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Really, I Want Credit! Cardio Log Rant!

OK, let's be honest. Don't you smirk a little when you see that someone burned 399,000 calories doing vigorous cleaning?

I guess subconsciously I am little jealous, but I am guy and my job is to litter the house with half-empty water bottles and leave my jacket everywhere but the closet. It takes more than a vigorous effort to clean up after me. I have adapted though - I can eat over the sink saving the need for dishes.

So I got thinking about some of the things that are not in my cardio log and probably should be.

- Typing: I freaking type like 44 words per minute with both fingers. I have been at it so long that there are quite a few characters worn off my keyboard.

- Farting: It takes effort to load the chamber and make sure you are alone, or have an audience that will appreciate the tone, duration and cadence.

- Teaching: I do conferences every other month and I stand for 6 or more hours. Mostly I sit in front of a PC, so this is a big deal.

- Drinking Water: I don't know about you, but before MFP, I was like a camel. I drank a cup or two of coffee, and maybe 4 ounces of water for dinner. Drinking 8 cups a day is worth something. And peeing, there is a lot of that going on along with the trek to the men's room.

- Listening to Music: Come on, when the tunes are playing something is moving.

- Changing Channels: I swear, my thumb is as strong as my quads. If I wasn't at the gym so much, I would be even better!
 
- Sex: One of the few times I don't mind sweating. I suppose because underage kids use this site we could put it in as "that." David burned 345 calories including walking the dog and doing that.

- Flipping Off Idiot Drivers: The choices here in Boston are amazing. It's like being at the F-U bakery!

OK, your turn. What do you do a lot of that might be worth a few cardio calories?

Thanks for the votes and comments, you guys are the best!

Feel free to friend me, I don't have any rules other than you need to be dressed in your profile pic!

The Anatomy of a First 5K Run

The predawn glimmer of morning peaks around the shades as the clock silently proclaims it is 5:47; it's race day! The slowly churning thoughts begin their own race in my mind. "Is it raining today?" "Did I remember my favorite headphones?" "Which pair of shoes?" "Am I going to run too fast in the beginning and have to walk in the end?" "Will I look like a dork?"

"Oh God, should I really be doing this?"

A little nervous, I got out of bed, pulled on a t-shirt, headed to the bathroom and eventually made my way to the coffeemaker downstairs. "I am going to finish in 30 minutes or less, and not walk a single step." I told myself as the smell of freshly brewing coffee reminded me to get the milk from the refrigerator.

I took a cup of coffee up to my wife and switched on the local news for a weather report. "A 50% chance of light showers in Metrowest." announced the happier-than-he-should-be weatherman.  I pulled up weather.com for Clinton, MA on my Android, hoping to get a better deal for the day...

"What if my feet are soaked?" "I am running this race no matter what!" I reassured myself. Silently, I dreaded the possibility of running in the pouring rain.

I took a shower. While I was there I prayed for no rain, for the ability to finish, and I thanked God for my amazing health.

I switched on the NHL channel as they recapped some of the week's games. I didn't really listen as I laid out my red running outfit: a plain red cotton t-shirt, red basketball shorts, and red pinstriped sweat pants. I clicked off all the other things I would need. Headphones, arm-holder for my Smartphone...

Driving, I kept and eye on the sky and temperature gauge. I don't really know what was on the radio...

12:15 I left my wife and daughter in the school parking lot and went to the sign-in table. They found my name, and handed me a welcome bag with hearts; I didn't check to see what was inside, my name tag, and a Run with Heart t-shirt. Then I headed for the bathroom.

12:30 The parking lot began to fill up with runners and walkers. There were kids, teenagers, young adults and lots of soccer moms. Everywhere you looked there was red. In the crowd I spotted my eldest daughter as she drove in.

12:35 My friends from the Monday-Wednesday cardio class appeared from the sea of red. After introducing them to my wife and kids. We posed for an "orange team" photo and made some small talk.

12:50 Starting my training app and selecting the settings for the race, I checked my play-list, and slipped my Smartphone in to the arm-holder. I attached the headphones and adjusted the volume.

