PLMITCH's SparkPeople Blog PLMITCH's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community One more week to go... Today starts my last full work week of the year, and even though we are not going any place special, I am looking forward to no alarms for an extended period of time (11 days to be precise!). Plenty to do around the house, plus I have a 5K race to run on 12/31, but am going to make an effort to carve out some "me" time so that come 01/05/2015, I am ready to and excited to face the new year! Mon, 15 Dec 2014 09:45:51 EST GULP! Over the past few years I've done some pretty "interesting" things, many related to a healthy lifestyle. But I have to admit my latest decision is clearly encroaching on my comfort zone -- running my first half marathon! <BR> <BR> The facts: 52nd Caesar Rodney Half Marathon, Wilmington, DE, Sunday March 22, 2015 <BR> <BR> The factors that drove me to this: 1) A conversation I had back in December 2012 at the Tucson International Airport. It was the Monday following the Tucson Marath... Mon, 8 Dec 2014 22:01:00 EST Thanksgiving leftovers are FINISHED! Even though we bought just a turkey breast and cooked for 5 people last Thursday, we did end up with a fair amount of Thanksgiving leftovers, so my wife and I decided we'd be vigilant and not waste them. We achieved that, but I am sure tired of the same kind of food for 5 straight dinners! <BR> <BR> I usually hit Subway for a 6" sub prior to my league bowling night on Tuesday, and that sub will taste VERY good! Of course, I almost always get a Subway Club, which has turkey on it, but it ... Tue, 2 Dec 2014 10:00:42 EST "Greyt" News! Got a call from our vet this afternoon to give me the results of our greyhound Gigi's biopsy on the growth on her ear. It was benign!! She has bounced back so well from her procedures, and this is just icing on the cake!! <BR> <BR> <em>244</em> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 17:21:10 EST Yes they are family... Tomorrow we take our oldest greyhound, Gigi, in for two procedures. One, to remove a growth on one of her ears that blossomed up in the past few weeks. Two, for a much needed dental cleaning. We decided to do both due to the growth, which absolutely needs to be done. The issue is she is 12.5 years old, and in for just about any breed, this can be risky with the anesthesia. But she is in great shape otherwise so we decided to accept the risk on her behalf. <BR> <BR> So I made a point to... Thu, 6 Nov 2014 22:17:36 EST Wonderful trip to Jamaica! The sign of a good vacation: it went by quick! And by our standards, this was a short one -- just 4 days in Jamaica -- we usually try to go for a week, but this was a special trip -- my son and new daughter-in-law were getting married on the sunny beaches of Sandals Whitehouse! This was our first stay at this resort, and we were even more impressed than what the pictures showed! We're heading back to our favorite Sandals -- the Grand Riviera in Ocho Rios -- next March, but we will definet... Tue, 4 Nov 2014 08:53:57 EST One week and counting... If all goes according to plan, my wife and I will be jetting our way to Jamaica one week from now. Short vacation, but a joyous trip -- my son and soon to be new daughter-in-law will be getting married at Sandals Whitehouse on October 30! We had originally planned to stay longer and transfer to our favorite Sandals property -- Grand Riviera over at Ocho Rios -- but decided to shift that trip to next March so that we can celebrate the 15th anniversary of our first date, and if the winter for... Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:37:26 EST Yet another "new" thing... So a few weeks ago I learned about SSD's from a wonderfully smart guy at the Apple Genius Bar. I thought that was pretty cool. But earlier this week my wife told me that the toilet set in our bedroom bathroom was broken, which meant I needed to make a trip to Lowe's for a replacement. <BR> <BR> As you can imagine, there is no shortage of toilet seat replacements, but much to my surprise, there is one made by Church that has "WhisperClose" plain English, it does not slam! <... Fri, 3 Oct 2014 20:59:10 EST Normally I don't cheer for October to come but... Lots of fun stuff going on this October: <BR> <BR> - Greyhounds Reach the Beach <BR> - Brunch at our favorite winery <BR> - My wife's birthday (which usually turns into a