Walking, losing weight and taking photos of life in Virginia.

Posts tagged ‘exercise’

One Year Anniversary Of Walking / 1750 Miles / There’s Always Someplace To Go

So it has been one year this week since I started walking and in that time I’ve done 296 workouts, burned 175 thousand calories and walking 1750 miles around the University of Richmond and our neighborhood. I lost 55 pounds and I’m sitting here eating some B and J’s cookie dough ice cream with chocolate sauce for breakfast. I realize that’s not a good thing to be eating but it tastes good. Sometime soon I’m going to start moving towards foods with anti-inflammatory properties in hopes that they will help with the restless legs.

I don’t see any reason to ever stop walking in the morning. Old age can be scary and it seems like regular exercise could be a way of persuading it to tread lightly on the aging corpuscles. Having restless legs or any other chronic condition gives one some invaluable insight into the dark possibilities that potentially lie down the road. So, let’s walk people. It’s easy, convenient and after awhile, even pleasurable. Why not explore the world of good habits? Lord knows, some of us have spent enough time exploring the other ones.

Laramie, Wyoming is about 1750 miles from Richmond, Va. so I didn’t make it across the US in one year! This is not a problem, however, and I’m thinking we definitely can do it next year!


There are also some exciting events coming up soon. More organized activities like the Maymont X-country Festival that includes an 8 mile run along the banks of the James River! And then there’s the Richmond Marathon in November (again). This time I’m going to do it with proper footwear. You can mess up your feet pretty easily doing these things. And you can mess yourself up hiking up mountains without replacing electrolytes too! As I look back on this past year I feel fortunate to be here. I didn’t get run over, die from dehydration and get bitten by a rattlesnake. But can’t we all say that no matter what we are doing? You can run out of luck sitting in front of your computer and not getting exercise.

But it’s a good idea to LEARN from these experiences and try to be safe, use the right equipment and be cautious. Good habits are the way to go and willpower is the engine that will take us there. And this engine will run quite easily if we are able to remember during those weak moments what it is that we really want. Do you want ice cream? Or do you want to fit into those stylish jeans? Well, you can have both! But you need to exercise every day. You need to put one foot in front of the other and go out the door. It’s really not very difficult. Take your favorite tunes, say good-bye to your problems and give yourself a break.

There are things I would like to give up completely and that’s a different story. I still want to drink vodka and smoke Marlboro’s every day but I can’t walk and have them too. I’ve learned a breathing technique recently that helps with this. When you want something you can’t have spend a couple of minutes focusing on your breathing. Try to slow it down to 4 or 5 breaths per minute. I find that the craving is gone after a couple minutes doing this exercise.

I need to spend as much time every day meditating as I do walking. The next step is meditating more. A SRF lesson suggests breathing in while counting to twelve (while walking). Holding the breath for a twelve count. And then exhaling for another twelve count. Do this twenty five times. Apparently you can do both things at once!

There are always more steps. There are always places to go. That’s just the way it is. And, if you don’t believe this, you have possibly started to become old. I was old when I was 25 years old and now I’m getting younger! You are dealing with a contrary kind of person and a blogger who will share things you won’t get anywhere else!

Enjoy your day.

Meetup.com / Central Va Trailblazers/ Exercise For Body, Mind And Soul

I recently discovered Meetup.com and signed up with several groups here in Richmond, Virginia. Meetup offers some useful guidelines for groups and activities in many different areas. My interests center around walking, exercise, being more sociable and photography. And so, last night I went downtown to join other members of Central Virginia Trailblazers on an introductory “icebreaker” 4.5 mile hike along the James River and over several bridges connecting the north and south banks.

And it was a lot of fun! The folks were friendly, our guide, Sandra, was excellent and the light was great for photos as the sun slowly retreated to the horizon around the seven to eight o’clock hours.

The walking I’ve done since last summer made the physical effort a breeze and it was more a chance to work on people skills since I’m a fairly introverted individual. We discussed future trips, as well, which will probably include more demanding hikes, longer and more elevated, as well as camping overnight.

That should be interesting! Stay tuned as the blogger pursues his retirement agenda. Betsy is very supportive of this which I truly appreciate. Hopefully she will want to participate at some point. Here are some photos from the hike.


Walking To Grandma’s House / The Joys Of Walking

I started walking 8 miles every morning earlier this week. I did it because 6 miles was boring. And I wasn’t losing anymore weight! I plateaued, as they say, around 190 pounds, and stayed there for about two months. My BMI is 180 and I have a cool, linen suit that I used to wear when I was 25 years old. It will probably fit at the 172 pound mark.

So I was frustrated. Losing 40 pounds was nice. Eating everything in sight is nice. But, clearly, there was work left to be done. So I bumped it up to 8 miles per day. And I noticed that I wasn’t feeling any different after doing eight miles. So I bumped it up to 10 miles every morning. And I lost 5 pounds the next day.

So now I am happy again. But it takes almost three hours to walk this distance and my mind keeps telling me that’s too long. I should run. But I don’t like to run. It hurts to run.

