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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Another One Gone

It is bitter cold outside with snow finally covering the ground.  Upon waking I found that another musical hero is gone, David Bowie. From high school on Bowie’s music was always there, always changing.  Lou Reeds death was a blow, this is much worse.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Walking is for the birds

When I first started walking I was bored and listened to audiobooks either from the library or from LibraVox recordings.  It was nice to read Sherlock Holmes or to reread Vonnegut.  But then I tried something radical.  I just walked.  I didn’t read or listen to music.

After a couple walks I started noticing a lot more and walking stopped being a chore.  I took my time and saw, heard and listened.  I walked out past my development and at this slower pace I saw even more than when I cycled.

I began to notice nature more.  Before just noticed the roadkill but now I saw all kinds of animals and birds.  I know absolutely nothing about birds but found there was a lot of diversity.  I ordered a monocular and it changed everything.

The Roxant Grip Scope is a high quality monocular.  It’s small enough to carry easily and easy to use.  For the money I can’t imagine a better value.  The focus ring gives just enough resistance.  Whatever I focus on is crisp.

I see a bird that I don’t know and I can quickly focus in.  I’m beginning to see all of the fuss that my birding friends have been talking about.

 

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Training in Majorca

As I work towards fitness the plan has been to alter my diet, walk in the mornings and then hop on the indoor trainer in the early evening.

I have a Cycleops Fluid 2 trainer and it is smooth and works great.

cycleops-fluid2-trainer-41025-1

The biggest problem for me is the boredom.  Twenty minutes on the trainer is a lifetime, even with Roxy Music playing in the background.  I went online and found some great free training videos that I throw on my tablet and relax.  They have no sound so I can still listen to Blind Boy Fuller and I spin.  Here is a video of a ride in Majorca.  The video lasts about an hour.  That is about my limit on a trainer.

It’s ironic that my wife has been talking about moving to Spain when her father dies.  Our daughter has moved away and we have nothing holding us in any specific place.

I have failed a thousand times at weight loss and I think I finally have the answer.  I had a friend tell me that getting in shape was seventy percent diet and thirty percent exercise.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it is one hundred percent discipline

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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The Gym & Pickleball

Lately it’s been cold and I’ve found out that I don’t like the cold.  I worked outside in the weather for thirty-seven years and it never bothered me.  I’m not sure if I’ve lost my acclimation in my four years of retirement or if I’m just getting old.  Doesn’t matter.  I want to get my steps in and I don’t like the cold.

The best solution was to join a gym.  The Splash Zone in Oberlin is only ten minutes away and perfect for my needs.  They have an indoor pool and a nice weight room with stationary bicycles and treadmills.  I find treadmills a bit boring but they are much better than walking around my development in freezing temperatures.

First time I went I walked around the outside of the fieldhouse on the track.

fieldhouse

Eight times around is a mile and it is interesting watching so many people playing basketball and other games.  One game they were playing looked like tennis but was being played with paddles and plastic wiffle balls.

gym

Part of the reason that I choose treadmills over walking around the fieldhouse is I’m incredibly social.  I know a lot of people and as I walked I saw people from The Silver Wheels Cycling Club and had to talk to them.  Then they invited me to play the game.  I found it was called Pickleball.  It’s a big deal among older people as it slower on a smaller court.  I played and had a blast.  The ball doesn’t bounce like you’d expect (from playing racquetball.  Plus you have to hit it harder.  It takes a little while to get used to it but once you do it’s a blast.

I walked a few miles in the fieldhouse and then moved to the treadmill to finish my walk.  I expect it to take a few weeks to get in the habit of going but as I do I plan to enhance my experience by using the pool and the weights.

pool

When cycling season becomes a reality I plan to continue the walking and the gym.  As I approach the last third of my life I’m making permanent changes.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Fitbit Flex

I had a bunch of people write me about my post yesterday, specifically about the Fitbit Flex.

Last year a friend of mine got one and used it to lose over sixty pounds.  If they can do it so can I.

The Flex is the lowest of the Fitbits only counting steps and sleep.  I joke that I’m on a fixed income but honestly I’m pretty frugal.  I don’t mind spending money on my family but hate spending cash on myself.

The higher end Fitbits count stairs and show the steps numerically on the wrist.  I didn’t feel that I needed that.  The Flex has five L.E.D.s that light up as you get to each level.  Since I am walking ten thousand steps I get one light per two thousand steps.  It pairs perfectly with my iPhone 5s showing steps in real time.  If I’m walking I can see the steps update as I walk.  When I reach my goal the Flex vibrates.  It’s a good feeling.  The vibration can also be used as a silent alarm.  I use it when I need to get up and not bother the wife.

