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Running Pace

MAY 18, 2022


Fast versus Slow

05/17/22 10:22 AM

Despite not having an exact location defined for mile one and mile two of my runs, I decided to scout out the difference in times for a hard-pushed run and an easy-going run. I ran the former yesterday and ran the latter today.

On the pace scale pictured above, my slower run probably moved around somewhere between 2 and 6 and the faster run probably did the same somewhere between 7 and 9.

Believe it or not the easy-going run was more difficult, only because I am used to pushing myself on a run and I had to focus on laying back with my pace. I took downhill sections a bit faster but did not allow my pace to get up to a point where I had to breath hard. I basically just kept my downhill momentum in check and let it take me just so fast.

I've pushed harder on mile two in the past, but yesterday was the first time I've truly pushed harder on mile one and mile two. I'm also having to make minor adjustments to allow for traffic and parked vehicles. These do make a real difference when it comes to comparing runs, even if by only seconds. It all adds up, as they say.

Results were interesting and as follows:

Fast Day: Mile one - 8:50; Mile two - 8:00; AHR - 111; MHR - 154

Slow Day: Mile one - 9:52; Mile two - 9:22; AHR - 110; MHR - 125

It's interesting to observe the similarities in Average Heart Rate (AHR) versus the striking difference in Max Heart Rate (MHR). Not sure what to make of that unless the Vivoactive 3 Smartwatch was not performing well.

Of greatest interest to me was the difference in mile two between the two days versus the difference in mile one. It really demonstrates on faster days how much I take advantage of the downhill sections on mile two.

Foot Notes

05/17/22 11:40 AM

Just reminding myself that I still need to do something to verify the distances for mile one and mile two. Can't find a measuring wheel at any rental store and even if I did, I could probably buy one for about the same amount as a rental.

05/17/22 12:06 PM

Found a measuring wheel for $20.99 on Ebay and for a penny less ($20.98) on Amazon. Ordered it from Amazon and it is due in between the 20th and the 24th.

Looking forward to timing my runs against a verifiable distance!




A Slower Run

MAY 11, 2022


Slower Run

05/10/22 11:27 AM

Well, as I mentioned in my footnotes yesterday, I did an evening run so I wasn't quite recovered and ready for my run this morning. As Patty and I started our respective outings, I mentioned that I intended to take it easy today. She chuckled for I had said that before and not followed through. But, this time I did.

I set myself a maximum of 10 minutes per mile and on mile one, I had to hustle the last 20 seconds to avoid exceeding that 10 minute mark. With more down-hill, I didn't have the same problem on mile 2. As it turns out, my pace on mile one was exactly 9:59.00 and mile two was 9:29.40 with an overall pace of 9:44 for both.

With an easier run, I was very curious to see what my AHR (Average Heart Rate) and MHR (Max Heart Rate) might be and as it turned out AHR was 115 and my MHR was 120. That's compared to respective rates of 130 and 140 with a more challenging pace on a more normal run.

Foot Notes

05/10/22 12:57 PM

Well, with the yard and pool all caught up and with a run in and no workout on the calendar, it looks like I'm in for a nice and relaxing afternoon. I had a nice chat with Allie early this morning and we can't wait for the entire Snow family to travel over and spend a week with us sometime in June.

I've got cateract surgery scheduled on the 2nd and if that conflicts with their trip, I may have to push my surgery out just a bit. I want to be sure I'm able to swim with the grandsons so surgery recovery and care will be a determining factor.




More On Running

MAY 05, 2022


Headwinds

05/03/22 11:33 AM

Went for my usual two mile run today and decided to go at an easy pace on this one. Well, that is until I hit the second mile and decided to pick up the pace.

Mile one was a 9:50 pace and mile two was an 8:58. There's something to be said for more down-hill on mile two and for my ability to push harder with the end in sight.

Temperature was 80 degrees (F) which added to my thoughts for taking it at an easier pace. There was also an incredibly strong headwind coming from the northeast which did wonders for keeping me cool, but didn't help much in the pace department.

Foot Notes

05/04/22 10:08 PM

Did another two miler today and pushed a bit harder on both miles. Still a lot of headwind, this time coming from the south, which made for some tough running.

I pulled off a 9:13 and an 8:30 which netted out to an 8:51 pace. Just after mile one I merged with another runner for a couple of minutes and we talked about the hills and the heat. He said he was from Savannah and used to flat land running. I knew just what he meant! Looking back, I wish I had the presence of mind to ask his name, since he obviously lives around here.

He was doing a six miler and I'm not sure how far along he was in his run, but the heat was brutal and I was glad I was only doing two.




Running

MAY 02, 2022


Running 2

05/01/22 7:00 AM

This year has kicked off to be an exciting one in the Health and Fitness category and with Running in particular. There's so much to cover.

We moved to a new neighborhood at the end of last year and it's been quite an adjustment to run on slopes for a guy who is used to training runs, races, and even treadmill runs on flat surfaces. That's made quite a difference in the training runs.

To start with, I've done away with distance training and races and even the 5k distance since three miles a day is more than I want to run. I'm doing two milers each and every day and it has worked out perfectly in terms of my recovery and my commitment to the training runs. The hills (slopes?) are different but I'm getting used to them. In fact, I'm very pleasantly surprised at my ability to pick up my pace on an up-hill slope, especially one that is long enough to provide a serious workout.

I really like the two mile course I have set out and it's one that avoids all of the serious hills in the 'hood. About the time I get to a serious down-hill or up-hill slope, it's usually time to turn around and head in a different direction. The last 7/10ths of a mile retraces the first 7/10ths of a mile and that includes a couple of sloping cul-de-sacs. Fortunately for me, the last mile has more down slopes than the first mile and that provides for a better pace and time.

I'm usually running somewhere close to a nine minute miles (plus or minus) and I still need to confirm the distances if I'm going to continue to avoid my wonky GPS readings. Either way, I'm delighted with the results I'm getting.




Weight Bench Hack

MAY 01, 2022


Weider Bench Hack

04/30/22 1:15 PM

I purchased a Weider Weight Bench from Walmart several months ago and was pleased with everything except the seat. The back rest was fine but because the seat (the piece I sit on) is adjustable (two positions) it is a bit loose and rocks when I sit on it.

Fortunately, I don't need the second position, so I removed the piece that supports the second position and tightened everything down without it and now the seat is solid and doesn't rock when I'm sitting on it.




Weight Training #2

APRIL 25, 2022


Tricep Extensions

04/23/22 07:05 PM

Well, I started out on April 23rd with a detailed description of my workout rotation #3. And, yesterday I provided the same for workout rotation #1.

And so, Today I'll provide the details for workout rotation #2 to finish off all three rotations. Since I'm typing this ahead of time, I'll have to provide the total time for workout rotation #2 tomorrow after I complete it.

I refer to rotation #2 as my Tricep workout although it involves much more. Like rotation #1 the workout only includes 4 exercises.

The first exercise is the Lying Dumbbell Fly (pictured above) and includes three sets of 15 reps each with 15 pounders. It also includes a 60 second rest between sets. This exercise works out the pecs and anterior deltoids (front of shoulders.)

The second exercise is the Standing Dumbbell Tricep Extensions and includes three sets of 15 reps each with 10 pounders. It does not include any rest between sets since I'm swapping arms for each set and as such each arm gets a rest while the other is working out. Standing also works the core and I have to be careful as I lower the weight behind my head on each rep.

The third exercise is the Standing Dumbbell Triceps Kickback and includes three sets of 15 reps each with 10 pounders. This exercise focuses specifically on the triceps and I'm taking a dual approach working both arms at the same time. I'm also taking a 60 second rest between sets.

The fourth and final exercise is the Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bent Over Row and includes three sets of 15 reps each with 15 pounders. This exercise focuses on the biceps, brachioradials (foreamrs), Rhomboidues (upper back), and Latissimus Dorsi (mid back.) Once again, I'm including a 60 second rest between sets.

As I've now completed 40 workouts it's been interesting to see my progress, not only in the physical appearance of each muscle group, but also in my ability to increase reps and weight as it seems appropriate.

My son and coach has been very encouraging about increasing reps first and taking care not to rush the increasing of weight. I tried rushing that long ago and it became a sure-fire formula for minor injuries and ultimately burn-out. I'm in it this time for the long-haul so no rushing required. This time my philosophy is, Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

Thanks to my awesome coach (and son!) for helping me learn that important lesson! It's paying off big-time!

Foot Notes

04/24/22 09:45 AM

Tracked my time on workout rotation #2 and it was 21 minutes. So my three workouts in minutes in order are 1) 21.5, 2) 21.0, and 3) 32.5.

04/24/22 10:24 AM

Just finished my run and while my time looks really good, I've got to do something about the inconsistency of my GPS. My times are all over the place because my GPS is all over the place, reporting different points for miles one and two just about each and every day.

What's the use in tracking data if the data is no good? Guess I'm going to have to rent one of those distance tracking wheels to find the actual location for mile one and mile two.




Weight Training #1

APRIL 24, 2022


Dumbbell Bench Press

04/22/22 07:15 AM

Well, I started with #3 in my rotation, so I thought I would go ahead and pick up workout #1 in the rotation today and follow it up tomorrow with workout #2 in the rotation.

On this particular workout, I'm only performing 4 exercises, but they are indeed kicking my butt. After thirty-something workouts, I'm definitely seeing improvements.

I refer to #1 of my three day rotation as Bicep day. It's a bit more than that, but that's the primary focus for day #1 in the rotation. Day one also works pecs, shoulders, and the trapezius.

I'll be checking out the length of day one next time around. But for now, day one includes three sets of 25 bench presses using 20 pounders with a 60 second rest between sets.

Second on the list is the Standing Dual Bicep Curls of which I'm currently doing three sets of 15 reps using 15 pounders and, once again, a 60 second rest between sets.

Third on the list is the Seated Shoulder Press of which I'm going three sets of 15 reps using 15 pounders with a 60 second rest between sets.

Closing out my day #1 rotation, I'm performing three sets of 10 Lateral Raises using 10 pounders with the same 60 second rest between sets.

I'll be back tomorrow with a report on my day #2 (Tricep Day) workout, which also focuses upon the chest and back muscles.

Foot Notes

Tired Puppy

04/23/22 11:43 AM

Started early and wound up not only doing a vacuum and a backwash on the pool, but added a cut on the yard and am getting ready to do my workout after I expand this post and having just finished my two mile run.

I am indeed a tired puppy as the picture suggests. Looking forward to watching some golf today too. Oh, and I wanted to comment that we found our Chinese place last night (Dragon City Buffet) although we did it take-out style. Boy, was it ever good! I'm looking forward to some Chinese left-overs tonight for supper.

04/23/22 12:24 PM

I should add that workout #1 turned out to take 21.5 minutes. That's as opposed to workout #3 taking 32.5 and workout #2 still TBD.




Weight Training Expansion

APRIL 23, 2022


Russian Twists

04/22/22 11:45 AM

I'm sitting here trying to steady my hands and type after just finishing up my expanded activities on core day, which is day three of my three day rotation. I'm also timing my workouts starting today, and my expanded version of core day turns out to be 32.5 minutes in length. That works out pretty well from my perspective.

Core day is made up of five exercises which include One Arm Kettle Bell Swings, Russian Twists, Glute Bridges, Leg Lifts, and Reverse Leg Lifts with Hip Extensions.

For the Kettle Bell Swings, I'm doing one set of 25 for each arm and I'm doing all of that three times with a 60 second rest between all six sets. For the Russian Twists (pictured above), I'm using a 15 pound dumbbell and I'm doing 3 sets of 25 twists with one twist representing two twists - one in each direction and a 60 second rest between sets.

For the Glute Bridges, I'm using a 20 pound dumbbell and I'm doing three sets of 25 with a 60 second rest between sets. For the leg lifts I'm also doing three sets of 25 with a 60 second rest between sets. And, for the Reverse Leg Lifts I'm doing three sets of 25 for each leg with no rest between sets since one leg rests while I lift the other.

I was quite sweaty after my run today, and the core workout only increased my sweat level, even while working out in a relatively cool room. It will be interesting to see what my total workout time is for days one and two. I anticipate they will both be a bit shorter, but we'll see.




Cataracts

APRIL 22, 2022


Cataracts

04/21/22 01:15 PM

I recently changed my eye doctor strategy. I did this based on good and wise advice. And, I suppose I could say that I couldn't see the difference until I saw the difference. When it comes to messing with one's eyes, and especially in my senior years, it just makes sense to avoid the Walmarts of the world and go with the specialists.

When all was said and done, it was determined that I needed cataract surgery in my left eye. My right eye was better than perfect with 20/15 but my left eye was 20/100.

Now that I've done some more reading, I have additional questions for the doctor and should have an opportunity to set out those questions after surgery when I go back for new glasses based on my new post-surgery prescriptions.

Foot Notes

04/21/22 06:24 PM

Cardio or weight training, which should come first?

I run two miles every day and do one of three weight training rotations with it. I asked my son and coach, Jonathan, which should come first. He advised me that the guys up at his gym all put the weights first and cardio last. And so, that's exactly what I did too.

But then I decided to take a look online and see what the thought process was behind doing weights first and cardio afterward. After all, the coach I hired up in Georgia for six months had me doing the opposite. His coaching was that the body needs to have a cardio warm-up before taking on weights.

Well, most articles I found left it up to the individual. I sort of got a sense that whichever of the two you liked most should be the one that you do first, so that you have more to pour into it. For me, there's no doubt. By far, I like running most. And I like feeling good during my run as opposed to starting off tired after, for example, a hard core workout.

So, I moved my cardio up to the front of the line and follow it by weights and like the results. I have a lot more strength on my runs, which translates to a far better cardio workout.

And, I still feel ready afterward to perform my weight training, even on core days. Speaking of cardio, I also purchased a new set of Asics Gel running shoes and with a different type of laces learned that I need to go back to double-knotting them if they are to stay tied for the entire run.




Weight Training

APRIL 16, 2022


Weight Training

04/15/22 10:31 AM

Well, got all of the morning tasks out of the way including a few things off of the honey-do list. On the workout front, today was a tricep day. That's a pretty tough workout, but nothing compared to tomorrow's core day. On my 3 day weight training rotation, it seems the days get progressively more difficult. That's probably a good thing, but either way I like the intensity and the fact that the workouts don't drag out for a long time.

Jon told me that the serious weight trainers all do their cardio after their weight training, so I try and get my two mile run in right after my weight work. That adds a bit of a challenge on core day (day 3 in my rotation) since running also works out the core. I can definitely feel the run on core day after doing the core workout. That makes for a bit of a tough run but it's all good in the end.

Tomorrow represents 33 days of workouts which translates to 11 complete cycles of my 3 day rotation. It also will be a core workout which as Jon suggests is almost like a cardio workout by the time I get in some of those exercises.

I'm really seeing the improvement in the area of strength, as evidenced by my ability to do more reps in each set for some of the exercises. I realized today that I have also moved on to higher weights for some exercises and haven't touched the 5 pound weights in quite a while. On the other hand, I'm using the 15 pounders more and even the 20 pounders on a couple of exercises. That combined with more reps feels like a good thing.




Wonky GPS?

MARCH 26, 2022


Wonky GPS

I've finally decided on something that seems reasonable and makes sense to me when it comes to measuring my runs. This is in lieu of a wonky GPS that provides less than accurate readings more and more often on my Garmin Vivoactive 3.

I've run enough runs here in the neighborhood to have a pretty good feel for the location of the two mile point, based on an average location provided by my GPS. Here forward, I think I'm going to just stop my watch at that location and take a reading on the time, even if other data may not be completely accurate.

It's unfortunate, but I guess that's what I'm going to have to do if I'm to be consistent in tracking my time and my progress. I run the same route each day and can't have my watch dictating different end points based on a wonky GPS.

For example, today I had to subtract 24 seconds from the two mile time reported by my watch in order to track the time based on the same end point where I intend to end my run each day from now on. In other words, my watch forced me to run an extra 24 seconds to reach what it was calling the two mile point today.

Oh, by the way, I guess that means I'm also going to have to make a mental note of my time at a fixed one mile point. That's the only way I can think of to record something accurate for each of the two miles in the run. It also means I'm going to have to do a lot more calculating to provide accurate data for all of that and for everything else.

Such is life!




My Gym

MARCH 24, 2022


My Gym

I keep asking myself why I feel like weight training is going to stick this time and become a regular part of my routine. And the answer is always the same: It's because I'm retired and don't feel like the effort is consuming such a large percentage of my free time. In addition, and relative to time and effort, benefit provides a huge payback.

I've also got a great coach in my son; who is only a phone call or txt message away and is way up the ladder in terms of his expertise and all that he has accomplished physically. That's a big plus in staying encouraged and motivated.

I purchased a bench today and it has really added to my home gym in terms of my range of motion and for my ability to do some of my exercises more accurately and safely. I also ordered some 15 pound dumbbells since there's a big gap between the ten and twenty pounders I have currently, and I'm to a point where I need to fill that gap.

With weight training, I've also started eating much better. It's amazing how much harder I'm willing to work at my eating when I'm already putting out the effort with both weight training and running.

For the first time in my life, I truly feel I have moved beyond running and entered the world of fitness. And, I'm truly psyched about the opportunities and possibilities that are available in this new arena.




Blending

MARCH 20, 2022


Blending

The title of this post makes it sound like a food topic, but it's not. I'm talking about the concerns I have with blending a core workout and a run on the same day, since running also tends to work out the core.

It's funny how easy it is to develop concerns that never materialize. I'm probably one of the world's best at doing it. My conservative nature kicks in and I can come up with all sorts of reasons to be concerned. It's honestly a bit of a curse with which to live.

The good news is that there was no reason to be concerned about blending a run with core day. Despite the wonky misbehavior of my Garmin's GPS, it was clear that a core workout did not impede upon my run.

That's good to know because I don't like it when concerns hang over my head. I realize that core days, or my core workouts, already bring with them some level of concern just because they can be pretty brutal. I don't need any extra baggage to tote when core day rolls around.

Despite any concerns that come with core workouts, those concerns tend to fade when I consider the results that are sure to come over time. Abs? Glutes? Core? It's a good day when I work those out and have results to show for it. In fact, core day inspires better eating just for dealing with an ornery fat layer that wants to hang around.




Choices

MARCH 19, 2022


Choices

Last night I had a protein shake. My wife bought it and put it together for me and it was really good. It didn't taste too sweet and I was pleasantly surprised at how fine she was able to ground the ice, such that it benefitted the overall experience without lightening the heft of the drink.

The drink was good enough that I thought I might want to do it again and again. I therefore decided to go online and see what the fitness experts had to say about protein shakes.

So here's the thing: Why is it that we can start an online research trek and be bombarded with conflicting reports? At the end of the day, we're left to try and make a wise decision with an abundance of potentially conflicting information.

I went online hoping to validate my protein shake experience and came away with more questions than answers. Honestly, I can tell this is going to net out to be one of those things where my own experience tells the tale, unless there's a compelling abundance of evidence in one direction or another, and in this case there wasn't!

I found myself reading about protein shakes laced with heavy metals and enough other frightening stuff to make me want to climb in a hole somewhere and never come out. I kept reading and found enough good information to keep me out of that hole. There was no definitive report, but in this case I'm willing to let my experience be my guide.

160 calories with 30 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fat, and 1 gram of sugar. Not a bad deal for the opportunity to replenish proteins after a serious workout.

Not sure how often I'll have one. Certainly not more than one per day. I suppose I'll see what my experience tells me over time.




Muscle Failure

MARCH 18, 2022


Failure?

In general, Fitness is getting the most attention from me these days, so that's what I intend to write about for a while. In particular, weight training and diet are the two biggies so that's where the attention will be paid.

Today was my fourth day of weight training and I'm absolutely amazed at how much can be learned in a short four days. I started my training on day one doing everything with five pound weights. Needless to say, that didn't even challenge me on much of anything. However, a little birdie whispered in my ear that it's probably better to start light and work up from there.

Well, I purchased a set of ten pound weights and used them today. I actually used them yesterday too but yesterday's workout was more about core so there wasn't much demand for them.

Today was a very different story. I used the ten pounders throughout and while not challenged on some of the early exercises, I was very challenged on the latter exercises, probably because of tired muscles in general toward the end of my total workout.

As I think I've mentioned, I've set my weight training program to cover a three day rotation. Today I was on day one of the program, and that and day two are very dumbbell oriented. Day three is more about abs and core and won't call for a lot of traditional dumbbell work.

After I finished my workout today, I started researching weight training where an exercise is performed to the point of failure, or inability to proceed further. The coaches have a lot to say about the when, why, where, and how of failure and I would do well to take note on all that I read.

Based on what I've seen, and the fact that most of what I'm doing is not dangerous and/or complex, I should be safe doing most things to the point of failure. There is one exercise that I won't push that far, but I think I'm safe otherwise. That should be in keeping with my goals to build muscle and strength and burn off fat.

For the fat work, diet will be an important part of my focus.

More on that soon.

Foot Note

Today turned out to be a yard day on top of my workout and two mile run. And, boy am I ever tired after all of that activity.

Patty put together a taco bar for supper and I had a no guilt feast. I'm really curious to see how the day's activities and those meals work together and what the end result is going to look like on the scales tomorrow. I honestly have no idea.




More Weight Training

MARCH 17, 2022


More Weight Training

Well, as I had hoped, my son provided me with good advice and information for the food category of my fitness program. I'm a routine kinda guy and my take-away was to avoid food routines and aim more toward variety. Makes sense!

It's okay to have a rotation, but probably not a good thing to get too rabid about the details. Different fruit (i.e. different sources of natural sugars) and things of that nature should probably be the order of the day.

I've also converted my exercises into a 3 day program with 4 exercises on each day. That should be plenty and I've done all I can to work out specific muscle groups on the same day. Now it's a matter of doing it!

Started the day at 7 am with a nice 2 egg omelet with chopped veggies. I've got to watch my caloric intake and try to move from weight loss mode to weight maintenance mode. Believe it or not, for me that's actually the more difficult of the two. Picking a target range, instead of a specific target, should help a lot with that one.

Foot Note

It was interesting today to focus on my abs, glutes, and core and then add a two mile run on the end of all of that. The run felt noticeably different when adding it to the back end of a workout, and particularly to the back end of a workout relatively focused on the core.

I suppose that was the case since a run also works the core and I had just finished a workout targeting the same. Still, I've been very pleased with the amount of strength I have on my runs and the speed with which I have been able to take the inclines.

Unfortunately, my Vivoactive 3's GPS did the wonky start thing today so I didn't really have the running stats I wanted and needed to make a fair comparison between a run and a post-workout run. I would imagine that I will get a better picture with additional runs and a better behaved GPS.

For the reader's benefit, I'm still writing my blog posts a day ahead. That accounts for all of the foot notes that I add during the day and after my original post for any given day.

In other words, the reader gets the benefit of reading all posts for a given day without having the revisit the site, even though those posts were written and posted and different times on the previous day.

Foot Note 2

Going for a second footnote on a very busy day. We went to check out a house that we found on Zillow and that wound up being a bit too close to I-10 to suit us, but we also investigated the Malibus subdivision and really like what we saw.

Thereafter, we enjoyed a lunch at the mediterranean Sandwich shop and ate pretty healthy with all things considered.




Weight Training

MARCH 16, 2022


Weight Training

It's interesting to look at all of the workout exercises and try to refine them in order to match my goals, make each workout manageable, and mix and match exercises in order to better blend the exercises that work the same muscle groups.

In the process of doing that, I learning a lot more about each exercise and how it fits in my overall workout plan. Part of what I want to accomplish is to maintain my focus on running without undoing that workout in my weight training workouts.

I'm eliminating all leg group exercises from my weight training because the running is taking care of that, especially since I'm no longer doing my runs on level ground. My intention is to stay with a two mile run each day and add that on the end of my weight training workouts. My son tells me that the pro's add their cardio on the end of their weight training workouts so that's good enough for me.