week long celebration!) <BR> - A 5K race <BR> - And a trip to Jamaica to see my son and my soon to be daughter-in-law get married. Destination weddings are the best! <BR> <BR> September was a good month, but October should be a GREAT one! <BR> <BR> <em>224</em> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:47:04 EST Nice to have my Mac back again! We were in Arizona last week and into early this week when my MacBook Pro decided to go "toes up". It had done the same thing in W Virginia just a few weeks prior but made a miraculous recovery, plus one previous hiccup a few months prior. Everything was pointing towards the hard drive, and so last Monday my wife and I drove to the Apple Store in Tucson to work with someone at the "Genius Bar". I was quite fortunate to get a top notch tech, Brandon, who confirmed my hard drive failure gues... Sat, 20 Sep 2014 14:32:43 EST My new way of remembering... On the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it's odd just how searing that event still is to me. It's almost hard to imagine 13 years has gone by that quickly, and yet just how fresh it seems. <BR> <BR> A year ago, I found out my blood bank was doing a 9/11 blood drive (they may have been doing it in previous years, but I just found out about it) so I took time off from work to go donate (I normally donate on Saturdays). <BR> <BR> As always, being able to donate blood feels good, but ... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:41:04 EST Golf Had a really enjoyable round of golf on Friday. No, I did not have a great score -- 108 -- but it was just getting outside with friends, having lots of laughs, and taking in a late summer day outside. It was my first time this season, which is a shame, but will get out at least one more time in mid September. <BR> <BR> Just nice to get away from the office and be with friends. Next year, I need to make a point to schedule more golf games... Sat, 23 Aug 2014 10:10:15 EST Arthritis Visited with a sports Dr. yesterday to get a prognosis on my right knee, which a month ago was really hurting me. It actually was (and is) much better, but since I had set the appointment up and had x-rays taken on the knee last Friday, I figured it was worthwhile to keep the appointment. <BR> <BR> Good news: No structural issues. Bad news: it is arthritis. Not shocked. After playing ice hockey for many years in my elementary, Jr high, high school, and college years, plus years after... Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:16:46 EST Another example of great customer service (Fitbit) So easy to get caught up in the negative side of customer service, so I really try to make a point to let people know about great customer service. And since this is healthy living related, good time to blog about it -- Fitbit. <BR> <BR> The background story: Last Monday after my AM run through Timonium, MD, I noticed my Fitbit Flex was not doing anything -- no lights, etc. Logged onto the Fitbit website, it had recorded my steps of my run, but was unable to connect to it at that point. ... Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:16:56 EST New Heating and A/C System OK, so not as much fun as say a new PC or some other "toy" I'd like, but I am pretty excited that we are getting our new heating and A/C system installed. The heater was original with the house -- 23 years old -- so it was past due, and my wife and I have spent more than a few nights in the winter time huddled under our quilts. If this new system is as good as my HVAC company is telling me, those kind of nights will go away this winter AND we'll use our propane much more efficiently. <BR> ... Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:34:12 EST Low key Saturday I have been battling a head cold for nearly a week now, and while I thought it was getting better yesterday, today I feel not so good. Saturday is my normal long run day, but with the sneezes, coughs, runny nose, etc., I may push my run to tomorrow with the hope that I am feeling better than I do right now. <BR> <BR> Summer colds! The pits!! <BR> <BR> <em>39</em> Sat, 2 Aug 2014 11:36:05 EST Runnin' in the rain (sung to the tune "Singin' in the Rain")! Went out for a run last Saturday. According to my Galloway recovery program for a 10K race, I was to run 3-5 miles. So since I needed to go to the library to drop off a book, decided to start / end my run there, as there is a nice quiet neighborhood to run in. <BR> <BR> It was cloudy when I arrived at the library, and by the time I dropped off the book, the clouds had gotten lower and it started to spit a little rain. No worries -- I've run in a light rain before... <BR> <BR> Well, the... Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:32:52 EST Great Wyoming (DE) Buffalo Stampede 10K Recap OK, to the important stuff: Ran a very respectable 1:02:06 today in my 2nd ever 10K race. <BR> <BR> My plan today was be in the 10 minute mile range for the first 4 miles then start to pick up the pace and come in under 1 hour. Actually executed the plan pretty well, though my last 2 miles were 9:31 and 9:43, so need to do some work on those finishing miles. First 4 miles I ran in 40:20, so just a smidge off my target. <BR> <BR> Plan to slow the pace up for the next few weeks. My righ... Sat, 19 Jul 2014 12:01:20 EST A blog about nothing? One of my quirks on SP is that I always like to finish the day with my points at either a 5 or a 0 (i.e..65, 70, 75, 80). Don't know why...guess that is why it is quirk! So for today, the only way I can reach that goal is to write a blog to collect my 3 like "Seinfeld", this is a blog about nothing! <BR> <BR> Ah but there is always something to blog about! <BR> <BR> - Tonight my wife and I will be taking her parents / my in-laws out for dinner to celebrate their 60th weddi... Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:21:34 EST Random Observations - Today was an interval speed training run day -- 16 quarter mile runs at a faster pace than I normally run, with a much needed 2 minute walk between each. Happy to report I completed this task, and my runs where right where I wanted them to be - in the 2:15 range! <BR> <BR> - With it being VERY humid and 77F, I took along a small cooler with an ice pack, a bottle of water, and protective glasses (clear) in case the bugs were bad (it was cloudy, so sunglasses were not in order). Parked the... Thu, 10 Jul 2014 16:43:56 EST New Running Shoes Monday evening I picked up a new pair of running shoes from a real running store! My 3rd pair of Brooks, and this time they were fitted properly! Also purchased what I am told is a top of the line orthotic insert -- Superfeet -- to go inside. <BR> <BR> New shoes got a real acid test outside today -- 4 mile run with the heat index over 100F! Wasn't a particularly fast run (in fact pretty darn slow!), but felt like I was running on pillows! <BR> <BR> Next test: 5K race on Saturday! C... Thu, 3 Jul 2014 22:30:20 EST My running evolution... I recently commented about a friend's post on FB where she stated "Running sucks!". To put this post into perspective, she is preparing to run in her first 5K, but I am suspicious she is not following any sort of program to get there, like C25K, etc. I could not resist the opportunity to chide her just a bit (she is the same age as my son -- early 30's -- so I think of her like a 3rd daughter!), and pointed out that the running does not suck, just how she was approaching it. She backed off... Mon, 30 Jun 2014 10:17:40 EST Adventurous run on Saturday Last Saturday I easily had my most adventurous run EVER! <BR> <BR> My training schedule stated I needed to do a 6 mile long run, which I was more than cool with, so one of the things I am trying to do is not run the same courses, but rely on my Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS watch and explore new areas in my neck of the woods here on the Delmarva. <BR> <BR> So...since I had to go to the grocery store, I decided I'd use the high school across the street as my start and end point. Lots of sidew... Mon, 16 Jun 2014 11:27:24 EST Busy weekend ahead! Lots going on this weekend, so had to get started on the normal weekend chores ahead of schedule (cleaning, groceries, etc). Right out of the box tomorrow (Saturday) morning, we are taking my in-laws up to catch a bus in Wilmington, DE for their cruise to Bermuda (leaving the house at 07:30), so that means a Saturday alarm, early walking and feeding of the dogs, and NO smoked salmon for breakfast (our normal Saturday breakfast constitutional!), but we decided we'll hit one our favorite diner... Fri, 13 Jun 2014 10:28:05 EST Always glad to be back home We had a great time in New Orleans! The food, the drink, the sights, the people! Ready to go back another time! <BR> <BR> But