So I told my mind to shut up. And now it’s sulking someplace trying to figure out another strategy. Because it doesn’t care about losing weight. Weight is not an issue to the mind. Except when someone says, “That’s heavy, dude”. Then the mind feels good and wants to take a bow. But, otherwise, it only cares about being in charge. “I want this”. “I want that”

It wants what it wants. And it can’t get much of that when you’re walking.

When I started walking ten miles I realized that this is about the distance from the house I grew up in to my grandmother’s house. I have some nice memories of traveling back and forth with my parents and sisters to see Grandma and Pops. Sometimes I was allowed to sit in the front seat between Mom and Dad. There were no baby seats back then. We were little unguided missiles ready to experiment with the laws of gravity if Dad ever ran into a tree or a cow in the road.

Fortunately, this never happened and I have fond memories of our journeys home as darkness fell on those warm summer nights. I could never have imagined walking to Grandma’s house every day. It was too far away! But here I am, practically an old man, going down the road and not even using a cane!

Here’s a map (Thanks Google) that shows where we used to live and where my grandparents used to live. They’re dead now, of course, as is my Mother. Dad is still around but he lives down on Cape Cod. I can’t get the map to do the actual route we took. 495 didn’t exist then and this other cutoff wasn’t there either. It was just a straight shot over old roads, through farms and other places that are probably gone.

Much of it is gone. The people are gone. My Aunt lived up the road from my grandparents. She died some years ago. My sisters are all here still, thankfully. And the memories remain for awhile. Technically, I still need to bump it up another two miles to make it all the way to Grandma’s.

So I should work on that. And then I can fit into that suit I wore 35 years ago when they were all alive. And, maybe, we can all have a party! I hope so. I would like that very much!

“David, you are looking very good in your suit. I always liked the way it looked on you.”

“Thanks, Mom! But I don’t think you ever saw me in this suit. I bought it in Richmond after I moved away.”

“Oh, yes. (she laughs) Maybe that’s true. But I always liked the way you looked when you dressed up in a suit.”

“Thanks, Mom. I’m just happy we are having this conversation now. After all these years.”

Mom laughs again.

It’s just idle chatter, after all. It’s a party




New Report / Fat In America / One Third Of The Country Obese / Let’s Not Drink To That

There’s a new report out that indicates healthcare costs may explode (again) over the obesity problem in the U.S..  Roughly a third of all Americans are obese now and that percentage could reach 42% by 2030. Half of the country could be obese by the time I am ready to die. An old, old man. Save me Jesus from the fat.

I am ready to go.

It’s easy to calculate your situation using this fat meter happily provided by the Department of Health and Services. It’s not easy getting to your BMI either. The Body Mass Index uses height and weight to come up with the good/bad news. I was obese but have lost forty pounds since last summer and am still fifteen pounds overweight according to its merciless math.

So let’s see. . .how many things do we talk about here that are challenges to our collective health.

1. Obesity
2. Alcohol related problems
3. Depression
4. Smoking

All it takes to fight the good fight with these issues is a little knowledge and discipline. We can do it! I’ve gone into most of these things in much greater depth in other places so I’m not going to spend time doing it today. I just want to get out and walk six or seven miles. Because there actually are some positive addictions in this world.


And it’s a good idea to get out and find one. Hold it close to your heart.

And make the bastards pry it from your cold, stiff hands some time in the very distant future.

Jynocel Basweti winning the Suntrust Richmond Marathon with a time of 2:22:22 in 2008

From Russia With Love / Adventures While Walking/ Rumi / Edith Armstrong

Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? ~Rumi

I keep the telephone of my mind open to peace, harmony, health, love and abundance. Then, whenever doubt, anxiety or fear try to call me, they keep getting a busy signal – and soon they’ll forget my number. ~Edith Armstrong

I was doing the daily walk in our neighborhood yesterday when an attractive, young woman came around the corner about 200 feet down the road. She was walking her dog and wearing a pair of shorts that were cut off at the top of the leg (or thereabouts). Suddenly she bent over to tie her shoe and her butt was pointed in my direction for at least a minute while I continued walking in her direction trying not to look.

The night before, as it happened, I was watching this very cool show on The Animal Planet about the wilds of Russia called, not surprisingly, Wild Russia. And I had been particularly impressed by these mountain goats with four foot horns that run around trying to mate with the little female goats. It’s just a wild, free-for-all with goats darting off in different directions. And there’s really no dating involved.

So, for some reason, this flashed through my mind, when this girl was tying her shoe. But then the strangest thing happened. She stood up, turned in my direction as she started walking away, and smiled broadly. And I thought, “Man, things really haven’t changed all that much. From Russian With Love, baby.” Then I realized she was probably just happy to be outside on a nice day with her dog and friendly as well.

But she went up one road and as I reached the corner I went in the other direction. Why? Because I ain’t no mountain goat.  And, (to bring it back to our Day One: phototime challenge/Open . . .

Be open-minded, but not so open-minded that your brains fall out. ~Stephen A. Kallis, Jr.