12:55 My friends and I did warm-ups and stretching. I kissed my family, and headed for the starting line.

1:00 The race promoter was on the bull horn, and I pulled one of my headphones out to hear the announcement. It seems like forever as we jogged in place to stay warm.

I could see my family on the sidelines. I wondered what time it was trying to focus on racing! Finally a police cruiser pulled up and blipped the siren signaling the start of the race. The pack began to move, but slowly. I was surrounded by my friends as we worked our way forward.

The Bob Brown Band thumped out the chorus of Tom Petty's Breakdown. Two of my teammates were in front, and two were beside me as we made the first corner. "Four tenths of a mile, speed 6.6 miles per hour," CardioTrainer informed me.

I was on pace.

Down an easy hill and across the railroad tracks. One of our team pulled quickly ahead. Two others were slowly pulling away as well. Lenny Kravitz broke into a guitar solo and I headed up the first hill. "Speed 5.8 miles per hour," crackled a voice in the headphones.

Debating on whether to speed up a little to make up some time. I kept my pace, lengthening my stride a bit as I made my way along the lake and passed mile marker one. I waved to the sign holder. On the other side I could see the leaders of the pack off in the distance.

Steppenwolf served up the 60's hit, Magic Carpet Ride and I sailed into the next mile. It started to drizzle, making it hard to see ahead. "Speed 6.2 miles per hour" I pressed on. I started to think I might need to walk and tried to breath more deeply. I passed a walker and started up another hill.

At the crest, I could see down the road to the 2 mile mark and water station. Tim Hughes' Happy Day come on and I picked up the pace. I thanked God out loud for his presence as the walker in white ran past me.

I shed a few tears, this is why I was here, to celebrate my recovery.

I grabbed a cup off the water table and tried to take sip. I nearly gagged. I coughed a few times and picked up the pace again. "Speed 6.2 miles per hour," squawked my digital trainer.

I cruised along to Gypsy Jam, one of my own instrumental, Hendrix like, originals. I knew I could cover a mile while it blasted some of my best ever guitar work. Around the bend, and in front of me was an 8% grade on the other side of the river. I labored to put one foot in front of the other. "Speed 3.8 miles per hour!" That is almost walking I thought to myself. But I pressed on; I could see the top of the hill...

I turned right heading towards town and saw a couple of runners up ahead. I passed the walker again. Joe Satriani came on: Time for the final push to the finish line. "Speed 7.2 miles per hour." I wasn't sure I could keep it up, but I just kept pace with the music as I had done over 100 times before.

I rounded the curve and there in the foggy distance the neon orange cones stood sentry to the finish line. The red numerals of the time clock showed 30:31. I cranked up the pace ignoring the music. "Speed 9.7 miles per hour." I saw my 8-year-old on the sidewalk, and behind her, my wife and older daughter. I slapped Charlotte a high-5 as my wife ran the video and Zöe clapped. 31:22! I got my placement tag and walked back to greet them.

I did it. I didn't walk.

VIDOE FINISH

ICU25K - ICU to 5K

Just about a year ago (April 4) I was in ICU after I suffered congestive heart failure. I was on oxygen for a week. I never left the bed for 3 days. On day 4 it took all my energy to walk the perimeter of the Heart Care Unit twice a day. My 150 foot trek was followed by 3 hours of sleep.

All that has changed!

On April 2nd, two days before my heart trauma, I actually made 5k (3.1 miles) on the treadmill; it was a mix if jogging, running, and a ton of walking. My podiatrist told me to walk it before I ran it. I did intervals for the first mile and pretty much walked the rest. I weighed about 250 lbs.

After I got home from the hospital, I was on strict orders from my cardiologist. I was supposed to walk 20 minutes 3 times a week at whatever pace I could manage. My lungs were still full of fluid and I pretty much had to sleep standing up like a cow at night. One night I lay down for too long and woke up choking like I was drowning.

I was on so much medication that I couldn't remember much of anything. I complained to the hospital and insurance case workers when they called. But I keep on walking.

