GIANNA345's SparkPeople Blog GIANNA345's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community 10 more things blog <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Writing my last 10 things blog had an uplifting effect on me, so I decided to try another one. I still have persistent problems, but it made me realize that there are a lot of things that are right with my life, so here goes: <BR> <BR> 1. This Tuesday, if all goes well, I will be finishing up a Certificate in Change Leadership from Cornell University. It's a program that is offered online through the eCorne... Sun, 21 Oct 2012 21:00:36 EST Sea Gull Century. I did it! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This was the out from the balcony of the house where I was staying yesterday just before I started my bike ride. It was a perfect day. Bottom line up front: I finished! This is not something I could have done a year ago, but a year and a half of riding 20 miles a day, 5 days a week, has made a difference. <BR> <BR> It was all flat, but it wasn't easy. The first 50 miles couldn't have been more perfect. It ... Sun, 7 Oct 2012 21:14:31 EST My 10 things blog I was inspired by a couple of friends who wrote "10 things" blogs, so here goes. <BR> <BR> 1. This was completely unexpected. I had a routine follow up visit with my oncologist this week. It has been 10 years now since my surgery, and she says I don't have to be followed anymore, so she's referring back to my regular gynecologist. <BR> <BR> 2. I'm down a couple of pounds this week. I had almost given up, since nothing seemed to budge the scale (except on the up side). It probably ha... Sun, 30 Sep 2012 14:13:19 EST Running update - and now there are two of us A few weeks ago, I wrote about signing up for the Pittsburgh Rock n Roll Half Marathon in 2013. <BR> <BR> Since then, I've completed 3 weeks of Jeff Galloway's conditioning program. I'm feeling good. It has been remarkably easy, and the main thing I have to do is not get ahead of myself and avoid injury. My physical therapist has been extremely supportive. In fact, she suggested that I invite my daughter to train and run with me as well. <BR> <BR> I wasn't sure how the suggestion wou... Sun, 27 May 2012 12:38:29 EST A new chapter begins I had a great time with Sparkfriends in Pittsburgh last month, participating in "Just a Short Run," so when members of the group invited everyone to sign up for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon (also in Pittsburgh) in August 2013, I was initially skeptical. I can walk and I can bike, but I've never been a great runner. <BR> <BR> I did some running in college, but most of my attempts at running as an adult have ended in injury. I think this happens mostly because I get ahead of myself and I... Sun, 6 May 2012 12:15:20 EST Food and Addiction I just read an interesting article in Nutrition Action Health Letter, a monthly newsletter published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest ( It explains the science behind the idea that certain foods can be addictive in terms that a non-scientist can understand. <BR> <BR> The latest research is based on imaging studies of the brain, showing how the brain responds to certain foods that are high in fat and sugar. It has to do with how a neurotransmitter called d... Sun, 29 Apr 2012 11:08:18 EST Quick check in <img src=""> <BR> <BR> First of all, I am really happy to be back on Daylight Saving Time. It makes a big difference to me that I can complete my bicycle commute during daylight hours. I feel safer, and it does more for my mood. The warmer weather is a big plus too. <BR> <BR> In general, things have been going well, exercise-wise, at least if you take the long view. I had an injury in late January (not biking related) that kept me... Sun, 11 Mar 2012 18:50:37 EST Fitness 2011 Summary <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here's a quick summary of what I accomplished, fitness-wise, in 2011. The first few months, I did some walking, but I had a hard time keeping myself going. Then, in May, I started biking to work. You can see what that did to my fitness minutes! I feel good about this. I got off to a slow start, but I didn't accept defeat, and I didn't let it stop me. Sun, 29 Jan 2012 13:28:45 EST Sunrise...sunset! This isn't much of a blog, but here is what I've been thinking about a lot, between working, riding, and getting our family ready for the holidays: <BR> <BR> Mon, 19 Dec 2011 07:21 16:49 <BR> Tue, 20 Dec 2011 07:21 16:50 <BR> Wed, 21 Dec 2011 07:22 16:50 <BR> Thu, 22 Dec 2011 07:22 16:51 <BR> Fri, 23 Dec 2011 07:23 16:51 <BR> Sat, 24 Dec 2011 07:23 16:52 <BR> Sun, 25 Dec 2011 07:23 16:53 <BR> Mon, 26 Dec 2011 07:24 16:53 <BR> Tue, 27 Dec 2011 07:24 16:54 <BR> Wed, 28 Dec 2011... Mon, 19 Dec 2011 12:38:08 EST Mount Vernon Imagine a beautiful blue sky, the beginning of fall colors, a temperature between 50-55 F, a beautiful wooded trail, and a bicycle. That was my Saturday -- most of it. I got to the trail at 11:20 am, and got back to my car at 5:45 pm. <BR> <BR> Except for a couple of short stops to eat and get coffee, I rode the whole time: all the way from Bethesda MD to Mount Vernon VA and back. <BR> <BR> My commute hasn't been feeling like too much of a challenge anymore, and I wanted to stretch m... Sun, 6 Nov 2011 13:18:11 EST Health update I was going to call this a brief update, but that turned out to be wishful thinking. <BR> <BR> In case you've been wondering why I was in the hospital this morning, I didn't mean to worry anybody about my health, but I guess this morning I put it on my status at the last minute because I needed to know you cared. I suppose a few explanations are in order. A couple of months ago I began to suspect I was having some gynecological problems. I was on vacation in California at the time, so ... Sat, 22 Oct 2011 23:09:54 EST Happy Columbus Day and more! I have the day off from work today. In addition to being Columbus Day, it is also my 18th Anniversary. My husband and I are still arguing - in fun, of course - over which one of us was luckier to meet the other, and we still haven't resolved it. But we're still celebrating the day, and that's what counts. <BR> <BR> On to other favorite subjects, like biking. I have 3 related topics today: (1) It has been cold!; (2) what to do as the day length gets shorter; and (3) my recent accompli... Mon, 10 Oct 2011 18:23:14 EST A record-breaking week Dear Friends: <BR> Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive of me for the last few years, and especially over the last 4 months. <BR> <BR> Life behind the scenes hasn't exactly been easy for me, but I was determined to stop complaining and do something, and that something turned out to be bicycle commuting. I studied and planned, and finally made my first move on May 20, 2011, National Bike to Work Day. I was successful that day, and at the end of it, I wanted to do more. <BR> ... Sat, 17 Sep 2011 18:39:56 EST As if two broken spokes in 2 weeks wasn't enough... I was backing out of my driveway this morning just before the crack of dawn. Suddenly, I noticed that there was a dark car parked behind me. I slammed on the brakes and managed to avoid hitting the car. Unfortunately, I hit my bike. Yikes! Way to start the day off right. <BR> <BR> When I got to the trail, I unloaded the bike and noticed that the front wheel wasn't turning smoothly. That's the one I hit. It seemed to be badly out of "true," so I got out my spoke wrench, only to find t... Thu, 15 Sep 2011 17:44:28 EST My second broken spoke in 2 weeks Just a short update... <BR> <BR> I broke another spoke today. It was my second one in two weeks. Doug, my regular bicycle mechanic at Performance Bikes, was as good to me as ever, repairing it for me on the spot, and saving my mental health (such as it is) for another day. I've become a bike-aholic, and I just don't do very well when I can't bike. Thank you, Doug! <BR> <BR> He also measured my bike for a new seat post. <BR> <BR> Let me backup for a second. Did I mention that I was g... Wed, 14 Sep 2011 21:31:20 EST 90 miles last week! Dear Friends: <BR> Last week I biked to and from work all five days. I only missed one 10 mile trip because I had to make it back to an appointment early. Still, that was over 9 hours of biking, and I'm a better person for it in so many ways. <BR> <BR> Yesterday, I went out to my carport to try and adjust my brakes to keep them from squealing. This is one of those minor things I am now supposed to know how to fix by myself. I corrected the squealing, but then my rear wheel wasn't turnin... Sun, 4 Sep 2011 08:48:00 EST Performing random acts of kindness It has been quite a week in the Washington D.C. area, with an earthquake on Tuesday, and a tropical storm on Saturday. We were very lucky to get through it without a power outage; we almost always get one when there is severe weather. Phew! <BR> <BR> I was about to head out to the gym today, but somehow, without quite realizing I had decided to do it, I found myself headed toward my usual bicycle trail with a