Tag Archives: walking

Commuting Confusion

475px-The_Scream

A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about my daily commute into the city.  I was so excited that I was able to do the commute without pain or difficulty. It is so liberating to be able to walk and stand without a problem.

Since I wrote this post, my commute into the city has changed, quite drastically.

Let’s start with this cool new train line called the Silver Line. The Silver Line is eventually going to make it’s way out to Dulles airport, which is not far from Sterling, Ashburn, and other far away lands in the exurbs of DC. But for now, the Silver Line only goes out to Reston. The addition of this train completely screwed up my morning commute.

I live and work on the Blue Line, which shares tracks with this new line for part of the trip. Now, the Blue Line trains already have a pretty raw deal. It shares tracks with the Yellow Line and the Orange Line in different areas. Where it shares tracks with the Yellow trains, you could see 3-5 Yellows before an over crowded Blue train shows up. The same is true where it shares tracks with the Orange Line trains.

Now that the Silver Line trains have been added, they reduced the Blue Line service. One now shows up every 12 minutes during rush hour, because that’s what the over crowded Blue Line trains need, less trains.

Fortunately, there is a bus that travels directly from in front of my apartment building and now drops me off 4 blocks from the office. To make up for the loss of train service, the genies at WMATA re-routed this bus. During the summer, I was walking 1.3 miles from where this bus dropped me off. Now, I only have to walk 4 blocks. It’s cheaper than the metro and closer to my office. What could possibly go wrong.

Let me tell you…

The bus drivers do not know the new route.

Today’s driver, missed her turn onto 18th Avenue from Constitution. She then did a u-turn on Constitution, which I didn’t even know was possible during rush hour, let alone on a bus. I was a little bit terrified. Then, she turned right onto Virginia Avenue and not 18th. This is generally not a problem because in 25 feet you can then just turn right onto 18th from Virginia. She didn’t do that. She continued on Virginia Avenue for a few blocks.

I don’t know where she went after that because I got off the bus. Perhaps she just gave up and drove back to Virginia to start again. I walked from 20th and C to 20th and M. That’s about a mile. It’s not a bad walk, and I do not mind doing it, but for the love of all that’s holy, can we please get some bus drivers that know how to drive in DC?

I really do not want to have to move just to get a better commute into the city. And I really do not want to drive! I only live six miles from the office. Surely, it does not have to be this difficult to get to work every day! Maybe I should just walk.

Exercise – Walking Challenge

I have to admit, I’m not much of an exercise buff. I do walk and sometimes I go to the gym. That said, I have joined the walking challenge at my office. I think the goal is 10,000 steps a day, 70,000 steps a week. Whoever does the most steps at the end of the month wins a $50 gift card. They gave us free pedometers which basically fell apart after two days. I have been using a free app on my iPhone.

I have been doing really well, too. Right now, I’m in second place. I’m not sure I will be able to catch up with the person in first place. She’s just too far ahead. They also let us calculate other forms of exercise. She does a lot of biking and plays baseball.

I have been swimming. My apartment complex has a pool. I try to get an hour of swimming in every couple of days. I would do it every day, but some days I just do not get home in time. Pool closes at 8pm and sometimes it’s just to chilly in the evenings to swim.

To date, I have a total of 72,052 steps and my daily average is over 12,000. Here are some things I do to increase my daily steps.

  • Take bus all the way into DC and forgo the Metro. Walk from where bus drops me off on 23rd Street NW and Constitution Ave to my office. This adds a little more than 1/2 a mile each way to my daily walk to/from the office. That’s an additional 2473 steps per day.
  • Expand my  lunchtime walk. It is currently now 1.7 miles. I bumped it up to a solid 2+ miles.
  • Add swimming as an exercise: moderate swimming is 174 steps per minute. 30 minutes of swimming is 5220 steps.
  • This week, I walked all over DC with my friends. I’m going to have to get more creative next week to keep that level of activity going.
  • Add an additional walk after I get home from work and have dinner.

Most of these are small additions just to bump up my current level of walking activity.

The swimming is a pretty big step for me. This requires putting on a bathing suit in public, something that I have not done in more than 10 years. Once I’m in the water and swimming, I do not even think about what I look like. I can only think about breathing and finishing my lap. I take it slowly. I do one lap and stop for about 15 seconds. Then do another lap. I keep thinking, “after this lap, I’ll stop.” Then I finish the lap and feel OK and think, “OK, one more lap.” I try to do this for 1/2 hour at least. I try to vary my laps between the breast stroke and the backstroke. The backstroke is easier for me. But in either case, I’m not thinking about how I look in a bathing suit, I’m just concentrating on swimming.