On a different note, I'm really enjoying the prospect of a home fitness center and am particularly happy to have it in my oversized office, where there's plenty of space. My hassock serves as a perfect bench for dumbbell/bench exercises, and I'm thinking that makes more sense than buying a flimsy low-priced bench or sinking a lot of money in something more stable that is really no better than what I'm already using, even if it wasn't made to serve as a bench. I suppose time and experience will tell me if that's okay or not.

Foot Note

Well, getting the weight lifting regimen in order has definitely pushed up the priority for getting my eating in order. Honestly, I just don't know what I don't know and the temptation to get hyper about this is probably not good either.

I don't want to get weird or rabid about this, but I don't want to get lazy or unhealthy either. There's got to be a reasonable balance that the healthy gym rats are deploying and I need to better understand what it is that they are doing.

Hopefully, my son will have some good success stories to offer.




Fitness

MARCH 15, 2022


Fitness 2

Years ago I joined the gym in Douglasville, Georgia and hired a fitness trainer for 6 months to help me. While he was a nice guy, he really didn't train me. He just worked me out and answered my questions.

I suppose that was okay because I hated (and still do) working with weights. I've been a runner for years and that has met my cardio needs, but I'm still lacking in the areas of both diet and weight training.

I've dropped my body weight and BMI to just about where I want them to be, but can't even attribute that to a healthy diet plan as much as an effective (and unhealthy) starvation plan.

That's one of my problems: I'm an all or nothing kind of guy and don't really do a good job of taking things in moderation. I suppose I'm living by that popular adage of wanting everything and wanting it now.

And, I hate that!

With my cardio regimen well underway, and my tendency to flounder with my diet plan, perhaps it's time to take a more serious look at the contribution of weight training to my overall fitness plan. Perhaps if I get that in order, the diet plan will follow in a more orderly fashion. Perhaps then I will be able to break some horrible and long-held eating habits.

Honestly, I'm retired and have the time to do this right.

And, I'm fresh out of excuses.

Foot Note

Between all of the research I'm doing and all of the wonderful support I'm getting from my wife and my son, this just may work out! (no pun intended)

I found a dumbbell only full body workout online today that involves 14 different exercises with a specific number of sets and reps for each. I split the list in half and did seven of them today and intend to do the other seven tomorrow.

It was fantastic! As a result, I'm going to go ahead and buy a bench and a couple of more dumbbells to broaden the range of what I have to work with. From there, I intend to jump on this with both feet and make it work.

I've managed to grab some excellent advice from my son, who is already at expert levels in what I'm trying to accomplish, so I've got great support. I'm very encouraged and it's all very exciting!!!




Cheat Meals Part 3

MARCH 10, 2022


Cheat Meals Part 3

In this month's posts on March 3, I wrote on the topic of Cheat Meals. Also in this month's posts on March 5, I followed up with a second post on the topic. And so, I'm calling this post Cheat Meals Part 3.

I've been doing a lot or reading on this topic and it seems clear to me that the majority of articles come out in favor of cheat meals. There are a few exceptions in the list, but most seem to speak favorably on the topic.

I paid close attention to those exceptions, and what they had to offer was filled with wisdom. It wasn't about the immediate damage that a cheat meal might offer, but about the tendency for a cheat meal to lead to additional cheating for those who really struggle with over-eating.

That would be me!

When I was reading about cheat meals I noticed that some people take cheat days and still others take multiple cheat meals (or days) per week. Hmmm, I never thought of those ideas but they sure sound good to me.

Getting the obsessive picture here? I'm calling it cheating the cheat?

No wonder chips, cheese dip, and salsa is such an appealing cheat meal. It's one of those meals that easily converts from a cheat meal into cheat meals or a cheat day, and even cheat days. By the time I'm done, it will take a full week of starvation just to undo the damage.

By the way, starvation is never a good answer to any question but my tendencies toward excess and perfection demand it of me. For me, I guess that's why dieting seems to be on par with not getting to eat. There has to be a more positive way to frame this effort.

My research has taught me a lot about the importance of maintaining certain elements of healthy eating in the midst of a cheat meal. In other words, I can't afford to just lose control and eat any quantity of anything and everything I want. What I'm seeing is that the cheat meal has to fit into the plan, and not run counter to it or outside of it.




More on Cheat Meals

MARCH 05, 2022


Freddy's

I have a tendency to find something I like and stay with it. Whether it's a store, a friend, or a restaurant, or even a specific meal within a restaurant, I tend to be quite consistent and loyal once I find something I like.

My better half, on the other hand, is always ready to discover new things. She's willing to have a bad experience just to find out if something new is good. I admire her spunk on that one, because that's not really me. If I like it, I'm staying with it.

For our cheat meal yesterday, we went to a new place that she wanted to try. I have to admit I wasn't too excited about trying a fast food place that I had never heard of and that I didn't even know existed. But without my adventurous soul mate I would have never discovered a new place that I really, really, like.

My newer tendency toward avoiding carbs, calories, and generally unhealthy food flew out the window as I ordered that patty melt with onion rings. And was it ever good! It's funny because I was slated to drop below my goal weight by this morning, but all of my yummy food quickly threw a wrench in that plan.

I suppose that's why they call it a cheat meal. If it's not something you really enjoy then it's probably not a legitimate cheat meal. Right? And, isn't that the whole point? In other words, you know you're going to pay for it (in more ways than one!) but immediately thereafter, you're back on the wagon. I guess that's what a cheat meal is really all about.

Well anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking with it!




Cheat Meals

MARCH 03, 2022


Cheat Meals

Patty and I have a set 'date' for Fridays. It includes books and movies from the local library, and with it we have a cheat meal included. These meals started as eat out meals and evolved to takeout meals and have since evolved, in the past week or two, to healthy takeout meals.

Last week our cheat meal was a Greek salad (takeout) from the Mediterranean Sandwich Shop. Oh my, that was so good. And it was quite healthy as well.

Unfortunately, a lot of sugar was included with our buying to support that cheat meal. We always wind up at Rouses Market, which is our favorite, but from which we simply cannot seem to escape without spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $100. Ouch!

We've both agreed that sugar is no longer to be part of our diet, and I must say that the red grapes have been a perfect substitute on my side of things. However, I'm also having to learn how to stop after just a few or I might as well be eating a couple of cream horns when you add up the grams of sugar, not to mention the countless calories that are added.

It's been quite interesting learning how to balance healthy eating with quality of life. Not feeling deprived has felt important, but not feeling fat has felt even more important. Staying active and eating healthy (which includes both quality and quantity) seem to provide a center piece for our plan. I'm looking forward to discovering creative ways to focus on healthy eating without that dreaded element of feeling deprived sneaking in on us.




Eating Habits

FEBRUARY 28, 2022


Eating Habits

When I was younger, I was able to eat what I wanted when I wanted it. As a result, I generated some pretty bad eating habits.

And now that I'm getting older, the problems with those poor eating habits have caught up with me. I started to say are catching up with me, but the truth is that those problems have indeed caught up with me!

You might think I would be concerned about what I'm eating or perhaps how much I'm eating, but the problem really centers around snacking and particularly when I'm eating those snacks.

Late night eating can't be good for me, no matter what I'm eating. I've been able to successfully abandon big lunches and afternoon snacks. However, evenings are a very different thing. Sugary foods and late night eating are my downfalls.

Knowing what I need to do, and doing it, has become the challenge. It's all much easier said than done. After all, I'm in my senior years and supposed to be enjoying life, right? Eating out, eating what I want, and eating when I want are supposed to be part of senior life, right?

Wrong!

I run daily and keep a running log. Both come easy for me and are things to which I am very faithful. Eating well, on the other hand, not so much.

In my running log, I also log my daily weight, which I check and record first thing each morning. So, I'm confronted on a daily basis with yesterday's successes and failures.

And lately, there have been more failures than successes. I feel like the lady who once said she wakes up each day a success and goes to bed each night a failure. I hate to use the word failure, but when I'm failing at something it's time to be honest about it, and to do something about it.

I don't want to be OCD about this, but I don't want to be the proverbial fat husband and dad either. It's time to create some new habits before things get out of hand.

So, here goes!




Eating Out

FEBRUARY 13, 2022


Food 2

My mom and dad didn't spend a lot of time instructing me in matters of life. Sure, there were times when they sat down with me and tried to explain things to the best of their ability. But, most of what I learned from them was more by example than with words.

Looking back, I'm amazed at the things I picked up and how I applied them. It all reminds me of a story I once heard about a daughter who cut a roast in half before putting it in the pot and decided to call her mom and ask why her mom taught her to do that. To the daughter's surprise, her mom chuckled and explained that she never owned a pot big enough to hold an entire roast.

That story paints a real picture of so many of the things I learned. It also explains my willingness to apply those things, exactly as I learned them, even when they went beyond my understanding. Eating out provides a great example of what I'm describing and it does so on so many levels.

Growing up, we ate out a lot. It was always a pleasure since we got to choose what we wanted to eat with very few limitations. Eating out kind of trained me to consider what I wanted to eat, right at meal time, and then to indulge that craving as I placed my order.

Dad was on the road a lot and he once told me that being on the road always made him long for a good home-cooked meal. However, we lived off home-cooked food when dad was away and mom always wanted to eat out when dad came home. She wasn't a big fan of cooking or home-cooked meals. As a result, when dad came home, we ate out. And looking back, we ate out a lot.

Holidays always presented an interesting situation. Grocery stores started offering ready to carry out holiday meals and dad was there, front and center, to purchase them and bring them home.

As we got older, dad prepared the meals himself. This was often done with the help of the rotisserie and soft ice cream machines he sold with his business.

Somehow, I had it in my mind that I was doing Patty a favor by taking her out. Little did I realize that Patty preferred to eat at home and I was the one who was receiving the benefit. Sure there were times when Patty wanted to eat out too, but not nearly as often as I was pushing for.

Only now in my senior years, and particularly in recent months, have I been able to see the need to retrain my thinking. Only recently have I been able to see the selfishness inherent in my way of looking at things. How I have been able to impose a culture for so long, based on the way I was raised, and more importantly my selfishness, is truly beyond my understanding.

Perhaps it took a pandemic to help me understand and start me down the right path. Thank you Lord for opening my eyes.




On the Scale

FEBRUARY 11, 2022


On the Scale

On the scale? I'm not talking about the one that checks our weight. These days I seem to constantly be on that scale. Perhaps too often.

The scale, or spectrum, I'm referencing has to do with Asperger's or, as of the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Autism.

I'm convinced, as one person put it, that being on the spectrum has always been, and will continue to be, my Super Power. I'm quite happy with the positives it brings to my life and am still learning to deal with the struggles. I bring it up because of what was mentioned in my 365 devotions book on Radical Wisdom written by Regi Campbell.

Earlier in my life, I struggled with anxiety and lived in the Glass Half Empty category of life. But now, in my senior years, I have a strong sense (like I've never had before) of gratefulness and with it, an absence of anxiety. I'm clearly enjoying the peace and power that seem to be inherent in the Glass Half Full category of life.

Some of my family members do this cool exercise each year where they pick a word and focus upon it for the year as a means of bringing it to life in their day to day activities. The first year I heard about that exercise, I chose the word Grateful.

I must confess that I probably chose that word less for my need to focus upon it, and more for its importance in my life at that time. That was several years ago and even though I'm sure I'm missing the whole point of the exercise, I have yet to be able to choose another word.

Thank you Lord for bringing me to the Glass Half Full side of life.

I am eternally grateful!




Get Obsessive

JANUARY 23, 2022


Obsession

I wrote about this topic under the same title some years ago in my old blog. And, I keep circiling back to it again and again.

If I am going to get something done, I don't know any other gear except obsessive. Anything less becomes casual and casual won't get it done. There are just too many ways to let myself off the hook in casual mode. Obsessive may look funny, but it gets results for me.

I wrote sometime back about dropping 30 pounds. That was hard work! And like so many stories that don't end well, I kept it off for about a year and then started putting it back on.

My soul mate and I were talking about this yesterday and how we tend to build a new long-term plan way too often. There's something wrong with that and for me it means that I haven't really made a decision. Or better said, I haven't become obsessive about my decision and put a plan in place to ensure I succeed at it, and for the long-term!

So the real question is whether I want the easy/lazy/eat what I want life or the challenging/focused/manage my eating life. I've always thought of that first group as The Good Life but I'm learning that The Good Life really comes from that second group.

There's more motivation to live that life now because successes and failures are amplified here in my senior years. I could get away with slacking off in my younger years, but in these senior years, not so much.

So, pardon me while I get obsessive.




Still More on Running

JANUARY 22, 2022


Winter Running

It looks like the highs for next week are going to be right about at 51°F. That's warm enough to run! Now as for the lows, they will be coming in during the night and will be in the 20's. That's cold enough to ensure the pool pump is running all night to avoid freezing the pipes.

Back when I was a regular on Facebook, or for that matter back when I was simply on Facebook, I used to beat up on myself when I read about all of the running my former students were doing up north in the snow. Not anymore! Anything below 40°F or with a windchill that drives it below 40°F is my cutoff point. Below that and I'm down for the day and staying inside if at all possible! That also includes any real threat for precipitation, frozen or otherwise.

As a senior runner, and with my purpose now for running, I'm done with all of the crazy weather runs and am seeking to pursue the running game with some level of sensibility. The goal is fitness for the long term and that can be accomplished with a much more reasonable approach. This is no longer about how many training miles I can squeeze in within the span of a year.

500 miles a year seems pretty reasonable to me. That's five runs a week of two miles each, for every week of the year. I'll probably (hopefully) do better than that but it's going to be the goal for the time being. And, I've decided to stick with the two milers for the time being since 1) the time factor is better, 2) the recovery is better, and 3) the workout is quite adequate if I'm doing it almost every day.

I'm the worlds worst (best?) at changing up the plan, and that may happen, but for now this is it!




More on Running

JANUARY 21, 2022


Atlanta Marathon

It's killing me not to have some reasonable running weather and to be able to get out in it and hit the streets. Still, I'm just not ready to get out in some hit or miss rain with temps at or near freezing and winds between 10 and 20 mph.

Sometimes I can get out and start a run and think to myself that it's going to be a good day for running. Then, a moment later, I turn a corner and get hit in the face with a blast of cold wind and change my tune. Things go from getting in my running groove to getting into the mind-trick filled environment of endurance mode.

I have decided that I'm just not that interested in running in what I going to call non-running weather. I've also decided that I'm not going to run races because I know where that's going to take me, and I don't want to go there. I'm done with speed running. And I particularly don't want to take a day off just to prepare for that whole thing, not to mention paying money and getting out and traveling to an early start.

That I'm running is good enough and that's where I want to keep things. Long gone are the days of half marathons and (God-forbid) the one and only full marathon that I was crazy enough to train for and run. Training for the 1993 Atlanta Marathon brings back some funny memories, but they're only funny in retrospect - they weren't funny back then.

I remember running a training loop where I passed McDonald's several times and I remember on the first pass thinking that they were closed and on the last pass thinking to myself that now they were open for business. I remember the other times I passed by thinking that they were in various stages of opening for business and seeing the crowd build with each pass.

I can't remember why that seemed funny at the time. Clearly the mind goes into some strange places when trying to stay busy during a four hour training run that started around 4 AM in order to beat the heat and humidity! People told me I would do that and I didn't believe them. I had to learn that lesson the hard way!




More on Weight Maintenance

JANUARY 20, 2022


Weight

It's really hard for me to determine the difference between a legitimate desire and something compelled by OCD. And, I would include in that thought something that started out in a legitimate fashion and became an OCD driven task.

I think first and foremost each person (including me) has to decide 1) what they believe and 2) what they think is wired into their DNA. Both have a dramatic effect on decisions and choices. And. the challenges associated with these questions can easily become more difficult as we grow older.

I suppose that's because it's so easy to take the new found freedoms that come with retirement and provide ourselves with freedoms that we would have never chosen in the earlier years of our lives. That's a tough one to process.

For me, weight maintenance or management is just such a task or freedom. On one end of the scale, I want to enjoy eating and don't want to be obsessive about watching my weight. On the other end of the scale, I don't want to be overweight. Then again, what should I consider normal or acceptable and what is overweight? And, how does my age and retirement status affect my answers to these questions? And, should it?




MRI

JANUARY 13, 2022


MRI

I had my first and only MRI recently and received an all clear, which was good news. However, the experience was far from what I expected.

Of course, I had no idea what to expect but the experience was quite different from anything I might have been anticipating. And while the all clear was good news, I'm still scratching my head a bit on how the experience related to what was being done in terms of the scanned image.

I changed into the typical medical robe (you know, the one with the back that is wide open) and was escorted into the room with the MRI machine. A nice spread had been draped over the place where I was to lay and the doctor had me lay down and began to share a bit of what I would be experiencing. Compared to what I experienced, he sure left a lot out in the description of events that were to unfold as the scan took place.

He asked what kind of music I liked and after a moment I asked for some easy listening rock music. He then handed me a squeeze bulb and said to squeeze it if I needed him during the process, since he indicated he would not be able to hear me with all of the noise.

I was supposed to have two scans performed, one with contrast and one without. With a bit of earlier research I discovered that the scan with contrast would include an injection of gadolinium to sharpen images. The technician indicated that when the first scan was complete, he would have me remain in place and set up the IV to inject the gadolinium.

He then gave me some ear plugs, which I inserted, and then he put a set of headphones on top of that and asked me to be very still. What followed was a combination of beeps, roars, and rumbles as well as a few other odd sounds. I'm not sure exactly how long it all took but I think it was somewhere around 30 minutes with both scans since it was just a brain scan.




Eat Like the French

JANUARY 11, 2022


French

Eat like the French. It's what my wife mentioned a few times over the years. To her point, she's talking about cutting back when one's weight gets high, and enjoying more when the weight is down and in a good place.

I Googled eat like the French and found the following:

  • Eat Whole Foods. While a French diet is not always healthy, choosing whole food and ditching some of the highly processed options would be highly beneficial to anyone.
  • Be Scared of Sugar, Not Fat.
  • Don’t Snack in Between Meals.
  • Have an Apéro. (A pre-dinner drink)
  • Shop at Farmer’s Markets.

Combining my wife's version of French eating with what Google presented probably makes good sense. However, I have to admit that what tends to work best for me is lots of protein, some fat, and little or no carbs. Of course I need to stay away from sugar and snacking, which are the two things where I tend to struggle most - especially snacking!




Weight Maintenance

JANUARY 10, 2022


Scales 1

Weight management or maintenance was, is, and continues to be a battle for me. Considering how much I like to eat and particularly how much I like to eat things I shouldn't (like sweets), I have a feeling the war will rage on for the rest of my life.

I go through seasons of great strength where I eat well and drop weight. I go through other seasons where I do the opposite, eating anything and pretty much everything I want.

As I get older, it becomes easier to be lazy about anything to do with food and eating. I'm delighted with how my running is going, and I sure wish I had the same level of determination for weight maintenance. Unfortunately for me, the two are as different as night and day.

It's time to get going and drop some weight. I dropped a bunch of weight a year or more ago, but I've since put about half of it back on. I carry what I have pretty well, but I tend to use that as an excuse when I feel like a snack.

We dumped our old digital scales (since they weren't very accurate) and purchased a more accurate set. Unfortunately, with our diminishing eyesight, we couldn't read the position of the pointer on the scale to determine our weight.

So, I took some of the Christmas money that I received from my son and purchased another digital set that was more accurate and had a lager readout. It sure is good to have something that works for us!

With all of that said, I have no more excuses.

It's time to get focused!




Grateful and Happy

JANUARY 05, 2022


Dad

Dad used to say that getting old is not for sissies. Still in my mid-sixties, I sure do know what he meant. I'm amazed at how many things about the human body can become so demanding here in my senior years.

I'm not really interested in getting online and sharing all of my struggles, but I am grateful for the wonderful insurance we have and I do intend to take full advantage of my doctor's expertise, if for no other reason than to do everything I can to enjoy these senior years as much as possible.

There's another saying I like that says attitude determines altitude. Boy, is that one ever true. I think Lincoln put it best when he said you're about as happy as you decide to be. As long as God gives me strength to be happy, I fully intend to stay headed in that direction.

As I've said so many times before, I'm grateful for everything God has done in my life. And, I've become convinced that remaining grateful is the key to happiness.




Running Weather

JANUARY 02, 2022


Running Weather

Patty and I were eating our sandwiches for lunch when I saw her look out the front window with a surprised glance. It was pouring down rain and she saw a runner on the front sidewalk who must have been caught in it. Clearly, she felt bad for the guy and so did I.

Patty and I both know what it's like to get caught in the rain on a run. In fact when we lived in Pensacola we both got caught in a rain storm on one of our walks together. I gave her my ball cap to keep the rain out of her eyes and for a while thereafter, I think we both wore ball caps on our walks.

By 2:00 PM today the weather map was providing an all clear until around 6:00 PM so I put on my running clothes and headed for the front door. My sweet wife asked if I wanted her to pick me up if it started raining and I assured her I had checked and rain wasn't in the near-term forecast. A simple, "Sure, thanks!" was probably more appropriate than a lengthy explanation, but I didn't think of it in time.

I hate it when I do that!




More on Running Races

JANUARY 01, 2022


5k race

It's tough to admit it, but sometimes I think I make things much harder than they are or need to be. Running provides just such an example.

Whether or not I've been faithful and true to it, running was always supposed to be about good health. Anything that ran counter to good health (no pun intended) was never meant to be included in the regimen.

So, if that is the case, why am I working so hard to move up to the 5k distance and spend money to run 5k races? Why am I trying to squeeze a 5k distance out of a neighborhood filled with hills when a 2 mile course was not such a big problem to establish? And, why am I trying to get to 3+ miles when I haven't honestly mastered 2 miles with hills?

Most importantly, things aren't like they used to be. I don't need races to motivate me to train. In fact, races tend to be a deterrent to good fitness in that they actually reduce my total miles and provide an unnecessary expense on top of it all.

Clearly, this needs a lot more thought...




Carbs

DECEMBER 31, 2021


Carbs

I'm relearning a lesson that I've learned umpteen times! Trying to get fit and minimizing carbs is a bad combination. I had hopes of moving my 2 mile runs up to 3 miles today, but my carb reduction efforts put a stop to that.

I'm not sure what to make of the stats I collected versus the results, other than to say that they didn't align. I ran the slowest two miles I've run all month and still was dead tired afterward, not to mention the high AHR and MHR.

The only possibility I can pull out of the hat on this one is simple. The punishment my body imposed upon me was due to the carb reduction over the past few days.

Starting out today's run, I felt like I had just finished a run. I knew that was not good and was not going to take me that third mile that contained the more serious hills.

I haven't given up yet, but will need to continue my focus on reduced carbs to drop four more pounds before moving to more carbs and that third mile I want to add.




Running Races

DECEMBER 30, 2021


Marching Chiefs 5k

Several years ago I ran the (FSU) Inaugural Marching Chiefs 5k. It was the one and only race I had run in quite awhile. About that same time, I also ran a 5k sponsored by First Baptist Church in Thomasville, GA. That was a fun race and I took first place in my age group, much to my surprise.

I have since run a couple of virtual 5k's, but the 30+ distance races I ran years ago are a distant memory for me. Gone are the days where I was doing long training runs to work up to those distances.

Most recently, as a senior runner, I've been running daily 2 mile training runs here in the neighborhood. I must admit that the slopes have been a new experience for me. I've been used to running training runs and races on relatively flat courses and running in an upward direction on just the smallest of slopes has been a real challenge.

I encountered Heartbreak Hill in Atlanta, Georgia on the Peachtree 10k, the Atlanta Half Marathon, and my one and only (Atlanta) Marathon. Funny how these gentle slopes remind me of that grueling three tenths of a mile steep uphill experience!

I've got to add 1.1 miles to my daily training regimen in order to prepare for the upcoming 5k's I'm considering. However, I've run out of flat land in the neighborhood, so it will be interesting to see what training course adjustments I can come up with. I've reviewed several online race calendars, but haven't made up my mind as to when I want to start running races again and which races I want to run.

I guess we'll see.

SIDE NOTE

Okay, I just jumped in the car to see if there were any reasonable routes in the neighborhood where I could add another mile to my current two mile run. I've got a couple of choices and the bad news is that they all lead to steep and lengthy hills.