Camelbak, a trash bag, and a pair of garden pruners. I was concerned that the tr... Sun, 28 Aug 2011 16:56:56 EST What do I really need for cold weather cycling? Last week I was only able to ride my bike for one day. The other days were taken up by an all day conference I was required to attend. It was held in a hotel, and short of taking out a room ($$$), there was no way for me to bike, shower, and hang wet clothes for the day, so I reluctantly gave up and rode the subway. The weather this weekend was also bad (thanks, Irene!), so I haven't gotten much exercise, and I can definitely feel the change in my mood, and the increasing tension in my sho... Sun, 28 Aug 2011 10:16:38 EST Biking: not sure what day I'm up to now Quick entry. <BR> I biked 4 days out of 5 last week. I missed 2 trips because of thunderstorms, but that was okay. This week will be a challenge because 4 days out of 5 I have to report to a different location, and it's not convenient to bike there, besides which there would be no place to shower and hang my clothes to dry between the morning and the afternoon rides. I'll have to figure something else out. <BR> <BR> Meanwhile, my bike works just great after the tune-up, so I must have... Sun, 21 Aug 2011 21:45:19 EST The sights of D.C. (from my bike) Dear friends: <BR> My bicycle commuting is going pretty well. Last week, I biked 5 consecutive days for the first time. The weather has been pretty good. This morning it was cool when I started out. I continue to improve my speed and my muscle mass (if not my weight). The scale tells me I have added another 1-2 lbs of lean body mass. While I am not losing as much as I would like, I am happy to be adding muscle. <BR> <BR> Last Saturday, I took an all day bicycle maintenance class at R... Tue, 16 Aug 2011 21:41:38 EST Pedal Power! (Days 26 and 27) Yesterday and today were amazing. They were my first two days back in the saddle since my vacation. <BR> <BR> I didn't feel the difference right away. My first trip in to work I thought I might be going a little slower than usual, but maybe it was just getting used to be back on a bike again. On the way home in the afternoon, my legs felt great, but I didn't notice anything different until I started my way up the first of two difficult hills on the route - standing on the pedals. Norma... Thu, 4 Aug 2011 21:16:25 EST Bicycle commuting, days 20-21 This week was good. I finished it out with a roundtrip on Thursday, and one trip on Friday. Thunderstorms were in the forecast for the whole afternoon and evening, starting around 4 pm. It was just starting to come down when I got to the Metro station with my bike. Fortunately, it had let up a bit by the time I got to the stop closest to where I parked my car. <BR> <BR> It seems like the week is never uneventful. Fortunately, I didn't have any new flat tires this week. However, I did... Sun, 10 Jul 2011 14:31:10 EST My new commute, day 19 Today was a great day. I biked to and from work, and it actually seemed a little easier. Really! I am not sure I was going noticeably faster, but my legs didn't ache all the way uphill as they usually do. My new tires are also working well (so far). It was a little bit on the hot and muggy side, but nothing I couldn't handle. <BR> <BR> Remember what I said yesterday about thunderstorms and trees? Well, guess what?! There were about 8-10 fallen trees across *my* section of the trail t... Tue, 5 Jul 2011 22:21:17 EST A good week riding (bicycle commuting days 16-18) After a good start on Monday (see previous blog), I continued through the rest of the week, giving myself planned breaks on Tuesday afternoon, and all day Wednesday. I did this partly because of errands, and partly because my rational mind told me that I'm not quite ready to do this 5 days a week yet. <BR> <BR> It turned out to be a good thing I didn't plan on riding home all the way on Tuesday afternoon. The only thing I did was ride 1 mile from the nearest subway stop back to my car. It... Mon, 4 Jul 2011 14:23:19 EST Bicycle commuting, days 12-15 Week before last, I completed 3 round trips to work and back on 3 consecutive days. It was a first in that regard. My rides were uneventful except for the fact that by day 14 (the 3rd consecutive day), I felt like a weepy mess. Too much exercise, or too much life stress? I'm not sure. I have been a little depressed lately, and biking mostly makes me feel better, but I might have overdone it just a bit. <BR> <BR> The remaining two days of that week, other responsibilities prevented my bik... Mon, 27 Jun 2011 21:19:55 EST Preparing for another week of biking I took the day off from biking yesterday and today to give my legs a rest. I did some housework today, and some core exercises. One of my neighbors was having a yard sale yesterday, and she was selling bookcases for $5 each, so I bought two, and a nice lateral filing cabinet for $10. This morning I was moving some books onto the new shelves. Guess who decided to put in an appearance? Right in the middle of what I was doing! