Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another Long Walk

This morning, after dropping my son off at his job, I decided to go for a short walk. As usually happens, a short walk turned into a long walk and ended up walking almost 10 miles. On top of other walking today, I got over 30k steps in again. That's two days in a row. I really wanted to go for a motorcycle ride but knew that I really needed the exercise. I have gained 5 lbs since the beginning of April so I really need to watch what I'm eating as well as get in the exercise I need. I'm pretty tired out right now with my mileage total for this week sitting at just under 75 miles. At least I finally met my 10 mile per day goal and still have tomorrow. Maybe my new goal should be 100 miles in a week.

I replaced the rear bumper on our Suburban this afternoon and wondered what the step equivalent for auto repair is. It was a lot more work than I thought it was going to be.

Sunday Afternoon - A couple more walks today brought my weekly total to 85 miles. Went on a bike (motorcycle) ride this afternoon and finally got some of the slow speed practice that I've been needing. Still need more but feel much more comfortable going slow and making very tight turns. Rode on some gravel roads as well just to see what it feels like. I walked down to Creamers Field and there were some cranes and (supposedly) some geese. It would have been nice to walk around the trails. Yesterday while walking, I stopped at a motorcycle shop and picked up a "green light trigger". It is a strong magnet that is glued to the bottom of the bike to make it appear bigger to the sensors in the road. I'll see if it works. When I did a search on Google for these devices, I found a bunch of comments in forums but nothing conclusive. The guy in the shop had one and thought it worked great. I'll report back on how well it works.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Unhealthy Activity

It has been recently pointed out to me that my motorcycle may be bad for my health. Last summer, I was taking every available opportunity to walk. Many days accumulating well in excess of 30k steps. This summer, it has been a challenge to even get to 20k steps per day and the treadmill hasn't been used since March. Anytime I get some free time, I now want to go riding somewhere. Last year, I went for a long walk just about every evening and maybe I need to start doing that again. I have a new favorite route that has a couple of hills and is about 8.5 miles. The only problem with it is that there is no shoulder along Yankovich Road and there is a surprising amount of traffic most of which is going way too fast for that narrow of a road.

Friday Evening - I felt guilty after writing this post so I went for a walk in the afternoon followed by a long walk into town after I got home. The weather was great this evening with blue skies and 200 mile visibility. Now, I am relaxing listening to the steel drum band, Cold Steel, practice in a remodeled bar. Lots of steps today, kind of like last summer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In the "Death Zone"

According to the chart on the StartWalking site, I'm past Camp III which puts me in the "Death Zone". According to the TV series, I am not allowed to stay here too long before having to descend. I guess that means I really need to get moving. I didn't get enough walking in this last weekend due to feeling really exhausted. I seem to feel this way more and more often. This afternoon, we had two consultants up talking about Enterprise Architecture and project management. Two topics I am pretty interested in and it was all I could do to just stay awake. Both were excellent speakers but I just had difficulty staying focused. Maybe I had too much lunch or just not enough coffee. I am currently walking this evening during the scout meeting and I should easily pass the 10k step minimum but I won't reach my 10 mile goal.

I rode the bike in to work today and took a longer loop home with more stop lights just for the practice. I've discovered that all three of the left turn signals leaving the University (Farmers Loop, University Ave and Geist Road) won't detect a motorcycle. This leaves me the option of either turning right and making a "U" turn or running the light. Both are unacceptable options to me. Who do I complain to? Today, I ended up sitting there until someone pulled up behind me. Fortunately, there are two other exits from the university without signal lights. Unfortunatly, they just chip sealed one of the roads so it is a little more treacherous than it could be. At least for me.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Exercise is Getting More Popular?

The ski trails are in pretty good shape for walking and I've noticed that there are a lot of people out at lunchtime. It looks like there has been some success in getting people to exercise more. I usually enjoy walking in the hills in the evening and there seems to be quite a few more walkers and bikers out and about than there has been in previous years. Maybe high gas prices is getting some people to dig out their old bicycles that they haven't used for years. There are also a lot more motorcycles on the road than in previous summers. Maybe all those bikes that people got to ride just on Sundays are also getting out on the weekdays or maybe I'm just noticing them more. I'm headed out for a walk to clear the "blah" that seem to show up every afternoon. A few short miles generally does wonders.

Friday evening - Right now, I'm relaxing listening to a local steel drum band practice in their new practice room. What used to be a bar on 2nd street. Nice way to spend a Friday night. I think I got enough walking today. Not 10 miles but close enough. I'm really achy today for some reason. Maybe I need a long, quiet weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No title

I went for a walk this afternoon after lunch since, as usual, I felt a little naseous probably from eating something at lunch that I should have avoided. Irregardless of the reason, it was a beautiful afternoon and had a wonderful walk. I was amazed at the way some people were driving considering that we now have some of the most expensive gasoline in the country. I was reminded of this fact yesterday when I filled up the truck. I had to run my credit card three times to fill up the tank ($75, $50 & $11). And the tank wasn't even empty. The good part is that this was the first time I've filled up the truck since back in March. I don't see why people would drive their vehicles in such a manner as to essentially blow their money out of their tailpipe.