And, no matter which direction I take them, I've got a long downhill and an equally long uphill. Actually, one road has an incredibly steep decline and then a more lengthy incline that, while not quite as steep, would humble me to say the least. And, there's no way I could take it from the other direction and finish my 3 mile run with a relatively short but massively steep incline. The picture that comes to mind looks pretty bad!

I already double up on a good portion of the 2 mile route so I'm not interested in hitting some of it three times. This problem may be bit more challenging than I had initially anticipated!

Hmmm...




Old Dog, New Tricks

DECEMBER 29, 2021


Old Dog, New Tricks

I've said it so many times before, but I'm still amazed at how much there is to learn here in my senior years. I'm by nature a pretty serious person and being a student of life seems to be wrapped up in my DNA. It's a concept that seems to be further reinforced by my journey as a Christian and perhaps an undiagnosed but seemingly evident high functioning place on the autism scale.

On the other hand, I'd be less than honest if I didn't admit that trying to get this old dog to learn new tricks can often be a difficult task. Difficult just for the simple reason that after a certain point, learning becomes work. And, who likes work?!

Even after years of running, and all of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits it has provided, there are days when I have to drag myself out to get it done and even the rare day when I am able to talk myself completely out it.

Too bad we can't just make one simple decision for the long term. Unfortunately, too many things in life require a daily decision to stay with them or, in other cases, to avoid them completely. And, there's always that side of me that can easily and quickly become legalistic and ritualistic with those things to the point that I almost forget why I'm doing (or not doing) them.

But, I wonder...

For fitness and other health related activities, is that really a bad thing?




SIDE NOTE

Run Map 2

My watch did an update and now tracks relative speed with my two mile runs. In other words, it's not reporting actual speeds during the run, but is color indicating the faster and slower portions of the run on a relative basis.

Pretty cool!

Of course, the data dump is done from my watch to my phone via bluetooth and the track is displayed on my phone, which I can then capture and share.




Running Ham

DECEMBER 17, 2021


Handy Talkie

I was thinking about posting stuff from yesterday's ham radio activities and today's run that I just finished. But, the two different topics made for a challenge when thinking about a title for this blog entry.

Running Ham really didn't make sense until I remembered the number of times I ran in races with my 2 meter ham radio (handy-talkie) and passed along reports for the security and first aide volunteers.

In fact, when dad earned his ham license to get on the air with me, he decided to work a few of the races since I was already there and running in them. It was fun to know that he could hear my reports as he worked and I ran those races. And what a blessing to have my father and my wife earn their ham licenses purely out of their love for me. Amazing! IC 7600

Yesterday's FT8 ham radio activity included a contact with a new country in Africa and one that I'd never come across before. Burkina Faso is not a country or name that you come across that often, I suppose unless you live over there. But it sure was fun to get that one in the logbook.

I have to admit there's always a bit of a heart flutter when I see a CQ show up on my screen for one of these countries I don't have in my logbook. The excitement and intensity of effort to secure a contact is almost palpable.

A bit of hand shaking and a rapid heartbeat always seem to be involved. I guess it's just one of those things that really does add fun and excitement to the hobby. Garmin

Today's run was a good and strong one and I recorded a new record time on just my fifth day back at it. In fact, as I looked at my daily times in my running log, I noticed that each one was better than the one before it. Wonder how long that will last?

I started my run at 9:00 AM and logged an 18:14.1 two miler. Mile one was 9:19.44 and mile two was 8:54.67. Average pace came in at 9:07 and calories burned was reported at 244 from my Garmin Vivo Active smartwatch.

AHR was a high 151 and MHR came in at 183. Both of those are way too high and tell me I'm pushing my pace too hard for the point I'm at trying to build up my endurance. That's always been my problem and one that I absolutely must address. If health is to come first I need to make sure it comes first!




Cool Runnings

DECEMBER 16, 2021


Cool Runnings

I'm going to miss these cool temps when spring and summer roll in. The online thermometer says it's 66 degrees Fahrenheit here in Spanish Fort. How about that for mid-December weather!

Unlike yesterday, there was almost zero breeze today, but the cool air more than made up for the difference. I need to enjoy these runs for I know how I will long for this weather (and comfort) with warmer days ahead.

The legs were a bit weary after yesterday's run, but I did make it the entire two miles as planned. I've learned over the years that when I take a break from running, the third day back is always the toughest. I suppose I have that to look forward to when tomorrow roles around.

Total time for the two miles was 18:41 with mile one's pace at 9:47 and mile two coming in at 8:54. My Garmin calculates 252 calories burned with an AHR of 143 and a MHR of 160. That should drop down significantly as I get back in shape although there's very little level ground on the course so AHR and MHR are always going to be higher than they used to be when I was running a very flat and level course.

Part of the high heart rate was due to my pushing the pace a bit, which I probably did to excess considering it was only day two of being back to running. That's one lesson I don't seem to learn, although I am very careful on those down-hill stretches after learning a very hard lesson decades ago.

Per yesterday's post, I did Google the local races and it appears I have one to look forward to in each of the first three months of 2022. This will also make for an interesting 2022 in terms of total miles run since I'm back at it again.






Stubborn Runner

DECEMBER 15, 2021


Running Legs 1

I'm on a schedule of writing one day ahead of publication. As such, the things I'm writing about are already a day old by the time they're published.

So, today's actually the 14th as I write and I just finished my first run after being off for probably a month or more. I've done some walks with Patty but even that hasn't been very consistent.

Today, I decided to move a bunch of stuff from the garage up to the attic and by the time I went to run I was already beat. Patty set out on her brisk walk while I finished moving stuff and then I set out on my run (stubborn runner!) and caught up with her at 1.45 miles according to my smartwatch. I had already made up my mind that I was going to join her and finish up my 2 miles with a brisk walk.

My Garmin Vivo Active smartwatch said 23:33 when I hit the two mile point. Mile one was a 9:25 pace (all running) and mile two was a 14:08 pace (which included just over half a mile of walking.)

I'm looking forward to googling local 5k races to see what's coming up on the calendar in the new year in our area. That should help me determine what I'm up against in training and positioning myself for the 5k distance.

We'll see...




Running

DECEMBER 14, 2021


Varnell

One of the most difficult things I've done in recent times is to switch from running to walking. In fact, and to be honest, I still struggle with whether or not I should continue running until I simply can't do it anymore.

The threat of tripping and taking a spill is as real as ever and at this age the potential results from such a fall are worrisome to say the least. Plus, I really enjoy walking with Patty and the workout, while never as good as a run, can still be challenging if we put in a strong pace.

Despite trying to move toward walking, I still tend to run and at a pace that's probably not good for my health at this ripe old age. And, the stronger pace also puts me more at risk for a spill which can't be a good thing either.

But, at the end of the day it is what it is and I've simply run too many years and developed a strong habit that is proving very hard to break - especially with all of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits that come with running.

I think I may have just answered my own question. I've always used races, and training for those races, to maintain my focus on running. I'm definitely done with distance running and distance races but the 5k season is just around the corner and it may be time to give that some serious thought.


GOOD HEALTH

JUNE 09, 2021



Health

In my mind, good health combines a good diet with good exercise, good rest, annual physicals, and for me limited time in the sun. Emotional and mental health are important but the scope of this post is limited to physical health.

The one thing (intentionally) missing from that list is a good regimen of weight training. The juice is just not worth the squeeze on that one for me, so I'm willing to take what I get with all of the physical activity I perform on a regular basis including yard work, stair climbing, house work, kayaking, and anything else I might do.

My idea of intentional exercise is cardio, and specifically running. As such, I run 3 miles a day and I find no challenge in keeping up with that.

Where my challenge comes into play is with diet. It's a constant battle for me and I'm still trying to develop a regimen that I can count on for the rest of my life.

From all I've learned in recent months, it looks like I'm going to have to be as obsessive with my diet and weight management as I am with my running. And, as much as I struggle with portion control and limiting sweets, well..., if you're like most people I've ever met, you already know where I was going with that.

With much time and effort, I dropped 30 pounds this year. Most of that came by way of dropping sugar from my diet and increasing portion control. As I've said before, it was by far the most difficult thing I've ever done in my entire life. I then learned a valuable lesson by defining a 5 pound range equal to my target weight plus 5 pounds, and working to stay in that range.

It worked great for quite a while. But in recent weeks I tried to sort of see what I could get away with and before I knew it I was back to my old habits! It's amazing how quickly it happened. And the more I tried to fight it, the more weight I found myself gaining.

By the time I was able to admit what I was doing, I was already back up 10 pounds over my target weight and 5 pounds above my target range. I was still down 20 pounds, but there wasn't any consolation in that.

Once again, no more sugar for me. I'm accepting natural sugars and even a limited amount of added sugar. That's because this has got to become a lifetime habit and something with which I can live and succeed.

For my added sugars, I'm not talking about sugar that I add, but rather the added sugar in things like BBQ sauce. I can counter it with more protein and less carbs and it works well for me. That way, I'm happy with what I'm eating and with what it's doing for my weight.

Having dropped 2 pounds in the past two days places me 3 pounds above my weight range. That means the end (getting back in my range) is in sight!

Stay tuned!


SKIN CANCER?

JUNE 08, 2021



Skin Cancer

Yesterday (Sunday) Patty noticed a 'thing' on my arm and neither of us knew what it was. I assumed it was another skin cancer of one kind or another.

However, it didn't look like the typical basal cell or squamous cell types that I've dealt with over these many years. Melanoma maybe? After all, I had not seen this before and have never had a melanoma either.

I googled images of melanomas but this didn't look like any of the pictures I found. Still, I must admit it looked even less like basal or squamous. In fact, it looked almost exactly like an area that had just been biopsied.

I made a note to call the dermatologist sometime today since I knew they weren't open on Sunday. Even though I had an appointment Monday of next week, if this was possibly melanoma it could be life-threatening and I wanted to get the doctor involved in the decision making process.

I called the doctor's office today and they set a 1:00 PM appointment for me. I went in and took the option they offered to combine the full body scan scheduled for next week with today's appointment to check out the problem on my arm.

I have to admit that by I the time I got to the doctor's office, the 'thing' on my arm already seemed to be healing. And, after careful review, the doctor said it was nothing more than a bruised area where I had bumped hard into something. I was relieved to hear the good news.

In fact, it was all good news today as they didn't even have to take a biopsy of anything. That means I'm clean for another six months as long as nothing shows up in the meantime.

Wrapped up a great day with a perfect meal of BBQ'ed chicken thighs that Patty masterfully prepared, a check-in on the Monday night Wakulla County ham radio two meter net, and a Netflix DVD movie. If you happened to pass by this way, I hope you're also having a great day!


BACK TO RUNNING

JUNE 02, 2021



Running 0602

According to the log, I've missed about 1.5 weeks of running while trying to get everything organized for the sale of our house. Well, everything is in place, so it's time to get back to the running.

Obviously, I want to be able for me, Patty, and the cat to jump in the car if an agent wants to bring a prospective buyer by the house. I probably need to talk to our realtor and get an understanding both ways regarding the typical hours a visit might be desired and what our morning regimen looks like between trips to the gym and grocery pickups.

Either way, getting back to running in an important step for me. The scales are starting to make groaning noises when I step up and my eating habits and consumption of water are never as good when I'm away from the treadmill.

Time to get back to it!


HEALTHY DIET

MAY 16, 2021



Healthy Diet

My mom used to say that I had a cast iron gullet. She pulled that from the idea that I used to eat most anything and everything I wanted and it seemed that I never had any ill effects from it.

I was very blessed for many years with a fast metabolism and stayed lean as a twig despite my less than stellar (over?) eating habits. I grew up in a snacking household and decades later I'm still trying to break that habit!

There's a chemical produced in the stomach called Ghrelin. As the stomach empties, it's produced and sent to the brain to signal hunger. Production stops as the stomach is filled.

I read that some people have a Ghrelin disfunction and that this may contribute to a person always feeling hungry. I wonder if that's the issue with which I struggle?

I have lost weight and kept it down due to nothing more than sheer will. But, even now in my senior years, I have no real understanding of what I'm facing in the arena of a proper diet.

Quite honestly, it's difficult to maintain a healthy diet when the things that often cause problems like caffeine, alcohol, and sugar (and so many other things) don't seem to have any real and measurable negative effects on me.

One of the things I've grown to realize is that I use added sugar in order to turn off my hunger switch. And, by trying to remove that added sugar from my diet, I'm consuming far more calories in an effort to turn off that switch. This seems like a lose/lose and remains an unsolved mystery as far as I'm concerned.

Too bad we're not all wired exactly the same so that we might be able to come up with a one size fits all solution and something that easily and readily works for everyone.

SIDE NOTE:

I'm always amazed at God's timing on things. Although the above post was written yesterday (Saturday the 15th) I published it the day after (early today!) as usual. And wouldn't you know it - God began to work on both of us, as we talked on our ride home from the gym, and to take us in a very different direction with our eating (and with some other important things in our lives!)

In fact, He began to take us back to a more grounded place and one where we've been before. It's a better blend of both priorities and happiness. My take away is that Focus without joy quickly becomes neither. It's OCD run amuck. I hope I can hold onto that thought as I try to navigate a different path for a better outcome.


RUNNING UPDATE

MAY 15, 2021



Running Update

My exercise regimen has almost always been cardio, and specifically running. As spring showed up this year, and with it the biting bugs, heat, and hot sun, Patty and I decided to move our daily regimen to the gym.

I've shared most of that story before, but today I want to take a moment to reflect on how it's going. I've never been much of a treadmill kinda guy, but the music player and the earbuds have made all the difference in my ability to crank up the treadmill at the gym and get in my 3 miles each day.

When I first moved to the gym and I was trying different paces for my running. As usual, I fell into the speed trap pushing my pace to 8 minute miles. That pace wasn't too bad when I was younger but it didn't take too many long recoveries to show me that I needed to slow that pace down just a bit.

My log shows that I experimented by changing the pace each mile and varying it anywhere between 8 minutes and 9.5 minutes per mile. For this month I've landed on the 9.5 end of that scale and am very happy with the results for 3 miles per day.

Every now and then, when I'm feeling a bit spunky, I'll mix up the pace in each of my three miles and pick up the speed a bit. But, for my general objective, my intention is to keep it in the 9.0 to 9.5 range, and most likely on the slower end.

So far in 2021, I've logged 365 miles with 36 miles here in May. I'm right at 7,492 miles logged since I started logging my runs and hope to keep up with my running until the Lord calls me home.

I guess we'll see.


RUNNING

APRIL 29, 2021



Running

I'm delighted to report that my wife and I have truly settled in on an exercise regimen and one from which we feel we can benefit over the long-term. For my part, the regimen involves running 3 miles a day at the local gym.

I've never really been a treadmill kind of guy. However, in this season of life it just seems to make the most sense.

We take a ride into town each day and hit the Anytime Fitness gym. It really checks all of the boxes for me including the climate controls, avoiding my skin problems with the sun, getting away from the warm weather biting bugs, and best of all it's free with our Silver Sneakers program offered by our AARP/United Healthcare provider.

I should also mention that we like the idea of getting out each day and the consistency with which we are able to engage this program. It's particularly nice to get to know some of the locals and, God willing, to try and put covid-19 behind us.


MARINA TRIP PICS

APRIL 26, 2021



t1

I decided to take another trip to Shell Point today and carried along a cell phone camera for some pictures and my smart watch for some information about the length of the trip in terms of the time and distance.

I started the trip off at 10:30 AM EDT on the gulf (south) side of the house and paddled east to travel around the east end of Live Oak Island. I made a turn to the west to pass back by our house on the canal (north) side of the island.

t2

I made a turn to the right and back to the left in order to approach the bridge that provides access to the island from the mainland.

t3

With a very recent low tide, it was clear that there would be plenty of room to pass beneath the bridge. It's quite a different picture when lying on top of the kayak to clear the bridge bottom during higher tides.

t4

The oyster shells provide a clear indication of max tide and also the ease with which one can pass beneath the bridge on a kayak.

t5

The rising tide did a nice job of carrying me through the tunnel. It's not nearly as easy to pass through when fighting the tide. As warmer temperatures arrive and the bugs start hanging out in that tunnel, it starts to look like something from a horror flick in there!

t6

I really enjoy navigating the channels in the marsh grass and looking at the homes and waving and/or speaking to the neighbors. Beyond the marsh grass up ahead, there's a large bay and the homes that can been seen in the distance are past that bay and over in Shell Point where I'm headed. I have a left turn coming up ahead followed by a right turn and a continuation of my trip.

t7

Made my left turn and I'm headed south along the north border of Live Oak Island.

t8

On the left, construction of a new seawall is almost complete. There used to be a home on part of that property but it was destroyed during Hurricane Michael in October of 2019.

t9

Made my right turn and am once again traveling west along the north side of Live Oak Island. That big beautiful home up ahead sits on the west end of the island. To the right of the home and off in the distance, a few of the homes over in Shell Point can once again be seen.

t10

As can be seen in a closer view of that home, the new owners have done a great job clearing out the brush and adding a small pier with a place to relax.

t11

Having passed the large house, I'm still traveling west and headed across the bay to Shell Point. The red arrow indicates the location I'm targeting which will provide me with access to the marina. The winds are coming out of the east and will make the trip over all the easier. Of course it will be a different story on the way back!

t12

I've entered the inlet that was indicated in the previous picture and made a right turn to the north, approaching the homes that were seen from a distance in previous pictures. Up ahead and on the right is one of the newer homes we'll be taking a closer look at in the next picture.

t13

I met the owner of this home very early during construction. It's been quite interesting to watch the builders put this thing together. It's turned out to be quite a beautiful home, as are many of the homes in our area.

t14

After passing the aforementioned home, I took a westward turn to the left and approached the entry point to the marina. At this point, I'm already in the second mile of this 3.5 mile trip. And, this is the part I like most - seeing all of the beautiful sailboats in the marina and enjoying the calm and quiet ride in such a well protected area.

t15

As can be seen on the water's surface in the picture, I enjoyed a small breeze that made my trip to the marina's west end quite easy.

<t16

I never tire of seeing all the beautiful vessels and meeting some of the live-aboards as they call them. So much to see and learn on this type of trip.

t17

With a turn around at the marina's end, I'm now facing east and paddling straight into those east winds. It makes for a little more effort to retrace my path through the marina.

t18

As I pass the last sailboat and boat slip, the GPS on my smart watch tells me that the marina is almost half a mile long. I'm now facing east and looking at the nice homes in the tiny cove where I made my left turn to access the marina.

t19

A bit further and a right turn and I pass that newer house on the left and make my way back into one of the larger coves that I entered from the bay. As so often was the case on my journey, another pelican was there to greet me and seemed far too comfortable to be concerned about my presence.

I've got plenty of time before high tide and decide to extend my trip just a bit. Up ahead, I exit the same access point I entered to get to this cove and to the marina and move southward and turn right (west) into the next inlet.

t20

This inlet leads me (with the help of those east winds) down to an area I've seen many times when Patty and I have driven over here to see what is going on. That beautiful row of homes up on the right is a major landmark in my mind and a beautiful sight.

t21

I turned around and paddled back to the inlet entrance and took a look at Live Oak Island off in the distance. I knew it would be a windy and challenging paddle to cross that bay and get back closer to home.

t22

I always enjoy passing the homes on the southern border of Live Oak Island. Shortly after I snapped this picture I saw a very large shark. I was unable to identify it except to say it was not a Hammerhead. Due to its apparent large size, I was also able rule out the bonnethead option that is so common in these waters. As usual, I saw a number of rays and a few larger than any I've seen before.

t23

Still traveling to the east and along the southern edge of Live Oak Island, I'm now facing east and the point up ahead means I'm just about home. Once I pass it, I'll swing a bit to the left and pass a few homes before reaching mine and pulling in for a much needed rest. I hope you have enjoyed riding along with me on this 3.5 mile, 2 hour trip!

t24


SHELL POINT MARINA

APRIL 25, 2021



Shell Point Marina

If I've got the time, the wind and weather are right, and I feel up to some paddling, there's nothing more fun and interesting than a kayak trip to the marina over at Shell Point. Depending upon the wind speed and direction, it's about a 30 minute trip of steady paddling from our place to get there.

I always enjoy adding a round trip of our island in the mix which means paddling around the east end of Live Oak Island, passing our house on the canal side, riding under the small bridge that leads to our island, and then paddling westward across the bay to the entry point that provides quiet and wind-free access to, and passage through, the marina.

Speaking of that bridge, and depending upon the height of high tide, it's quite a trick to lie flat on the kayak and paddle one's way beneath the bridge over to the other side.

I access Shell Point from the east side and the marina sits up on the northwest corner. After entering the area and passing some beautiful homes, I finally arrive at the point where the marina is located. The marina sits on one side of a canal that hosts many beautiful homes on the other side.

As I paddled through the canal today, it seems almost every boat slip was occupied, and most of them contained large sail boats. Several couples were enjoying the day onboard what I assume were their full-time live-aboard homes. On the other side of the canal were ladies tending their gardens and guys who were taking the opportunity to get a few odd jobs done on the house or the boat dock in the beautiful weather.

The prevailing winds were mostly from the north and the west so the ride back was quite a bit easier than the ride over. In fact, while enjoying a nice push from the wind, I saw a guy putting what looked like a nice Spanish Mackerel in a large cooler of ice and getting ready to catch another one.


BACK TO THE GYM

MARCH 28, 2021



Back to the Gym

PART 1

I took 26 days out of March to join Patty with a walking regimen instead of running. Despite the calorie burn and tired muscles, I was disappointed that I couldn't get my heart rate up to a challenging level. So as I mentioned yesterday, we're both shifting back to running and headed back to the gym.

I'm hoping to see more races of the non-virtual variety and to get back to one of those races every now and then just for the sake of having a goal or target behind my daily training. I don't expect to do any distance running, but I have been very encouraged with my 5K runs (and runtimes) here in 2021 and hope to aim in that direction with any races I might choose to attend.

The goal is health and fitness so I don't intend to do too much racing, but I want to run at least one or two to see how it goes and whether or not I want to add that to my training schedule over the long-term.

I know myself well enough to know that I can get very competitive and that may not be in my best interest for overall health, even if I'm just competing with my own 5K runtimes from past runs. That's the thing about running. Anytime a change is made to the regimen, it puts me in new and relatively uncharted territory.

First things first! Let's get back to the gym and get back to the three milers. If that works out well, then I'll take a look at the race calendar, see what's available, and decide in which direction I want to go.


PART 2

Well, Patty and I had a long talk since I wrote PART 1 earlier this morning. We were struggling with our options, especially when considering the time commitment to travel to the gym. A lot came up in that discussion.

At 10:30 AM we went ahead and left for the gym. We were on the treadmills by 11:00 and with 30 minutes of running were back home just before noon.

The good news is that we both felt great about the change and have decided that the gym does the best job of meeting all of our fitness needs and desires.

Based on the treadmill data, I ran 3 miles at a 9:31 pace and burned 400 calories. Based on my Vivoactive 3 smartwatch, my AHR was 144 and MHR was 163. Regarding my five heartrate zones, it looks like I spent 75% of my time in Zone 5 and 25% in Zone 4. I'm honestly a bit surprised since, even at faster paces and longer distances, I haven't spent that much time in Zone 5 in quite a while.

There's no doubt in my mind that I can whittle my pace down to 9:00 and continue the 3 miles without much trouble. The plan is to push that even farther and faster.

We'll see...


RUNNING UPDATES

MARCH 27, 2021



Running Updates

About the time I think I've got it all figured out, I realize I don't have any of it firured out. Such is the case with my running regimen.

For the last two or three days, it's been clear to me with the biting bugs showing up that my running regimen was due for a seasonal change. That means doing something to get away from the biting bugs. Last year it wasn't so pretty with the pandemic thrown in the mix, but this year with the vaccines in place and things starting to loosen up, it looks like we're a go to get back to the gym.