I am going to wait a couple of weeks of this increased level of activity to weigh myself. I am hoping that the increased exercise will help the scale to start moving down again. We shall see!

Let The Games Begin!

My month of blogging has begun.

I had a lot of great suggestions from people on topics, so I think I will have a lot to write about. Everything from talking about the emotional journey, the physical procedure and the aftermath, and recipes.

My posts are going to be a little bit more organized. Sundays will be my week wrap-up and planning for the week ahead. Monday and Wednesday will be about food, meals, and recipes. Tuesdays I will write about the physical aspect of things, from the surgery itself to changes in my body. Thursdays will be about my emotional journey, the ups and downs, and how things have changed. Fridays will be about the different kinds of exercises I am doing. Saturdays I think I’m going to keep kind of random. I want to do book reviews and talk about health, food, and weight in general. That will also be the day I will keep open to answer questions people may have.

I am doing two other things in June apart from this daily blogging. I am participating in a wellness activity at work. I am doing the walking challenge. They gave us all free pedometers. Here is mine:

pedometer

I am also doing a postaday challenge with WordPress.  They are supposed to send us prompts to use, but I may or may not follow their prescribed format. Depends on what I feel like writing that day. I’m a rebel like that.

So, here are updates for today and what I am doing this coming week. Today I walked all over DC with my brother and his little girl. Instead of doing our usual museum circuit, we went to some monuments.

We walked to the Lincoln Memorial, the MLK Memorial, the FDR Memorial, and the WWII Memorial. My walking through DC was 5192 steps which is about 2.5 miles. I also bought the first bathing suit I have had in 14 years and went swimming for about an hour. Now I’m completely exhausted.

Ijeffersonmlk

lincoln lincoln2

 

 

I used to love swimming when I was younger, but I haven’t been swimming in more than 10 years. I am actually a very good swimmer. I feel very natural in the water and once I’m swimming, I completely forget to be worried about what I look like in a bathing suit. When I lived in Phoenix, I would swim in my cousin’s pool, or in the pool in my apartment complex, but it’s been a very long time. I’m glad to be swimming again.

I’m going to the beach the week of the 4th of July with my friends. I want to be practiced in swimming again before I get there. I probably will not do a lot of swimming in the ocean. I’ll probably mostly bounce around in the waves or do the boogie board. But still, I want to strengthen my swimming muscles and get used to wearing my bathing suit in public.

This week, I am taking a couple of vacation days. I have friends visiting from Phoenix and I am going to do some sightseeing with them. That will be a lot more walking. I am also going to change my commute a little. I normally take a bus and then the metro. Then walk 1/2 mile to the office. This week, I am going to take the bus all the way into the city and then walk 1.5 miles to the office. I am also going to continue doing my lunchtime walks. I can usually get 1.5 miles in at lunch as well. That will help me boost my pedometer steps for the work challenge.

So, to recap, this is what you can expect from my blog for June. If this format works, I may try to keep it going as long as I can.

  • Monday and Wednesday – Food & Recipes
  • Tuesday – Physical aspect of surgery, body changes, body image
  • Thursday – Emotional journey
  • Friday – Exercise
  • Saturday  – Random & Questions
  • Sunday – Weekly recap and prep for week ahead

As always, I will always answer any of your questions, even if it is a repeat of a previous blog post. Let the fun begin!

Some Good News At Least – NSV

Trying to remain positive about weight loss when it’s been six months since you’ve lost any way can be very difficult. My weight has not changed. The good news is I haven’t gained any.  Sometimes the scale fluctuates and goes up two or three pounds, but it always comes back down to 171. I’m told not gaining weight is an accomplishment in and of itself. I know it, but I do not always feel it.

That said, I had some really great health news this week. A few weeks ago my work did an employee health screening where they brought in the vampires and asked people to join in the process. They offered Amazon gift cards and free salad bowls if people signed up.

I can get free books? I’m in!

I received the results this week. My blood pressure was slightly elevated at 140/89. Not great, but a damn sight better than the unregulated 210/125 it was just a couple of years ago. I used to have to take three different meds to bring it down to the 140/89 range. Now I take none. I will share that number with my doctor when I go in July for my annual physical, and if she feels a mild medication is in order, I’ll consider it.

The better news is this.

  • Blood Sugar – 89
  • Cholesterol – 173
  • HDL – 52, (should be a little higher, but this number is vastly improved).
  • LDL is 101, (should be a little lower, but still a huge improvement).
  • Triglycerides…wait for it…97!

I am astonished by the triglycerides number. Heart disease runs in my mother’s family. All of her siblings, (and she has 8 of them…8!!), have experienced some kind of heart problem, either open heart surgery, bi-passes, blockages, etc. My mother has high bp and high cholesterol, but to date, no major issues, thank goodness.

