GBOOMER's SparkPeople Blog GBOOMER's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Got a New Fitbit: the Charge 2 Wrote this message in a SparkTeam. Liked it, thus sharing here too: <BR> <BR> "Yesterday I upgraded to the Charge 2 after wearing a Charge HR every day for a year and a half. I've been on Spark since 2008! <BR> <BR> I was telling some friends about my Charge 2 yesterday, but they are not into tech nor have experience with fitness trackers, so they were giving me that squinty eye look of doubt and fear one gets in these situations. <BR> <BR> I tried likening wearing a fitbit to having a das... Wed, 19 Oct 2016 04:35:25 EST System Update: November 2015 It is time to accept a little humility/shame and admit that I need to get back to the calorie tracking. I tracked calories successfully from 2008 until about 2011 or 2012. It was very successful. Then I maintained well without tracking for a year or so after that. But, for the last two or three years, the weight has slowly, but persistently, been creeping back. Not all the way back to the "starting point" from 2008, THANK GOD, but much further than I would have liked. Yesterday my waist was f... Wed, 11 Nov 2015 05:49:40 EST Gratitude is Like a Flashlight During morning web reading I came across this quote: <BR> <BR> "Gratitude is like a flashlight. It lights up what is already there. You don't necessarily have anything more or different, but suddenly you can actually see what it is. And because you can see, you no longer take it for granted." <BR> - M.J. Ryan in Attitudes of Gratitude <BR> <BR> I would add that, like a flashlight, gratitude lights the way moving forward. <BR> <BR> For example: Recently I learned several new ways to enhan... Tue, 24 Feb 2015 05:40:57 EST GBoomer's Pre-Running Checklist Last time I went running, I realized too late that I hadn't emptied my bladder before heading out the door. Locally, I run at a beautiful park that, unfortunately, has no public facilities AND is always populated. Ducking behind a tree is not usually an option. <BR> <BR> There are so many things one could forget heading out the door for a run that I decided to make a little checklist and have it handy. <BR> <BR> GBoomer's Pre-Running Checklist <BR> <BR> 1. Check the outdoor temperature and... Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:07:52 EST State of the Boomer, Sept. 2014 Long time no blog! <BR> <BR> September 2014 finds me alive and well. Allow me to run down the good and the struggles. <BR> <BR> The good: <BR> <BR> - I've been retired for a year now. I have adjusted over the year to no longer having work status to boost my "male" self-worth. I am doing lots of things that are important to me, such as learning Spanish, connecting with others, exercising, being available to my parents and wife, etc. <BR> <BR> - My wife and I celebrated the 30th anniversar... Mon, 1 Sep 2014 08:07:34 EST My Recent Exercise News - June '13 I just completed a 21 day streak of walking around the block in the morning. Our block is half a mile exactly. In the morning, the air is noticeably fresher and cleaner than later in the day. One trip round the block leaves me invigorated, but with all my resources still complete to take on the new work day ahead of me. <BR> <BR> For more vigorous exercise-exercise, I have been biking about twice a week and run/walking about twice a week. So far I have circled the Arlington Loop three times ... Fri, 21 Jun 2013 08:06:04 EST First Time Round the Arlington Loop Yesterday I achieved my goal of circling the entire Arlington Loop for the first time. When I set out, that wasn't what I had in mind. The plan was to go seven miles out and seven miles back, a total of 14 miles... two more miles than last week's longest ride. But the weather was perfect and I was feeling good. I decided to press on and bike the entire 16.8 mile trip. <BR> <BR> I conserved my strength by staying slow and not being aggressive on hills. Still, I was tired afterwards. This morn... Tue, 28 May 2013 05:36:59 EST YouTube Videos Are Better Than In-person Teacher On Wednesday I attended another class. This time it was a bike maintenance and repair "workshop". It is a monthly class in a workshop in which a teacher and tools are available. One can bring their own bike and do whatever work or maintenance that one wants. You have to bring your own parts if they are needed. <BR> <BR> Didn't go too well for me. At first it looked promising. There were only two other students and myself, so it looked like there would be a lot of attention available from the... Sun, 26 May 2013 07:52:36 EST Several Biking Landmarks