set lifting we usually do. Add to that the fact that prior to my travels, we had made some adjustments due to a pulled muscle I had, made me wonder how much I had atrophied.

Well today I blasted through all of my previous records! We kept adding weight to squats, deadlifts, seated rows, pullups, pullovers....I've got to admit, I was impressed and so was he....which is pretty amazing considering he's basically a cold-hearted, Stasi trained sociopath.

I spent a lot of time these past 3 weeks strengthening my back by doing hyperextensions on the Roman Chair:

These worked wonders! They strengthened my back enough to continue doing squats. Today we picked right back up on the highest weight we had ever put on there....then added another 10 lbs!

I also used a nifty little app called "StrongLifts 5x5". This has you do 5 sets of 5 reps at a comfortable weight for basic lifts like squats, presses, rows, etc. If you can do 5x5, it has you add 5 lbs next time....if you can't, you keep the weight the same.

It's a nice progressive way to get in some basic ST and to strengthen most of your bigger muscle groups in your legs, chest, shoulders & back....nothing crazy, nothing funky, just steady progress.

I think it really helped me and I enjoyed them.....and it obviously paid off.

The other part that helped was some weight loss. I dropped about 6 lbs these past 3 weeks, but even that little amount helped with the pull-ups....a personal goal of mine is to get to doing 10 unassisted....not there yet, but getting closer.

Last, I've got to attribute some of this success to some tweaks in the diet. I've eliminated a bunch of processed foods these past few weeks, concentrating on fresh veggies & fruits, clean protein (chicken, fish), and staying away (as much as I can) from breads and starches....I've got to do some more digging into this one to see 1) if that is the real difference, and 2) If I can sustain this in the long haul.

Anyway, tomorrow we have a nice family outing day planned (in addition to a re-arranging of the kitchen.....see yesterday's blog). Next week it's back on the road; Salt Lake City Sunday, Monday night to Albuquerque, from there to St Louis Thursday afternoon, and back home Friday night.

Maybe I'll take my blender

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYZAKCX 3/24/2012 9:19PM

    Nice on the records and workouts. Why do I think the blender is already packed?

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SHERYL_B 3/24/2012 4:03PM

    Congrats on the personal bests!

I have a (fake) magic bullet and it is SO much better than a blender!

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SNUZSUZ 3/24/2012 10:23AM

    emoticon emoticon

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TAHOEKARIN 3/24/2012 9:33AM


I will have to look for the Stacker, that looks like a fun way to track workouts!

I use a the Magic Bullet when I travel. It's smaller than a blender. I still think the blender does a little bit better job but you can drink out of the bullet cups (well I guess you could drink out of the blender jug too lol)

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SAFARIBABE 3/23/2012 11:15PM

    Now why is it when I travel I worry if I've packed all the right coverters and power plugs for all my gizmos....YOU worry if you packed the blender! LOL Great work on the ST!! Enjoy your day off!!

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    Take your blender if it works for you!

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LUXITTA 3/23/2012 8:59PM

    Take your blender if its not too much of a pain! Way to go with the loss and surpassing your previous records. You're obviously doing something right and heading in the right direction. I envy your motivation and strength to keep going especially with that kind of job. emoticon over and over again and you will be set!


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