And, it's a welcome sight to see everything fall into place like it has. Down next to the house the wind keeps the biting bugs away. However, hit the road and within the first half mile the biting bugs make their presence known. Get a bit further into the run and the buzzing and biting picks up to an unacceptable level. I wind up spending as much time focused on swatting these pesky bugs with my running towel as I do paying attention to my run. Hard to get into a groove with all of that going on!

In general, I much prefer running outside. However, the gym will be a welcome facility when it comes to the bug free environment they have to offer, not to mention the significantly cooler temps than one should expect to find on Florida's mid-summer backwoods two-lane blacktops.

I'm really looking forward to getting back to running (instead of walking) and all of the benefits that come with it - especially the higher average and max heart-rates. I guess I'll be trying to find out what level of data I'll be able to collect between my Vivoactive 3 and the data supplied by the treadmill. As long as I can get my total run time and calorie burn from the treadmill, and my heart rates from my watch, I should be good to go with keeping tabs on things.


ONLINE WEIGHT LOG

MARCH 17, 2021



Online Weight Log

I set up a private online weight log using the same technology I developed for entering and reviewing comments - except I'm tracking my weight on a daily basis and publishing it privately.

I'm basically doing this to shift my weight maintenance log from my computer to my phone. I like the idea of having that data readily available no matter my location. I also like the idea of being able to enter that data remotely.

In yesterday's post, I mentioned a bug in terms of the way this new technology performs versus the way I want it to perform. I'll have the same problem with this new online weight log until I determine how to correct it.

I also want to make one other change and track the new data at the top of the log instead of tracking it at the bottom of the log as is currently the case. I've seen coded examples of this and hope to be able to plug in the new code and make the desired change. If/when I get it working, I would like to inject the same change to my comments feature to keep the most current comments at the top of the log.


MY NEW MOJO

MARCH 02, 2021



My New Mojo

I went for a run on Sunday after a full day of painting on Saturday and just didn't have anything left in me to push through those three miles. To top it off, I went for another run yesterday (Monday) morning after a second full day of painting on Sunday and felt like I was out of fuel before I started.

I ran the first 1.3 miles in what was probably a record slow pace for me and then slipped over to join my wife on her walk and we walked together for her last 2.3 miles. All in all, it was 3.63 miles for me according to my Garmin, but the great walking pace my wife kept for us took all that I had left in me.

I think it was a note from above that it's finally time to convert from running to walking. But, for far more reasons than one or two bad days. It's just time and without a doubt the right thing to do!

I'm really looking forward to keeping up with the exercise through walking with my wife. So, for me, it's a win/win. Continuing the calorie burn and the elevated heart rate will be a good thing, not to mention the quality time with my soul mate.

We also sat down today and made some more adjustments to our diet which will be a very good thing for me. I'm looking forward to those changes and the positive results that I'm sure will follow.

I think I've found My New Mojo!


RUNNING DATA

FEBRUARY 13, 2021



Running Data

I finally got serious about doing some mental tabulations during one of my runs and decided to take on the challenge during today's run. The goal was to finally, once and for all, make a determination about the difference in my running pace and my walking pace.

I know, it doesn't sound that difficult.

The challenge is trying to not only remember the various data points, a feat at which I'm not that good to start with, but then to do the math on those data points for both the running and walking segments - all while I'm out running. Add to that the idea that I wanted to determine the difference at different paces and needed to be able to remember the results of my calculations and it becomes a very difficult challenge.

But, one of the primary things it accomplishes for me is the ability to take that difference and subtract it out for each walking segment to see what my overall running pace looked like. That probably sounds absurd to a neuro-typical individual, but for me it makes running more interesting. And, anything I can do with my running to keep it from falling into the trap of becoming mundane is a good thing!

What I determined was that the difference between covering a .05 mile distance running and walking is 20 seconds with a comfortable running pace and 25 seconds with a running pace that requires a bit more effort. So, on a 3 mile run with a typical 5 segments walked, that means I'm adding about 2 minutes to my overall time, plus or minus and depending upon my running pace.

Put another way, every walking segment that I opt out of is another 20 to 25 seconds off my total time for the three miles. Of course, that raises questions about my ability to maintain the running pace when I opt out of a walking segment.

But race-day variables are the thing that's missing. In other words, what would I achieve if the race day variables were present, pushing me to max out my pace and opt out of any walking? I guess I'll know the answer to that one if and when I decide to take on another 5K.


I'M ONTO SOMETHING

FEBRUARY 12, 2021



I'm Onto Something

I think I'm onto something with this running and walking thing! Today, I pushed myself on the running segments more than I usually would and took full advantage of the .05 mile walking segments at the end of each half mile - except for the last half mile.

So, basically I'm running .45 miles and walking .05 miles and doing that a total of 5 times. Then I run the last .50 miles since I would be finished with the run at the end of that last half mile anyway.

Here's the result and an interesting comparison.

On January 27th and February 3rd I ran three milers with no walking segments. My total time for each run was a relatively consistent 25:47 and 25:56 respectively. Then, today I ran a three miler with the five walking segments at the end of each half mile, as previously described, and my total time was 25:42 - a bit faster than either of the prior three milers - even with the additional 5 walking segments!

Here's a chart to show the differences:

DATEMile 1Mile 2Mile 3TimePaceAHR*MHR*
02/12/202109:02.0508:35.8908:04.3325:42.2008:33130156
02/03/202109:14.0908:33.5908:08.4525:56.1008:38134151
01/27/202109:06.7208:35.1608:04.7125:46.6008:35132153

* AHR = Average Heart Rate and MHR = Maximum Heart Rate.

My takeaway is that the walking segments, which would logically increase my total time and average pace, in fact reduce both due to the rest and the resulting strength that is achieved for the following running segment.

Now, the big question is how I would perform in race conditions and also whether or not I am able to push myself as hard, or even harder, in those instances when I run the full distance with no walking segments.

One thing is for sure! To keep the runs enjoyable in my training environment, I intend to stay with the walking segments unless and until I decide to train for a 5K.


FOGGY RUN

FEBRUARY 11, 2021



Foggy Run

I've run in fog before, but yesterday's fog wins the grand prize. I'm sure it was a bit dangerous to be running in fog that thick on a two lane blacktop, even if it was out here in the county where we don't get much traffic to start with.

Still, with the thick fog I was much more attentive during the run. I usually am able to get in a groove, but yesterday the groove was all about watching for cars popping out of the fog. I did have one or two show up, pretty much out of nowhere, but it wasn't difficult at all to be proactive and steer clear of any trouble.

Using the GPS on my smart watch, I was able to determine that visibility was about 1/20th of a mile or .05 miles. But that honestly sounds farther than it seemed when I was running in that stuff. I was wearing sun glasses just to keep the fog's mist out of my eyes and had to wipe them down more than a few times.

The temp was 62°F when I left and up to 63°F when I arrived bac home. No breeze at all but the mist from the rolling fog made up for it and kept me cool. We seem to be in a season full of gray days, but I'm looking forward to getting back to running in the warm Florida sunshine once again.


Running Weather

FEBRUARY 07, 2021



Running Weather

It was supposed to get into the 60's today but never rose above 52 here on the island. Combine that with the relatively strong winds that were present all day long, and I decided to combat my OCD and (for the first time in a long time) skip my run. I just don't like running in cold conditions!

The wind chill that comes from moderately chilly temps and relatively strong and gusty winds makes for an extremely cold and unpleasant run! (Yes, I actually consider runs in good weather to be pleasant.)

Between wind and cold temps, I can run if even only one is favorable. But when both are working together against me on the cold side (I don't mind the heat!) it's time to pack it in and wait for another day. That's going to be the new anti-OCD rule instead of the one that says run even if there's an approaching lightning storm in the area.

To put things in perspective, I often have to put on my weather prognosticator hat and make timely decisions about windows of opportunity for getting in a run amidst all of the weather that seems to be headed our way. Years ago I mis-read conditions and wound up running in a lightning storm. And, you guessed it, lightning struck a power pole immediately after I passed it on the sidewalk.

And, even more recently, I accounted for approaching weather but failed to anticipate any pop-up rain clouds and wound up putting my wife and I in light rain on one of our chilly outings. Since then, she has very wisely carried an umbrella on those 'iffy' looking days.


RUNNING DECISIONS

FEBRUARY 03, 2021



Running Decisions

The only thing I like less than running in cold weather is running in cold and windy weather. That's the way it's been around here for the last day or two and it's no fun. Deciding what to wear out on a run like that is only half the battle. Actually enduring the elements on that cold and windy run is the other half!

I've got an indoor/outdoor thermometer, but no way to measure the winds so it's all a bit of a guessing game for me. Fortunately, with a house up on stilts and some 25' in the air, I've got a great view of the surrounding area and can usually tell what I'm going to be up against with any wind that might be present.

I've got a minimum temperature level and a maximum wind speed that I'm willing to tolerate, and outside of that range I'm off to the gym. Unfortunately, with the introduction of Covid-19, the gym ceased to be an option and it was all about how much I could tolerate when those miserable conditions rolled in.

We're 16 days from our second shot of the vaccine and another 14 days after that to let the second dose reach its 95% effective level. After that it's back to the gym for us on bad weather days and especially at that time in the hot summer months when the yellow flies and their painful bites are back and in full swing.


A RUN IN THE RAIN

FEBRUARY 01, 2021



A RUN IN THE RAIN

February has arrived with a bang! It's 8:20 am as I type and it's 47 degrees here on Live Oak Island. The internet has our winds at 15 to 25 mph with stronger wind gusts. Far from a good day for running.

From what I can hear (and feel) the gusts are indeed stronger! I just took the garbage out and put some mail in the mailbox and the wind gusts were definitely having their way with me.

Speaking of running, yesterday proved to be interesting. The forecast called for rain all day and well into the evening. However, around noon I saw a hole in the weather on the internet radar and mentioned to Patty that I thought we might have a window to get out as long as there weren't any pop-up storms.

Well, we got out and Patty made a smart move to carry an umbrella just in case. I made the turn for home at 1.5 miles and as I passed Patty at mile 2 it started sprinkling and she had her umbrella out. It sprinkled on me for the first half of my last mile and then it turned to a steady rain. When I got home from my run, I jumped in the car and dashed to pick up Patty from her fast walk.

As I met her she had already made the turn for home and was walking along, open umbrella in hand, and in a pretty steady rain. I felt really bad about the terrible forecast I had provided, but true to form she laughed it off and said she was pretending to take a walk over in London. Leave it to Patty to always make lemonade out of any lemons that life serves up to her.

When I got home a quick check of the radar indicated that, rather than pop-up storms, we were experiencing large patches of rain that were coming out of nowhere. So much for my ability to find open windows for walking or running in between the raindrops.


MORE ON RUNNING

JANUARY 28, 2021



Encounter

It seems like the thing I'm enjoying most about my running these days is mixing it up and doing something different each day. Well, that hasn't really been the goal, but it does seem to be what has been happening lately. After decades, I'm still trying to decide how to keep this running thing interesting - the way it was for the many years that I was training for and running races.

I've been doing 4 milers every day since late last year and the only reason I am able to stay with it is because of the walking segments I've been mixing in. If I tried to run the full 4 miles each and every day I think I would have been in trouble by now.

So, having hit my weight loss goal a few days ago, I'm shifting from a focus on weight loss to weight maintenance. What that means to me is that the drive to burn calories is no longer the priority that it was in the past. And, what that means is that the 4 mile distance no longer seems so important or beneficial - for a lot of reasons!

Combine that with my urge to get back to a more goal driven approach to running (training for and running races) and I decided to drop back to the 3 mile distance today and see what that felt like at a good pace and without walking.

I tried two new things just to see how they contributed to the run. First, I decided to run the 3 miles at a pace where each mile was faster than the previous mile. That means I had to save something for the end without saving too much and running too slow up front. Second, I needed to find a fast pace on that last mile that I could maintain without burning out or injuring myself.

What I discovered was a pace with a full stride that didn't make me land too hard, that also incorporated the kind of speed that didn't have my muscles screaming at me, and that put me right on the edge of not being able to catch my breath, but never allowed me to get there. I was able to find that pace on the last mile and I knew it when I found it! I suspect as I continue to get in better running shape, the pace on that last mile pace will improve!

Today's run included a 9:06 opener, an 8:35 second mile, and an 8:04 finisher, for a grand total of 25:45 and an average pace of 8:35. If I am able to improve my fitness just a bit, I should be able to maintain those times for a 5K.


HEART RATE

JANUARY 26, 2021



Heart Rate

Many decades ago, I had an opportunity to run on a treadmill while wearing a heart rate monitor. If I ran too hard and pushed my heart rate above a safe maximum, the monitor would sound a specific alarm.

On the other hand, if I ran too slow such that my heart rate fell below a good workout tempo the heart monitor would present a very different alarm. At any pace in between those two, there was no sound emitted from the monitor and during those times I could assume my heart was getting a safe and healthy workout.

At that time in my life, I wasn't really interested in diving in deeper to those concepts. I was young, running long distances, and assumed that my heart and I were both healthy and even invincible. But now, still running in my senior years, I'm interested in anything and everything that has to do with a healthy heart.

So, the idea was to better understand the optimum heart rates for cardio activity and see how my heart rates compared during my training runs. I would describe the maximum heart rate (MHR) as the maximum heart rate that should be achieved during a run (with obvious exceptions on both ends of the scale depending upon health and fitness.) To determine the MHR, is as simple as subtracting one's age from 220. My age is 66 so my MHR = 220 - 66 = 154 beats per minute (bpm).

From MHR, I needed to understand what my average heart rate (AHR) should be for a run and consider that my target heart rate or (THR). The THR is determined as a percentage of intensity against the MHR and at age 66 my numbers would be:

LevelTarget Zone % Intensity THR
5MaximumVO2 Max Zone 90% - 100% 139 - 154
4HardAnaerobic Zone 80% - 90% 123 - 139
3ModerateAerobic Zone 70% - 80% 108 - 123
2LightFat Burn Zone 60% - 70% 92 - 108
1Very LightWarm Up Zone 50% - 60% 77 - 92

When I am running in a race (or on a training run where I'm simulating race conditions) I will generally spend some time in each level although the bulk of my time will by far fall in level 4.

As I'm just getting under way, I'm quickly passing through the lower levels on my way to level 4, and with a strong effort I'm likely to finish as much of the race as I am able in level 5.


GOAL WEIGHT

JANUARY 25, 2021



Goal Weight

I finally hit my ultimate low (goal) weight and my beautiful wife asked me what I'm going to do now? My answer was, eat! It just seemed like the right thing to say, LOL!!!

Honestly, I have no idea how to shift from a focus on weight loss to weight maintenance, but I do know that I'm not really interested in trying to lose more weight so I've got to do something to make the shift.

I'm really enjoying the 4 milers so that's going to continue to be part of my daily regimen. I have considered backing it off to 3 miles per day, but as long as I'm mixing in walking segments with my running I suppose I'll stay at the 4 mile distance just to ensure I'm still running at least 3 miles per day.

The focus required to lose weight has been pretty extreme and I'd really like to lighten that up a bit for weight maintenance, but I don't want to change it up to the point that I get lazy with my eating and start gaining weight again. Fortunately, I've been holding pretty steady right above my goal weight for the past week or two so I think I have an idea about what is going to be required.

I know that I intend to stay off of processed sugars and I'm planning to remove a few other unhealthy non-essentials from my diet, (e.g. butter at the table) but I'm hoping to increase the quantity of what I'm eating and find that new level of calories, proteins, carbs and fats that will work with my new goals.

We'll see...


BIKE RIDE

JANUARY 22, 2021



Bike Ride

Yesterday I pumped up the tires on the bicycles and Patty and I took a very enjoyable bike ride. We started right from our front door and rode the 3.66 miles to Shell Point highway - the first intersection on the way back toward town.

When we got to the intersection, we pulled off the road and straddled our bikes just long enough to stretch the legs and give the bottom a rest. Then, after only a few moments, we were back on the road and headed for home.

Much to our surprise, gusty head-winds and cooler weather moved in. By the time we were only a mile from home, it seemed like we were having to pedal pretty hard and making very little progress to show for all of our effort. When we arrived home, the winds were much stronger and it was all I could do to port the two bicycles up to the second level and put them back in the storage rooms.

We both agreed that we've been really missing out on a treat with these bike rides and decided we needed to be doing them more often. Here's to more bike rides!


SPEED TRAP

JANUARY 21, 2021



Speed Trap

Well, for the last night or two I've had some pain in my lower back on the right side. I've had the same pain in the same place before, and more than once. And like before, I've tried to ignore it, but without success.

I also happen to know exactly what causes the pain. It's that darn speed trap that keeps grabbing me when I least expect it.

To get back in shape, as a senior runner and after a break from years of distance running, I was run-walking two miles each day. Then it was three miles. Then it was four miles. Then I was ramping up the speed for four miles. Then I was ramping up the speed some more. I was still feeling good so why not ramp up the speed even further?

Before long I'd completely lost my focus on health and fitness and found myself surprised once again by that darn speed trap, not to mention heading back toward a competitive mode in which I was no longer interested as a senior runner.

The pain in the lower back shows up to let me know that I'm not getting any younger and to remind me there was a reason that I moved away from competitive running in my senior years in favor of running aimed at good health and fitness.

So, yesterday I made some serious adjustments to my regimen and went out for another four miler. This time the primary goal was to enjoy the run and swap the speedwork for a reasonably elevated heart-rate. I also wanted to add more fast- walking back in order to provide the rest segments that make the activity a much more enjoyable experience over-all. I also decided to stay with the four mile distance purely for the higher calorie burn.

An unexpected benefit to this new regimen was that I went ahead and added an 8th walking segment at the end of mile four just so I was doing the same thing on each mile and could better compare the consistency of my pace across each of the four miles.

I was delighted with the level of consistency that I achieved. Including two fast walks of 1/10th mile each and for each mile, the times I turned for each of miles one through four were 10:31, 10:22, 10:35, and 10:35 respectively. I like that kind of consistency and the ease with which it can now be reviewed.

The challenge going forward will be to sustain an adequate over-all pace to keep the heart-rate where it needs to be, and without falling into that darn speed trap!


TWO PLUS TWO

JANUARY 20, 2021



Two Plus Two

Yesterday, I set out on my daily four mile run and decided to shake things up a bit by running 2 miles out and 2 miles back for the first time - all on paved roads and without the usual mile worth of side roads covered with dirt, sand, gravel, and several ditches that tend to slow things down a good bit and require more focus and balance on a run.

Still, and as I feared, the route did indeed seem longer from a psychological standpoint, despite covering the same four mile distance as on previous days. And the strong headwinds coming out of the south pushed harder against me on that open paved two-lane blacktop than it would have on those uneven side roads lined with woods and homes that tend to block out most of the wind.

I walked my typical two .05 mile segments for the first three miles and only one segment on the last mile. I didn't push the pace until the last mile and covered the four miles with a time of 36:59 - slightly longer than it might have taken otherwise. Still, I feel quite comfortable with a 9:15 pace that includes a total of 1/10th mile walked on each of the first three miles. That nets out to about an 8:25 pace for the running segments and I can live with that.

The picture above is pretty typical of miles two and three when I get away from the ocean and run through the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.


THE FIRST MILE

JANUARY 18, 2021



The First Mile

Years ago, when I would head out for a run, I would determine the distance I intended to run before I ever took my first steps. I have no idea why I chose to take that approach except to say that I didn't want to allow myself any room to slow down, pause for a break, or quit the run entirely. It was one of those set the goal, and then get out there and achieve it kind of mind games.

Well, back in 2020 and here in 2021 I changed things up a bit with some very interesting results. Of course as I've previously mentioned, I'm combining walking segments with my running. Now when I head out for a run, I start the run, see how I'm feeling, and then determine a plan or a goal - all early in The First Mile. I'm still covering a distance of four miles, but the variables that come into play now involve the following:

  • How many walking segments will I take over the four miles?
  • What will be the distance(s) for the segment(s)?
  • How will I spread those segments out over the four miles?
  • What will be my objective(s) for the running segments?

Today as I got into my first mile, I decided to hold a good pace for the first three miles, take a .05 walking segment at the end of those first three miles, and then I wanted to push my pace on mile four with no walking segments just to see what kind of pace I could achieve on that final mile. In other words, how would my body hold up for mile four if I maintained a pretty good pace on the first three miles?

Now, parts of mile three and mile four combine to provide a full mile of dirt, sand, gravel, and a few ditches instead of the smooth and easy paved road on which the rest of the run is performed. I've tried to talk myself into running out and back, two miles each way, on the pavement; but, I can't get past the psychological hurdle of running out further away from the house. For some reason, it just looks like a longer run despite the opportunity to avoid the terrain challenges.

Well, much to my surprise, even with those three walking segments at the end of the first three miles, I pulled in a new Personal Best (PB) over the four mile distance. And I came away with a very nice time on that fourth mile. In my mind, it really validates the concept of mixing in a brief walk for the benefit to be found in the running segment immediately after.

So, on January 9 I did a four mile PB of 35 minutes and 37.7 seconds. That was running all four miles and taking no walking segments. On today's outing I earned a new PB of 35 minutes and 34.1 seconds. While it was only 3.6 seconds faster, it also included 3 walking segments of .05 miles each for a combined total of .15 miles of walking.

As for the result on mile four, I was pleasantly surprised to turn in an 8:08 pace. I pushed pretty hard on that one. In fact, speaking of 8:08 and looking way back, I also maintained an 8:08 pace years ago when I hit a PB for the Half Marathon distance and won first place in my age group.

Ah, the good old days! :-)


MEAL PLAN

JANUARY 17, 2021



Meal Plan

The title reminds me of Patty's and my college days when we paid for a meal plan, and went to the college cafe two or three times a day, including weekends. Our senior year they installed a sophisticated hand scanner to check us in and then Patty and I made our selections from the offerings of the day. Hard to believe that was 45 years ago!

Well, now we're retired and trying to do what works for both of us with respect to a meal plan. Truth is, I'm the problem. Patty is great at grazing and doesn't seem to struggle with food like I do. I'm trying to go after a plan that helps me maintain my weight in a relatively healthy fashion, offers a reasonable level of variety, and provides enough sustenance to get me through the day. I still haven't had any processed sugar in over seven months and I intend to maintain that commitment, but I readily admit it continues to be a daily struggle.

Fortunately, my wife is a master at making this all work for us and I'm equally fortunate that she puts forth the effort to make this something that I greatly enjoy and that works so well for me. We tend to change the plan every so often, but I'm always optimistic that what we have come up with will work well for both of us.

We buy our groceries from Walmart Online due to the awesome benefits they provide in doing the shopping for us and in loading our car. Patty does a great job ordering for us and even after the pandemic is over, I suspect we will continue to enjoy the services Walmart has to offer since they work so well for us on so many levels.


FOOD?

JANUARY 14, 2021



Food

Wow! I can't believe there's so much more to yesterday's topic than the things I wrote about! I focused on diet, weight loss, weight maintenance, and even branched out to things like snacking. But, as I took a deeper dive into those areas today, I found myself in unknown territory asking new questions for which I have yet to discover answers.

Today, I wondered if there might be a reasonable way to get processed sugars back into my diet. I was thinking of something like a weekly cheat meal. Or, how about maybe a cheat weekend ever now and then? Or, better than that, how about a cheat weekend each and every weekend?

Do you see the pattern here? It's one with which I'm quite familiar and even have some experience. Based on previous encounters, it's a proclaimed move forward to that which in reality is a veiled retreat to a past filled with failures.

It's not like me to struggle with tough decisions or even with setting and achieving a difficult goal. But this time it's different. This time I'm considering maintain my new weight, continuing a diet that includes no processed sugars, and doing both on a very rare (life-long!) time frame.

The real question here (to borrow one of my son's favorite quotes) is whether or not the juice is worth the squeeze. Is what I'm gaining worth what I'm giving up? The answer has turned out to be much more simple than I thought.

The answer is centered around whether I choose to be a glass half-empty or glass half full kind of guy. On which will I choose to place my daily focus, the things I'm gaining or the things that I'm giving up? In my heart and in my mind, I know the gains are worth it. Now all I need to do is consider this a settled matter - even if it remains a daily task!