in One Day For many, these "landmarks" would be nothing, but for me they are little victories. <BR> <BR> Yesterday I bought a front and rear light, a bell and a kick stand and installed them all myself. A first for me. <BR> <BR> Then, last night, I rode my bike to and from a class on bike maintenance. This was the first time in maybe 25 years that I rode a bike to and from something else. All my bike rides last year were just bike rides, out and back without stopping, except maybe to rest or look arou... Thu, 16 May 2013 05:52:08 EST New Fitness Goal: Bike the Arlington Loop Last Summer I took advantage of the wonderful bike trails in my city and got back into biking after a hiatus that started with getting a driver's license at the age of 16. Wow, that's a hiatus of 35 years! Amazing that it came so easily. <BR> <BR> Cold weather and work got me off the bike again for the Fall and Winter, but I've already started riding again this Spring. And I want to do more this Summer than last. <BR> <BR> My city has an official biking organization, BikeArlington. When I r... Mon, 6 May 2013 06:12:07 EST Back to Blogging (?) Haven't blogged in a good while. Life has been a little overwhelming this year. <BR> <BR> The good news is that I continued exercising and eating mostly healthily. Recently, I got my bike out and took some (free) local classes about safe city biking. I plan to do a lot of biking this Summer as well as running and strength training. <BR> <BR> The not-so-great news is that I gained a few pounds. How many? I'm not sure, because I haven't been weighing in. I am still in the same clothing, but s... Tue, 30 Apr 2013 06:38:23 EST How We Married Without a Marriage Proposal My wife and I went to a family gathering last night. My brother and cousin were sharing their marriage proposal stories. One of them proposed to his wife at a jazz restaurant, and had the band play a special song. The other secretly got all the parents together at a special restaurant and popped the question in front of everybody. <BR> <BR> For the first time ever, I realized: I didn't have a story. I never made a marriage proposal. I turned to my wife and asked, "How did we get married, be... Mon, 16 Jul 2012 05:47:30 EST New Sleep Experiment - Bedtime and Exceptions BEDTIME <BR> <BR> Talking with a family member, I realized that there is another change that has taken place since adopting this new way of eating. My bedtime has changed. <BR> <BR> Before, when I was struggling with restless leg syndrome, my bedtime had become 9pm. This was because I almost inevitably woke up at least once during the night and would not get back to sleep without some stretching and maybe a snack or brief time of reading. I needed a longer "night" in the hopes of accumulati... Sun, 15 Jul 2012 05:22:23 EST New Sleep Experiment - After Three Weeks Boy did I make a mistake. I accepted a three week Summer teaching position that is stressful beyond belief. This week was the first of three weeks. <BR> <BR> The good news is that my sleeping has been ok considering all the stress. I've been sleeping about six hours most nights. One particularly stressful night, I only slept five, and that night the sleep was troubled. But, it used to be worse on such nights. I always take a nap when I get home from work. <BR> <BR> And, another good piece o... Fri, 13 Jul 2012 05:04:50 EST New Sleep Experiment - Sharing a Bed I wasn't going to post again regarding this experiment for at least a week, but I was just writing a comment on a SparkFriend's page and realized, this is important. <BR> <BR> Several years ago, in 2006, I stopped sleeping in the same bedroom with my wife. This was because my sleep had become so easily disturbed that I needed complete quiet. <BR> <BR> Now, after 6 years, and for more than a week already, I have been back, sleeping in the same room, in the same queen size bed with my wife. A... Sun, 8 Jul 2012 08:34:46 EST New Sleep Experiment - After Two Weeks It has now been two weeks of this sleep experiment. This is a report on the results which, to my continuing amazement, are 100% positive. <BR> <BR> (For readers who need a little background, I suggest reading the first post on the experiment plus the article linked to in the post: <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4938693 </link> . <BR> <BR> This morning, my weight is down 1.1 pounds from last week. It is now 167.5. <BR> <BR> Of seven nights of ... Fri, 6 Jul 2012 05:22:46 EST New Sleep Experiment - Day 7 Yesterday was the last day of my 7 day experiment. (Please read the "Day 1" post for experiment details.) <BR> <BR> Last night, despite