always good to get back home! Puppies were so glad see us, and us them! Looking forward to being in my bed tonight! And a vacation day on Friday, so no alarm! <BR> <BR> Life is good! Thu, 5 Jun 2014 21:50:55 EST Goodbye old friend (lawn mower) Got some sad news today. My self propelled mower has officially bit the dust! According to the shop, the engine is totally seized up and nothing is going to bring it back to life! <BR> <BR> <em>39</em> <BR> <BR> On a slightly more serious note, this is the 2nd self propelled I have sent to an early grave since we moved back to DE. The problem is that I really enjoy using the self propelled mower vs my tractor, but this is 1.33 acres and I honestly think these self propelled are gear... Fri, 30 May 2014 22:46:29 EST Close Encounter Very stormy afternoon here on the Delmarva. Tornado warning broadcast at 4:30PM local time, we and the puppies quickly moved to the basement. All clear at 5:00PM, but major damage just 4 miles due west from an apparent tornado. We'll know for sure when the NWS surveys the damage tomorrow. Thu, 22 May 2014 22:03:45 EST Did the roles change? In early April, my dad (age 82) moved from his house to a retirement community nearby, and he resides as an independent resident. He has been living alone since the end of 2011 when my mom passed away, and while he has been functional, it was becoming apparent that he was lonely and was not enjoying cooking meals for himself. <BR> <BR> So, for the most part, the transition to living in his new home has gone well. He is socializing, enjoying having someone else fix meals for him, and his ... Mon, 19 May 2014 21:53:05 EST First 10K Race A Success! Made the big step up to 10K racing today. Ran in the Kennett Run race in Kennett Square, PA (25th anniversary) -- perfect racing conditions -- mid 50's, sunny, no wind! <BR> <BR> Very happy with my results: 1:00.21! A 9:41 / mile pace, had plenty of energy for a nice kick at the end. I have been training at a 2:00 min run / 0:30 walk ratio, but with many more hills today, most of the time I was running a 3 minute run / 30 second ratio, and extended runs where I was going downhill. <B... Sat, 17 May 2014 13:54:48 EST Racing / Mac Updates - Saturday, April 19 Ronald McDonald "Run for the House 5K" race: <BR> <BR> This is the 2nd race I've used my Garmin Forerunner 220 in, and interestingly enough, it showed the race course was 3.16 miles! So, my course time was 28:21, close, but not a PR. Garmin had the 5K distance at 27:53, which is a PR AND my first time under the 28 minute mark! First two miles just a shade under 9 minutes, 3rd mile was 9:14, which has the only hill on the entire course (probably explains the slight ... Mon, 21 Apr 2014 15:23:56 EST Technology Disorientation (would be a good title for a Big Bang Theory Episode!) Yesterday late afternoon my MacBook Pro really started to run slow, so like all good technical folks I started running some diagnostics only to find it going the Mac OSX version of BSOD (Blue screen of death) -- for a Mac, it is "GSOD" (grey screen of death!). A quick call to Apple confirmed my worst suspicions -- hard drive issue! <BR> <BR> And there started the disorientation -- clearly felt out of sync the rest of the night - and it is not like I don't have another device to use -- I h... Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:01:40 EST Big Day For My Dad A very big day for my dad -- he is moving from the place he has called home for the last 30 years to a nearby senior living community! He has been living alone for the past 2+ years (my mom passed away on 12/31/2011) and while he has managed OK, he clearly was beginning to tire of the "aloneness". <BR> <BR> He is in great physical health for 83, but clearly the lack of social interaction (outside of a weekly trip to the grocery store, church on Saturday, and his one dinner out on Saturday... Wed, 9 Apr 2014 14:21:01 EST Feels like a Monday... Good news: Nice 3 day weekend and was able to recover from my trip to Arizona. Bad news: Tuesday is here, and I am NOT in the mood to work! Good news: It's a 4 day work week, so if I can just get through today, tomorrow will be here and the weekend will be that much closer! Tue, 8 Apr 2014 10:14:06 EST Heading home... As much as I have enjoyed the warm 80+ degree temps, low humidity, and great southwestern cuisine, I am ready to get home to be