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 12 Jun 2011 21:49:42 EST Bicycle commuting, day 11 Yesterday was still hot, but it was (thankfully) a few degrees cooler than Thursday. I completed my round trip uneventfully, by bike. I was a little bit slower than usual on the way home, which is not surprising, considering my increased mileage this week. I completed 7 out of 10 possible one-way trips to/from work, which is a new high. My previous high was 4 or 5, I think. Including my 30 mile leisurely ride last Sunday, that adds up to 100 miles for the week. A significant accomplish... Sat, 11 Jun 2011 12:46:47 EST Bicycle commuting, day 10 By all accounts, the weather was yucky today, but I didn't mind. It was hot and humid, but on my bike I felt a breeze, and at the end of each ride (yes, it was a round trip today) I had a cool shower and dry clothes waiting for me. The Camelbak was really handy too. I made one stop on the return trip for a breather. My heart rate was a little high, so I sat on a park bench sipping cool water from my Camelbak for a few minutes. I think it due to the heat. After that, the rest of the trip... Thu, 9 Jun 2011 22:35:08 EST Bicycle commuting, day 9 Well, I'm still at it. <BR> <BR> Today I rode one way, because I had an afternoon appointment back in Bethesda. It seems like this is starting to become routine. I don't even have any mishaps to report today. It was just a very pleasant ride. Apart from this past year, when it wouldn't have been practical, I wonder what took me so long to decide to do this. Ten miles isn't even that long of a ride, one-way, compared to some of the stuff I've done before. Even the heat hasn't bothered... Tue, 7 Jun 2011 20:04:16 EST Bicycle commuting, day 8 What a great day! I completed a round trip on my bike. I still need to improve my strength, but I'll get there. I'm not even feeling exhausted. My muscles feel as if they've really worked, but they are not sore. <BR> <BR> Since no day seems to be complete without it, here is the minor mishap of the day: I was already on the trail at least a mile from my car when I realized I had forgotten my helmet! Oops! It was late, and I really didn't want to turn back. I was hypervigilant for t... Mon, 6 Jun 2011 20:08:34 EST Bicycle commuting, days 5-7 Biking was a real pleasure this past week. It was a 4-day week, and I biked 3 of them. Tuesday and Wednesday, I biked to work, and rode the Metro coming back. It was a scheduling issue, and I had to make it back earlier for other appointments. Thursday, I rode my bike both ways. The return trip is definitely a little harder, but I made it. The weather was beautiful that day. Friday, I sacrificed my ride so I could drive my daughter to school with her guitar. <BR> <BR> It was for a g... Sat, 4 Jun 2011 22:23:48 EST Bicycle commuting, day 4 I missed biking to work Wednesday and Thursday this week because of other stuff that was going on, which was probably a good thing because it probably kept me from overdoing it this first week. <BR> <BR> I was back on my bike Friday morning, and I had an exceptionally nice ride to work. For those of you who don't know the D.C. area, the Capital Crescent Trail was once part of a railroad, and it was later converted to a multiuse trail. It starts in Georgetown directly underneath the Key ... Sat, 28 May 2011 12:47:06 EST Bicycle commuting, day 3 I made it! I biked home this afternoon. <BR> <BR> So here is what happened. The forecast was looking grim. The sky was looking grey. I was sure it wasn't going to happen this afternoon, and then it did. I got out of a meeting shortly after 5, looked out the window, and suddenly all I could see was blue sky. It was unbelievable, so I rechecked the updated doppler image of the weather forecast. It looked like the storm had split into 2-3 parts. A small portion of it passed over us ar... Tue, 24 May 2011 22:08:22 EST To bike or not to bike? The weather is the question. Yesterday was day 2 of bicycle commuting. I went home on the subway instead because of predicted rather than actual