PLMITCH's SparkPeople Blog PLMITCH's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Weekend Recap The last 4 days were a whirlwind! I flew out of Baltimore on Thursday afternoon headed for Denver, drove to Colorado Springs to visit my brother and sister-in-law, was treated royally there, then ran a 5K race on Saturday morning overlooking the majestic Rocky Mountains, and attended my 40th high school class reunion Saturday night. <BR> <BR> It bears repeating: It was a magical night! Reconnecting with friends, many who I have not seen 40 years, connecting with classmates who I did not k... Mon, 14 Sep 2015 10:15:13 EST 9/12/2015 was a great day! How do I define a nearly perfect day? Start with a 5K race at the highest altitude I've ever run at (6600 feet!), quality time with my brother and sister in law, roaming around my old neighborhood in Denver, and then the icing on the cake -- my 40th high school class reunion! 24 hours was nearly not enough for this truly special day! Sun, 13 Sep 2015 10:14:37 EST "Old school" (wired) running... Last month a question was posted about quality wireless bluetooth earphones, and I chimed in stating I had good luck with the yubuds Liberty wireless earphones. Argh! The kiss of death! Today they decided not to turn on for me! I contacted yurbuds support, and as always they were most helpful and will be sending me a new pair at no charge! (it was a known problem) Customer service can fix a lot of things! <BR> <BR> Hopefully the new ones will be here before next Wednesday, as I am trave... Thu, 3 Sep 2015 16:01:37 EST I hate to crab but... So good news I've returned to the working world, but 2.5 weeks in and still dealing with what I would consider to be "red tape" kind of issues that is preventing me from doing what I know i can do. I get it that things need to go through the process, but when folks like me can't do the job we were brought in to do, that is totally wrong! That is when the process needs to be examined and changes need to be made! Fri, 14 Aug 2015 22:33:55 EST Never as easy as it sounds... On my list of to-do's: Fix squeaky garage door. Solution: WD40 the wheels and hinges. Problem: The squeak is coming from track or garage door opener itself, and the owners manual clearly states NOT to grease either of them! <BR> <BR> Waiting for a response from Sears, but I suspect it will require a service call. Never as easy as it sounds... <BR> <BR> <em>24</em> Tue, 11 Aug 2015 12:14:52 EST Tech Revolt Continues! I was really hoping the tech revolt that started in July was going to be a one month thing, but alas, not the case! So far this month: <BR> <BR> - Still waiting on UPS to deliver recovery media so I can get my "new" work laptop up and running. Since UPS has not arrived by now (13:30 EDT), it likely means they won't be here until around 17:00! <BR> <BR> - I noticed on Friday that my Garmin Forerunner 200 GPS running watch was not charging up. Called Garmin, we tried a few things, then... Mon, 3 Aug 2015 13:45:00 EST Tech Revolt! So let me think of all the devices that revolted this week: work laptop, my wife's laptop, my running watch, my Fitbit! Let's hope next week that the revolt will be over! Fri, 31 Jul 2015 22:03:03 EST Almost there... My start date back to work is tomorrow -- Wednesday, July 29. 182 days from when I got my notice. Thankfully that was not my last day -- that was April 30, or 89 days, so roughly 3 months ago. <BR> <BR> It has been an experience. Good, kinda bad, interesting, a true learning experience. I'm sure I could come up with many more descriptions. <BR> <BR> For those of you in a job search, my two cents: Network! The best opportunities came as a result of someone in my network. <BR> <BR... Tue, 28 Jul 2015 21:42:58 EST FINALLY! It has been a crazy last few months! It all started on May 1 when I "retired" from my previous company (not exactly by choice!). Then came my dad and all his health issues just a week later, and almost right after that my car started its downward spiral! Talk about some stress! <BR> <BR> Thankfully things began to resolve themselves. Found a new car to my liking. And while my dad's passing wasn't maybe the solution I was hoping for, it was the right thing as far as his health issues w... Mon, 20 Jul 2015 13:42:27 EST My final dad update It has taken me two days to be able to blog this -- my apologies -- so here goes: <BR> <BR> My dad passed away early Tuesday morning, June 2. While I am sad to see him go, I am very relieved that he is out of his pain and back with my mom, which I really think he wanted all along. <BR> <BR> He'll be cremated in the next day or so, and at some future date, we'll a private family memorial at a location yet to be determined (kicking around a number of ideas). <BR> <BR> As I have been thi... Thu, 4 Jun 2015 18:40:54 EST Dad update A few weeks ago, things were looking up for my dad. He was out of the hospital, seemed in good spirits, and he was ready to take on his cancer. <BR> <BR> Then another fall occurred. <BR> <BR> On May 18, he was visiting with some friends and went to sit down for a meal, and from what the staff at his retirement community, his feet got somehow entangled in the chair, and he fell forward, doing a face plant into the floor, breaking his nose, badly cutting his lip, and may have been knocke... Thu, 28 May 2015 09:37:47 EST Latest dad update Let's get right to the good news -- dad was discharged yesterday (Friday) afternoon! The only issue with that was the length of time it took from when the doctor said "you're free to go" and the time the wheelchair came to bring dad down was over two hours! <BR> <BR> OK, so here's the rest of the news: <BR> <BR> - We did get confirmation