with DW and the puppies! I did get my "fix" of southwestern food today -- a Mexican omelet for breakfast (which had some of the best chorizo I've tasted in a long time), and then for lunch a specialty of this next of the woods -- carna seca! How it is prepared here: The beef is laid in strips on the rooftop but covered so that birds can't get to it, and it is lite... Tue, 1 Apr 2014 16:55:04 EST Very good trip to Arizona After this winter on the Delmarva peninsula, any reason to go to Arizona would make it a good trip, but as it turned out, this one was even better than expected. A little background... <BR> <BR> My dad has been living alone for over 2 years now. My mom passed away on 12/31/11, and I really thought when we came out for the memorial service in March 2012 he was giving some serious thought to moving into a senior living community (we toured it with him at that time). Time progressed, questio... Sat, 29 Mar 2014 23:33:21 EST "My Little Pony" Bully Debate <link><BR>y-told-ditch-pony-bag-article-1.1726433 </link> <BR> <BR> Is this a tough issue or what? When I first heard the story on "Good Morning America", my immediate reaction was to take the side of the 9 year old boy being bullied, not only by the bullies but also by the school. But as I have reflected on this story, I'm not so sure. <BR> <BR> Let me state this for the record: I do not condone bullying! Period. Where I am having 2nd thoughts i... Wed, 19 Mar 2014 14:10:54 EST Result: 20,818 days I turn 57 years old tomorrow, and while that may be an unremarkable age, what caught my eye is turning 57 and having been born in 1957. Symmetry... <BR> <BR> So I took it one step further and used an app to calculate the # of days I've been on planet earth, hence the blog title! <BR> <BR> One thing I will be doing tomorrow that will be a first is running in a 5K race on my birthday! 3rd one of the year, and as always, hoping for a PB! Fri, 14 Mar 2014 16:39:19 EST Nice run today Saturdays are typically my long run days (no work conflicts, etc), and so I had set two goals for today's run: 1) Run at least 5 miles; and 2) If my legs still had life in them, go for a total of 6 miles. Of particular concern is my right knee, which is not feeling 100% at the moment. I'm sure if I saw a Dr, they would tell me to take it easy for a spell, but I'm not quite ready to do that just yet. <BR> <BR> So I purposely ran at a slow pace -- first two miles at 6.0 mph, then then ne... Sat, 1 Mar 2014 16:57:03 EST A year already? A year ago today my wife and I each had significant events to celebrate: <BR> <BR> - She was hired by a local not-for-profit company, and I am pleased to report it has exceeded her expectations. The words she uses to describe it: "I feel valued!" <BR> <BR> - After years and years of battling weight issues, I achieved a milestone I could only dream about a few years ago -- hitting my "normal" weight goal (as defined by BMI). <BR> <BR> It has been a good year for both of since then. Her... Fri, 21 Feb 2014 15:21:45 EST Running for enjoyment If you had asked me 3 years ago if I'd be titling a blog called "Running for enjoyment", i'd have called you crazy (or worse!). Back then, I could not even imagine running at all, let alone for enjoyment! But that is the beauty of time - things change. I discovered running, how fun it can be, and in fact how therapeutic it can be. Today I was thinking about my initial runs, and if I could just get to 3 miles in 40 minutes! Now I'm disappointed if I can't do 4 miles in 40 minutes! And to... Thu, 6 Feb 2014 22:38:16 EST That was a LONG 31 days! I don't know about you all, but that sure did seem like a LONG January to me! Work, cold weather, snow, short daytime, you name it! It'll be nice to flip the calendar tomorrow and a short 28 day month! And that much closer to spring! <BR> <BR> <em>126</em> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 09:55:49 EST Back to the deep freeze... OK, so not as bad as in the midwest, nor nor as scary as what the south is dealing with (snow with no equipment to clean it off in many places), but doesn't mean I have to be happy with these teens for temps or wind chill close to zero! At least it appears this is a short lived event, with temps back in the 40's over the weekend. <BR> <BR> <em>444</em> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 08:48:08 EST One issue resolved, onto the