At my 2 week checkup they fitted me with a heart rate monitor that connected to an Android phone app. The insurance company also shipped me a scale that I had to weigh in on every day (still do) and blood pressure (BP) cuff. All of this was connected to a monitoring service. They knew where I was at all times, and pretty much everything about my heart, BP, and fluid retention.

"No heart rates over 120 bpm." the doctor said. I kept walking and sleeping. The Boston Marathon route is exactly 1 mile from my house. I got a ride down to watch, and I walked all the way back. That was April 18th.

At 6 weeks my heart function was much improved "Oh my God!" improved according to the nurse. "No heart rates over 130." the cardiologist warned. I walked and walked and walked. I walked every chance I could.

At 12 weeks the cardiologist raised my heart rate to 150 bpm. I started to run in July. First is was a mile of intervals three days a week, then it was 4, 5 and 6 days a week. I was too weak to run longer than 20 minutes, but I kept pushing.

In August I tore the meniscus in my knee, but I kept running and walking 6 days a week.

Every morning I was out there unless it was really raining, then I went to the YMCA gym.

In September I was running an entire mile, and doing intervals for about 8/10. That was all my knee could handle.

I even had my personal best time, an 8:12 mile with the bum knee.

October I had to ride a bike the knee so bad, and in November I took a couple of weeks off. I hated it! On December 8th I had surgery on my knee. I didn't walk or run for 4 weeks. Then I was released to do "half" of what I was doing before. So I started running a mile 2 times a week.

It was tough going both physically and emotionally. The physical therapist told me running would be a "treat." The surgeon said that I would always have to "take it easy." I even had a state handicapped permit hanging from my rear-view mirror.

After 8 weeks (late January), I decided I would just train for the 5K and see how it went. Twice a week I did the intervals with the 5 minute brisk warm up. It hurt, but I was making progress!

5 minutes of brisk walking followed by increasingly longer running intervals and shorter walking ones, that was the program. I was scheduled to actually finish the program on race day - March 25th. The truth is that I have only run 5K without walking or stopping 2 times ever.

Yesterday was a huge victory for me. I finished 88th out of 322. My time was 31:42. I finished first in my age group! I didn't walk, and I was only 22 seconds behind my trainer who is 33-years-old. However; better than all that, I beat the odds for my heart disease. 33% die, 33% need heart transplants, and over 32% never fully recover.

Running a 5K sure beats the alternatives.

Lessons About Healthy Lifestyles from Your Smartphone!

This is why they call them smartphones; because they are smart!

I know, it's irritating how people talk on the cellphones in public. I had to shut one down at the movie theater the other night. Some folks never learn. But did you know that you can learn about a healthy lifestyle from your Smartphone?

I wrote the app - j/k, it's a metaphor.

Strong Signal: If you are going to succeed in losing weight, eating healthy food, and becoming fit, you need to make it a priority. If you are still fitting in workouts when you can, eating fast food and keeping a 4lb bag of chocolate in your desk drawer, you are going to have a tough time. Hey it's tough for those the really work at it!

Thoughtful Communication: No sense texting away when you need to communicate important thoughts. Face-to-face is better. If you are on MFP, they have a system which is simply this: a caloric deficit will cause you to lose weight. It appears that lots of folks modify it to suit their own preferences (I do). To win at this game you need to be deliberate about what you are trying to accomplish.

If you want to try it, text your significant other the following. "I was hoping the 'horny for you,' email was from you." You'll get some thoughtful communication.

Stay Charged: To accomplish most things in life you either need a built in biological drive, or passion and motivation. Staying charged up about weight loss is eventually boring. The f$*&king scale never plays fair. The tape measure isn't always friendly either. That is why you need friends that are doing this journey!

Background Apps: There is a lot going on in life that runs down our battery and leaves us too tired to take care of ourselves. In order to make your health a priority, you may have to shut down some of things that you were doing. For me, it was music. I have taken the last few months to train for a 5K, and gave up playing guitar for a season. The good news it that I might live long enough to pick it up again!