WEIGHT MAINTENANCE

JANUARY 13, 2021



Weight Maintenance

After looking back through my blog, I realize I haven't written much at all about my battle with weight loss and weight maintenance. I specifically use the word battle because that's exactly what it has been. Unlike others, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about food. Over the years I've constantly felt hungry and into the evenings went snacking back and forth between sweets and non-sweets.

The only thing that truly turns off my appetite switch is processed sugars and I haven't had anything in that category since June of last year. That means I'm constantly dealing with appetite struggles. But somewhere down deep, I realize I'm most often struggling with having a taste or a craving for something as opposed to really being hungry.

Halfcaf and decaf coffee have been the greatest contributors to my weight loss and weight maintenance success. Of course, it took some time to get used to coffee without sugar, and I don't plan anytime soon to take away the creamer. Still, sipping on those when the appetite bell rings seems to be my best defense in avoiding the constant snacking.

The snacking was with me for most of my life and until I finally decided to do something about it. I was blessed early on with a fast metabolism and as I got older I felt fortunate to be able to carry my extra weight without any appearance of obesity. I've never been over 205 and at 6'2" that extra weight is not very difficult to hide. Unfortunately, it was those very thoughts that I allowed to convince me that I didn't have a snacking problem.

Finally finding a diet that worked for me and dropping over 17% of my body weight since that peak in my weight gave me a real feel for just how overweight I had been in the past. I can't believe I worked so hard to run so many miles over so many years and convinced myself that it provided me permission to eat anything and everything that I wanted. Carrying such a smaller amount of weight has made an amazing difference with my more recent running.

Do I like dieting? No! Does the challenge of trying to do this for the rest of my life seem intimidating? Yes! The good news is that I'm beyond dieting for weight loss and need to focus on a weight maintenance plan since I've reached my target. I need to shift from a target to a targeted range. And, this is all very new to me so I'm going to have to figure what works for me as I pursue this approach.

I must admit that to-date, I've wrestled with the whole idea of leaving the world of weight loss and opting for weight maintenance. The moment I get .2 pounds over my former target weight I go into mental gymnastics and struggle. Somehow, I've got to find a new formula that relieves me of that battle. I suspect it's an OCD thing that I'm going to have to learn to manage. Still, I know for sure that the key to my continued success with be to do the same thing that got me to this point - measure!


RECOVERY RUN

JANUARY 12, 2021



Running Recovery

Three days ago I made my first 4 mile run with no walking segments. It was inspired by the cold and windy weather and my motivation to warm up and stay that way during the run. Well, I did get warm but as I recall I was already in the fourth and final mile when I got to that point.

So two days ago, and the day after that four miler, I decided to focus more on recovery and took my max walking segments. That means I walked seven segments and covered .10 miles on each segment over the full four miles. It felt good, but honestly not necessary for a full recovery. I basically made myself take a recovery run just to ensure I was not over-training.

Well yesterday, and the day after that recovery run, I certainly had no intention of running the full four miles, and didn't. However, with shorts and only a long sleeve shirt and ball cap to protect me from a relatively cool day with a light breeze I found myself running most of the four miles again. I walked a .03 segment in the third mile and a .05 segment in the fourth mile.

The big surprise for the run was that I turned in a 35:49 four miler, which was only 12 seconds slower than the 35:37 PB turned in on the aforementioned first day where I ran the whole thing. So, the average running pace yesterday was actually faster when considering the .08 walk and a difference of only 12 seconds. If I recall correctly, a .10 walk takes a full 90 seconds.

That means an .08 walk should take 72 seconds minus the aforementioned 12 seconds of additional time, which means my overall running pace was approximately 1 minute faster or roughly 15 seconds per mile faster. That nets out to an 8:39 per mile pace. Not bad and a bit of potential proof that walking segments can actually contribute to an overall faster pace. The big take-away was the recovery speed. To come that close to my PB, and done after only one recovery run, was a big surprise!


FLU SEASON

JANUARY 11, 2021



Flu Season

Sometimes it seems things that should be obvious are not actually that obvious, at least not to me anyway. I'm not really sure what brought the question to mind, but I wondered if all of the preventative measures people are taking for Covid-19 are minimizing the effects on what would otherwise be a typical flu season.

I shouldn't have been surprised at the answer, but I was. I suppose I was actually more surprised that the question hadn't occurred to me any sooner. But, according to the typical tracking that takes place during a flu season, we're way down according to the data that has been collected to-date.

According to the CDC, Influenza activity is currently low in the United States and globally. The CDC also indicates that the percentage of U.S. respiratory specimens submitted for influenza testing that tested positive decreased from >20% to 2.3% and has remained at historically low interseasonal levels (0.2% versus 1–2%). Data from Southern Hemisphere countries also indicate little influenza activity.

There's much more information available on this CDC webpage.


A NEW PR

JANUARY 10, 2021



A New PR

In mid-December of last year, I moved my training distance up to 4 miles. I had already taken on an approach to mix running with walking, with just enough walking to help me sustain the running, so adding the extra mile was not an unreasonable change to my regimen.

With the wind and cold temps yesterday, I decided to run until I was just too tired to keep running in the hopes of building up some heat and seeing how long I could last. The good news is that I never really got tired enough to walk and I never really generated too much heat until about the last mile. I peeled off the hoodie and the gloves and that cooled me down just enough to run the rest of the last mile comfortably with sun glasses and a knit cap pulled over a baseball cap.

I was breathing pretty hard as I got into the third mile and the push on that fourth mile definitely left me sucking some wind! When all was said and done, I managed to finish all four miles with a 35:37.70 time and an average per mile pace of 8:54. That's a PR since it's the first time I've ever run a four miler. My average heart rate was high at 147 as was my max heart rate at 172. Based on the 4 miles with my pace and my current weight, my Garmin clocked me in with 540 calories burned.

I ran an 8:27 on mile 4 which makes me believe that I could drop that overall pace of 8:54 for four miles down a respectable amount for a 3.1 mile 5K distance. I still haven't decided if I want to go back to 5K races, but I'm sure I don't want to even consider it until the Covid-19 vaccine has had plenty of time make the rounds.


MORE ON RUNNING

JANUARY 09, 2021



Garmin

I love how my Garmin Vivoactive 3 smartwatch gathers so much data about each of my runs. I've mentioned it several times in previous posts. But one of the things I've also mentioned before is the challenge of tracking my pace for running and walking when I mix both on the same event.

The challenge comes from having to remember and process a large set of rather complicated data that comes from either the walking or running portions of the event and having to do all of that during the event. Well, yesterday I hit a point where my distance and the time both landed on a nice whole number and both at the same time. As such, I decided to take advantage of the situation and quickly made a mental note of the two data points.

I was well into my last mile when it happened which further reduced the number of data points I would have to commit to memory. On my smartwatch, the distance hit 3.6 miles at the same moment my total time hit 35 minutes. I realized that my run would end at 4.0 miles exactly and my watch would record the finish time so all I had to do was recall the 3.6 miles and 35 minutes to calculate a per mile pace based on the numbers from those last 4/10ths of a mile.

As it turns out, I hit 4.0 miles and my watch recorded a 38:36 pace for all 4 miles. The calculations on those numbers yields an 8:35 per mile pace for the last portion of the last mile. That's good information to have for future runs since I now know what that kind of pace feels like.

With a big push, I could probably eke out that pace for a 5K. In fact, I might even be able to shave a couple of more seconds off of my pace, and I'm quite sure that would leave me pretty well spent.

I've trained at a moderately easier pace running a 10+ for my first mile, two 9+ miles for my second and third miles, and an 8+ on my last mile. The difference in each mile basically results from the amount of walking I do in each. That's why I'm optimistic I could turn in a respectable time if I cut out the walks on a 5K.

Oh, one other thing. Half of mile 2 and half of mile 3 are covered on more difficult terrain, so it's possible that I might even be able to make up some time there as well on a street based 5K. My best time on my current course is 36:38 for four miles and even that included a little bit of walking, so it would be interesting to see what time I could turn in on a legitimate 5K road race if I didn't have to contend with a large crowd.


MORE RUNNING STUFF

JANUARY 05, 2021



Windy Running

After a 5 day unplanned break in my running schedule, I got in a 4 miler yesterday and another one today. It felt great to be back on the road despite the chill that came with the strong winds today. Of course it doesn't take much of those 4 miles to warm up the body and do away with any concerns for the wind chill.

In fact, that wind chill tends to put a pep in my step and has greatly assisted in turning in a much more respectable time on those recent (and wind-chilled) runs. In fact, it's been really interesting to see that the faster early miles push me to finish strong and, as a result, the past couple of days my fourth mile has been my fastest of the four.

Even with all that we still have on our plate after Martha's passing, it's been a real blessing to see Patty's strength, her ability to keep up with everything, and to also see her jump back in on her training regimen.

I'm such a blessed man to have her in my life!


RUNNING STUFF

JANUARY 03, 2021



Run 1720

If you've checked in here recently, you might have noticed that I had made some comments about blogging changes in 2021. Despite my plans for those changes, life (and even the weather) took me in a very different direction over the past several days.

As for the weather, the rain gauge maxed out at 5 inches yesterday and the heavy rains continued to fall for several more hours on into the evening. It all ended sometime late that evening, but I have no idea what the final total was in our area. What I do know is there was no running window amidst all of that rain. Add to that the cold and gusty conditions today and it all made for a slow start for running in 2021.

I checked into one of the local ham radio nets yesterday where one particular radio operator reported 11 inches in the area where he lives. I don't think we hit that mark, but we got more than enough rain to cover us for a long time.

The rain, combined with everything else going on, put a stop to my running program. It was quite a challenge to step aside from running for 5 days, especially when considering that I wanted to finish 2020 strong and provide for a strong start to 2021. The good news is that I've been doing 4 miles per day for a good while and that should serve me well with bringing in a strong total for 2021 if I can keep it up.

On another strong note, I hit a new low today with my weight, measured against the past 40 years. In June of 2021 I removed all processed sugars from my diet and began what turned out to be a 10% reduction in body weight over the last half of 2020 and a 17% drop over-all in 2020.

The change has been exciting and quite motivating, despite the challenges associated with breaking old and horrible eating habits, not to mention a terrible addiction to sugar. With less weight, I'm running better and stronger than I have in a very long time and I'm considering venturing back into the world of 5K races. We'll see about that one...

The only real challenges that remain are to 1) decide what my long-term target weight is going to be, 2) develop a weight maintenance plan to maintain that target weight, and 3) come up with a plan to make it all a life-time commitment.


BEST RUN OF 2020

DECEMBER 28, 2020



Best Run of 2020

I didn't set out on today's run with any intention of achieving my best performance of the year, but as it turns out that's exactly what happened. It was nowhere near the magnitude of PR's achieved during my peak years, but here in my senior years and at more conservative distances, I'm taking the liberty to give it an Honorable Mention.

And how do I know that will be my best run of the year, considering I've still got three more runs left to go in 2020? That's because I have no intention of pushing a run that hard anytime soon, and certainly not before the New Year.

I'm still doing the run/walk mix, but today I brought the walk side of the equation down to my lowest distance all year. And, at the same time, I still managed a strong pace with which I was well pleased on the run side.

My overall time for the four miles was 36:38 which essentially nets out to a 9:10 per mile pace for both the running and walking portion of the mile. For the entire four miles, my average heart rate was 130 and Max heart rate was 147 with 491 calories burned.

Total distance walked was .35 miles with 3.65 miles run. Breaking that data down further, I walked .05 miles twice in each of the first three miles (once at .4 miles and again at .9 miles) and then I walked .05 miles at only the .4 mile point of the fourth mile and ran the rest of that mile.


EVEN MORE TWEAKS

DECEMBER 21, 2020



Even More Tweaks

Well, I barely made it 24 hours before I'm tweaking again!

If I'm going to get out in this Florida Winter Weather I might as well make it worth my while. I'm adding a mile to my distance, running a much greater percentage of the distance, and throttling back the pace just a little,

I'm also moving from 3 walks of .05 miles for each mile (= .15 miles) to 2 walks of .10 miles for each mile (= .20 miles.) I'll be running the last walking segment as I've done before since I will finish the activity afterward. This means I will be running 3.30 miles and walking .70 miles over the entire activity.

This should also equip me to bump everything up to run a full 5k race without a lot of extra training. In fact, one of my shorter-term goals may be to convert my walking segments to .05 miles from .10 miles like I've been doing previously. That would put me right about where I want to be with 3.75 miles run and .25 miles walked in each daily activity.

Since that's over half a mile more than a 5K, the extra distance trained each day should net out to additional energy and pace for any race I attend, should I decide to run one.

We'll see...


MORE RUNNING TWEAKS

DECEMBER 20, 2020



More Run Tweaks

Back on December 13, 2020 I approached the topic of Running Tweaks. Well, hardly a week later I want to revisit the topic and consider another Tweak to my regimen.

Back on December 13, I noted that Some of the things I've been reviewing lately include 1) running or walking or both, 2) pace, 3) distance covered, 4) frequency, and 5) recovery. I also noted that a proper blend of those items seems so critical at this point in life.

Well, the ones that constantly stand out in my mind are #1, #3, and #5. After all, I'm already committed to the importance of a strong pace in #2 and to a daily workout in #4 since I'm retired and have the time to commit to that level of frequency.

While I like the 3 mile distance, I'm leaning toward a tweak that includes a 2 mile run followed by a 1 mile walk instead of mixing the two a little at a time. Fore one thing, it provides a mental boost by running a full 2 miles with no slow-downs.

It also provides a mental boost by following that run with a strong walk that still allows me to burn calories but at the kind of pace that provides for a much stronger recovery in preparation for the next day's run.

I'm also thinking that it better prepares me for a smaller step up in my training regimen if I decide to occasionally plug in a 5K race here and there. Even if I don't add a 5K now and then, I still like the overall plan.

Let's see how this works out...


GPS PROBLEM SOLVED

DECEMBER 19, 2020



Garmin

Back on my November 19, 2020 blog post, I spoke of a GPS problem with my Garmin Vivoactive 3. I was observing something quite worrisome and problematic and wasn't able to really get a handle on the cause.

What I knew was that my GPS was providing faulty readings from time to time, and as much as two or three tenths of a mile off of what it should have been reporting. Especially in the first mile. Equally troublesome was the realtime adjustments it tried to make to remedy its own confusion. It was not unusual to see the watch face dash through numbers putting the reported mileage well ahead of the actual distance I had covered.

It seems my challenge to-date has been centered around a combination of weather related obstacles, man-made obstacles, and even the position of my arm and the watch on my arm. However, I think I've finally come up with a dependable solution and one that has so far proven effective.

Somewhere in the mix of obstacles, the GPS was not maintaining reliable connections with whatever satellite(s) it needed in order to determine and report accurate information. If I was to start the GPS and then the activity with any of those obstacles close by, all bets were off when it came down to reliable reports - realtime or otherwise.

To address the problem(s), I've been able to start out with a 1/10th mile warm-up walk on the dirt road that leads from our house to the street. About half-way out that dirt road I'm out in the open and can activate my GPS in a very dependable and almost spontaneous fashion. Before I reach the street, the activity is ready to be started. When I step up on the street I can activate the activity and begin my run with a level of comfort that the results will be accurate.


RUNNING TWEAKS

DECEMBER 13, 2020



Running Tweaks

I really enjoy the process of tweaking my runs. There is so much to be learned with all that my body is trying to teach me as a senior level runner. All that I am studying and learning is such a large part of what makes running new and interesting every day.

Some of the things I've been reviewing lately include 1) running or walking or both, 2) pace, 3) distance covered, 4) frequency, and 5) recovery. A proper blend of those items seems so critical at this point in life.

There's a primary concern that all tweaking be used to improve health and fitness and not aimed toward a bigger and tougher goal, just for the sake of bigger and tougher. There's also the issue of recovery times. If I'm over-extending myself by running too far, too fast, or too often, then insufficient recovery times may present an obstacle to my next run and ultimately 1) frustrate me, 2) hinder my level of performance, or 3) even bring about injuries.

To date, and over a period of thirty years of consistent running, I've only had one running injury. And, that was on a down-hill segment where I had allowed myself to build up too much speed.

The impact of landing too hard caused me to tear the calf muscle on my right leg, and to learn a terribly painful lesson about the combination of too much speed and down-hill running. In addition to that lesson, and an equally painful lesson, was the idea that there would be no running for over two months due to the severity of the tear and as that muscle slowly healed. Running had become an important part of my daily regimen and asking me to stop running was like asking me to stop breathing.

My take-away? Regular and systematic tweaks to a running regimen go a long way toward mitigating the risks associated with over-training and assist in keeping the focus on fitness and good health.


COOL RUNNINGS?

DECEMBER 01, 2020

Cool Runnings

Many years ago, and on a brutally cold and windy day outside of Atlanta, I was slated for a 10 mile training run in preparation for an upcoming half marathon. Get this! The temperature measured on the Fahrenheit scale was exactly the same as the wind speed measured in miles per hour. Now, if you're a math person or a runner, that might have captured your attention and got you to thinking.

You might have asked yourself if there was a common number at which both of those measures could be considered relatively reasonable for a 10 mile training run. Well, based on my own experience, I would prefer to go for the lower number in common just to avoid the wind chill. But, that was not to be the case on this particular day.

The magic number for that day was 17. And, from my perspective, that was probably one of the worst possible numbers that I could have imagined. The temperature was already brutally cold and with the addition of that wind speed, the windchill that resulted was virtually unbearable - even wearing my warmest running gear. I should note that we don't have fancy cold weather running gear down here in the south!

Fast forward to yesterday with a much shorter run in much warmer conditions and I'm still complaining. I live on the Florida panhandle and am used to running with temps at least in the 70's and just enough breeze to make the overall experience enjoyable. However, yesterday was the last day of November and the front edge of a windy cold front was making its way onto the scene.

I'm older, my blood is thinner down here in the deep south, and the weatherman is hitting me with temperatures in the low 50's and wind persisting somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 to 15 miles per hour out here on the island. I guess that's better than the wind gusts of 55 to 65 mph we had in the middle of the night, last night!

In my opinion, the tricky thing about cold weather running, and the thing I like least about it, is the heat that builds up on the run and the sweat that arrives and starts to soak all of those layers I'm wearing to protect against the cold winds.

On the hot and humid days of summer down here, and with the unusually cold and blustery days that occasionally sneak in during our short and mostly mind winter season, the washer and dryer tend to get a real workout around here.


NOT TODAY!

NOVEMBER 25, 2020

Not Today

I love the caption on this picture!

Okay, but first a bit of backstory here...

When I was in that college class in 1973, sitting across the room from the most beautiful young lady I had ever seen, I remember thinking to myself, she's the one! My heart and my head were in complete agreement. It was love at first site! The rest was just details. I married her three years later, we've had 44 wonderful years since, and she is still the most beautiful woman I have ever seen!

Unfortunately, I had no such similar experience with a love for running when I started out. My head bought in early (I knew it was good for me) but my heart was a conscientious objector and a hold out (the passion just wasn't there!)

If you ask me when my heart finally bought in, I couldn't really tell you. The good news is that my head carried me until that point finally arrived. And when my heart took over, and the passion kicked in, I'm not sure I was even aware that it had happened. But, for a long time now it's been clear to me that it did.

On February 28, 2014 we purchased Sea Glass Cottage in Pensacola and on Sunday May 4, 2014 we made our big move to Florida (with much help from, and a big thanks to, our son and daughter-in-law.) I was still several months from the 60 yard line of life, but somehow I conjured up a notion that I might be getting to old to run.

With that thought trying to assume control, what followed for the next couple of years was a mix of running days, walking days, and neither days. I had not yet come to understand that there was great benefit in running and walking in the same activity on the same day and equal benefit in understanding the difference between a too lazy to run down day and a need to recover down day.

I had been in plenty of distance races with men who were many years my senior, and they were still running. So, I honestly have no idea where that aforementioned notion came from. But I did come to realize that the lack of commitment to running was just not working for me.

Now what I have come to understand is that there is a delicate balance between pride-running and health-running. Pride-runners pay a dear price in terms of their health because they're in it for all the wrong reasons. Health-runners keep a focus on health first and adapt and adopt as their aging body demands.

If I have my preference, I would be glad for my last day on earth to be a running day. Otherwise, I'll go with the caption on the picture up above!


MY GARMIN UPDATES

NOVEMBER 20, 2020

Garmin Vivoactive 3

As I've alluded to earlier, one of the things I like best about my Garmin Vivoactive 3 smartwatch is that it looks like a watch and not a computer strapped to my wrist. I had something like the latter many years ago and back then it was nerdishly cool to have a calculator strapped to your wrist - even if you did need a mechanical pencil to press the tiny buttons and perhaps a magnifying glass to read the digital output.

Now it seems more about the cool digital watch faces and I must admit I really enjoy that feature on my smartwatch. As you can see in the picture above, I chose a watch face that takes advantage of the watch's capability to capture a lot of data.

The bell at the top indicates I have an alarm set. Immediately below that is a display of my steps and calories burned. Below that is the date and time and below that are the miles traveled and heart rate followed by the remaining battery life.

My favorite update is the custom watch band I ordered. Compared to the standard wrist strap pictured on yesterday's post, I ordered a metal mesh band that is secured to my wrist with a magnetic tab. It's very comfortable and goes on so much easier.


GARMIN GPS ISSUES

NOVEMBER 19, 2020

Garmin

I have no idea what causes this, but it's a problem I've had a few times which makes me wonder. Generally, the GPS on my Garmin Vivoactive 3 is quite dependable but every now and then, not so much.

From day to day I usually know where I am going to hit my mile markers and I know where I'm going to hit my walking segments. Even if I don't choose to walk on each and every segment, my GPS has been consistent enough for me to become relatively familiar with those checkpoints.

Unfortunately, every now and then my Garmin's GPS decides to rebel and provides me with far less than dependable readings. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it becomes clear very quickly and I have to start doing mental calculations if I'm going to salvage any data from the run.

The good news is that I continue to narrow down the list of things that cause this problem to occur and I'm getting close to what I believe may be the problem, and the solution. In addition, the problem always occurs early in the first mile, so everything after mile one is fine and I can usually adjust for the problems in mile one.

I'm thinking that the problem occurs as a result of my doing something between the point where I activate the watch app for a run and the point where the GPS is finally synced up with the satellites and gives me the signal that I can start my run. On those days when the GPS misfires, I've usually moved enough that the GPS may no longer be synced up - even though the watch does not notify me of this.

Today, for example, the GPS got synced up and then I walked out on the boardwalk for a minute while I waited on my wife to come down, and then we started together. After about .20 miles, I looked down at my watch and it was already indicating that I had traveled .35 miles. I knew I had a problem.

The other day I had a similar result when I started the app up on the third level of the house and then descended the stairs to ground level. Quickly thereafter, the watch synced up and I started my run. The numbers looked bad and it didn't take long for me to realize I had a problem.

Having worked with a GPS many times before I got this watch, I was well aware of some of the challenges such as extra cloudy days and physical obstacles (houses) that might prevent a sync between the GPS and the satellites, or that might at least make things take longer than usual.

On good days where the watch and GPS seem to be accurate and in good working order, the start to my routine generally goes something like this:

  • Get to my starting point and away from any obstacles.
  • Start the app to request a sync with the satellites.
  • Wait on the watch to sync without changing location.
  • Click "Start" when I'm notified and start my run.

I guess I'm going to have to be much more focused on following those four steps prior to each run. Hopefully that will solve the problem.

We'll see...


7,001 MILES

NOVEMBER 18, 2020

7,001 Miles
Just one of the many beautiful views I enjoyed while running in Montana.

As I type, the temperature here is 40 degrees in town according to my favorite weather website. My outdoor thermometer indicates a temperature of 48 degrees here on the island. We're always a bit cooler in the warm time of the year and a bit warmer on the colder days.

Considering the temperature and the fact that we moved our grocery pickup to today, I'm only too glad to push today's running out until this afternoon. It will make for a shorter recovery period when I run tomorrow morning, but there's a good chance I may be moving more runs to the afternoon at this time of year in order to make for a more suitable and enjoyable running temp.