pushing myself pretty hard in strength training, I slept well for a total of seven hours. In the past, pushing myself in strength training has usually been followed by poorer sleep, as my restless leg syndrome would be worse and my body would be a little sore. During this week, the symptoms of RLS were very much reduced. I fell asleep quickly each and every... Fri, 29 Jun 2012 06:39:14 EST New Sleep Experiment - Day 6 Again, a good six hour sleep. Fell asleep quickly at the beginning of the night and after each of two bathroom trips. <BR> <BR> Ideally, I wish I slept at least 7 hours, but six may be enough. Anyway, quality and deepness of the sleep is an unqualified success compared to before starting this experiment. <BR> <BR> Today is the last day of this experiment. So I will hold off until tomorrow to make any conclusions. But, based on the positive results so far for my sleeping, I will most likely ... Thu, 28 Jun 2012 05:07:45 EST New Sleep Experiment - Day 5 Slept six hours with two quick bathroom breaks. Fell asleep quickly every time. <BR> <BR> Followed the experiment plan yesterday. I think I am gaining weight, which isn't good. But I still will wait until Friday to weigh-in. <BR> <BR> If I am gaining weight, I can choose from the following options: <BR> <BR> - go back to my previous eating routines and guidelines. <BR> - try tweaking the experiment guidelines (see "Day 1" post). Perhaps I may include calorie counting/restricting within the... Wed, 27 Jun 2012 05:30:00 EST New Sleep Experiment - Day 4 It is hard to generalize about yesterday because it was one of those days where all sorts of fun and exciting things happen. It wasn't a "grind" type day. We had an interesting training at work. I like being with my colleagues, cracking jokes with them, chatting, etc. And, in the evening, an old friend came to stay for a couple of days. <BR> <BR> I ate my fill during the 9 - 4 eating window, but didn't try to eat as much as I did previous days. That actually worked better. The fasting period... Tue, 26 Jun 2012 06:01:29 EST New Sleep Experiment - Day 3 I did manage to follow the experiment guidelines yesterday. I ate a lot during my eating window which has me worrying about weight gain, but as I said, I will weigh-in on Friday. I did manage to eat a decent meal right before 4:00 so I did not feel hunger until right at bed time when I felt a little, but not that bad. <BR> <BR> Energy-wise, levels were good yesterday. I did need and took an afternoon nap, but energy was good the rest of the day. <BR> <BR> Sleep, again, was ok. It took me aw... Mon, 25 Jun 2012 06:17:19 EST New Sleep Experiment - Day 2 Last night I was famished to the point of not being able to sleep, so I broke the experiment guidelines and ate at 10:30pm. <BR> <BR> Yesterday morning I had a big peanut butter, banana and jam sandwich for breakfast and Iranian shishkebab and veggies for lunch topped off with two scoops of ice cream and a cookie (I had a gift coupon!). I just couldn't get myself to eat anything else before 4:00pm, so I didn't. <BR> <BR> Then, late afternoon, I went for a vigorous 1 hour bike ride and later... Sun, 24 Jun 2012 06:34:30 EST New Sleep Experiment - Day 1 I am still struggling with sleep. I had a sleep study about a month or so ago and was diagnosed with restless leg syndrome. Was given some medication for that, but it only seems to help subtly, if at all. <BR> <BR> Two days ago I saw this article: <link><BR>ain-food/201206/eat-early-stay-healthy<BR>-and-sleep-better </link> <BR> <BR> <BR> I am starting a 7 day experiment in following the ideas from this article. These ideas strike me as somewhat unu... Sat, 23 Jun 2012 09:42:33 EST My New Bike Last night I bought a new bike. I am quite pleased with it, the 2012 Fuji Absolute 3.0. It is the highest rated hybrid exercise bike by Consumer Reports and it was on sale. Of course, I tried it out too, and liked how it felt (for the price). <BR> <BR> It had been a little difficult to find. In fact, I had already resolved to buy something else, more expensive. But, when I went to try another bike yesterday, they just happened to have gotten a new shipment of Absolute 3.0s into the store. <... Fri, 22 Jun 2012 06:53:46 EST Last Week and Bicycle Dreaming I am committed to keeping a positive perspective around exercise and health. And one way I am doing this now is to blog more regularly so I can record what has gone well. <BR> <BR> During this last week, I had two excellent strength training sessions and two nice bike rides. <BR> <BR> In my strength training sessions, I believe I did hit the "sweet spot" because I made