that the mass in the lung is cancerous, and the working assumption is that the one in his brain was "sent" there by the one in his lung, which is quite a b... Sat, 16 May 2015 09:46:54 EST Dad update Lots of updates after seeing my dad for the first time yesterday and speaking with the doctors. <BR> <BR> In addition to a stroke, which was caused by a blocked carotid artery, they have also found a mass above one of his lungs and one on the opposite side of his brain where the stroke occurred. Not a particularly pretty picture. <BR> <BR> Today (Wednesday) they are going to do a needle biopsy on the lung mass to determine just what that mass is made of. It would be a shock if it is not can... Wed, 13 May 2015 09:09:35 EST Farewell trip Hitting the road later today to head to Tucson, but this will not be a happy trip. After not hearing from my dad yesterday morning (he calls me every Sunday morning), I called the front desk of his retirement village and was told that they had called 911 due to the fact he had not looked good when he came to breakfast. The medical department checked his vitals, found his blood pressure low, he was cold and clammy, and was slurring his speech. <BR> <BR> The paramedics arrived, confirmed t... Mon, 11 May 2015 07:23:42 EST Looking ahead... Still in recovery mode from last Sunday's HM. I had a spa pedicure appointment last evening, and my nail tech really did a nice job of massaging the kinks out of my feet! Today is another recovery run day -- 30 minutes. Hoping to run outside, as it is supposed to be in the 60's. Saturday will likely be an inside run day with temps back in the 30's and windy. <BR> <BR> Starting next week, I begin training for my next week -- a 5K race. It is a significant one for me, as it will be the ... Thu, 26 Mar 2015 09:32:15 EST Recovery week...then back to work! Not too sore after yesterday's half marathon. This week I will follow the recover week plan from my Jeff Galloway training plan -- 30 minute runs on Tuesday and Thursday, and a 5-6 mile run on Saturday. I have a blood donation appointment on Saturday at noon, so I'm planning to get my run in before the donation. <BR> <BR> After this week, I need to start training for my next race -- the 5K Ronald McDonald "Run for the House" race on April 18. This is the 4th anniversary of my first ra... Mon, 23 Mar 2015 09:12:12 EST HM #1 is under my belt! Today (Sunday) was a day I had been looking forward to, and maybe just a little frightened of, for several months. 03/22/15: The date of my first half marathon. Sure, I have followed a great training plan (thanks Jeff Galloway!), made sure I ate right, etc. But that still doesn't mean that something won't go wrong on race day - an injury, illness, etc. <BR> <BR> Happy to report none of those occurred. It was a little cooler than I had hoped for (lower 40's, wind chill in the 30's), and... Sun, 22 Mar 2015 22:16:49 EST 15 miles! Today's training run plan, in preparation for my my first half marathon, was 15 miles! Never been that far running in my life, period. Not sure I've ever even walked that far in a single session. And I have to admit it woke me up a few times overnight leading into today. Scared? Hell yes!! This truly was going to push me to the very outer boundaries of what I think I am capable of doing. <BR> <BR> OK, so let's get the suspense out of the way. Yes, I made the 15 mile trek! Mile 1 throug... Sat, 7 Mar 2015 22:08:06 EST Spa Pedicure One of my indulgences is to get a pedicure pretty much monthly, and I usually get a spa pedicure, which just means I get lots of special treatment! one of the best benefits is a fantastic foot and calf massage, which after the miles I have been running, feels just great! I scheduled my next appointment for 3 days after my first half marathon, which I am reasonably certain I will want and need all the pampering I can get! maybe it is time to look into a massage... <BR> <BR> <em>211</em> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 22:17:44 EST ALMOST got there... Last Saturday, my goal for my long run was 14 miles. had never run that far. EVER! The bad part was that the weather was not cooperating and it was going to be an indoor run on the treadmill at the YMCA. <BR> <BR> So let's get right to it -- 13.25 miles was as far as I made it. Still at distance PR, and I got past the distance for a HM, so I know I can run that distance now. The issue was a cramp in my left cramp, and after analyzing my run, I think it was a combination of running too ... Mon, 23 Feb 2015 21:35:49 EST 12 mile run? Eh, no big deal! ;-) Oh yes it was a big deal!! And while I was confident that I could achieve the training goal for yesterday, until you do it, there is always a little nagging doubt (at least for me). <BR> <BR> Thankfully, it was a reasonably nice day (40's), very little wind, and an awful lot of desire! <BR> <BR> Even better, I ran it at near the projected pace I am aiming for in next month's half -- ran it 2:10:06, and my goal for the half is 2:20:00, so I am right there! The big difference is yesterd... Sun, 8 Feb 2015 18:28:34 EST Big training run on Saturday Two weeks ago I crossed into the double digit mileage run for the first time (10 miles). Big moment in my running career. Fast forward to tomorrow (Saturday, 02/07/2015), when I am scheduled for a 12 mile training run! The weather looks to be decent enough (40's) so it will be an outdoor run, which I am happy about. I purchased a hydration belt today, which I know I will need for my first half on 3/22, but this will be a good run to test it out. The best also has a small pouch, and a few ... Fri, 6 Feb 2015 21:45:11 EST 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