7001

The big deal for today is that I cross another major milepost in my running log. I've done it only six times before, but today I make it number seven by crossing another one thousand mile marker - this time the seven thousand mile marker or 7,001 miles to be exact.

It's been barely over 15 years since I started logging which averages out to about 467 miles per year. I had already been running for 15 years when I finally decided to start a running log and I estimate 8,000 miles in those first 15 years based on a much more consistent schedule of training and distance races.

That makes for a total of 15,000 miles over a 30 year period or roughly 500 miles per year. Of course, as one can imagine, some years were far better than others when it comes to training miles and the number of races run.

7001

2008 was my best year with 1,070 training miles logged. Being in peak shape that year would also provide an opportunity to score a Personal Record (PR) or Personal Best (PB) of 1:45:54 at the Marine Corps Run for Relief Half Marathon in Albany, Georgia and, at that same race, to achieve one of the two awards I have received for First Place in my age group. I was 53 at the time.

I also joined Right Now Technologies that year and enjoyed a number of incredible opportunities to run in Montana. What an amazing experience to run with such a beautiful view of the mountains and to hear the melting mountain snow flowing through the ditches on the roadside as I passed by.


HEADWINDS

NOVEMBER 17, 2020

Headwinds

In the spring and summer months, there's frequently a gentle breeze when I go out for a run. Generally, it's either coming out of the north or the south which means I get to enjoy a northernly breeze on mile one or a southernly breeze on parts of miles two and three.

This will be the first year in recent years where I've really pushed myself to run each and every day, no matter the temperature. As a result, yesterday and today I had a new experience on the first mile with strong headwinds coming out of the north. Those winds were strong enough that I almost felt like I was running in place as I leaned into them.

The effect on my running was definitely noticed when comparing my mile one pace with the pace of miles two and three. In fact, on mile three I shaved a full minute off of my mile one pace and with what I can only assume was the benefit of a mile one headwind becoming a tailwind as I made the turn toward home.

With the combination of the winds and a cooler temperature (around 60F) I decided it was time to pull out the long sleeves and running gloves for a bit of extra protection from the chill. Did I say chill? Really? Down here in Florida? At 60F degrees?

Not long after the turn at mile one, and leaving the wind behind me, I was peeling off the gloves and rolling up the sleeves. I've certainly run in conditions that were much, much worse when I used to live up in the Atlanta area, but I think my blood has gotten a bit thinner down here in the south and I've become a wee bit spoiled running in the relatively warm and sunny Florida weather.


KAYAKING

NOVEMBER 16, 2020

Kayaking
Patty and I purchased a pair of the Tamarack 10 foot fishing kayaks. We've really enjoyed them!

I love getting out in the kayak and it's always a special treat when my wife and I go out together. Such was the case today.

There was a light breeze but just enough to make it a pleasant day and not too much to handle. We made our way over to one of the waterways that passes through the marsh and provides waterfront to a number of homes where some of our friends live.

It was a pleasant ride and any breeze that we had to paddle into served as a nice source of power to push us along with no paddling on the way back. It's very late in the season and the jumping mullet were a very nice size!

Speaking of nice size, so were the oranges and grapefruit we spotted along the way. Just another one of the nice things about living here on the Forgotten Coast.

We took our time and relaxed in our kayaks out on the water and in the breeze when we got back close to the house. All in all, it was a wonderful trip and a great way to spend part of the day.


WALK TIME

NOVEMBER 14, 2020

Walk Time Converter

I expanded my Run Time Converter, mentioned in yesterday's post, to include calculations for my average pace during my walking segments. To guarantee an accurate reading, I really need to time each walking segment and add them together during my activity - assuming I can remember my totals from one segment to the next with all of the numbers coming at me so quickly on my smartwatch.

The challenge presented by the walking pace is that the faster I walk on each segment, the less I rest. And, as a result, less rest equals a potentially slower run on my next running segment, not to mention the slower overall time achieved for the entire activity.

I would like to see my walk times down in the 4 miles per hour range (which equals a 15:00 pace,) but to accomplish that would mean to whittle 10% (5 seconds) from each walking segment. I'm not sure the rest on those walking segments would be sufficient to maintain my running pace and overall activity time.

Perhaps I'll give it a try and see what happens.


RUN TIME CONVERTER

NOVEMBER 13, 2020

Run Time Converter

In my 30 years of running, I've been an early adopter of running technology in some areas and quite late to the show in others. I was a hold out for my cotton shirts thinking that the technical shirts were just too trendy. I've never been one to adopt trends for the sake of trends, but boy was I wrong on that one!

Being late to the game is not always a bad thing, however. It paid off nicely in my wait for the right runner's watch. I didn't lose any money on those earlier (and super clunky, computer strapped to the wrist) investments.

Another area where I was late to the game was in adopting a strategy of running and walking, as opposed to my run at all costs approach. I suppose the running only thing paid off for me to some extent, but the run and walk thing has turned out to be a valuable strategy for this senior runner.

The challenge that comes with running and walking on the same outing is determining my pace on either or both. I like to know how I did, but getting a total time for both didn't tell me what I wanted to know.

Well, that's where being a running geek pays off. It was a fun problem to solve and for the most part I'm quite happy with what I've developed to break apart the data.

I put together a Run Time Converter spreadsheet and still find it interesting to plug in the numbers and watch it perform its magic. It turns out I walk 9 segments (3 in each mile) with each segment being .05 miles and taking approximately 50 seconds +/- to cover.

I did a spot check today and it seems I'm taking between 50 and 54 seconds to cover each of those walking segments. Accuracy counts here because taking the faster number (50 seconds) actually translates to a slower per mile running pace - since that means the difference of 4 seconds winds up being allocated to the running segments. And, more time allocated to running equals a slower running pace.

Using the image above captured from the model, green represents the data that is required to be entered into the model. Blue represents the model's output.

In this case, I entered my total time to cover the 3 miles (28:47) and the total number of walking segments (9) with the average time in seconds (50) to cover one of the segments. The output suggests my average running pace for the running segments was 8:21. As long as my walking segments stay relatively consistent, all the model really needs to extract my running pace is the total time to cover the 3 mile distance.

With this combination, it turns out I'm running just over two and one half miles (2.55) and walking just under half a mile (.45). Another interesting thing I learned from the model is that one second difference in per segment walk time netted an almost 4 second difference in the average running pace. That's pretty significant on days when I'm pushing and other days when I've slowed things down quite a bit.


SENIOR RUNNING

NOVEMBER 10, 2020

Run for Your Life

So, here I am having very recently crossed the 66 yard line of life and still learning what it means to be a Senior Runner. This new lifestyle of running brought with it a lot of unanticipated changes. Well, I can't say they were unanticipated. It's just that, despite all evidence to the contrary, I've never seen myself as a senior anything, especially not a senior runner.

At this point in my life as a runner, I'm going through a lot of very meaningful changes, both mentally and physically. Gone are the years of high-speed recoveries. And, gone are the years of personal bests.

A focus on running for good health has shifted away from the lip service that so often accompanies a competitive youthful spirit and has becomes a stark reality. A similar shift occurred when I was finally able to understand something I thought had understood all along:

I've got nothing to prove to anyone except myself!

As I grow older, I'm beginning to realize just how rich that statement really is. I've always loved the idea that running is as good as it gets when desiring to compete only with myself. But I love even more the lifetime benefits that come with running including mental, physical and emotional health, strength, endurance, weight management, confidence, and too many others to name here.

Even the purpose of my running log has shifted from serving as evidence of goals and accomplishments achieved to become a tool for learning and specifically how to be a healthy senior runner. If any goals remain, they are simple ones like keep running, and keep it injury free.


THREE MILE RUN

OCTOBER 26, 2020

GPS map

Yesterday, I headed out about 9 AM for one of my usual three mile runs. At the quarter mile point, where I would normally convert to the first of several short and fast walks, I decided to go ahead and run the entire first mile.

On those infrequent occasions where I decide to do this, I usually pick up the tempo a bit just to see how my pace looks after a mile. Turns out I ran the first mile in 8:57.14, just under nine minutes.

With a sub-nine minute mile (just barely!) in the books, I took a big leap and decided to run all three miles. I've known for several weeks that I wanted to do this, but had avoided it to reduce my risk of injury until I felt confident in my ability to get it done safely. Today felt like that day!

Even when I'm walking and running the same amount in each of the three miles, the times tend to vary just a bit. That's because mile one contains 1/10th mile of dirt and gravel and mile two has 2/10ths and mile three has 4/10ths. Since I had decided to run all three miles today, I did my best to maintain my pace each time I came upon a dirt and gravel segment. That's pretty tricky considering the pot holes!

I crossed mile two at 8:57.74 and only 6/10ths of a second slower than mile one. Wow! You can't beat that for a consistent pace, especially considering the extra 1/10th mile of dirt and gravel in mile two.

I'm always able to give a bit more on mile 3 because I know that rest is looming on the horizon. I gave it more today because I knew that the gravel and a bit of deep sand would meet me early on with more gravel again on the last 1/10th. I crossed the finish line and with it completed mile three at 8:56.23, about one and one half seconds faster than mile two. I'm quite amazed at how consistent my pace turned out to be on each mile.

The total time for the 3 miler was 26:51.10 and my AHR was 134 while my MHR was 148. My total estimated calories burned was 389 - ironically ten to twenty calories less than on my slower runs covering the same distance.


WRIST INJURY

OCTOBER 25, 2020

Wrist Injury

About two or three days ago I hurt my index finger on my left hand. All I was doing was putting on a tennis shoe and I reached back with my left index finger to pull my already tied left shoe over my left heel.

Ouch! I didn't know what I had done but I had clearly done something and afterward, pinching my thumb and index finger together brought a small amount of pain to my wrist. I didn't pay much attention to it and this morning, a couple of days later, I thought it might be safe to put that shoe on the same way. Wrong!

I apparently reinjured the same spot which brought both bruising and swelling to my left wrist. I suspect my typing this post is not helping matters either.

From what I have read online, a sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn. Initially I thought I had sprained my left index finger.

However, the more I read about the symptoms the more I am led to believe that the excessive force against my index finger actually caused damage to a ligament in my wrist.

The lack of pain to the index finger and the amount of pain, bruising, and swelling to the wrist seem to confirm what I'm thinking.

The apparent good news is that what I'm reading online suggests my sprain is both self-diagnosable and self-treatable. It also suggests healing could take anywhere from two to ten weeks, depending upon the extent of the injury.

I guess we'll see...


GARMIN SMARTWATCH

OCTOBER 23, 2020

Garmin

In December of 2017, Patty gave me a Garmin Vivoactive 3 smartwatch for Christmas. I had no idea what I was missing out on until I started using it. I love the realtime benefit of all that it provides for me during a run.

The capability to also off-load everything to my smartphone and view that data in an analytics reporting style was an unexpected and much appreciated benefit. I can't get over just how much information is provided for any given activity, whether it's a run, a walk, or even a bike ride or kayak trip.

I'm also grateful for Patty's timing since Garmin has made so many substantial improvements from the time they first came out until the time Patty got one for me. By the time I retired in 2018, my Vivoactive 3 was a critical part of my runs and was keeping me well informed of my progress and any opportunities for improvement. Old Garmin

As you can see in the picture to the right, the Garmin smartwatches were quite clunky when they first hit the running scene. I saw a guy wearing one at one of the half marathons I attended and made a note to myself that I wasn't yet interested in one of those.

Not only was the physical watch clunky, but it seemed that the operating system and applications performed in an equally clunky fashion - more like a computer than what I would expect from a smartwatch. Run Map

I love Garmin's GPS and the ability to upload to my smartphone and see so much data and a map of my run. And, as a senior runner where I'm now doing run/walks, I'm completely dependent upon it for tracking distance and pace for each running and walking segment.

From the realtime data, I am able to calculate (after the workout) my walking pace and my running pace. And as a result, I'm also able to determine my pace for a comfortable run versus my pace for a more strenuous run.

I've learned that on a 3 miler, I run 2.55 miles and walk .45 miles. My consistent walking pace is right at 16.5 minutes per mile and my running pace might reveal a 9:35 per mile pace on a comfortable day and a more strenuous 8:45 per mile pace on a day when I push myself.

Other things that I include in my running log and that come from my smartwatch include average and maximum heart rates and total calories burned. I also enjoy the graphics provided for the heart rate information. Quite impressive! What a great tool my Vivoactive 3 smartwatch has turned out to be.


RUNNING UPDATE

OCTOBER 22, 2020

Jonathan Half Marathon
Jonathan and I cross the finish line at the 1995 Atlanta Half Marathon.

That's a great memory in the picture above!

In '95 Jonathan and I trained for and ran the Atlanta Half Marathon. We ran some of our longest training runs in 20 mph winds and at 20 degrees F. Looking back, I have no idea how we did that. It was quite painful as I recall.

To his credit, Jonathan was barely 12 years old when we ran the race and considering that 12 was the youngest age permitted and that he had only been 12 for about 3 months, it would not surprise me if he holds the title for the youngest runner of the Atlanta Half Marathon! Way to go my man!

Allie Half Marathon
Allie and I cross the finish line at the 2001 Atlanta Half Marathon.

That's another great memory in the picture above!

In 2001, Allie and I trained for and ran the Atlanta Half Marathon. Allie was attending Georgia Southwestern and I had the opportunity to drive down to the campus from home so we could do some of our training runs together. What a neat experience it was running around the campus together.

The training weather was not bad but it was rather cold on race day and I vividly remember Allie peeling off clothes to cool down as we ran while I tucked up even more in mine for any extra warmth to be found. Way to run it Allie!

Those were indeed great memories, but I'm a long way these days from covering that kind of distance at that kind of pace.

I wrote back on October 12th of this year that I was currently doing 2 mile training runs and that it was working well for me. However, on October 18th I decided to take it up a notch and am now doing daily 3 mile training runs with the same type of approach, injecting fast walks over short distances for faster recovery and a better pace on the running portions.

Over the three miles, I'm running 2.55 miles and fast walking .45 miles. I'm doing 3 walking segments per mile with each segment consisting of .05 miles and covered in around 45 to 48 seconds. Each fast walk follows a .25 mile run. To stay consistent with 3 walking segments for each of the three miles, so that I can better compare the miles against each other, I have to run the final segment at the end of the third mile.

With the walks, I'm covering each mile at about a 10:20 pace. Factor that with the time dedicated to the fast walks and I'm actually covering the .25 mile runs at a comfortable 9:20 pace. I'm quite able to pick up that pace and probably will over time, but the real objective is for the health benefit and not the speed work. As such, and needless to say, I will not be shooting for the kind of pace I have maintained in the past.


FITNESS

OCTOBER 15, 2020

Food

In my mind, the term fitness covers three categories - cardio, weight training, and diet. And, if I'm honest, I've only focused on one of them in the 30 years that I've laid claim to anything that resembles a fitness plan. I've been a consistent runner to cover the cardio aspect, I've been hit and miss with diet (more miss than hit!), and I've intentionally and completely ignored weight training.

I'm looking to take corrective action on those two categories that have gone lacking for far too many years. In fact, back in June I made some big changes in the diet department and haven't looked back. The resulting weight drop has been incredible and removing processed sugars entirely has made a big difference in both the body weight and energy departments. Removing the option for anything with processed sugars has been one of the most difficult diet related tasks I have ever performed. It took weeks to get beyond the cravings!

I don't have the type of body that bulks up with weight training, but just for the improvement in strength and my upper body, I think it's worth it to develop a basic regimen. After all, I have two 20 pound dumb bells and there's quite a bit I can do at home with them to balance out what the running is doing for my legs and my core.


RUNNING

OCTOBER 12, 2020

Running
The picture above is one I took in the midst of the crowd at the inaugural Savannah Rock and Roll Half Marathon on an unusually cold day in Savannah, Georgia. It's a special memory for me because it was the last half marathon and distance race that I ran.

As I mentioned before, I started this blog with a sole focus upon running. Even 15 years ago, when I started this blog, I had already been running for an additional 15 years. Over those 30 years I've logged a great many training miles, not to mention the 30 half marathons, one full marathon, and countless 5K and 10K races. I've also run more than a dozen Peachtree Road Races (10K's) over the years when I lived in the Atlanta area.

As I've grown older, one of the most difficult running challenges I have ever faced was backing away from those distance races, and races in general, in favor of a lighter running regimen. I ran a 5K at FSU and have more recently run a couple of virtual 5K's, but all in all I'm trying to stay true to my focus on good health and fitness and it's required that I develop an even keener ear in listening to all that my body is trying to tell me in this season as a senior runner.

I have nowhere near the amount of endurance I used to have and my recovery times are significantly longer than they were not that many years ago. As a result, I've adopted a dramatic change to my running regimen, but it works well for me. I still run most every day, but I only do 2 miles and that includes roughly 9/10ths run and 1/10th fast-walked in each mile. The unexpected benefit that has come with those changes to my regimen is that I have grown to really love running once again and am able to cover those two miles at a very respectable pace in order to keep the heart rate up.

Best of all, my training runs come with a beautiful view of the water down here on the gulf, a view of the amazing wildlife, and the ever-pleasant Florida running weather. What more could a senior runner ask for?


LIVE TO EAT OR EAT TO LIVE?

FEBRUARY 21, 2020

Food

I keep thinking there has to be a reasonable diet that falls somewhere between perfectly healthy and junk food. I'm imagining this repeatable weekly diet where I find healthy food that also tastes great. I suppose that's the problem with imagination. It allows me to conjur up an image that simply doesn't exist.

I know the problem and it's not an easy one to fix. For most all of my life, I have approached diet with a Live to Eat mindset instead of the more practical Eat to Live target. A fast metabolism only contributed to the problem in making it so easy to hide from everyone! Junk food might taste great, but the best I can hope for on the healthy front is food that tastes good. Well, that's not completely true considering my love for sushi, but it's generally true for me anyway.

For far too long, my eating philosophy has consistently been That was great! So, what's next? I'd like to say that I've had the discipline to keep my weight in check, but what's healthy about going back and forth between gorging and starving? It may work but it can't be healthy!

The good news is that I've imrpoved greatly in recent years with my eating habits. The bad news is that I've still got a ways to go if I intend to move into the Eat to Live category and away from the cravings that tend to keep me on the Live to eat side of things.

My wife and I have put a plan in place to get things on track.

Stay tuned!


HEALTH

FEBRUARY 15, 2020

Health

For many years, I have focused on running. Specifically, I've focused on running as a means toward good mental, physical, and emotional health and fitness. I knew running would contribute greatly toward those things.

Unfortunately, that approach has proven to be too narrow and has allowed things like diet to take a back seat and to get addressed only in the most casual manner. While running served as a great focus for a lot of good results, it left too many important things off of my priority list and out of view.

With all of that in mind, I've removed the term Running here on the website and replaced it with a new and wider focus toward good overall Health. While running will remain a high priority for me, I want to give equal focus to the other things that are so important to my overall physical, mental, and emotional health. To start with, I need a better defined diet plan. I've been successful in cutting back on quantity and losing weight, but I need to take that to the next level and move away from the things I constantly consume that run counter to good health.

Stay tuned!


BACK TO THE GYM!

January 25, 2020

Run

Yesterday, Patty and I went for our annual physicals. Our doctor is awesome and provided some great support to continue my running. And, after a four day break to allow for the healing of a very small muscle pull in my left inner thigh, I was back to the gym today, running strong, and feeling great.

I put in 3 miles and played back and forth with the pace to see if that pulled muscle wanted to say anything. Fortunately, it had no comment and I hit the three mile mark at 27:15 having run various distances while testing paces between 9:45 and 8:31.

Since I'm targeting daily runs, I'll need to determine what kind of regimen will work best for me. I've got the 5K distance under control so it's just a matter of improving upon the pace over a reasonable amount of time. I've got to turn in a time for my March 14, 2020 Pi Day virtual run and hope to be close to my 25 minute goal by then.

Clearly, that's not a 5K pace I want to approach on any kind of a regular basis, but I do hope to work toward that in the mid-March time-frame for a one-time PR at the 5K distance.


THE 2020 I HAVE A DREAM 5K RACE (Update)

January 20, 2020

love2run

Well, I've got good news and I've got bad news.

The good news is that I did indeed get in a couple of 5K's here in January with a couple of pretty respectable times considering the point I am at in my training. I turned in a 27:04 for the virtual race records which included 26:15 at the 3 mile point and an 8:44 pace for the overall race.

The bad news is that I must have pushed my training a bit too hard (it's not hard to imagine for me!!!) and have a slight pull on the inner side of my left thigh. I felt the pain start to build during a faster training run and was forced to back down to a fast walk for the last mile. I can walk as fast as I want, even now, but I cannot handle the added stress on that muscle that occurs when running. I suppose I will be doing some fast walks for a few days until that pull/strain heals up.


ANYTIME FITNESS

JANUARY 14, 2020

Running

On our weekly trip to the library and the grocery pickup, Patty and I stopped by and signed up with Anytime Fitness. It gets us everything we're looking for (see previous post) and the cost is covered entirely by the AARP/United Healthcare Silver Sneakers program. What a deal!

After coming home for lunch and getting a few things done, I headed back up to the gym to get in a run - my first at the gym and my first on a treadmill in a very, very long time! I have to say that I really enjoyed it! I know, it could indeed be the change and the newness, but I think there's more to it than that.

First of all, and probably most of all, I really enjoyed being able to set my intended pace on the machine and then letting it do all of the pushing to keep me on track. I also enjoyed the consistent running surface (as opposed to the pot hole ladened dirt roads I've been on lately) and the cool gym environment on an otherwise unusually warm January day.

I managed to cross the 3 mile point at 26:15 and the 5K point at 27:04. I was quite pleased with my time and the incremental increases in the pace that I took on as I approached each new mile. I'm more encouraged than ever that breaking 25, even at the 5K distance, is going to be doable.

With a towel next to me and all the data I could ask for about my run on the treadmill screen right in front of me, what else could I ask for?


CHANGING THE PLAN ALREADY?

JANUARY 13, 2020

Running

Well, three days after I came up with a plan, I'm already preparing to make changes to it. Truth is, I'm finally being honest with myself about certain obstacles to fitness and I'm changing my approach to better deal with them.

As one who is highly susceptible to skin cancer, running in the sun has never been a good option for me. Unfortunately, running outside is a habit that I developed long before skin cancer showed up on my horizon. And for years now, I've been having to deal with the unfortunate consequences of running in the sun (and everything else I might have been doing in the sun.)

This is really about shifting circumstances and the resulting shift to my priorities. For the first time in my life, the treadmill (aka the dreadmill) is starting to make sense to me. That's because, for the first time in my life, the benefits of using a treadmill have reached a point where they finally outweigh the downsides.

As much as I hate treadmills, I hate sunburn and sun block even more. As much as I hate treadmills, I hate the summer's biting bugs and the protective bug spray even more. As much as I hate treadmills, I hate dermatology surgery even more. And, as much as I hate treadmills, I hate the risk of falling on some of these poor running surfaces even more.

With the introduction of free gym memberships via our Silver Sneakers Medicare Advantage Program, and some other benefits not worth mentioning here, I think Patty and I are now looking forward to a shady and climate controlled running environment with the opportunities for music, podcasts, and videos. Heck, with this approach, I can even participate in virtual 5k events. I mean, why not? And, with retired life we certainly have the time to approach our fitness in this fashion.

So, here we go...


SENIOR RUNNING

JANUARY 10, 2020

Running

Since I crossed the 60 yard line of life, I've been bouncing around like a ping pong ball trying to make up my mind about how I'm going to approach the world of running. I remember the day I hit 60. It sounded "old" and I was thinking I should probably make some adjustments to my running goals.

What I've discovered in the past 5 years as a sexagenarian is that old habits die hard and obsessions die even harder! I hate to admit it but there's also a pride element to this challenge. I've tried anything and everything and failed to find a plan that was firing on all cylinders for me.

Over the years, I've always laid claim to the idea that good health comes ahead of goals, achievements, and especially obsessions! Well, that credo was much easier to maintain when I was younger. Now, not so much.