weather conditions. I left my bike in the garage here at work, because I would have had to wait until the end of rush hour to take it on the subway. <BR> <BR> So I was back on the subway this morning. The weather forecast for today is the same as yesterday. Thunderstorms are supposed to be developing late this afternoon, right about the time I would like to be biking home. ... Tue, 24 May 2011 08:15:00 EST Bicycle commuting, day 2 I'll keep this short because my eyes are already starting to close. <BR> <BR> Today was the 2nd day I biked to work. It was wonderful this morning. A little overcast, but no rain. Everything went smoothly, and I got to my office in about an hour's time, feeling just as alert and energized as I did Friday. This is definitely the way to go. <BR> <BR> I was looking forward to my ride home all day, but I didn't get to do it. There was a severe thunderstorm warning in effect all after... Mon, 23 May 2011 21:18:01 EST I was lucky! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> A few weeks ago, I got a fortune cookie that said I would be lucky. Little did I know! <BR> <BR> I went to the office the next day, dreading what might happen, because in the end, I had to turn my boss in, so to speak. Things had gotten really unbearable, and I realized I couldn't keep walking into potholes trying to figure out what to do about it. So I talked to his boss about it, and I was expecting an unpleas... Fri, 20 May 2011 21:59:20 EST My fortune cookie said I'd be lucky this week It seems like whenever I try to get moving, something happens, but I am hopeful that things are looking up. <BR> <BR> To recap, a couple of weeks ago, I went out for a lunch time walk. I was preoccupied with my office situation which is just about the worst it has ever been. At the same time, there is also more to be hopeful about for the future than at any time in the last 3 years. But it's complicated; there will probably be a little more pain before things get better. Anyway, back t... Sun, 24 Apr 2011 22:56:48 EST Just a quick note to let you know that I'm getting my act together again. I started going back to the gym on Saturday, and I have met my exercise goal for 3 consecutive days. This is probably the first time in recent memory that I have done that. I'm doing a little running, walking, and biking. I'm letting my heart rate tell me how much to run. At the moment it's something like two minutes on and two minutes off. I'm thinking about setting a running goal for this year: run at least one 5K before the end... Mon, 4 Apr 2011 20:53:27 EST What am I sitting here waiting for?? Time to face it. This past year and more have been highly emotional for me, and it's showing. I've been avoiding the scale, but I have been craving carbohydrates constantly, and my clothes are trying to tell me something. I've even bitten my nails a few times, and I thought I'd kicked that habit a long time ago. <BR> <BR> But things are okay now, so if I could just settle down and get motivated to manage my diet and exercise, I think I could start moving in the right direction again. ... Sun, 20 Mar 2011 14:58:45 EST I made it! Dear Friends: <BR> Today has been an amazing day. Two really important things happened that will increase my happiness manyfold. <BR> <BR> First of all, my husband left Iraq for Qatar today. He's done. He is on his way home, taking the long route. I'll be meeting him in London on Sunday. It hasn't been easy, but I made it, and I got some important things done while he was away, like refinancing our house, and getting some overdue work done on it. I feel good about it. He has managed... Thu, 17 Feb 2011 22:57:29 EST Dear Friends... (the belated holiday letter) <img src=""> <BR> DJ shown here helping me with my recycling <BR> <BR> Since I have been so remiss as a blogger, I thought you might enjoy the seasonal letter that recently went out to many of our friends. The light is definitely shining at the end of the tunnel: I go to London in a week. March 1 is the date for starting to get my exercise and my eating habits back on track. And hopefully, we'll be starting to have some Spring weathe... Sat, 12 Feb 2011 20:32:35 EST Sparkteens A couple of years ago, I introduced my daughter to Sparkteens, but it didn't catch. Relative to her peers, she would not have been thought "slim," but she definitely wasn't overweight. In fact, she was just perfectly normal, but she was starting to ask questions about nutrition. I wanted her to get the right information, and I was concerned that she might be getting