next... So, everything is OK on the job front. There was never an issue of "do I have a job?" more along the lines of "is this the kind of work I want to be doing?" (at least some parts of my job), but my manager and I had a very nice chat, came up with a game plan, and so I feel much better about it. <BR> <BR> But, as the saying goes, "horror vacui" ("Nature abhors a vacuum."). Last evening, I talked with my brother, who is in Arizona with my SIL visiting family. They went over to see my dad ... Fri, 17 Jan 2014 17:26:58 EST It's great to have friends... Had a very nice conversation with an old work friend whom I've stayed in touch with over the years even though we have not worked together directly for nearly 10 years. Kinda good in that if we are looking for advice from the other, it is not weighted by current knowledge of a given situation. <BR> <BR> Anyway, I have had some job quality issues on my mind, so we spent the better part of 30 minutes today discussing the best way to move forward, and I felt 100% better AND have a game plan on... Tue, 14 Jan 2014 15:24:57 EST As good as 12/31 is going to get.... Since my mom passed away two years ago on this date, 12/31 has become somewhat of a melancholy day for me. Don't get me wrong -- I know my mom is in a MUCH better place, but being human I can't help but miss her. She did so much for me -- all of which I appreciate that much more. <BR> <BR> So I was really happy last month when I saw a 5K race that was going to be on 12/31/2013! Nice to have a different focus today! <BR> <BR> And the training over the past month paid off -- a PB of 28:1... Tue, 31 Dec 2013 15:54:25 EST SLOWLY getting back to "normal"... Amazing to think we've been home one week from what was one of the best vacations ever! 10 days and 9 nights at Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Great food, great drinks, the staff was simply amazing, our butlers outstanding. The highlight (and there were many) was our "Renewal of Vows" ceremony on December 9. What was so cool about it was that Sandals treats it just like a wedding, so both my wife and I got pretty emotional (in a positive way). <BR> <BR> <BR> The weather... Sat, 21 Dec 2013 19:06:26 EST November wrap up Well that was a busy 30 days! Work, or course, a 5K race, Thanksgiving, dinners with my kids, and various other usual activities. It just FLEW by! And the next few days will be VERY hectic as we get ready to head to Jamaica! But the good news is we are pretty well packed and know what the suitcases weigh, which as we all know is important as the airlines LOVE to stick it to us if we are even a pound over the 50 pound limit! AirTran charges $75 for an overweight bag, and that is who we are... Sat, 30 Nov 2013 18:06:24 EST A very busy next 34 days ... Isn't it funny how weird thoughts hit...I was doing some work planning when it hit me how busy it will be between now and 01/01/2014. Of course the usual holiday "stuff": family get-togethers, shopping, decorating, etc. Then add in a much needed "real" vacation right in the middle of those 34 days (I define "real" as going someplace special and RELAXING -- which we are doing - think Jamaica and 9 days of pampering!), plus the year end work rush, and there you go -- 34 days! <BR> <BR> No... Wed, 27 Nov 2013 15:29:33 EST Proud of our Tomas! If you look at my SparkPage, you'll probably notice pictures and references to greyhounds. My wife and I have rescued racing greyhounds since 2004, and 5 of them have changed our lives in ways we can't even begin to describe. We currently have a pack of 3 (#'s 3, 4, and 5), which we find is a nice # to have. <BR> <BR> One of the unique attributes of greyhounds is that their blood is a universal blood type - it can be given to other dogs who need blood, so our two youngest ones -- Tomas a... Mon, 25 Nov 2013 15:38:54 EST Very good 5K race today I've been running for two years now, and a few things I've figured out: <BR> <BR> - I prefer warm weather over cold for running <BR> - I don't like wind when I am running! <BR> - I am amazed just how warm I do get when I am running, even on a cold day! <BR> <BR> So today's race, the 40th annual Turkey Trot in Newark, Delaware, had both chilly temps, wind, and a new wrinkle for me -- a hilly course! It was in the 40's at race time, but cloudy and windy, so it felt much colder! <BR> <BR... Sat, 23 Nov 2013 16:10:02 EST