Yesterday's run made it clear that no running plan is a bad running plan. And, that's exactly what I've had here in 2020 - and if I'm honest, for the past few years. My previous posts make it clear to me that the direction in which I've been headed has been heavy on the obsessive side and way too light on the wiser and healthier side.

So, here's the plan:

I'm backing off of the goal to train for and run 5k's and I'm backing off of the goal to run 3 milers without any walking. Frankly, at this point in life I don't enjoy the wear and tear on the body. The goal truly needs to be a healthier plan and not a longer distance or a faster pace or a new PR.

Walking the last 1/10th of a mile in each half mile segment - all over a 3 mile distance, has proven to be a great way to get the heart rate up, challenge the muscles, and maintain some stamina here in my senior years. In addition to all of that, it produces a routine that I enjoy and from which I recover much more quickly.

Best of all, I'm retired so there's time every day to get out there and enjoy that run and reap all of those wonderful physical, mental, and emotional benefits that result from a good cardio plan.

UPDATE:

Just completed a run/walk and had some time to give further consideration to my fitness plan.

I read recently that the count of runners at races is way down over the past few years. I recognize that trends go up and down but I also chalk some of that up to more races equals fewer runners per race.

Beyond all of that, I wonder if there's a growing trend toward these virtual events that I'm seeing more often? They bring so many benefits to a runner that I would not be surprised if they are taking a bite out of the attendance at the big race events.

Running is not generally a team sport unless you count the gathering at the pub after the event or the pictures with friends at the finish line. Virtual race events allow runners to avoid the challenges associated with getting up early, driving to an event, running in unfamiliar territory and at a less familiar time of day with potentially poor weather, and the higher cost of participation due to the higher cost of expenses associated with putting on such an event.

So, is the virtual race a growing trend? I've decided it will be for me! It's something to keep me motivated, connects me with a virtual community via social media, and allows me to conveniently keep to my fitness plan!


IMPROVING MY PACE

JANUARY 7, 2020

low carb

Well, I'm 7 days into the new year and I've racked up 7 three milers with substantial improvements on the per mile pace. With one exception (on a day when I was very low on carbs and calories) all of my three milers have come in under 29 minutes with my best (today) coming in at 26:28 or an 8:49 per mile pace.

Considering that I walked a total of .15 miles over the course of those three miles, and that I'm working toward a no-walking three miler and 5k, I expect to see continued improvement. My goal this year is to get somewhere in the 25 minute range on a 5k, or better yet even break 25 minutes. That will take some more training and speed work but I believe I've got it in me, if for no other reason than my sheer stubbornness.

When it comes to training for faster paces on shorter distances, I've said before that I'm in uncharted waters and it's the truth. I'm fearful of either falling (especially with some of the pot holes on some of the dirt roads where I train) or of tearing a muscle. In 30 years, I've only done it once but it's no fun! I still want good health and fitness to remain the dominant themes for my training. As such, these types of goals will require careful focus and discipline. Most of all they will require a carefully considered incremental approach.

Here's to a better pace!


WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

JANUARY 3, 2020

low carb

From my perspective, weight management is part and parcel to any plan aimed at good health, fitness, and in particular, running. Over the years, I have come to believe that a good weight maintenance plan is probably one of the best things a person can do toward good health. Why go to the doctor and try to battle so many things with medicine and medical treatment that we can better fight at the source by keeping our weight in check?

Here's another important question: Why work so hard toward good fitness (running) and throw it all away with poor eating habits? I'm not talking about the quality of foods consumed as much as I'm talking about quantity of foods consumed. I've been in that place where I'm carrying around more weight on my runs than I should have to. Believe me, it's not fun!

I've found nothing to better support weight loss and management than a low-carb diet! And, in the process of reading, I ran into a question: What is the difference between a low carb diet, the Atkins diet, and the Keto diet since they all basically focus on lower carbs?

Well, it turns out that Keto is known for its focus on therapeutic properties (such as managing epilepsy or improving insulin sensitivity). Atkins is known for reducing carbs for weight loss and, over time, increasing carbs for weight maintenance. And, a simple low-carb diet is just that - a way to use reduced carbs to both lose and maintain weight over the long-term.

I know that low-carbs and higher fats and proteins have worked well for me in the past but it's a struggle to balance that with a running routine. In reading, I learned that a run where I am above 70% of max VO2 (See here for max VO2 definition) requires a faster consumption of energy and that is best accomplished with carbs. A run below 70% of max VO2 does not require the faster consumption of energy and can be readily accomplished with fats.

On the other hand, 1g of carbs provides 4 calories of energy whereas 1g of fat provides 9 calories of energy. My interest is seeking a faster pace runs completely counter to all of that. Hmmm, more decisions!

I should add one other thought: I'm not super meticulous about a healthy diet, but I am quite focused on 1) reducing total caloric intake and 2) avoiding processed sugar! While I'm presently doing pretty good at both of those, the discipline required to achieve each is probably my greatest challenge, especially when considering the bad habits I have acquired over a lifetime of eating!


RUN NUMBER 2 IN 2020

JANUARY 2, 2020

pi day

Highway 367a - the main part of my running course

Well... I was feeling too good, and the day was just too beautiful, not to get out and go for another run despite my original thoughts toward running every other day in 2020. It's clear to me now that I want to shoot for a daily run!

It was sunny and 65 degrees (f) when I started my run just before 1:00 PM. I had just finished lunch a few minutes earlier which included a bottle of water and half a pita pocket loaded with tuna fish, tomato slices, cucumber slices, and dill pickle slices, not to mention a dash of balsamic vinegar to spruce the whole thing up a bit more.

I decided to add a tiny bit of brisk walking to the running mix just to see how the rest factored in with my per mile pace and my over-all time. To my surprise, the results were better than expected. I ran all of mile one (9:02), walked 1/10th on mile two (9:25), and another 1/10th on mile three (9:13). To be more specific, I briskly walked half a tenth at 1.0 and another half a tenth and 1.5 and did the same thing at 2.0 and 2.5. The breaks felt good and contributed to a better overall pace.

My three mile pace including the walking was 27:40 and with the extra tenth I added to the run my 5K pace came in at 28:30. I have no idea how much I can (or want) to improve on that, but we'll see how it goes as I get on into 2020.

I'm also trying to decide if I want to alter my course just a bit to avoid the pot holes in roughly 1.2 miles of dirt side-roads on my course. Staying on the blacktop would improve my pace and make for a smoother stride, but the straight road feels longer and psychologically makes for a more tiring (and boring) run. Tough decision!

As usual, after my three mile run Patty and I did our two mile walk. Our pace always feels good and usually falls somewhere between a 17:30 and 18:00 per mile pace. Today we did a 17:36 and a 17:27 putting us at 35:03 when we crossed our finished line. I'm so grateful for that wonderful afternoon time together with my amazing wife! Yesterday, we saw a group of eagles flying together. From what we could tell about their flying patterns, it appeared that several males might have been interested in a lone female. What a treat to see things like that in this beautiful part of Florida.


MY FIRST RUN OF 2020

JANUARY 1, 2020

pi day

I went out for my first run of 2020 today (3 miles) and conditions couldn't have been better. I was feeling strong and the weather was a perfect 63 degrees (f). I decided to run a strong first mile to see where I'm at in my training coming out of 2019.

The goal was to run at a pace that pushed me, but also one that I was relatively confident I could maintain for the entire mile. I wanted to see how I was feeling and what kind of pace I could maintain for a mile. Turns out I ran that mile in 8:13. The interesting thing is that 8:13 is about 5 seconds slower than my PB half marathon pace, set back in 2008 at age 52.

I'm in new territory training for an running the 5K distance after having run so many distance races (almost all half marathons) over the past 30 years. I want to pick up my pace and, at the same time, avoid injury! The challenge will be to ensure I take a gradual approach to improving my pace. I've made the mistake of running faster than I had trained to run and the result is no fun!

According to the data I downloaded from my Garmin Vivoactive 3 data, most of my 3 mile training runs in 2019 averaged out somewhere 9:30 and 10:00. Considering that I did zero speed work in 2019, I'm pretty comfortable with that pace serving as a starting point for improvement in 2020. It will be interesting to see what type of training provides the best results.


THE 2020 I HAVE A DREAM 5K RACE

December 31, 2019

love2run

As 2020 is only minutes away and 2019 draws to a close, I registered for another virtual race. This one is next month, in January of 2020, and commemorates the life of Martin Luther King.

I'm really excited to kick off my 2020 race calendar and my first virtual run with this race. I can execute the run in a controlled environment where I'm used to running, and there's no getting up extra early and driving long distances in order to run with a crowd.

Now, I enjoy the race atmosphere but the idea of breaking in easy and doing it in such a way that I focus more on my training than breaking records is of particular interest to me. If I decide to work on some speed training this year, that will also be something I will approach very gradually in order to avoid the lower back challenges that have come for me with over-training and/or running at speeds for which I've not trained.

I'll set my sights on the "potential" for more competitive times in the spring if training in the early part of the year is working to my advantage.

Here's to fitness, good health, and good running in the New Year!


600 MILES IN 2019!

December 28, 2019

love2run

Well, today is December 28th and I finally hit my 2019 goal of 600 miles. While most of that was miles I ran, some of it was combinations of running and walking - a strategy that has proven highly beneficial this year on several fronts.

I'm taking the last 3 days of 2019 off and giving myself a fresh start in 2020. The plan is to run 3 miles every other day which should net out to 45 miles per month and 500 miles for the year (with a little room to spare.)

I'm purposely setting monthly goals instead of an annual goal so that I'm not forced to play catch-up if life happens and I fall behind. There is no better formula for injuries than falling behind on an annual goal and having to push to an unhealthy extent to get caught up!

Additionally, I'm hoping that the 3 mile distance will better position me to run some 5K races during the year. I'm looking forward to my first ever virtual run in March and may take on a 5K before that if a local and interesting race shows up on the calendar.

Happy running everyone!


CLOSING IN ON 600 MILES IN 2019!

December 27, 2019

pi day

Well, it's now December 27 and I have 5 days left to put in 10 miles to hit the 600 mile line for 2019. Should be no problem - especially with the nice weather forecast for today and tomorrow (no rain and temps in the lower 70's.)

Our family left yesterday around lunch time so I decided to get out in the early afternoon and put in a 3 mile run followed by a 2 mile run/walk (which mostly turned out to be running - at least on mile 5.) I did a 52:41 5 miler which nets out to a 10:32 pace. I'm aiming to finish up today and tomorrow and take a breather in preparation for the new year.

I need to set some 2020 goals and am leaning toward a 3 mile run every other day, which would put me at around 545 miles for the year. Perhaps I'll shoot for another 600 mile year, or just shoot to beat 500. We'll see...


600 MILES IN 2019?

December 22, 2019

pi day

Well, it's December 22 and I have 10 days left to put in 18 miles to hit the 600 mile line for 2019. I'm hoping that's not going to be a problem. However, the amount of rain on the 10 day forecast and everything going on suggests it may be challenging, especially since I don't plan to run while we have family in town for the holidays.

It will be an interesting count down to 2020 and crossing that 600 mile line may occur right at the end of 2019. We'll see!

Footnote 3:00 PM: Saw a tiny opening in the weather on the NOAA web page and decided to give it a go. Winds were still gusty outside but the temperature was a comfortable 60(f).

Did three miles at a 9:15 average pace and just as I pulled in the driveway with 1/10 mile to go, the rains came and brought a nice cool-down. That puts me at 9 days remaining in the year and 15 miles to go.


THE 2020 Pi DAY 5K RACE

December 18, 2019

pi day

I just signed up for my first 5k in 2020. It's the Pi Day 5k Tallahassee and it will also be my first virtual race event.

Being a self-proclaimed geek (with limited credentials - having memorized Pi to 50 decimal places) this will be my second Pi Day race. My first was the Georgia Tech Pi Mile race back in April of 2014 which actually covered a distance of Pi miles! If you're interested, you can read about that race here.

I'll be running the race out here where I normally train and will both run and submit my time at some point during the month of March as required. Stay tuned!



RUNNING MEDALS

December 17, 2019

3 miles gva 3

There's something pretty special about having a medal draped around your neck at the end of a race. It represents the hard work you've put in preparing for the race and it also represents your successful completion of the event.

Each and every race has a story and a quick glance at the medals hanging on my office wall is sure to bring the story and the many memories to mind from one of the events.

Today I was reflecting upon the Hatfield's and McCoy's Half Marathon that I ran on June 13, 2009 - just over 10 years ago. I can remember so many fun and interesting things about that trip and the event, and yet I have the same experience when I reflect upon any of the other events.

I'm so grateful for having taken up running back in 1990 and for the encouragement I received from a fellow employee to get involved in the race scene. It changed my life!


3 MILES

December 16, 2019

3 miles gva 3

Most of my recent runs have involved a lot of running and a bit of walking. Early in 2019 I started out by walking a tenth of a mile and running a tenth and repeating that process for whatever distance felt comfortable.

Over time I worked up to 3 miles and with that I started running 2 tenths for every tenth walked until I was walking 1 tenth for each half mile and finally 1 tenth for each mile. It was a very different approach than I've ever taken for building distance and speed but one that really worked for me and one that was made possible by the Garmin Vivo Active 3 smart watch.

Yesterday I ran a 3 miler without any walking for the first time since my 5k races back in 2017. I have to admit that this whole process of building up distance and speed initially felt a bit demoralizing - especially after running so many distance races over the years. But a quick reminder that I'm in this first and foremost for good health and fitness brought me back to my senses and even put a spring in my step.

I dumped the Garmin data over to my phone and discovered that my pace for the 3 miles was 27:30 with one mile splits of 9:09.01, 9:14.7, and 9:06.2 netting an average per mile pace of 9:10. I'm okay with that considering that I didn't push hard on the speed element. In fact, under race conditions I would anticipate a per mile average pace somewhere around 8:30. I'm still not sure if I want to push to that level, even under race conditions, since I'm trying to run for health and fitness and even more importantly for the long-term!


RUNNING JUST GOT MORE INTERESTING

April 15, 2018

Vivoactive 3

If you asked this guy what he's passionate about in life, high on the list would be running! A week or two before Christmas last year, my sweet wife treated me to the latest and greatest in the Garmin family of runner's watches - the Vivoactive 3. Quite honestly, I've struggled over the last few years to decide if the investment was going to be worth it. However, now that I've been using it for almost four months, I can truly say that I had no idea what I was missing!

I could not believe just how much data it was able to capture and I was definitely not prepared for the amount of information it was able to derive from that data. Neither was I prepared for the amount of realtime information the watch was able to provide during my runs and the number of options I had for configuring just what I wanted to see during those runs.

If all of that wasn't enough to persuade me, the sync with my phone app took Running Analytics to the next level. It enabled me to review my pace and heart rate (among other things) in graphical format over the entire period of the run. Was I keeping a steady pace and how did my heart rate compare early on to the end of my run?

I found the GPS to be quite accurate and it opened up a new opportunity that I had always desired, but never expected. Sure, it could plot the course I had run, including mile markers, but I was now equipped to take any turn on my course that I wanted to take and still get a clear read, at the end of the run, on the distance I had traveled and both the pace for each mile and the overall pace.

An unexpected treat was the ability to track my sleep patterns, including heart rate, and do things like keep count of my steps during the day and track my estimated calories burned at any point during the day.

Best of all, running has become more fun for this numbers guy! I like seeing the data in realtime on my runs and especially having the capability to pass the turn off to my house, do a bit of quick math in my head, add an extra leg to the end of the run, and finish that last mile right at my doorstep.

Now that is cool! Cool!


THE MARCHING CHIEFS 5K

NOVEMBER 19, 2017

chiefs

As a former FSU music major, I was really looking forward to running the Inaugural 2017 Marching Chiefs 5k. To be honest, I only attended FSU my junior year and I had not participated with the Marching Chiefs. Still, visiting the campus and checking in on the music program was a nostalgic treat for me! I had also trained pretty well for the run and was looking forward to a good race.

Unfortunately, the weather had other plans for me. Actually, the weather was nice but the storm the night before apparently threw the organizers for a loop in terms of getting their monitors out on the course. Somewhere along the lines the wrong person was put in the wrong place and given the wrong information.

The result was something more along the lines of a perhaps a 7K or 8K race. I honestly don't know for sure but I knew when I crossed the finish line that there was no way my good pace translated into such a bad clock time.

I later heard that there was indeed a mix-up on the course but I never did get the final word on the actual race length. To be honest, I was just glad to finish strong on a distance that I wasn't really trained for.

I really hate having missed the 2nd and 3rd annual occurrences of the race, but hope to be ready and running in the 2020 event!


CAN GEEKS BE RUNNERS?

NOVEMBER 19, 2017

geeks

Can geeks be runners? Sure they can, but I don't tend to see that as a natural pairing. In fact, I tend to wonder just how common that duo might really be?

My geek attributes kicked in naturally at a very young age and with literally no effort at all on my part. I was probably building API's for Tinker Toys and my Erector Set before I learned how to read.

I also remember vividly, years later, when I got my first look at a microcomputer (far before they earned the name Personal Computer or PC) and it was love at first byte! Did I mention I often enjoy math puzzles and can still recite Pi to fifty decimal places? I suppose it's a testimony to my geek DNA that I'm even willing to share that last bit of information.

Some ten years or more later after buying that first microcomputer, taking up running was a very different story. There was nothing natural about it at all and there were many false starts before it finally took hold of me.

Even now, I still sign up for races to keep myself focused on training and, in turn, motivated toward good health. It's just too easy to make excuses, get lazy, and fall off the wagon directly into the recliner.

I envy those runners who have a runner's body type. This geek wasn't born and blessed with that. My legs are disproportionately short to my overall body height and most of the good runners that I know have longer legs that seem to extend all the way up to their neck!

I can assure you it takes additional mental strength to make up for my physical limitations, but that also makes it all the sweeter when I pass one of those guys during a race.

Happy running my friends!


THE ENCOUNTER 316 5K RACE

NOVEMBER 4, 2017

Tville

Yesterday I ran the 3rd annual encounter 316 5k race hosted by First Baptist Church of Thomasville, Georgia. I really like these small-town races and especially the beautiful spirit of the members of the host church. From the moment I walked on the property I was greeted warmly by most everyone I met. Unfortunately, the morning had not started out quite as well for me.

I had planned on getting up around 5:45 AM but actually woke up around 5:00 AM with the kind of stomach cramps that often accompany food poisoning. Unfortunately, an extended restroom visit did nothing to alleviate the situation and I found myself going through all sorts of mental gymnastics trying to analyze my options. I just don't give up on goals that easily, but this one was very tempting! Medal

I convinced myself that I would have a number of McDonald's restrooms between me and my race destination and that this would allow me to make a better decision upon my arrival. And so, in a massive step of faith (or my often spoken of obsession with running, races, and goals), I gave my sleeping wife a goodbye kiss and asked her to say a prayer for my stomach cramps, loaded my gear in the car, and was underway on a 60+ mile trip up to Thomasville.

I drove about 13 miles to the center of Crawfordville, Florida and almost turned around as the cramps were getting a bit worse. Another 10 miles and I was north of Crawfordville, still in the pitch-black of night, and feeling a bit nervous about the distance between me and the next McDonald's. At that moment I remember saying, Lord I'm going to need your help on this one! Nothing fancy or super-spiritual - just a simple plea for help. North of Tallahassee, my cramps completely disappeared. I remember looking down at my odometer when the pain departed and was 40 miles into my trip and on the North side of Tallahassee. The pain never returned.

As I arrived at the church there in Thomasville, the next question that came to mind was what to wear for the race. I usually run in technical shirts but had brought a long sleeve cotton shirt with me since the temps were supposed to be in the 50's and since I had no idea how much wind might be around. I put on my cotton t-shirt and walked around the block to pick up my race packet and technical shirt. There was a chill in the air but no wind and I knew I would be warm after the first mile and changed back into the technical shirt for the race.

The kids one mile fun run was scheduled for 8:00 AM and the 5k was slated to start twenty minutes later. I watched the kids come across the finish line and was quite impressed with some of the numbers. The young boy that won the race turned in a time somewhere around 6:30. I was impressed!

Not long after, we lined up and were underway. For the past couple of years, I had mostly been walking and doing very little running. In fact, in my transition back to running again, I had only put in 11 days of training in preparation for this race. I started with 4 runs of 1 mile each followed by 7 runs of 2 miles each - all on 11 consecutive days including the day before the race. The race was going to be my graduation to the 3 mile (or 5k) distance and with all things considered, I thought it went pretty well.

Even with several down-hill and up-hill locations on the course, I was able to maintain a pretty steady pace and had a little left over for a strong push on the uphill run to the finish line. I crossed the line at 26:50:55 and received a medal for first place in my age group. If they had been awarding medals for oldest runner, I probably would have won that too!

I turned in an 8:40 per mile pace which was very much in line with a few of my best training times on my two milers. Today, the day after the race, I ran a 3 miler and turned in an 8:45 per mile pace. The extra wear and tear of a second three miler (two days in a row) was somewhat compensated for by my much flatter (in fact, entirely flat) home course!

Looking forward to the Marching Chiefs 5k in Tallahassee in a couple of weeks!


GEORGIA TECH PI MILE RACE

APRIL 12, 2014

Hutch Pi

Being a real math geek (that means I love numbers and math - but not necessarily that I'm any good at it!) and with my passion for running I just had to run the 2014 Pi Mile (3.14 miles) race sponsored by GA Tech. It takes place on the GA Tech campus and had a few more hills than I expected.

Still, I managed to squeeze out an 8:59 pace today which was not bad considering the hills and the fact that I hadn't done any speed training for such a short distance. It's the fist race I've run in a very long time without my mp3 player but I figured that I would just enjoy the crowd since the race wasn't very long. Kudos to the sponsors of the race - it's a well-organized race and I love the t-shirt!




HALF MARATHON #30 - SAVANNAH ROCK & ROLL

NOVEMBER 5, 2011

July 4th

I ran the Inaugural Savannah, Georgia Rock & Roll Half Marathon today. There were 23,000 runners with 16,000 running the half and another 7,000 running the full marathon.

This was my 30th distance race and one that I was not as well trained for as most other races I have run. In fact, it was the first half marathon where I went over 2 hours in as long as I can remember.

Still, it was a great race and I particularly enjoyed seeing several old friends from Savannah along the course.


RUNNING THE PEACHTREE

JULY 4, 2011
July 4th

I've run the Peachtree Road race over a dozen times but, with my focus on half marathons, it's been equally as many years since I've run it. It's the world's largest 10k, hosting 61,000 runners this year, and it's a 4th of July tradition for many runners in Georgia.

This year over 70,000 runners applied to the Atlanta Track Club for one of the 60,000 race numbers. It's rumored that the total available numbers was increased to 61,000 late in the game to help the race maintain bragging rights as the world's largest 10k.

I didn't register for the race this year, but I did put out a last-minute request on Twitter and Facebook a few weeks ago, to see if I could pick up a number from someone who was going to have to bow out. There's usually a few who put their race numbers up for sale at the last-minute due to a change in plans.

There's also more than a few (like me) who are usually looking for a race number at the last-minute. Just go to Twitter and type in the hashtag #Peachtree and you'll see what I mean. As it turns out, I actually bought mine yesterday at the shoe store and from the guy who sold me a new pair of running shoes. It seems his wife had not been able to train as much as she wanted and was willing to let her number go. Talk about a last-minute find!!!

I'm guessing I'll be in one of the later waves (there are 25 waves) which means I could be crossing the starting line 90 minutes after the first runners crossed it and close to one hour after the winners crossed the finish line. Still, there will be the coveted t-shirt and plenty of refreshments awaiting me no matter when I finish. From there it will be a short walk back to the MARTA station and a short ride home to enjoy some good eats and an evening at the local fireworks show with my wife and our son - who decided to make the trip over from Alabama to join us for the festivities.

Happy 4th everyone!


