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    BLUE42DOWN   70,163
SparkPoints
60,000-79,999 SparkPoints
 
 
SparkStreak for logging in and spinning wheel goes poof

Friday, May 17, 2013

It would have been 608 days with Thursday's spin. Instead, at the time I chose to make my spin, just as it finished and went to submit, SP took a critical dump. Next thing I knew, the status page was saying it would be around 4 hours for them to get it back up. Didn't check before leaving work, didn't check from my phone, and didn't get home until after midnight ... resulting in no Thursday spin.

End of SparkStreak ... and really what I feel is a sense of relief.

The SparkStreak is broken, through no real fault of my own. I was logged on. I did hit Spin. Now that it is broken, I have no need or desire to start it back up again. In fact, I'm perfectly content to let the water tracking one die off as well. (Mind you, I ~ALWAYS~ drink 8-16 glasses of water. The streak isn't really whether I drank them -- it's whether I tracked that I drank them. And it doesn't block going back days and tracking to get the streak back.)

I'm free.

I'm free of feeling like I ~need~ to click Spin every day.

Then again, I've already been migrating away from SP in a number of ways. Somehow keeping that SparkStreak and the water one going had become more a ritual than a "healthy habit". I generally stay logged on both at work and home. In fact, SP tends to log me off more often than I've ever logged myself off. In fact, I think I only ever logged off once ... when some goofup with cookies resulted in my being logged into someone else's account.

But the online time spent on SP easily starts to take over. And underlying that takeover was a very simple obsession with keeping a pointless (to me, at this time) SparkStreak alive. I don't need SparkPoints. I realized that a while back, after months of working hours daily to get 100+ points. (It's not as hard as you'd think. I don't have to actually make a recipe to get the points, just click a button. I don't have to read an article, just click a button. The quizzes probably took me the longest.) Even after I recognized that I really didn't need to spend that time that way, I still spun that wheel daily because I couldn't pick a good point to say "No more."

I'm doing my food tracking in Living Cookbook - which is a recipe, ingredient, inventory, menu planner, and tracker software all in one. I track my weights workouts with JEFit Pro, which is an app on my Android phone. I track my cardio there as well, but SP has been my fallback to get total calorie burn .... so I manually copy over data every day. Finding an alternative has been on my mind, and one option I keep coming back to is a spreadsheet in Google Docs. Simple enough and I could access it on my phone at the gym.

Which basically brings me to the fact that the ONLY reason I'm still here on SP, trying to be active at all, is ... you fellow Sparkers. Community is what really makes the difference. All the rest, the information, the trackers, the streaks, the points, the goodies ... they're just icing on the cake that is a community of individuals who generally have a common purpose:

Living a healthier life (and losing weight and getting fit in the process)

I'm still going to be showing up for now. I'm just not going to spin that wheel or track my water. Because I don't need those streaks to say 600+ to know I'm active and healthy and maintaining some good habits. And I don't need those streaks to say:

Let's do it emoticons! emoticon

===================

Edit to add

The Rave Run was fun, but being the first time they'd done it, there were issues. They filled up completely for the Saturday run and created a Friday one for the spillover (which is why I got the Friday thing confused for a while).

There were 20,000 registered runners. Many of us were unable to get to the packet pickups on earlier days due to location and time, so the line was horrendous to do so. In fact, it and other things added up to the starting time being delayed, and delayed, and delayed. Over half an hour.

Here was an early look at the crowd with the starting gate in the distance. This was over an hour before the scheduled start time, and most people were spread out in an area behind me or still working on getting their packets.


An hour later, as the starting time approached then passed, I took multiple pictures turning a bit each time trying to capture the sheer mass of people, but bear in mind this is night and everyone is wearing lights. (Only uploading three of the six or seven.)


I did like this picture. It looks like a carnival ride.


What is it? A lit up hula hoop being held up by someone very close to me.

Once they finally got people going, their corral system pretty predictably collapsed. (They started with the fastest corral, but everyone was so eager to go that the fencing between got pushed sideways and people just crammed in and ahead.)

Even worse ... imagine 20,000 people, even very spread out over the whole length of the course, finishing here:


That's right ... a Rave tunnel, at best allowing about 10 wide, probably less, that most people stopped to take pictures in. MAJOR traffic jam.

To top that off, once we got out of that, the actual rave was in a build that required we cross the route through those still running. To leave requires crossing the route through those still running.

I'm sure they'll do better next year. It WAS a very cool concept. It WAS obviously very popular, even if a good percentage were more about the rave than the run.

Oh, the only other thing I didn't mention -- the "track". Most of this was run on a dirt track through the fields that are part of our county fairgrounds. A short portion at the end brought us onto the paved main area. This was run at night, in the dark, with mostly rave style lighting. Forget running for best time. The important thing was stepping carefully to avoid twisting an ankle on a loose clod. (Any running / jogging meant going around people, which often meant getting into the less flattened grass.)

