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2022 December 16

End of Project Baseline

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:49
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Yesterday was my final in-person visit to Project Baseline, just over 4 years since my first visit.  They have really reduced the ambition of the project since then—they took the same urine sample, 25 vials of blood (about 200 ml), and swabs for oral, nasal, and skin microbiomes, but the rest of the assessment was just vital signs and a few low-cost fitness tests (balance, grip strength, sit-stand, walking test).  All the expensive stuff they started with (stress echocardiogram, chest CAT scan, ankle-brachial index, pulmonary function) has been discontinued—I think that the heart (pun intended) went out of the project when the original PI (Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir) died in July 2020.  Also COVID messed up their ability to do detailed in-person studies for a couple of years, and I think that Verily lost interest in doing the project, so has just been keeping it ticking at minimal levels.

The one interesting result from this visit was that my 6-minute fast walk was 729 meters, substantially more than the 630 m of my first visit and something like 660 m on my second visit. I did push myself a bit more this time, getting a little out of breath by the end of 6 minutes. The 2.025 m/s pace is about 4.53 mph or 13:17 per mile. That is a pretty good pace for someone of my age, though I had difficulty finding any large studies that establish reasonable guidelines for healthy adults. I found one small study for people 20–50 [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rmed.2006.01.001] and lots of studies for people who were unhealthy in various ways. The linear regression from that study suggests that “normal” for men of my height and age is around 551m, but that is extrapolating the linear regression well out of the age range. A somewhat larger study [https://doi.org/10.1183/09031936.00194909] set age- and sex-based standards for an older population—but even my original distance was above the 75%ile for my age, and the latest measurement was above the 75%ile even for men 20–30 years younger than me.

I’ve returned the Verily Study Watch and the hub for uploading data from it—I don’t think I’ll miss the watch, as it was not a very useful piece of equipment from a consumer standpoint—all the processing was done in the cloud after data was uploaded, and almost nothing was shared with the person wearing the watch.

I might get myself a consumer-level fitness monitor—they range in price from $40 to $400 (though I’m sure you can find more expensive ones). I’ll probably want one that I can download data from without needing an expensive subscription plan.  It might be nice to have one that I can wear on my ankle for tracking bicycling as well as walking, but I don’t know whether any are designed for that obvious use (nor whether pulse monitoring at the ankle works as well as it does at the wrist).  I’ll have to look into what’s available.

2022 October 20

Fifty-eighth weight progress report

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 09:31
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This post is yet another weight progress report, continuing the previous one, part of a long series since I started in January 2015.

I’m also back to my pre-pandemic weight, after the distressing excursion into being overweight last year.

I still want to lose about 11 pounds, which would take over 2 years on my current trend.

Since mid-July, I’ve cycled an average of 2.34 miles/day, bringing my average over the last year up to 1.94 miles/day (a very small number).  I’ve averaged about 6.4k steps per day—down from earlier in the summer.  That walking has been mostly in the weekly “secret walk”  with my wife, supplemented with walks with a friend at UCSC who is trying to increase exercise.  I’ve not been blogging the secret walks much lately, as there have not been interesting routes or walks—we’ve mostly repeated walks we’ve done in the past.

I had a bunch of blood tests done last week, in preparation for my annual checkup tomorrow. Everything came out reassuringly normal. My cholesterol counts are still doing ok—the combination of rosuvastatin and ezetimibe seems to work well for me:

The only number close to a threshold is the triglycerides, but they seem to be a very noisy measurement, so I’m not concerned about it.

2022 September 3

Secret Walks: Kalkar Quarry

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 18:44
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On Thursday 1 Sept 2022, a friend of mine and I took a short (3.2 miles) but slightly hilly walk to Kalkar Quarry, which is where the spring is that gives Spring Street its name. This is a somewhat easier walk than the one described in Secret Walks: Harvey West-Quarry loop, but still has a couple of steep uphill segments (on Laurent and on Limestone Lane).

(Click map for higher resolution) The route was a fairly simple loop—up Laurent to Major, around Westlake, up Spring to High, then up Kalkar and Limestone Lane to the stairs at the end leading down into the quarry. We went around as much of the quarry as possible, then exited through Rockridge And Spring Street, taking the pedestrian walkway at the end of Quarry Court back to Limestone Lane. From High Street, we headed down Moore Street, and back down the Laurent Street hill.

The pond in the quarry is still choked with tule.

But there is a little open water by the houses, here seen from the east end of the quarry.

2022 August 31

Secret Walks: West Cliff—River

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 17:38
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On Sunday 2022 August 28, my wife and I  did a combination West Cliff and Riverwalk walk.

We started out taking King to Miramar, then Rankin and Surfside to Delaware, jogging over half a block to take Bethany Curve out to West Cliff.  We walked along West Cliff to Beach Street, where we had lunch at the Picnic Basket, then took Beach over to the San Lorenzo River, where we hoped to see lots of birds in the lagoon formed by the construction work on the culverts.  We saw the construction site, but there was not much water backed up behind it and very few birds.  We walked along the river levee to Spruce Street, then took a one block detour to walk the length of Sycamore, before heading home along Laurel.

The morning was very cool and foggy, which made for pleasant walking, though it did get sunny for the last part of our walk.  The whole walk was between 5½ and 6 miles.

Parts of West Cliff are eroded back to the sidewalk—I think that the city will need to close one lane of West Cliff to cars in a few years (when we get some big storms).

The tide seemed to be high, with most of the rocks of the coast submerged.

The cormorants and pelicans were sharing this island, but not mixing.

This small natural bridge looks almost as if someone had Photoshopped a gap in the outcropping. The bridge will probably collapse in a few years also.

I think that these concrete objects by Steamer Lane are footings for a staircase that washed away (there is a newer staircase nearby).

The cormorants like to hang out on this very steep rock.

At the river, we saw this bird that we did not recognize. After I got home and could look at the photo and do some searches, I identified it as a female common merganser. There were about seven mergansers (all female), but most of them were sleeping with their beaks tucked under their wings, making them very hard to identify.

Here is the merganser preening.

My wife wanted this plant identified—it seems to be California mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana). I don’t know whether it was planted as part of the river levee rewilding or if it seeded itself there.

We regard a walk along the water as well formed if, and only if, we see an egret. This walk was well formed.

In fact, we saw two snowy egrets fairly close together.

2022 August 30

Secret Walks: Pogonip walks

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:01
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On 2022 August 9 and 2022 August 16, I went for walks with a friend in the Pogonip. The first time, we drove to Golf Club Drive and walked up around the old clubhouse up to the spring box (the official name for the little koi pond). The second time, we drove to the end of Spring Street and walked up Spring Trail to Rincon Trail, then came back past the spring box again. Although I’m not fond of riding in cars, my friend is not up for more than a few miles of walking, so driving to the starting point makes the walks more pleasant—and they have an electric car, so the environmental damage is not so big.

My friend is fond of lizards, and so I photographed some that we stopped to look at.

The koi are hard to photograph, unless you want an impressionistic view.

Another lizard.

The view across the meadow as you leave the trees is quite nice.

On the second walk, I only took a few photos of the koi.

The reflections off the pond again make for a rather impressionistic image.

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