Latest Updates: Our bodies adapt to routines in eating and workouts. It might be time to shake it up and do something you haven't, like ride a bike, skate, cut back on the red meat, or processed foods. You'll be glad you did.

Stay Organized: A lifestyle doesn't just happen. You have to plan for success. Keep links to your favorite restaurant nutrition pages, schedule your workouts, runs, shopping, and even your logins on MFP. You do better with a plan. 

Check In: Smartphones keep us in touch with the world. This especially true at work, and with families. You need to check in, and while your here, do your log, read a message board or a blog, and encourage a few of your friends.

Recharge: Rest is an important part of a new lifestyle. Muscles needs time to regenerate and heal. Sleep is essential for good health, and if you are like me, skipping a workout here an there isn't going to kill you. (I work out 5-7 days a week. I plan 5 every week.)

Mute the Ringer: For everyone who says cheat days are good, there are 2 that say they are not. For everyone that eats their exercise calories, there are others that don't. (Like me.) Stick with the plan, and if it is working, don't fix it. We'll see you at the next plateau!

Autocorrect: Don't trust everything you read or hear. But don't lie to yourself either. If you are obese or overweight, you need to fix your eating habits. There is no set way to succeed. The common denominator is simply not giving up!

Tell us what is working for you? Then we'll be smarter.

Thanks for the votes and comments.

Pre-Race Jitters

I am signed up to run a 5K on the 25th. I have been training hard to get to the 3.11 mile mark. I have gone further, but my goal is 30 minutes or less without walking. I haven't done that yet, even though I completed the distance in 24:57. Another time I did it 29:02. I still did some walking.

I am close!

I have never run a sanctioned (running) race of any sort. I just run for fun. Lately it hasn't been that much fun. There are lots of things that happen as the distance starts getting up there. Umm... like crotch chafing, boogers - huge boogers, pain and an occasional leg cramp; the kind that makes you skyrocket off the bed high enough to dunk a basket ball, scaring the crap out of your wife, the dog, and the neighbors.

I wonder why I run, but I know in the end, it is because I am driven. There is something about running that makes me get out there and do it no matter how I am feeling, and in spite of the injuries.

Running in my neck of the woods is a bit of an adventure. It's a pretty busy suburb, not far from Boston, with crosswalks and traffic lights. Everyone needs to be first in traffic, so there is plenty of room at the end of the line. Flipping people off is as boring as drinking water on a diet, and well, except for the lake, it ain't all that picturesque.

Only a conversation with my kids can really explain what it's like to run around these parts.

Eldest Daughter: I need to get a gym membership.

The Dad: Why?

Eldest Daughter: Well the gun fight in front of the house the other night was a little scary.

The Dad: That was me and your mom watching CSI.

Eldest Daughter: Then how come there was crime scene tape on the mirror of your car?

The Dad: Ummm....

Eldest Daughter: It doesn't make a girl feel safe.

The Dad: Be a man and pack a gun. Grrrr!

Eldest Daughter: Right! Carry a gun in my running shorts!

The Youngest Daughter: Don't do that sissy, you might shoot yourself in the privates!

The Dad: _________ speechless _________

So that is what it is like to run in these parts. It will make you a ittle jittery. We've had a few isolated incidents of violence. It's part of the lifestyle. There was the guy trying knock down my front door at 3 am. And one morning about 5:30 am, I was heading out the door and 7 cops cars came screeching onto to my little road with 4 houses. You notice stuff like that; especially when they jump out with guns drawn. I walked briskly back to the house to wipe myself. It turns out some doofus broke into the donut shop around the corner and set off the alarm. I think he was on MFP - one of my now inactive friends. I don't think you can use MFP in jail.

That's really what I am a little nervous about. The race is a piece of cake compared to getting shot at.

Wish me luck! And if you've run a 5K or two, tell us about it!

Thanks for all the comments and votes. You are a great group of friends!

The Big O

I just saw a headline for an article on Everyday Health about orgasms. Sure, go read that and let me know when you are finished.

