Sunday, September 30, 2012
Ahhh, it's nice to be back home! Here I sit on my favorite chaise lounge, looking out our windows onto the stormy seas as I get caught back up on logging food and blogging adventures.
I got in last night after a surprisingly uneventful flight with stops in Paris and Atlanta (yes Fangfacekitty, I had a nice experience with Air France....good food, lots of decent movies to watch, and friendly flight attendants)
But man I need a vacation from my vacation!
I arrived in Istanbul on Saturday 22 Sept. Checked in to the Renaissance Istanbul (owned by Marriot) which apparently opened up only a few weeks ago. My room had a great view of the bridge over the Bosporus and to my incredible delight, the gym was equipped with the latest Lifecycle bikes, treadmills, & ellipticals.
They even had a squat rack with free weights, a TRX room, a pilates room, and some concept 2 rowers! I was in heaven! I got in a good workout to shake off the transatlantic flight, then went to visit the rest of the family who was in the thick of wedding planning.
Sunday was great....the wedding went off without a hitch. They picked a beautiful spot in a little boutique hotel (Hotel Les Ottomans - www.lesottomans.com/ ) right on the water.
Yours truly danced a good part of the night away with my sister (mother of the groom) and any bridesmaid within reach, then promptly logged about 120 aerobic minutes into my spark tracker later that night.
Monday was supposed to be a recovery day, but after I complained that all of my clothes had suddenly become all baggy this year, my sister insisted on taking me shopping to some of her favorite spots. We may not actually be brother and sister....somehow she has the genes that actually enjoy shopping.....mine are recessive.
She hauled my ass over to a bunch of Euro-boutique men's shops and no matter how difficult or picky I was, just kept hauling sports coats off the racks and telling me all about them ("See this stitching on the lapel, that's done by hand!") After 4 hours of this madness (and the realization that she wasn't going to stop until I picked out something), I settled on a sporty looking dark number with subtle azure stripes that I'd be comfortable wearing on casual nights out.
Tuesday my 35 year old nephew (her other kid) took the day off and we did the grand Istanbul walking tour. We started at one end of the Golden Horn, winding our way through twisting alleys, until we hit the waterside, crossed the bridge across the Golden Horn, wound our way through more streets until we hit the maze of the spice bazaars
Once our noses couldn't take it any more we hit the grand bazaar where I picked up a few trinkets for my front office folks
We found our way out after a few wrong turns, stopped for some tea, then picked up the pace to hit Haga Sophia before a big crowd of German tourists got ahead of us.
Being a history buff, I took every opportunity to school my nephew at every historical monument from the importance of the famed triple walls of Byzantium, to the 1000-year old sword carved initials into the railings of Haga Sophia by Vikings hired to guard the Emperor, to how the first use of cannons in a siege took down those same walls in 1453. Amazingly, he listened and enjoyed my lecturing!
Then we decided to rest, and so took a ferry ride to the Asian side where we walked another 5 miles through twisty streets and seaside vendors as we gazed back upon Europe!
According to my Bodymedia Fit, we walked 35,000 steps that day, which roughly equates to about 17 miles. And if that wasn't enough, we had reservations for dinner that night to take my sister out for her big 60th birthday! We did it up nicely. Nephew found a cute little spot in a high rise where they converted the balcony into a dining area with a view of the Bosphorus.
Anyway, the rest of the week was just as hectic. Wednesday I took my mom for a ferry ride out to the Princess Islands for lunch and a horse & buggy ride, Thursday nephew and I did another walking tour, though this one only logged 18,000 steps, and Friday I took myself out for another adventure where I could just relax alone.
In the meantime, I got in 3 good days of ST at the hotel, stayed relatively carb free (except for some very excellent chocolate cake on sister's birthday and a serving of baclava to die for at the wedding), and felt quite fetching as the good-looking, wide-shouldered, flat-bellied, 52-year old who can still dance up a storm when the music is right!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Friday, September 21, 2012
Well I admit, I have neglected my blogging of late. September has been an unusually busy month. I've been on the road from Las Vegas to Norfolk to New Mexico these past few weeks, all the while still trying to do my day job in Florida. Luckily I've got a brand new VP that is real good about keeping up with the workload while I'm on the road.
But now I have to take some real time off and get my ass over to Istanbul for a wedding this week, so I am likely to be even more off the net next week
All is not lost though. I cashed in some hotel points and am basically staying for free at a Marriot right near the Bosporus that promises wi-fi, a pretty decent gym, and even a modernized Turkish steam bath on the premises!
It's been a mad cap ride these last few weeks though. I finally got back in to the office this past week (I sent my VP on the road to take on some of these meetings instead of me), and got caught up on everything from our budget, to making decisions on some senior manager hirings that absolutely had to get done before I depart. I finally made it home around 9:00 PM last night, but I think I can rest easy this next week that things will run well while I'm away (I always tell my guys, "No one is irreplaceable"......I guess that applies to me as well!)