One of the reasons I did the bariatric surgery was my fear of heart disease. My blood pressure was out of control, and my other numbers were totally out of whack. My triglycerides alone were well over 200.

I have been trying very hard to raise my HDL number and lower the LDL number.I eat ample quantities of nuts and peanut butter…maybe that explains the weight loss stoppage. Hmmm. 

I make sure that I use canola oil, sesame oil, and other oils that have monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fat. I do not use margarine ever! No trans fats for me. If I’m going to have bad fat, I’m going straight for the butter. Honestly, there is no substitute. At least saturated fats are natural fats and your body does need them!

importance-saturated-fat

I really do not eat so much fat that I need to worry about a little butter now and again. And besides, what isn’t made better with butter?

But I digress…

I am really happy with those numbers. I’m sure my doctor will be thrilled to.

Update on my spring walking tour of DC…

I have accomplished everything except the walk to Roosevelt Island. I have a friend coming to visit me this weekend. I may try to do that with him. I know I am going to drag him to Eastern Market early Sunday morning for breakfast and shopping. I went there this past weekend and I got two really cool skirts and some fresh fruits.

 

New Summer Challenge!

I am thinking of doing a blogging challenge every day in June. This will take some planning on my part. And I’ll have to think of something to blog about every day. I’m going to be returning to the gym in an attempt to lose some of 46 pounds I’d like to lose. But if anyone has ideas on new subjects, please shoot me a message or comment after this post.

Spring Fest – The Cure For Boredom

So today I am going to try posting from my iPad. I am supposed to be hanging out with my sister today. She’s running a bit late. There are only so many naps, tv shows, or rounds of Words With Friends I can do before my head explodes. I knew that Spring Fest in my neighborhood was happening, so I grabbed my poncho and iPad and walked down the hill.

The festival is pretty darn festive. Lots of music and beer drinking. I haven’t had any alcohol since the surgery and honestly I do not really miss it. So I’m just here enjoying the music and watching people make fools of themselves. I cannot really justify paying $30 to not drink beer, so I’m just enjoying a cappuccino instead.

Now Coffee Fest – that’s something I can get behind!

Ok I forgot my point.

Oh yeah, so I walk down here to Caribou Coffee only to find out that tomorrow they are closing and never opening again. They were bought out by Peets’ over a year ago. Nobody is happy about this. I will miss Caribou. They have been good to me.

But all things change and we knew this was going to happen. They have been putting off the conversion for a while now. So, farewell Caribou! I have enjoyed you coffees and teas and the yummy blueberry oatmeal.

Apart from that, I am really enjoying this festival. I love that I can go to these things and walk around. I might not be able to drink or eat much, but I can walk to and from. I can walk around and socialize. And most of all, I can dance!

Enjoy the pics!

20140426-175732.jpg

20140426-175750.jpg

20140426-175801.jpg

20140426-175811.jpg

20140426-175819.jpg

20140426-175829.jpg

Gallery

Blossom Walk Update

This gallery contains 19 photos.

As many of you who follow my blog know, I set some goals for myself this spring. Two of those goals were to walk around the Tidal Basin and to attend the Cherry Blossom Parade. I walked around the Tidal … Continue reading

Another NSV Victory – Spring Goals Accomplished!

I had a major non-scale victory today. I walked around the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC to see the cherry blossoms.

This is the route I took. I parked on Jefferson just before the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC. I marked my starting point as 1400 Independence Avenue, which is just a block away.

Along the way, I saw the Jefferson Memorial, The George Mason Memorial, The FDR Memorial and the MLK Memorial.

This morning was a gloriously beautiful morning. Chilly and windy, especially along the water, but beautiful. I am planning on going to the Cherry Blossom parade next week, so I will do this again. Hopefully by then, the Cherry Blossoms will be at the peak bloom. I cannot wait to see those pictures.

In the meantime, Enjoy these pictures! Some facts first though:

  • Before today, I had never walked around the Tidal Basin before.
  • I had never seen the MLK memorial or the Jefferson Memorial.
  • The walk from where I parked and back again was about 2.5 miles.
  • I am exhausted and need a nap.

photo 1 (2) photo 1 (3) photo 1 (4) photo 1 (5) photo 1 (6) photo 2 (1) photo 2 (2) photo 2 (3) photo 2 (4) photo 2 (5) photo 3 (1) photo 3 (2) photo 3 (3) photo 3 (4) photo 3 (5) photo 4 (1) photo 4 (2) photo 4 (3) photo 4 (4) photo 4 (5) photo 5 (1) photo 5 (2) photo 5 (3) photo 5 (4) photo 5 (5)