small, incremental improvements, but I did not get sick or feel overly sore or tired. <BR> <BR> My sleep got kind of bad m... Mon, 18 Jun 2012 07:06:39 EST The Exercise Sweet Spot I find it challenging to hit that "sweet spot" in exercise where it is challenging enough to improve my health, yet not so exhausting that I have nothing left over for the day, or I can't sleep well. I want to think through how to better track this. <BR> <BR> What are signs that I have not over-trained: <BR> <BR> - I am still able to do my usual activities after exercise without any decrease in focus or energy. <BR> - My bedtime does not become earlier than usual. I do not need an extra n... Mon, 11 Jun 2012 05:33:59 EST It Feels Like Starting Over (Although it Really Isn't) Last week, I was going full steam ahead with a new exercise regimen that included strength training, bike riding and walks. In fact, I was too full-steam-ahead, because I got sick. Now, after a week of no exercise, it feels like I am starting over. <BR> <BR> For my own sake, to counter the negative spins my mind often puts on things, allow me to recount my successes. Strangely, they are probably clearer to others than they are in my own mind at times like now. <BR> <BR> 1. So, recently, I ... Sun, 10 Jun 2012 05:41:08 EST SparkFriends Only I've decided to make this blog and my spark page for SparkFriends only. In recent months I hardly posted here at all. This is an experiment. I would like to post more often, but I am writing more for my own benefit than because I think I have something to tell the world. When the blog was public I would often ask myself whether I thought what I was writing was true or worthy of public display. Hopefully this move will reduce that hurdle. <BR> <BR> Yes, this is an experiment. We'll see how it... Sun, 25 Mar 2012 05:55:43 EST How to Maintain Complete Privacy on Spark You can't. <BR> <BR> Even if you delete your account today, somebody could have cached some of your public postings somewhere. All your messages on other people's Spark pages and message threads will not disappear. <BR> <BR> Sure, you can use a pseudonym, not link to your facebook account, etc. These things limit the ways that your information can get out, but guarantee nothing. All it takes is for one person that you trust, to, say, copy and paste, something you've posted in Spark to an ou... Mon, 16 Jan 2012 05:34:48 EST The Latest: Dec 2011 What's new? <BR> <BR> Exercise-wise, I decided that it was time for a change. Ideally, I want to exercise some everyday: running, strength training, walking, stretching, etc. But training for 10ks seemed to make my exercise schedule too much about those long runs. After an hour long run, I just didn't want to exercise much the next day, particularly because work continues to take a lot of energy. So, I switched to only half hour runs, in the hopes of doing it three times a week. <BR> <BR> I... Sat, 10 Dec 2011 05:58:20 EST A Run I start out with five minutes of walking. Heading out the door, I am walking easy, feeling my joints wake up to the activity, breathing the fresher outdoors air. <BR> <BR> I used to time my walk segment with a watch, but since I have a regular route, now I time by geography. When I reach the park, that is just over five minutes. Time for the next segment. <BR> <BR> Next, I begin adding slow, short running intervals to the mix. Several seconds of jogging followed by an equally long segment o... Wed, 9 Nov 2011 05:12:53 EST The Marine Corps Marathon 10k I don't really like the name of this 10k. I worry that having the word "Marathon" in there is confusing. Is it a Marathon or a 10k? Well, it's a 10k. And it is attached to the marathon which happens at the same time. In fact the 10k route is the same as the last leg of the marathon route. Both races start at the same time, but, by the time the marathoners get to the 10k starting line, we 10k-ers are long gone. <BR> <BR> So, today I ran in this MCM 10k and it was my best race yet. It was my s... Sun, 30 Oct 2011 14:27:05 EST New Running Goals for After the MCM 10k Tomorrow Tomorrow is the MCM 10k that I've been training for the last few months. I'm planning for what comes next. <BR> <BR> - Post race, I need to allow my knees and other body parts to recover. No running for a week. Although I won't run, I will do plenty of walking, some stretching, and I will begin my strength training (gently). Then next Sunday do an easy run and see how the body feels. <BR> <BR> - Start strength training 2x a week. Start slow... one set each of push-ups/dips, pull-ups/rows, s... Sat, 29 Oct 2011 07:01:31 EST Why Do I Run It feels