But I digress... I walked for about an hour and felt wonderful by the end of the walk. I was tempted to try out the trails but just ended up walking along the roads. Maybe tomorrow I'll try out the ski trails.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Camp 2

Surprisingly, I made it to Camp 2 today. Last week while I was in Barrow, I took time out to do some walking even if it was just laps around the building. Actually, it was laps on the roads within the NARL campus that weren't too muddy. I came up with a loop that was about 1/2 a mile and I ended up walking it many times per day. Just about every afternoon, I didn't feel very well due to my medication and walking is still the best way to help the sick feeling pass. It was usually very nice late in the evening so I went for a couple of short runs then. I only reached my 10 mile goal once last week but came pretty close on most of the other days. I think the walking is what helped make the long work days manageable. During the other StartWalking programs, completion was a real goal. This time, there isn't a "prize" for completion so it doesn't feel at all like a goal. Losing weight is a goal, and the 10 mile per day is a goal but my interest in the current StartWalking program just isn't there like it was in the past. Is this a problem?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Back from Barrow

Got back from Barrow last night and I've spent much of the day recovering. Whenever I'm up there, I usually end up working 12 to 18 hours per day. I did go for a longish walk this afternoon and got caught in the rain. I ended up very chilled for the rest of the afternoon. A couple of late nights in Barrow getting things working but now things seem to be running great. I got the basics of the telephone system setup using an open source SIP proxy called OpenSER and Polycon phones. The pstn gateway was just ordered so no phone calls outside of the facility yet (I can call the IP phones in my office and Toolik Lake). This is the fun part of my job, i.e. seeing things work. I did manage to get more than 10k steps each day I was up there but towards the end, it was getting more and more difficult due to breakup. Lots of water and mud on the roads. The first evening, I was able to go jogging on the snowy roads but by the last, it was all mud. I need to get more phones ordered then I can really get things going.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Very Hectic Day

I knew that it was going to be a hectic day when I was running late for the bus and ended up running from the house to the bus stop this morning. After that start to my day, I went ahead and walked up to the Butrovich Building to begin my day. I forgot about a couple of meetings, and had to rush trying to get a server shipped to Barrow. I then walked down to UPark to catch a ride to the airport. I was trying to find a box to package up a couple of phones to take with me but I ended up bringing just one. At least I'll be able to verify that the server works once I get it set up. Anyway, over 20k steps so far today and it's only 4:00. I'm too tired to walk laps in the airport so that may be it for the day. BTW, the new airport looks pretty nice. Kind of like Anchorage.

Actually, I'm not complaining about sitting in the airport. It has forced me to get things done this morning and a chance to reply to a bunch of email from this morning.

Monday Evening - I went walking around the NARL campus this evening after arriving in Barrow. Made my 10 miles for today. It is absolutely beautiful up here. Blue skies, a few scattered cumulus clouds, and essentially daylight for 24 hours. It still is around 10°F but very nice. The snow is really bright.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Is Walking a Hobby?

Wohoo! Made it to Camp 1 by just a hair. I don't think that I'll get may steps in this week unless I really make an extra special effort. I did go for a nice bike ride this afternoon. I wish there was some way to characterize riding as exercise, but it is still a great hobby for me. I don't think I've had a hobby in years. Before moving to Alaska, I rode my bicycle (lots), went hiking and backpacking, was learning how to fly, quite a bit of ski touring, and doing a lot of traveling. After moving to Alaska, I went on one bike trip, two backpacking trips and that's about it. What's with that? People come to Alaska for adventure and I have to admit that that was the attraction for me but since I moved here, nada. Initially, I was a very broke graduate student so didn't do much of anything except study (well, didn't do enough of that). Then no time (or money) and work and career seemed to take a lot of my time and energy.