bad information about dieting and weight from her friends. Even before joining Sparkpeople, I had worked alongside nutritio... Tue, 4 Jan 2011 22:10:02 EST New Year's Reflections: Better in 2011 2009 ended with me in physical therapy for several different problems, many of which also left their mark on 2010. About half way through 2010, I got out of physical therapy, and gradually returned to running, but only for a brief period. In August, my husband was deployed to the Middle East, and apart from the stress of missing him, his departure left me in sole charge of the house and the kids. Long and stressful days at work, plus all the demands of home and family left little time for ... Fri, 31 Dec 2010 20:32:10 EST Quick and easy I'm still muddling through, with approximately 65 days left to go until I see my husband. Add another week until he is back home contributing. Some days are better than others, and everything that has been a challenge these last months still is. <BR> <BR> My daughter is mostly getting by, and my son is still going through a very uncharacteristic struggle with his school work. He is very distracted and forgetful. Just this morning, he dragged an empty recycling bin to the curb and didn'... Mon, 13 Dec 2010 20:45:49 EST My light at the end of the tunnel. Travel advice? <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here it is October 21, and we are close to the half way point of my husband's tour of duty. Pretty soon we'll be in the home stretch. I have been happier for the last couple of weeks. I still have bad days, but I think the good ones are starting to outnumber the bad ones. I'm adjusting. <BR> <BR> My husband found out that he can fly back on a commercial airline, so he's planning to stop in London on the way ... Thu, 21 Oct 2010 20:44:27 EST There's never much time to write anymore... ...with my three jobs: Mom, (temporary) Dad, and fulltime professional. <BR> <BR> First of all, 2 months down, and 4 more to go until my husband comes home. Exciting news: we're planning to spend a few days in London together on his return trip, so I am starting to look at hotel options, and other possibilities for one very packed week. Not sure why, but this has me feeling happier. <BR> <BR> My boss agreed to let me telework one day a week, so I'll be starting this Tuesday. Things... Sun, 3 Oct 2010 23:27:56 EST Cheerful interim update Some days I feel as if I am sliding into depression, then I have a great day like today, and I feel as if everything is going to be fine again. <BR> <BR> Things to be thankful for this week: <BR> 1. I reached 10,000 steps on my pedometer at least 3 times. <BR> 2. My boss was calm this week. What a difference it makes! <BR> 3. My husband's doing fine at his faraway post. <BR> 4. There is still money left in the bank account when the bills are paid (this is a new experience!) <BR> 5. ... Sun, 19 Sep 2010 21:22:57 EST I may have gone too far Yesterday, I was in my boss's office, and he got around to his usual complaining about things he had already complained about to me before in great detail. It was all stuff I'd heard before so I was getting a little impatient. I tried to get him to move on by nodding, acknowledging that I understood, reiterating that I sympathized, having had similar experiences before myself. He countered in somewhat angry tones that I wasn't him and I wasn't being very unsympathetic. (I had exactly the s... Sat, 28 Aug 2010 09:52:55 EST Getting personal Thank you again to everyone who commented on last night's blog. I think it helped clear my head. Here is what I've decided while I was out taking a walk today. <BR> <BR> My boss can't have his cake and eat it too, as the saying goes. <BR> <BR> Bad things have happened to him that probably shouldn't have happened to him. I know as well as he does that our management is slippery, deceitful, and lacking in basic management skills and integrity, but it's time for some decisive action, one ... Tue, 24 Aug 2010 21:37:46 EST Just a quick update (or not...) I've been trying to get a little more sleep, so I'm going to try to keep this real short. <BR> <BR> First off, THANK YOU to you, my dear dear Sparkfriends, for your loving advice and support. <BR> <BR> Second, let's start with the good news: I ran without stopping for over 40 minutes today. I don't think I've running for that long since almost a year ago. It made my day. More good news: I averaged a little under 15 minutes per mile. That's really good for me, especially in light of... Mon, 23 Aug 2010 23:06:01 EST