Is nothing sacred? It seems that fitness is more than just diet and exercise, it is earth shaking orgasms too. FYI - today we will not be comparing notes, but thanks for the offer.

All this talk about the big "o" made me think how much sex can be like working out.

- You probably need to sweat a little.

- Babysitters are good, but not required.

- It's more than cleaning house vigorously.

- You need to have the right clothing.

- Chafing is annoying.

- You can do it at your desk, but it's not the same.

- Sometimes showing up is all it takes.

- The better you get, the less you need to wear.

- Shaking it up once in a while is good.

- Although spontaneous is good, scheduled is more likely to happen.

- Small farts go unnoticed.

- You can do it alone, but it's better with a partner. (The analogy breaks down for me when we are talking classes.)

- The more passion the more satisfaction.

- Be sure to use the heart rate monitor. :)

- Changing the environment once in a while is a good thing.

- Outdoors is fun in the summer.

- You need to have your head in the game.

Did I miss any?

Thanks for the votes and comments.

Get Out of the Exercise Rut!

I don't know about you, but I am tired of seeing the same stinky gym and same stinky gym people 3 or more days a week. I need a change!

The problem with familiarity is that it breeds familiarity. And that's how you dig a rut.

I have been doing this for over a year, and I need a change. Here is what I am doing to keep it going.

- New Environment: I belong to 2 gyms. Winter has been mild here, but there are still the obstacles of shorter days, snow on the sidewalk, and some days it is just too freakin' cold out. I am lucky that the gym at work is $15 per month, or I wouldn't be able to do the second one. For me it's 2 evenings in one, and 2 lunch hours in the other. I try hard to do something somewhere else. I go ice skating at 2 local rinks, take outdoor walks, walk the mall, ride my bike - I need a change!

- No Routine: I took a cardio class and it is different every session. There are usually 8 exercises for 2 minutes with 15 second breaks; then we repeat that circuit twice. The class starts with a 4 minute warm up, and always ends with an ab session and stretching. My runs are pretty much the same at this point. I am just doing the mileage as I train for the March 25th 5K. I loved the intervals and will go back to that to get ready for the next race. I just have one session a week with sprints - something new!

- Music and Reading: I always have music unless I am in a class with others. I made a bunch of play lists. Some are for working out, while others are for running. I admit, some days on the treadmill I read emails, Facebook and use MFP. I am not much of a reader on my own because that is a large part of what I do all day. One gym has television sets.

Set Goals: Last year my goal was just getting a workout in 3 or 4 or 5 times a week. I didn't have a plan, or a goal. I would do a weight circuit, or run a set amount of time each day. But I didn't have a goal. This year, I have goals. I want to knock out a sanctioned 5K in less than 30 without any walking. I signed up to play hockey again. I'd like to get a few goals! I am going to ride a 25 mile benefit for cancer in July.

- Workout Buddy: This was a hard one for me. Lots of folks just want to do their thing and be left alone. I took one cardio class and no one talked to each other (might have been the gasping for air - not sure). This class has been different. In fact 5 of the 7 came from the previous class. We sort of know each other now. I also found one guy at work that will hit the treadmill with me. We listen to music, but push each other too.

Schedule It: If your workouts, walks or runs are not in the calendar, you are going to have a hard time making time. I like mornings best, but I change it up in the winter.

Food: I am shaking up the food thing too. I am going to find 30 new recipes for dinner, and I am always working on new lunches.

Clothes: I am cheap skate! I finally broke down and bought 2 pairs of new jeans that actually fit. I also bought some real running attire. The running stuff was for comfort, but it made me feel good about my progress - oh yes, and my crotch is happier than the jaybird, the lark and the clam together. And as much as it is possible, I don't look so much like a dork. Today I am going to get 2 new pairs of running shoes. I have over 700 miles on my outdoor pair, and 550 on my indoor pair.

Well, that's what I am doing to stay fresh and keep it going. How about you?

As always, thanks for the votes and comments.