I thought I started my watch at the start, only to discover at the end that it only went into "Pending" mode and never started. So I have no idea how long I took. I'm going to look for a race that is timed and smooth. (I'm thinking the Packard Summer Scamper ... the one that takes me over an hour to get to, but runs through Stanford University.) Right now I don't know what my 5k time is like. I did throw in periodic jogging and felt I could have done more if I'd trusted my footing more.

=======================

Ending with two final pictures. These are just random shots taken with my phone.

It was a wet winter, so the cacti in front of a nearby business have been gorgeously covered with blooms.


On Google+ there are groups that do photography themes. I took this one of the stairs at work to post, and really liked the result. Shrunk like this, it's easy to mistake for the keys on a piano keyboard.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NERDLETTE 5/30/2013 6:38PM

    I hope you never stop Sparkpeople entirely. I miss your every day notes in the Outlaw Campfire, but can still get a little via your blogs. emoticon

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SBNORMAL 5/22/2013 11:05PM

  I hope you do not give up blogging. I like to read your stories.

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SBNORMAL 5/22/2013 10:39PM

  I hope you do not give up blogging. I like to read your stories.

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SBNORMAL 5/22/2013 10:35PM

  I hope you do not give up blogging. I like to read your stories.

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BMCKEOW1 5/20/2013 1:24PM

    I love the picture those are awesome. There are a couple new races this year. I think next year they will do better. Haven't tried the Rave Run it looks fun though.

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ILOVEMALI 5/20/2013 2:55AM

  doesn't it feel good to not be a slave to anything!!

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MNJONES2 5/18/2013 12:30PM

    Thanks for your blog! Always good to have new points of view. You have come such a long way with your fitness! CONGRATS

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RUNNERRACHEL 5/17/2013 6:05PM

    Spark posted on facebook that they would make sure people could keep their streaks going even with the technical difficulties. But it sounds like you feel free from not having the added pressure. I agree. SP can take up a lot of time.

But if you still find support from the community (as I do, even after reaching my goal weight), continue to be here as much as you feel it benefits you.

It can be a distraction and take away from what you are doing. So, let SP work for you, not you work for Spark Points, etc. emoticon emoticon

P.S. Race looks fun! I haven't done a night race. I would like to some day!

Comment edited on: 5/17/2013 6:06:10 PM

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KENDRACARROLL 5/17/2013 11:18AM

    I've never understood the importance of collecting SparkPoints. Doesn't do anything but keep my butt planted on a chair in front of the computer when I could be moving instead.

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GOING-STRONG 5/17/2013 11:12AM

    I know what you mean about Spark streaks for spinning the wheel... sort of pointless but it keeps me coming back to the site to check in for a daily dose of motivation.

emoticon

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CIPHER1971 5/17/2013 8:57AM

    Yay for freedom emoticon

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NATE-JANINE 5/17/2013 8:19AM

    I must admit that I feel the same. I spin the wheel out of habit. I have read most of the articles that interested me and completed all of the quizzes as well. I do keep track of my fitness tracking but thats only because its linked through my FitBit...which I love. So other than the spinning thats all I seem to do on here lately.

I will always give great testimonials for newbies. Sparkpeople is a great tool for gaining knowledge when you are just stating out.

So to all of you newbies. Spark on my friends Spark on!

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SHERIO5 5/17/2013 8:09AM

    I like your last two photos!

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DOVESEYES 5/17/2013 8:00AM

    Glad you keep coming back to blog it wouldn't be the same without you!!!



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KARL1266 5/17/2013 7:10AM

    I agree with you wholeheartedly on the value of the streaks. I have a couple that are over a year in length or nearly so. My login spin is not one of those, however. Interestingly enough, every 150 days or so, I seem to forget.

I also kind of agree with one your other responders...I think the wheel is just a way to keep the advertisers happy. If everyone keeps logging in that means more eyeballs on the ads that are all over the spin page.

Good luck with your new tracking and I hope you don't pull away totally. It's true for me as well, I don't NEED to know that I've exercised 20 minutes a day everyday since starting SP. I just do it now. I don't need to know that I drink 8 glasses of water a day everyday (more like 12-16). But I do NEED the community, even if I don't participate as much as others.

Thanks for a great blog!

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JANTWO 5/17/2013 4:33AM

    I am so glad you blogged about this. I am doing the same thing. I really have thought about stopping the streak.

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ARNETTELEE 5/17/2013 4:30AM

  I agree with you...

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AHTRAP 5/17/2013 4:29AM

    The wheel's just a way to show the advertisers that we're still hooked, anyway, no big loss.

I've drifted away from being active on this site the past couple of months, too...but I keep checking in to see what others are up to. It really is the other people we interact with, get to know, that make this site what it is.

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