like flying sometimes. <BR> It makes me stronger. <BR> It allows me to do things longer. <BR> It is meditative and relaxes me. <BR> The body becomes music. <BR> I like having a runner's body. <BR> It gets me out and into nature. <BR> It reminds me of some positive running experiences in my youth. <BR> It is a challenge that I am winning. <BR> I can do it my own way. <BR> I like looking at other runners. Tue, 25 Oct 2011 05:09:13 EST 1 Week Until Marine Corps 10k A week until my second 10k, the Marine Corps Marathon 10k. I'm pleased to say I've kept up the running while starting a new school year. In the past, new school years have always been a time of stress during which exercise has fallen back or even completely away. This year, not only did I have the new school year, but we moved on September 2nd. But I have maintained a run schedule and continued to (slowly) increase my speed somewhat. I anticipate cutting 1-2 minutes off my August 10k time. <B... Sat, 22 Oct 2011 04:59:07 EST The 2011 Lobster Festival 10k Yesterday I ran the Lobster Festival 10k. It was a wonderful first 10k. <BR> <BR> The weather was cool, but not cold and it was raining a little, which I like. <BR> <BR> My parents were there to support me and my wife walked the "5k Walk" that went on at the same time. <BR> <BR> To good effect, I stuck to my strategies that I have outlined in recent posts. <BR> <BR> I now have a "Lobster Fest 10k" T-shirt. <BR> <BR> My dad took a little video and I posted it on facebook and have it as a... Mon, 8 Aug 2011 07:03:23 EST Tomorrow: First 10k It has been more than four months since my last blog post. During this time, I have been slowly building up to my first 10k which is tomorrow. <BR> <BR> Originally, my first 10k was to be the Marine Corps 10k on October 30. I am still running that one. But, when I was planning this vacation in Maine, I discovered that there would be a 10k here at this time. And, since my plan was to be ready for a 10k before the new school year began, I realized that this would be the best time to actually ... Sat, 6 Aug 2011 05:38:40 EST More About 10k In my last post, I was strategizing about the 10k I will run next Fall. I've had some more training strategy ideas. <BR> <BR> I know that, with the start of a new school year in the Fall, and all the attending stress, my exercising always falls back several steps at that time of year. So, my goal this year is to be completely prepared for the 10k by July or August. Then, when school starts, just aim to maintain that level of mileage and speed through September and October. <BR> <BR> In race... Thu, 31 Mar 2011 05:22:07 EST The Latest <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I turned 50 last week. The weeks and months leading up to it were full of thoughts and reflections, however, the birthday itself was just another day. Except that I did have more birthday wishes than I think I've ever had in my life (thanks facebook!) <BR> <BR> I am pleased to have turned 50 with my weight in control, with strength and cardio fitness happening, with close family relationships and with an interesti... Mon, 7 Mar 2011 03:58:43 EST L's Sleep Secret Recently I was talking with L about sleep struggles. She started telling me about her "technique" for getting back to sleep. I felt like I've already tried everything, so I had a very high degree of skepticism as I listened to her expound. <BR> <BR> L said that, when she wakes up, if she intentionally thinks about the dream that she was just having prior to waking up, then she goes right back into sleep. If she thinks about the day ahead, something at work, or anything real, then she can't g... Tue, 15 Feb 2011 03:55:32 EST My First Ever Spark Streak On March 2nd I will turn 50. The number 50 is causing me to think a lot about my life and my direction. I have some big things in mind, but I also want to do something small, tangible and concrete for myself as I finish off this 49th year. Something measurable. Thus, today I have started my first ever "Spark streak". <BR> <BR> For my first streak, I have targeted two things: the eating of fruits and vegetables and tracking calories. The first one is new: although I probably eat more fruits a... Sun, 30 Jan 2011 07:10:04 EST UPDATED: Do You Know SparkPeople is Turning Your Words into Linked Ads? UPDATE: SparkPeople is no longer doing the pop-up link advertisements in message boards. Thanks to Spark for listening. And thanks to my fellow Sparkers who spoke up! <BR> <BR> Original Post: <BR> <BR> I just noticed today that random words in message board posts have been turned into advertisement links for