Can walking be considered a hobby? It consumes a lot of my time, I enjoy it, and I make it a priority. Unfortunately, it is something I have to do. I HAVE to lose the weight, I HAVE to get some aerobic exercise, but I probably don't HAVE to walk 10 miles per day. That goal was somewhat arbitrary. I've modified my normal routine so that on most days I get my 10k step minimum without even much thought. The 10 mile goal (23k steps) remains a challenge. So maybe it is a hobby.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Long Saturday Walk

After a slow start this morning, I went for a long walk after lunch. I was planning on doing what has become my 7 mile loop. Today I added a bit to it by extening it by a half an hour to about 8 1/2 miles. Plenty of hills since I really need the cardio workout. Most of the water on the dirt roads is now gone but there were still several roads that seemed pretty unstable. You can feel the road surface give a little with every step as if I were the incredible hulk. Makes me feel like maybe I really should have stayed in that diet. I just passed 20k steps so far today. Maybe I can make Camp 1 before the weekend is over. I hope I do since I probably won't get many steps in this coming week since I'm going up to Barrow. I was thinking of going for a bike ride when I finished my walk but it started raining. I know. Poor excuse. At least I got in a walk.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ten Miles Per Day

Took a short walk down to lower campus today and a long walk this evening. I really want to try and average 10 miles per day at least whenever I'm home. Didn't quite make it today. Whenever I'm out of town, it is incredibly difficult to get in that kind of mileage. Today, I was looking through some of the profiles on the Nike+ site, and there are quite a few that run (not walk!) over 120 miles per week and some walkers doing even more than that. Don't know how they do it or have the time.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

34k Steps

Whew! Today was my highest step count for this round of the Startwalking program thanks to a longish walk at lunchtime and a fairly long walk after dinner. I now don't really feel like going for another walk. Like most of my walking loops, this was pretty nice for the first half then returns along the main road. Maybe I should just backtrack to avoid having to walk along the main road. It would make for a much more pleasant walk. This evenings walk was a variation of my 7 mile loop and climbs up a ridge overlooking Fairbanks. That is by far my favorite part of the walk. I changed the route due to a lot of runoff on one dirt road behind Pearl Creek School. When I took it a couple of days ago, I ended up walking along Ballaine Road due to all the standing water covering the bike path in a couple of places.

No side trips with the bike today. I'm wondering how long I should wait before filling the gas tank. Like many other older bikes, there is no gas gauge. When it starts to sputter, you move a couple of valves to a reserve setting and start looking for a gas station. I still have no idea what kind of gas mileage I'm getting but I suspect it is better than 17 (that's what I get with the truck). I'm not thinking that I can justify the bike just on gas savings but it doesn't hurt. According to the Internet, it should get something like 48 mpg. That would be nice and we all know that the Internet is always right.

Friday Afternoon - Well, I found out how far you can go before you run out of gas. 203 miles. The bike sputtered and died just after pulling out of the parking lot. Of course, when it happened, I didn't have a clue what the problem was. It took about a minute before it dawned on me what the problem was. Gas mileage ended up being about 45 mpg. Not bad considering all of the stop and go.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Another beautiful day. I walked down to College and University and back via the scenic route (Ballaine Lake) so I'm well over halfway to my daily goal. Again, I was really tempted to go for a bike ride instead of a walk today but I figured that since I can leave at 4:00 (came in at 7:00.) That will give me time for a long ride home. There must have been an update to the iPod since its behavior seems to have changed somewhat. I stopped to talk to Joe Dart near the exit to the University near Ballaine Lake and the iPod turned off. I didn't notice this since I got to College Road. So lost a bit. Now I know that I need to watch for that. Are there others using the Nike+ gadget with their iPod? 15k steps so far today. I already feel like going for another walk...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Riding in the rain

It was absolutely gorgeous this morning. Blue skies, little white fluffy clouds, kind of cool. I didn't really want to pull into the parking lot. A there were a lot of meetings today interspersed with fighting with IP phones. There were a number of times when I felt obligated to take a short walk around West Ridge. By the time 5:00 rolled around, it was pouring rain. I thought it was a great opportunity to see how waterproof my new gear was. It worked great but I think it needs a longer test. By the time the scout meeting rolled around, the rain had pretty much stopped so I did some more walking while the boys cleaned up the road. I didn't quite make 10 miles but came close. Now, the weather is back to clear skies.

Actually, I kind of liked riding in the rain this afternoon. It was a short trip, I was nice and dry, and the roads weren't slippery at all. The air smelled nice and fresh. I wonder if I would feel the same if I was riding in the rain all day? Years ago, I was on a bicycle trip from Anchorage to Valdez on the Glenn Highway and we got rained ok for days. It wasn't cold but the high humidity ensured that everything was damp. That was the worst part. While riding, you just assumed that you would be soaked for most of the day. Not unpleasant at all. On another bicycle trip in Baja, the rain was a welcome change to the 90-100 degree days. You really looked forward to the afternoon showers. On that trip, you were completely dry in about 10 minutes feeling completely refreshed.

Monday, May 5, 2008


It's kind of strange what motivates some people. Yesterday, I didn't feel like doing much of anything but today, I "discovered" my new Nike+ sensor. The last one finally bit the dust last week and I had forgotten that I had ordered a replacement a couple of months back. So naturally, after finding it, I had to make sure it worked. I walked one of my normal routes from last summer and the distance came out almost identical to the old sensor. I guess it works. The seven mile loop brought my daily total to about 26k. I also fought the temptation to go for a bike ride at lunch time and walked the 5k loop around the campus from the run last month. I have hardly run at all since that event and I think that I would run out of breath pretty quickly. Especially on the hills.