Is Combat Underwear an Oxymoron? Running to Win

As the miles running pile up, my body has responded; some of that is good and some of it is not so good. Of course I am getting stronger and increasing my endurance every week. I had a personal best 5K time a few weeks ago when I broke the 30 minute barrier.

Most of you know I have had more than a few "overuse" injuries including plantar fasciitis (foot injury), a lower leg stress fracture, bone edema and a torn meniscus. I had knee surgery in December, and I am doing great. I don't know why I waited! (We'll talk about my rotor cuff another time!)

The latest response to my training program is chafing. Holy crap, the chub rub burn is nasty! So last night I went out and bought me a pair of Nike Combat compression underwear. Let's just say it is God getting even with man for some serious transgressions. When I saw the name combat, I was a little excited, but not now! I thought it was me and my manhood against the world, but it's them against us. I also got some Body Glide - that is not as exciting as it sounds, but it sure works great.

A few months ago I decided to register for my first 5K race which takes place on March 25. It is to benefit the American Heart Association. It also falls within a week of the 1-year anniversary of my heart attack.

I am not a veteran runner, but I have learned a few things from my mistakes. Here is what I do know:

- Shoes: No two runners are alike, and body geometry differs with each one of us. Because I am 53, I had a lot harder time finding shoes that were comfortable, and good for me and my joints. A good running store can help. The winner for me was a podiatrist who was familiar with the top brands. Actually it was my physical therapist that adjusted my inserts so the weight transfer was even better. Don't be cheap, get good shoes!

- Stretching: The older you get, the more you'll know why this important! Do easy warms ups, and only stretch warm muscles. I walk for 5 minutes before stretching.

- Strength Training: You can prevent a lot of injuries by spending a month or so doing some basic strength training. You don't need a gym; squats, lunges, and calf raises can be done anywhere.

- Start Slowly: Even the C25K program might be too much for you. If you can't walk it without trouble, you can't run it. Start with 10 minutes walking and then 20. Try running for 30 seconds - do something.

- Intervals: These are your friend. They are also one of the best ways to lose weight. Run then walk, then run, then walk some more. For most 5K training you only need to do intervals for 20-25 minutes a session. Pick a plan that mixes them up. I did 8 MPH and 4 MPH for varying lengths of time. Then I upped it to 10 MPH and 5 MPH. The next week I just did the best mileage I could in 20 minutes.

- Rest: 3 days a week is a great start. I like to walk or strength train or on my off days now. Sleep is also part of a good rest.

- Fun: You need to make running fun. For me it is a change of scenery, and at the gym, it is running with a friend. Get new music, reward yourself with something that gives running value for you.

- Push: This was a hard one for me. I was good at the intervals, but not walking during a 2.5 mile trek was a hard one. One day I just did it. By race time, walking will NOT be an option.

- Race: There are hundreds of "Run, Walk or Crawl" 5k races out there. Just do it, and register. I did!

I'll be interested in the what the veteran runners have to add! But for right now, I am going to get another dose of Body Glide for my crotch.

Thanks for the comments and votes.

Super Tuesday! And Big Fat Diet Lies!

Well, the presidential candidates are out stumping for votes in about a dozen states today. (I am voting on the way home.) It made me think about what I am passionate about when it comes to diet and exercise. I make votes everyday by what I feed myself, and the exercise I choose to do.

I did a little fact checking, and here are some diet campaign lies, and few truths!

- Low in calories is always healthy! Junk food is junk food - even low calorie junk food.

- Eating before bed makes you gain weight! Not if those are calories you need! We all want an edge in this game. Fueling up for workouts is smart, and replenishing electrolytes and making protein available for muscle repair is important. If you workout until 8pm, and go to bed at 9:30pm, you need to eat. I will add that we need carb fuel earlier in the day to fuel our activities. So go for the protein before bed - or chocolate.

- High in protein diets are effective for everyone. Each one of us is different. Body make-up, genes, sleep, age and stress are too complex to turn into a formula. You need to explore some options. For some it is magic, and others it is no big deal.