commercial products. The words are blue with double underlines. When your cursor touches the word, a pop-up ad appears. <BR> <BR> I suggest you go to your recent message board posts an... Sat, 22 Jan 2011 11:20:42 EST GBoomer's Tao of Running What are my goals for running? <BR> <BR> 1. SUSTAIN. To keep doing it. Therefore, to do it in a way that is sustainable, until the end. <BR> <BR> 2. ENERGY. To do it in a way that pays back in increased energy for life and work, not DECREASED energy. <BR> <BR> 3. BALANCE. To keep it balanced with other physical goals and practices, such as strength training, relaxation, etc. <BR> <BR> Let's examine these three goals in more depth. <BR> <BR> SUSTAIN <BR> <BR> I want to spend the rest of ... Sat, 8 Jan 2011 06:34:19 EST Another SparkPeople Challenge I finished the Official SparkPeople Stress-Busting Challenge. As a result, I cut down on my morning caffeine consumption. At the beginning of the challenge they give you a stress management assessment. I got very high marks on the assessment. (I've been working on stress issues since I was an adolescent!) The one place where I was not good was in caffeine consumption. <BR> <BR> So, now I am stress-free and blissed-out like a yogi. Right?..... <BR> <BR> WRONG! Life is as stressful as always.... Sun, 24 Oct 2010 04:42:45 EST Second Spark Anniversary Yesterday my second spark anniversary came and went without me even realizing. I was immersed in my rich, busy life that, in part, I have spark to thank for. <BR> <BR> Two years is long enough that it is kind of hard to hold it all in my head at once. <BR> <BR> <BR> Here are highlights and some things I've learned since October 4, 2008: <BR> <BR> - I learned how to eat only as much as my body needs. At first I needed to track everything, but after more than a year, I am able to do this w... Tue, 5 Oct 2010 04:50:22 EST On Joining the Official Stress-Busting Challenge I had such a good time with the Official Better Sleep Challenge, that I am joining the Official Stress-Busting Challenge today. <BR> <BR> On their message board I was describing my goals for myself and for the challenge. I wrote so much that I have decided to share it as a blog post as well. <BR> <BR> The message board thread topic was: <BR> "Tell us why you joined the challenges and what goals you hope to accomplish during the next four weeks!" <BR> <BR> I wrote: <BR> <BR> Here's the sho... Sun, 19 Sep 2010 07:35:45 EST My Yoga History I first learned yoga when I was in my late teens one summer at camp in the late 70s. A counselor that I liked did a little yoga every morning. When I asked, he welcomed me to join him. I got out of bed, like he did, before everyone else, and met in one of the staff conference rooms. I don't think he guided me, but I just followed along as he did a bunch of basic asanas. <BR> <BR> I loved the way I felt after a yoga session that summer. So energetic, so relaxed, so flexible. I had been studyi... Tue, 24 Aug 2010 08:28:13 EST The Latest, August 2010 Northern Virginia Sparkers <BR> <BR> After being frequently envious of people who lived near other active Sparkers and met with them for support and to run races, etc., I have "discovered" such a Spark Team in my area and joined them. The Northern Virginia Sparkers meet monthly to socialize and also run and run/walk frequent races together. I joined up in July and have participated in one get-together so far. <BR> <BR> I am the only guy in the group, that I know about so far. But everyone w... Wed, 18 Aug 2010 06:27:30 EST 10k Goal Reconsidered It was on my calendar to run today but I was feeling a little worn out. So I decided to UP the distance... but let myself alternate walking and running at whatever rate I felt like doing. The goals were: 1. to go the distance, 2. do at least some running and 3. to feel good. It worked! <BR> <BR> Had lots of thoughts during the run/walk. Wrote several blog posts in my mind. Of course, now most of it is gone or buried. But one thought I had was regarding 10ks. <BR> <BR> I have sort of put the... Thu, 5 Aug 2010 09:18:59 EST Biking to Starbucks What required no thought at 14 is a production at 49. This morning I rode my poor, unused bicycle to Starbucks to pick up a bag of Pike Place. I haven't ridden a bike to the store since, I-don't-remember-when. I know that for others, even in middle age, this would not be a biggie, but for me it was/is. <BR> <BR> Fortunately, the bike only needed a little air in the tires. Also, it is fortunate that the Starbucks is only about a mile away, on relatively flat suburban streets with little traff... Tue, 3 Aug 2010 08:16:51 EST