The recent update has it monitor your sleep automatically.  It senses when you are sleeping and gives you a report of the quality.  I found that I normally get seven hours sleep with seventeen minutes of restless sleep.

The biggest thing about it for me is how it motivates me.  If at ten o’clock at night I find I have eight thousand steps I get out and get my final two thousand.  I plan to increase the step count five hundred steps every two weeks.  When I get on the bike I still plan to keep doing the steps.  This is my year to do it and it feels good.

fitbit_flex

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Weight Loss and the Lies We Tell

I’ve been fat for a very long time.  When I was in my late twenties I gained eighty pounds in one year.  I was incredibly active doing heavy manual labor and taking karate.  I kept cutting my calories down but gaining a couple pounds a week no matter what.  I went to my doctor and all he could say was to limit my intake.

This went on until I found a lump in my neck and was diagnosed with a large thyroid tumor.  There is a long story that I may share someday but I had surgery and had it successfully removed.  It was benign and I was fine.  I take a thyroid substitute daily and have no real issues other than my eyes seem to dry out in the winter a great deal easier.  That is a minor complaint and if I take precautions it doesn’t cause any problems.

Over the years I used that excuse to explain my weight.  I have a thyroid problem and that is why I can’t lose weight.  Plus I used the bullshit that I carry it well.  I don’t.  Most people are incredibly nice to me and lie.  I hear, you look good, you don’t need to lose much.  Bullshit.

I’m at an age now where there is no more artifice.  I look in the mirror and see a retiree who has far more weight on himself than there should be.  There is only one reason I am overweight, and it’s not my poorly performing thyroid gland.  I eat too much and I don’t exercise enough.  Plus I love carbs.  I don’t care if it is pizza or saltine crackers.  I love it.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been moving away from carbs, trying to eliminate as many as possible.  The few carbs I get are from salads and vegetables.   I’m avoiding sugars with a passion.  I’m already seeing small results.

I’ve started drinking more water every day.  Trying to drink a gallon a day.  That seems to be making a real difference both in my appetite and my skin.

Exercise.  Now that is where the biggest change has occurred.  I bought a Fitbit Flex and use it every day.

fitbit_flex.jpg

I walk ten thousand steps daily.  I found that when it is bitter cold I don’t want to do it so I joined a gym not too far from here.  It’s not hard to drive the ten minutes and then walk for an hour.

Once the weather breaks in a few months I’ll be on the bike as often as I can.  But I will continue with the walking.

No more fooling myself.  I’m in it for the long haul.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Random Thoughts in the New Year

I friend sent me a link about a woman in England who is attempting to break the world record for Furthest Miles Cycled in a Year by a woman.   Interesting goal.  The record is seventy-seven years old and set by Billie Fleming (Dovey) who rode 29,603 miles on a three speed road bike.  Good luck to her.

The thing that surprised me was that she isn’t trying to raise money for some cause or charity.  Instead she is trying to encourage people to become more active and pledge twenty minutes of activity a day.  Instead of donating money she wants you to donate minutes of activity to get healthy.  I can get behind that.

Since I live in LaGrange, Ohio and close to Oberlin I see a lot of cyclists loaded down doing the Underground Railroad (UGRR) bike route.  It goes from Mobile, Alabama to Owen Sound, Ontario and is 2,006.5 miles.  It is one of the rides that I plan to do someday.

As I said I see a lot of these riders, a couple every few weeks and always stop and offer food, lodging or anything they may need.  All are friendly and some are foreign.  Every third on, or so, tells me that they are doing it to raise awareness for breast cancer, dioxins, income inequality, solar power, you name it.  I want to ask them how them riding their bike will do that.  Every once in a while a small town paper puts a small article about the weirdo riding his bike thousands of miles and they mention that he’s doing it to raise awareness of gill nets or whatever.  People who care about such issues already know and those who don’t really don’t care.  It’s like Susan G. Komen raising money to bring awareness about breast cancer.  Who doesn’t know about breast cancer?

Perhaps I’m being obtuse but I just want to tell the cyclist to just ride.  Telling me that the black rhino is nearly extinct isn’t going to help them.  I’m aware, but as a lumpen proletariat I’m powerless and most people are doing what they can.  I’m glad that there are people out there who are trying to change things, I just don’t think riding a bike is going to do much.

Perhaps I’m getting old.

My mini-rant is over.  This is my year for cycling.  Global climate change is happening and my riding a bike and encouraging others might help a bit but I don’t need to raise awareness.  I just need to get this fat ass onto the saddle.

more bikes

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2016 in Uncategorized