When I came home this evening, I didn't feel like walking at all but once I got started, I had to keep going. I walked up to the top of Ballaine Road and if it wasn't so late, I would have gone down the other side into Goldstream Valley. Maybe some other day when I have more time. Tomorrow evening, the Scout troop is doing their bit for cleanup day along Ballaine Road. They have their work cut out for them as it is a real mess. It really makes me wonder what type of person just throws their trash out the window of their car. I guess some of it could have blown out but a lot of it was bottles and fast food containers.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Slacked off today

A relatively low step day today. Right around 10k. I walked to church this morning then did our weekly grocery shopping at Sam's and Fred Meyer. Unlike other shopping trips, I didn't make a point of walking down every single aisle in the stores. I went to a cell group meeting this evening and instead of walking like I've done in the past, I went ahead and got a ride. I guess I just felt lazy today. That seems to be happening way too often. I felt naseous today after my lunch medicine and just didn't feel like doing much walking. Actually, I didn't feel like doing much of anything today. Last year at this time, I was spending many hours per day walking everywhere. Some days piling up in excess of 50k steps. Especially on a weekend. What's happening? Maybe I got burned out on walking or maybe I just have less time this year than last year. One difference is that I've been spending more time with the Barrow NSF project. I have a hobby competing for my time now. If I had any free time today, I probably would have been out on the road on my bike instead of walking. I think that maybe I was somewhat obsessed with walking in past years with near marathon distances just about every Saturday last summer. But even with all the walking it was still a long slow process to lose weight. I still have about 20 lbs to go but at least I'm off the obese end in the BMI graph. My goal for the summer is to get into the "normal" part of the graph. Given how difficult it is to get rid of the weight, you can be sure that I'm not going to let it build up again.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


A fair amount of steps today much of it from helping my son and his wife move. Lots of trips up and down the stairs and ended up pretty exhausted for the day. It's turning out to be pretty easy to get the 7-8 hours of sleep that the university wellness program established as a goal. The day started out raining but it turned out to be a pretty nice day. Temperatures most if the day were in the mid 50's. I was originally planning on going for a long walk today but the moving took a good part of the middle of the day. All in all, a great day. I didn't reach the 10 mile goal today. I really need to watch my eating a little more carefully. I have been doing pretty good with the whole grains, nuts and plenty of veggies but I had been relying on some medication I've been on (to help manage my blood sugar) for appetite supression. My prescription was changed recently and I think I have been eating more. Need to watch that more carefully.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Getting Back into Walking

I've been able to get in a fair amount of walking in the last couple of days. I walked just about everywhere I needed to go. The weather turned out fairly nice so I added in a few detours. Enough to get in over 10 miles per day. This is a huge improvement from the last couple of weeks while travelling. The battery ran down in the Nike+ sensor so it lasted about 8 months. During this time, I logged about 750 miles using it. Since the iPod needs to be on to log, it pretty much only gets used for actual exercise sessions and not for all the other walking. For example, I didn't use it at all yesterday since all of my "walks" were only about a mile or two and no "exercise session" or other long walks. I haven't tried running yet unless you want to count running to the bus stop this morning. I wasn't running too late but I'm the type that always prefers to arrive early or right on time. With the bus, early is better than on time since they don't follow the schedule rigorously.

I really wish I was out riding the Beemer right now. The weather report said rain turning to snow this afternoon so I didn't ride in . I want to find a parking lot and practice slow turns. I'm still not used to the weight of the bike and could use a lot of practice. The full fuel tank also adds a lot of weight up high.

Friday afternoon - 10k steps in and it's just a bit after noon. Went to lower campus for a free barbecue but it was pretty crowded. Made an appointment for a haircut later today so another walk down the hill. Did I mention that I still really enjoy walking? It fits me well. It burns calories at a reasonable rate (100 Cal/mile) and it doesn't require my full concentration. I used to tour on my bicycle and if I was away from towns and heavy traffic, it was about as relaxing as walking. A little more work going uphill but much faster going down. (But requires MUCH more concentration) I still want to start running again but I'm still at the point where I need to talk myself into it every time. I don't feel the joy let alone the euphoria that some runners talk about.

Friday Evening - Walked on the treadmill this evening to finish off the day strong. 29k steps so far today. Now it's time to lie down and relax. I guess one advantage of short legs is more steps per mile since this is only about 12 miles. Then again, it's not raining. Maybe it's time for a ride. If this were last summer, I would be out walking trying to get over 40k steps but I'm feeling lazy today.

Later - Just got back from a ride out to Fox. Absolutely wonderful. My right hand still gets sore from holding the throttle. I still need more slow speed practice.