- It's good if it says "low carb", "low carb", "low sugar", high in fiber" or "fat free." The truth it is good for you when it has the least amount of processing. Lean meats are better than cold cuts, whole grains are better than processed grains, and sugar is probably better than most of the substitutes.

- High in fiber makes you fart. This is true!

- Fruit juice is a good substitute for fruit. No it is not. It is better than Coke or Pepsi, but fruit has more fiber, less sugar, less sodium and is likely to make you feel "fuller."

- Sodium is bad. The truth is that we need some sodium. The bad news is that bread, cold cuts, cheese, and canned foods are pretty much filled with it. Oh and soy is a killer. One packet is as much as you would need for a day! Sodium effects blood pressure in some folks, and not in others. Some MFP-ers say that it helps you retain water weight, others disagree.

- Drinking 8 cups of water a day is essential. This is false. We need the equivalent of this. If you drink coffee, tea, or eat fruit, you are getting water. For some, drinking water right before you eat helps you eat less. If you exercise and sweat, you'll need more, and if you don't, you'll need less. The idea that is flushes the system is also suspect. I will say if you are getting muscle cramps after exercise, hydration can be a huge factor (along with potassium).

- The goal is weight loss. It should be total health and fitness.

- Salad is the best option. Well, yes, if you don't use regular dressing, you could be right.

- Green tea! It can help boost metabolism, and get rid of "sweet cravings." It also has caffeine, so probably not a good choice for those who are sensitive to speed.

- Weight training is the same as body building. NO! Being strong does not require sculpted biceps. Keep the reps up around 12, and sets at 3, and you'll find your muscle will burn more calories, and you can keep your husband in line with ease. ;)

- Coffee is bad. Quite a few studies have found that coffee is rich in antioxidants, can help reduce depression, help with muscle recovery, and even protect against Parkinson’s disease, gallstones, diabetes and some cancers.

Thanks for the votes and comments, you guys are awesome!

Health and Fitness and Life

Today I don't feel like being all that funny. It has been a tough year since my heart attack last April. You know being out of work, finances, not knowing whether you will recover or not; it's a lot. It has been a good year too. We took two vacations, one to northern California and one to Disney World in Florida.

Serious events (both good and bad) make you think about living life.

This weekend we went away for a few days to the beach. It was a gift to my wife for Christmas. We like the ocean all year round. Then there is the lack of things to do, and lots of time to do it. :) Oh yes, and the hot tub!

It was all supposed to be good, and it was.

Friday just before I left work to go pick up my family, my wife and 8-year-old were rear-ended by a school bus - a big yellow one. The impact pushed the car into a guardrail over 100 feet away, crushing the car from the rear bumper to the back seat. It shattered the 3 rear windows and snapped the drivers seat hinges, leaving my wife staring at the roof. Thank God, both are OK; shaken, bruised and scratched, but OK.

We decided to leave for our little getaway once things settled down.

Saturday we slept in, and went to a favorite spot for breakfast. I went for a run and when I got back, I received a call from my middle daughter (21) who was in tears. Her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer a few weeks ago, and apparently it has spread to her brain: it does not look good. The doctor actually drove to the house to deliver the news.

It is sad for everyone.

She met us at a restaurant. She and I went for a walk to talk about how I could support her through this after dinner.

It is times like these when my faith is so important. It is all part of life along with counting calories and exercising - the natural and the supernatural existing side-by-side.

Sunday was a bit tougher. My wife has a friend she has known since 5th or 6th grade; they graduated high school together. After their 30th high school reunion a few years ago, we started going to dinner as couples once a month. Our little group of couples has grown to 5 ladies from that class and their husbands. Each month 10 of us go out and have a few laughs and talk about not killing our kids. It's a lot of fun.

She had cancer 3 years ago, and lost the use of her legs due to complications from the radiation treatments. One of her favorite things in life was to get together for these dinners. Last night we went to say goodbye to her. It was supposed to be our last dinner, but she didn't feel up to eating so we all just went for a visit. They are trying to get her home to be with her family in these last days.

I have done this before with both of my parents, but it never gets easy.

I don't really have an ending today - just felt like writing.
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