That basically meant that I had to greatly curtail my gym time this past week. I hit the weight room pretty hard Mon & Wed, but that was about it. However, if I must say so myself, I was fairly magnificent setting some personal bests on squats (225 lbs), deadlifts (240 lbs), overhead presses (110 lbs), and bench presses (210 lbs). Pullups continue to be the bane of my existence. I am stuck at 3 and mildly frustrated that I can't heft these 180 lbs of me over the bar more than that....oh well, just another mark to set on that wall!
I plan on doing a whole bunch of walking around Istanbul though. My biggest challenge might be sticking to low carbs for the next week. All of my classic weaknesses will be on display there.
Fresh baked bread
So I'll focus on those things non-carb like,
And lots and lots of salads
Have a great day Spark friends.....next blog comes from the Bosporus!
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
So I think I'm neglecting one of the tried and true methods of staying very healthy, slim, and fit.....walking.....lots of walking.
I actually love to walk, and in the past have racked up considerable miles walking all across this planet. When I lived in Manhattan, I used to walk from Greenwich Village...
...to my apartment on the Upper West Side a couple of days a week.
When I lived in Frankfurt, GE, instead of driving or taking the train, I'd take hour long walks through forested trails out where I lived by the airport to downtown to go hang out.
When I went to school in Boston, I'd walk 9-10 miles down the Minuteman Bikeway, a Rails-to-Trails project, taking me by Redcoat re-enactors on Lexington Green....
...to wierdos at the Alewife subway station at the end of the trail
There's something about city-life that makes it real conducive to walking. I certainly enjoy it and remember that it has always done me good.
These days, however, my workouts are shorter albeit more intense....I feel cheated if I don't get my heart rate up over 85-90% of max. (my max is 186.....I have found out through exhaustingly hard runs)
But this weekend, I tried a little experiment....I walked to the gym, worked out, and walked back! I did this twice....and my heart rate was a comfortable 110-120....smack in the 60-65% range
I did a leisurely 2 mile walk in about 30 minutes (I did sweat like a dog....it is still very hot & muggy here in the Florida panhandle), then hit the elliptical for 20 minutes of some fairly high HIIT, did me plank intervals....then walked the leisurely 2 miles back home.
It was a blast!
I've also seen (through all the data that my nifty Bodymedia Fit Core Armband tells me), that at work I sit around.....way to much. Yeah, I go in and out of my office, down the halls to the finance guys or my technical guys, but those distances aren't measured in miles.
So I'm going to see what I can do to up these numbers and add just a little more walking around to my daily life....you know, the "other" kind of exercise.....the kind that doesn't strain, the kind that keeps us active, and the kind that has a cumulative effect by just keeping us moving.
Have a great night Spark friends!
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Well one of the great things about living on the beach is.....living on the beach!
SWMBO, #2 son, and I get to see some pretty amazing things every day right in our own back yard. Someday's it's a great sunset;
Someday's it's a barge loaded up on it's way west;
Someday's it's Fred the heron who likes hanging out between us and the neighbors;
Most days SWMBO and I think pelicans are the coolest things that fly;
But there's a dark side to paradise.....the dreaded Hurricane!
Now we have lived in many parts of this great planet. I've experienced 8.0 earthquakes (Chile), an F5 tornado (Oklahoma City), multiple blizzards ('78 and the '93 Storm of the Century), and even came too damn close to being fried in the middle of winter in a storm called "Thundersnow"
Through it all, we try to enjoy ourselves. SWMBO and I enjoy going out in the middle of a storm and yelling at the top of our lungs (no one can hear us above the roar of the wind and the waves....we call it our "wilding time"), or we drive a few miles away from the tornado and watch the funnel cloud swoop and sweep. One time we rented a cabin out on Cape Cod when a Nor'easter was coming, just so we could watch the storm blow in over the water.
But there's nothing like having your own house so close to the danger zone to make you rethink the whole damn thing!
Our current house (I am told) is built to withstand a Cat 2 hurricane. But along with that great view comes the downside....we're only good for about 11 feet of storm surge.....after that, start putting your furniture on cinder blocks!
Isaac was predicted to deliver 9 feet....a little too close for my comfort.
Luckily, the whole community rallied. I had a meeting with all the folks in our company and we released everyone home Tues & Wed to prep their houses & families for Isaac's promise to deliver 10-12 inches of rain and 6 to 9 feet of surge.
SWMBO is our family emergency manager. She always has us stocked up on batteries, flashlights, water, propane tanks.....even bicycle helmets for us to wear in case the roof caves in.....God love her! We packed up all her plants and yard furniture, placed some sandbags along the doors and garage, and boarded the windows.
Then we waited it out. I telecommuted both days and kept a wary eye on the rising tide
In the end, we had wind gusts up to 50 kts, lots of whitecaps, some rain, and very little surge. #2 son got 2 days off of school, SWMBO & I got in our wilding time, and the cat stayed hidden under the bed the entire time.
The worse part about the whole storm.....the damn gym closed down for both days in a row!
Have a great night Spark friends!
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