THE ALBANY GEORGIA MARATHON BAR HALF MARATHON

MARCH 7, 2010
Albany

I was really excited about running the Marathon Bar half marathon down in Albany, Georgia this weekend. I was looking forward to taking a nice 13.1 mile run through my old stomping grounds and making my way through some of the neighborhoods where I used to live back in the 1970's and 1980's.

I was up by 5 AM Saturday morning and down to the river front by 5:30 or so. I was able to park in the civic center about 25 yards from the race start and, considering the 31 degree reading on the thermometer that morning, enjoyed the warmth of my car until about 15 minutes before the 7 AM start time.

The course was great and the support along the course was excellent. I particularly enjoyed seeing all of the men and women from the United States Marine Corps Logistics Supply Base there in Albany - who were providing traffic support at all of the intersections. One young female Marine asked me how I was doing and I indicated I was doing great and asked her how she was doing. She responded, "I'm doing great - after all, I'm not the one who is running!" Pretty funny I thought, considering that I'm sure she must know a lot about running in her line of work.

I placed 8 out of 24 in my age group and finished 182 out of 586 half marathon finishers. My time was 1:58:31 which represents a 9:03 per mile pace. Having battled an upper respiratory infection in mid-February, which caused me to miss my last race and which also took a real toll on my distance training for this particular race, I was delighted to make it in under two hours.

There were 579 finishers in the full marathon for a grand total of 1,165 finishers. I believe there were about 800 registered for the half marathon but I have no idea how many of them actually started the race and dropped out. It was great to have Patty with me and to hang out with her family for the weekend. I've got one more half marathon in two weeks (the ING Atlanta) and then I will be shifting my attention to a more focused weight training program for the spring and summer before making a decision about a couple of half marathons in the fall running season.


TRAINING FOR A HALF MARATHON

FEBRUARY 25, 2010
ugh

The first thing I would offer to anyone looking for a half marathon plan is to carefully consider your reasons for running a half marathon. Different reasons call for different plans. The second thing I would offer is that there are no experts out there. Yesterday's best practice can easily and quickly be ousted by tomorrow's best practice and that goes for footwear, mileage goals, speed, warm-up's and cool down's and all other things in between. You will ultimately become your own best expert.

I'm a big fan of taking in all of the information you can and then testing things to see what works best for you. So test carefully everything I say against all of the variables in your own life's equation. As I've written before, your body will talk to you and if you listen you will learn. Distinguish the difference between a complaint from your body (ignore them!) and a warning (take heed!) If I had to boil it down to one word, it's about approaching everything incrementally! Build your life of running just like you execute a run - one step at a time!

Allow me to share my goals because if they're not your goals then my half marathon plan may not be good for you. I train for health and I register for and run races to motivate myself to train. It's that easy for me. I compete only with myself and I do pay attention to the times I turn in on my races just to ensure that I'm pushing myself - but only to the point where it supports (and does not undermine) my goal of good health.

I'm 55 years old and I've run countless half marathons, 10k's and 5k's in the 20 years that I've been a consistent runner. In all of that I've remained injury free with the exception of one torn muscle which occurred years ago, when I built up too much speed on a severe down-hill section of a run. Lesson learned and a good one it was!

My basic plan for the half marathon comes with a few assumptions. I typically run 5k and 10k training runs as a general rule unless I'm specifically training for a half marathon. I'll run as many 5k's during the week as my schedule will permit (usually 4 or 5) and a 10k run on most weekends.

In any race, I'm generally consistent in meeting my goal for my target time (pretty much anything under 2 hours and somewhere just above 1:50:00 if it's a relatively flat course.) My personal best (PB) was 1:45:54 in 2008. I'm generally signing up for several half marathons a year. Where I live it's a bit too hot and humid to consider them in the heat of the summer so I run a few in the fall and a few in early spring. That means I have to ramp up twice a year and then I can take advantage of the ramping up process to run 2 or 3 half marathons in each of those two seasons.

So, what's my specific training plan for the 13.1 half marathon distance? It's actually quite simple. If I'm getting ready for my races in early spring, I look at the weekend for the first race and I write 13.1 on the calendar for that weekend. The previous weekend I leave blank and then each weekend before that I decrement 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, and 6. Since I run 6's all the time on weekends it's no problem to start my training with 6 miles and build up 1 mile per weekend with several 5k's in between and always a day off before and after the long training run. Oh, by the way, now go back and write a 6 on the weekend you left blank. It's a distance you are used to and it will keep you loose for the upcoming race the following week without taking a real toll on your body.

My plan nets out to an 8 week plan or roughly 2 months - assuming you are comfortable with 10k's. If you're more comfortable with 5k's then the plan becomes an 11 week plan or roughly 3 months and begins incrementing with 4 miles.

Trust me - there are many more (and much more demanding) plans out there. If your intent is to turn in a sizzlin' time then this plan is probably not the plan for you. If your plan is to simply challenge yourself to run distance races and feel good about the accomplishment and your health, then I would recommend the plan to anyone who is healthy enough to run 3 miles. If you're not at 3 miles yet, then start with a week of half mile runs and add a half mile a week until you reach 3 miles or 5k (3.1 miles.)

Let me know how the plan works for you if you try it out. It's worked for me for many, many years!

Happy running!


UGH!!!

FEBRUARY 1, 2010
ugh

The picture offers a perfect visual description of the way I felt this past weekend - totally frustrated with a situation over which I had no control. I was even frustrated that I was frustrated since I knew I couldn't do a thing about it! But that's okay 'cause I dealt with it!!! Sorta...

The story starts on Thursday afternoon. I returned from a quick overnight business trip to the west coast. Somewhere in the span of ten hours on coast to coast flights, I picked up some kind of flu bug and now my throat was beginning to hurt. I began telling myself that this cannot happen because I've got a big out of town weekend planned for my wife's birthday (and that doesn't even include the fact that I am also sneaking in a half marathon early on one of those mornings while she sleeps in.)

So, now it's Friday evening and I'm trying to do my best imitation of a perfectly healthy husband enjoying the start to his wife's birthday weekend. Unfortunately, my hacking cough and low-grade fever betray me. My wife gives me the first of many hugs for the weekend and it's clear to her that something isn't right. I'm not about to let things fall apart so we hit the highway with a major supply of Tylenol and Halls Honey-Lemon Mentho-Lyptus in tow.

The Tylenol and Halls only mask the reality of things. Still, they work together to get me through a nice drive out of town, wonderful meals together, visits to local attractions, and orchestra seats at a late evening play before heading back to our beautiful hotel room. No killer flu is going to blow this guy's plans out of the water!

Back at the hotel room the Tylenol and Halls were no longer masking my symptoms and it was not pretty. We had completed all of the activities I had planned for Patty's weekend and I had survived. All I had to do now was to get a good night's sleep, skip the race, and Tylenol-up for the two hour ride home in the morning.

Unfortunately, there was this problem. You see, skipping a race for which I've paid and, more importantly, trained is just not in my DNA. So, what if I just ran a half marathon two weeks ago and am registered for two more of them in March? That doesn't do a thing to help me justify missing this one!!!

So, I'm sitting here late in the evening trying to justify running 13.1 miles in the morning before the sun rises and with the flu! I'm guessing that you have a clear view of the obsessive picture by now. Did I mention that the forecast was calling for 27 degrees and winds in excess of 15 mph at race time? This was a no-brainer! (Now I'm not talking about the "I am sick and shouldn't run" type of no-brainer. I was going for the "I have run in much worse conditions" variety of no-brainer.)

Fortunately, I came to my senses and reminded myself that I train and run races for good health and not to be obsessive (although all distance runners are indeed obsessive!) Truth be told, the problem was much more about setting a goal and then having to give up on it than anything else. But even then, I still have to constantly remind myself that training and races are nothing more than periodic milestones toward the over-all objective of good health and fitness.

With that said, I may need to start carrying some Halls and Tylenol with my racing gear.


HALF MARATHON #25

OCTOBER 29, 2009

half 25

I'm looking forward to running half marathon number 25 this weekend. It's the Silver Comet Trail half marathon over in Mableton, Georgia and it will be the fourth time I've run this race. I ran it back in 2005, 2006, and 2007 which were the fifth, sixth, and seventh running of the race respectively. I don't remember why I missed last year but I'm sure there was a good reason.

I particularly like this race because of the flat course. The race course is a concrete path that has been developed on the same route as the old Silver Comet railroad as I'm told. There's nothing any steeper than a 15% grade if I remember correctly.

This will be my sixth and final half marathon for the year. I started a weight training regimen over a month ago and plan to scale back my distance running just a bit to give my weight training extra attention. It will be a new adventure as I learn to balance the two. I'll have to learn just how much distance running my body can take and still allow me to perform well on the weight training side of things.

I decided to work with a trainer to start out my weight training. It has proven to be very beneficial and I have already seen some very positive results and received a great education regarding so many things having to do with the human body. The stretching exercises have actually added great improvement to my flexibility, my sleep habits, and some minor but chronic lower back pain I have experienced in recent years due to excessive lifting related to my humble landscaping efforts. Darn those retaining walls!


GANG SIGNS?

OCTOBER 9, 2009
hutch 13.1

Okay - notice my hands in the picture. This was taken while I was running in the inaugural Atlanta 13.1 half marathon last weekend.

The odd thing is that every time I have a photo taken of me while I'm running, my hands tend to look this way. I'm not a member of a gang and I don't know sign language so there must be something else going on here with my hands.

The only thing I can figure is that I must be wired a bit differently from my peers in the running community because I don't ever see anyone running close by who is a member of the same gang.




THE INAUGURAL ATLANTA "13.1" HALF MARATHON

OCTOBER 4, 2009
13 Point 1

Today, I enjoyed running the Inaugural Atlanta version of the "13.1" half marathon with 2,601 other finishers. The promoters are touring America and putting on the "13.1" trademarked event all over the country and with a different theme in each city. The theme for the Atlanta version was Southern Rock! The event moves to Miami, Florida next.

The race started and finished at Oglethorpe University here in Atlanta. The event kicked off at 7:13 AM and offered some of the best weather I have yet to experience in a distance race. It was a well organized event with a beautiful course - despite several pretty serious hills.

I felt strong today and had it not been for the hills I might have turned in a time in the upper 1:40's. As it was, I recorded 1:53:50 on my runners watch from starting line to finish line - a time with which I was very pleased considering the hills. I'm hoping I can improve upon that time the end of this month with the Silver Comet Trail half marathon. That's one of the things I like about running - you can always compete with yourself.

Happy Running Everyone!


RUNNING UPDATE

MAY 10, 2009
Update

I made a conscious decision to cut back on my running mileage this year. I put in 1,070 miles last year and the weekly requirement to get in four runs of five miles each was simply too demanding while, at the same time, trying to do half marathon training and keep up with everything else in life.

In reality, twenty miles a week is no problem at all. It's just when you try to do it consistently for 52 weeks in a row that the difficulties show up. Miss a few runs due to illness or a heavy work load and now you're forced to play catch up on an already demanding weekly running schedule. There were some weeks when I was forced to run seven runs of five miles each just to catch up.

I set a goal for 750 miles in 2009 with a basic target of five runs of three miles each during any given week. To-date, I am right on target with exactly 250 miles clocked through April 30th. If I fall behind for one reason or another with this kind of goal, playing catch-up is a bit more realistic and doable.

I've already run two half marathons this year (the Martha Berry in Rome, Georgia and the ING in downtown Atlanta) and I have three more on the calendar including one next month. I have a very specific training regimen for half marathons that has been refined over the course of many races and I'm right on schedule for the one coming up.

Here's an updated list of all of the races I have run with distances greater than or equal to 15k (approximately 10 miles):

1991 Atlanta Half Marathon (1)

1992 Atlanta Marathon (2)

1995 Atlanta Half Marathon with Jonathan (3)

1996 Atlanta Half Marathon (4)

1999 Ola Half Marathon (5)

1999 Atlanta Half Marathon (6)

2001 Atlanta Half Marathon with Allie (7)

2001 The See Spot Run 20k (8)

2002 Country Music Half Marathon (9)

2002 The Rock & Roll Half Marathon (10)

2005 Silver Comet Trail Half Marathon (11)

2005 Atlanta Half Marathon (12)

2006 Tybee Island Half Marathon (13)

2006 The Silver Comet Trail Half marathon (14)

2007 Silver Comet Trail Half Marathon (15)

2007 The Carpet Capitol 10 Miler (16)

2008 Half Shell Half Marathon (Key West) (17)

2008 Tybee Island Half Marathon (18)

2008 Albany Marine Base (Run For Relief) Half Marathon (19)

2008 Peachtree City Classic 15k with Josh (20)

2009 Martha Berry College Half Marathon (21)

2009 ING Half Marathon (22)

2009 Hatfield & McCoy Half Marathon (23)

Of the three half marathons I still have on the calendar for 2009, each brings with it a special treat not so common in my races. The first one is in June and is out of state. I'm looking forward to taking Patty with me and making a long weekend out of it. The race is based on an interesting historical event. I'll add another post at a later time and tell more about it.

For the second race, I'll be training with a 13 year-old relative of mine and helping him prepare to run his first half marathon. He and I are working up through a 5k race and a 10k race on our way to our half marathon goal.

The third race is going to be a very cool family event. Josh, Allie, Patty and I are traveling to Virginia Beach, Virginia to join friends and extended family over Labor Day and to run the Rock & Roll half marathon up there on the beach. It promises to be a great time!

Last but not least, I downsized my IPOD in the beginning of 2009 by picking up an IPOD shuffle. It's not much bigger than a postage stamp and has a clip that holds on very nicely to the bottom of my shirt making its presence virtually unknown unless I want to skip a song. Music has always been a critical component to my runs and this new addition serves me well with over 70 of my favorite songs.

Well, that's more than enough for now. If you're running, keep it up! If not, come and join me!

(Updated June 14, 2009)


2009 ING HALF MARATHON

MARCH 29, 2009

ING


2009 MARTHA BERRY HALF MARATHON

MARCH 7, 2009

New Balance


NEW BALANCE

JANUARY 16, 2009
New Balance

This week I had the pleasure of training some great folks up at the New Balance headquarters in Boston. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Sherri, Dan, and Patrick. Their hospitality was second to none!

Sherri fixed me up with a great pair of 1062's (I'm holding one of them in the picture) and I took them out for a short 3 mile spin today.

It only took a few steps to seal my conversion to the New Balance family. Right off I noticed the extra cushion and added stability.

I also noticed that my feet were able to breath better than ever before. The new high-tech shoe laces were also a nice touch.

Carey Plato, Product Manager - Running, went the extra mile and fixed my wife (also a faithful runner) up with a pair that were entirely pink - her favorite color. She hasn't taken them off since I brought them home to her.

I'm now a big fan of Sherri and Carey and New Balance and am looking forward to a long-term relationship with their products. With several half marathons on my calendar in the next few months, I'll be keeping my eye on the new and improved 1063's coming out this spring.


RUNNING IN WASHINGTON D.C.

DECEMBER 18, 2008
dc1

I had a business trip to D.C. this week to teach a class on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I arrived at my hotel before 3:00 PM on Monday and promptly put on my shoes, running shorts, and a short sleeve shirt and prepared for what would turn out to be a 10 miler before all was said and done.

I took a quick glance at a map, stepped out of the hotel front door, pointed myself in the direction of the monuments and set out on my run.

I had thrown my camera in my pocket and made a couple of 30 second stops to catch some of these photographs along the way. Temps were in the 60's and it turned out that there was a big crowd of runners who must have all had the same idea.

Unfortunately, Tuesday's and Wednesday's weather was not nearly so friendly and I had to fly out Wednesday night. Still, with that adventure D.C. has become one of my new favorite places to run...

dc2
dc3
dc4
dc5


RUNNING WITH MY BEST FRIEND

DECEMBER 5, 2008

In December of 2007, I set my goals for 2008. The most difficult goal in that list was probably one of the most difficult goals I have ever set for myself. It took 340 days to complete with physical and mental effort beyond description. Patty

My commitment to the goal took on an added challenge when I accepted a new job with RightNow Technologies on April 1st of this year. Ramping up for the new position while maintaining a focus on this goal would stretch my skills for organizing and prioritizing to a new level.

A few weeks ago it became clear that I would indeed accomplish this goal in 2008 as I had planned. As such, I wanted to find a way to share the experience of the accomplishment, and the celebration, with my best friend.

As an avid distance runner, my goal was to run 1,000 miles in the year 2008. As of last weekend, I was at 990 miles. Unfortunately, my work schedule had evolved to a point where it looked like I would be out of town on the day that I was to meet my goal. As a result, I made a few changes.

I asked my wife and best friend if she would run the last mile with me as a way to include her in the accomplishment and to thank her for all of those evenings where she gave up time with me while I put on my running shoes and hit the streets.

Now, to place this in perspective you have to know that Patty's a treadmill girl and doesn't care to run outside. In addition, I'm sure that the forty-degree temps were not going to be conducive to her idea of having fun - even if she only had to endure them for one mile.

Still, and even with excitement, she agreed. So, with 10 miles to go, I set and met a schedule to complete 3 runs of 3 miles each during my stay this past week in Washington, D.C. I had told Patty I would be flying home Thursday evening and asked if her she would save some time on Friday for us to run together. She agreed.

And so, today during my lunch break we bundled up and made the run on a one mile stretch of sidewalks that carried us through downtown Douglasville and one of my favorite portions of my regular run.

To top it off, she had even surprised me with this certificate commemorating the occasion. It's a simple certificate but the thought, love, and commitment behind it runs immeasurably deep.

That's just like Patty - she's always one step ahead of me. In 33 years, I have found it impossible to out-love my best friend...


RUN FOR YOUR LIFE

NOVEMBER 14, 2008
run for your life

I had an opportunity this evening to watch a documentary about running. Entitled Run For Your Life, and produced this year, it's filmmaker Judd Ehrlich's story of Fred Lebow - founder of the New York City Marathon.

If you're not a runner you probably wouldn't enjoy this film. In fact, even if you are, if you haven't run a marathon you may not find it interesting.

One of the most interesting aspects of the story to me was the way it chronicled the inception of todays world-wide passion for running. It's clear that the NYC Marathon played a major role in running's present popularity.

What I found most interesting though was this man named Fred Lebow and the way he was able to grow the NYC Marathon into what it has become today - even in the midst of what would seem like insurmountable odds to any other person.

Run in 1970 for the first time and with only 50 runners, the event now limits participation to 37,000 runners and entry is largely dependent upon a lottery system. Of equal interest is the fact that it boasts the largest crowd of spectators for any sporting event in the world - nearly 2,000,000.


2008 PEACHTREE CITY CLASSIC 15k

OCTOBER 18, 2008
15K1

At 5:30 AM this morning, with the temperature hovering right around 50 degrees, Patty and I pulled out of bed and prepared to meet Josh and Allie in Peachtree City, Georgia where we would head over to participate in some of the 2008 Peachtree City Classic races.

We met Josh and Allie and piled in our cars and proceeded to the starting line. We arrived just in time to see the kids 1 mile fun run. It was a great site and Allie recognized a number of the runners as being students from the elementary school where she teaches.

The picture was taken by Patty and is a shot of the runners lining up for the 15k. That's yours truly waving at the babe-a-licious photographer from the crowd and that's Josh in the hat and sun glasses immediately to my side.

At 8:30 AM the gun sounded and Josh and I were on our way for a 9.3 mile run along the golf cart paths of Peachtree City, Georgia. By 8:40 another gun sounded and Allie was on her way for the women's 5k (3.1 mile) run.

15K2

Not long after Josh and I passed the 7 mile mark, we passed dad and Lorraine's house and had an opportunity to wave at Dad and Jane and Lorraine. Cousin Kris was there and ran along with us for a few minutes to say hi.

After both races were over, we all proceeded to dad's and Lorraine's for some relaxing downtime and a wonderful breakfast put together by Lorraine. All in all, it was a great morning and wonderful to have an opportunity to get in a good run and hang out with everyone afterward.

Tonight, we'll meet up with Josh and Allie again and head over to the Haralson County Marching Band competition and root for the marching Band (Rome, Georgi High School) where Jonathan serves as the percussion instructor. After that, everyone's spending the night with us and we're sure to have a great time together.

Hope you're also having a great weekend!


CROSSING THE WEST COAST FINISH LINE

SEPTEMBER 28, 2008
finish line

Yesterday, September 27, 2008, I reached the West coast and completed a three year long virtual cross country run. It was a run that began on September 12, 2005 on the East Coast in Savannah, Georgia and finished 2,395 miles across the country on the West Coast in San Diego, California.

The run took me 165 miles along Interstate 16 West from Savannah to Macon where I picked up Interstate 75 North and traveled approximately 81 miles. From Interstate 75 I picked up Interstate 20 in the heart of Atlanta.

The bulk of the trip, some 1,269 miles, was spent running along Interstate 20. On the western side of Texas, half way between Midland and El Paso, Interstate 20 merges with, and becomes, Interstate 10. I ran alongside Interstate 10 for another 543 miles.

Just South of Phoenix, Arizona Interstate 10 splits. From there I picked up the Eastern end of Interstate 8 and ran approximately 337 miles to reach San Diego, California and the West coast.

All in all, the run carried me through 8 states (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California) and took 3 years and 16 days which equates to 159 weeks or or a total of 1,112 days.

Based on an average of better than 9 minute miles, I estimate around 350 hours of actual time spent running. Of the 1,112 days the number of days where I actually ran was 533. This indicates that I ran between 3 and 4 days a week at an average distance of 4.5 miles per run.

I also set a goal to run 1,000 miles in 2008 which would require an average of 4 runs of 5 miles each per week and would deliver me across that finish line in mid-December with a couple of weeks in reserve. As of this week, I am right on schedule with 780 miles completed.


100 MILES TO GO!

AUGUST 28, 2008
100 miles to go

As I approach today's run, I have exactly 100 miles left to complete my coast to coast virtual run across the United States. The run started in Savannah, Georgia and will wrap up in San Diego, California.

I started the 2,395 mile run on September 12, 2005 and, if I stay on schedule, I should complete the run around September 28, 2008 - almost exactly 3 years later. I'm also still on schedule to meet my goal of running 1,000 miles in the year 2008.

2008 has been the best running year I've ever had. I have already run 3 half marathons bringing my grand total to 19. I also achieved a new half marathon PB (Personal Best) by turning in a 1:45:54 at the Marine Base Half Marathon in Albany, Georgia. And, in that same race, I placed first in my age group which was the first time I've ever placed in any race.

Although I want to run one or two more half marathons this year, I'm already looking out to 2009. I plan to cut my total miles by about 25 percent and move my weekly goal from 4 runs of 5 miles each to 5 runs of 3 miles each - not including any training I do for half marathons.

And speaking of half marathons, Allie and Josh and I are talking about running the Tybee Half Marathon next year. We're still in the 'talking' stage on that one so more on that later...


RUNNING ON THE CHARLES

AUGUST 12, 2008
charles

I was up in Boston on business last week and, after asking folks about nice places to run, was pointed to a beautiful run alongside the Charles River right there in Boston. Before it was all over, I put in a good ten miler and probably could have done more with such beautiful scenery to distract me.

I ran from the hotel through town to get to the river and then enjoyed the comfort of exchanges between the bike path and various walk-ways and dirt trails that broke off of it from time to time - not to mention a couple of picturesque bridges that I crossed.

The run was getting long but I just didn't want to turn around. Running an 'out and back' (run to a certain point and then turn around and run back the same route) is always a challenge in a new area because you want to see what is next, but you realize that each step will cost you an extra one. Waiting until your dog tired to turn around is not the kind of strategy that provides for strong finishes.

At one point, my run took me past an outdoor concert shell and later past Boston University and a spot where they launch their sailboats and, I suppose, the row-boats for their rowing teams. I have a few more trips scheduled up that way and plan to include a run across one of the bridges that crosses over the Charles.


410 MILES TO GO

JUNE 20, 2008
theba

This is a specimen of Wulfenite. I've never heard of it either. It was plucked from a copper mine in Theba, Arizona.

I will arrive in Theba, Arizona this weekend on my virtual cross-country run and will reach the 2,120 mile mark of my journey with only 275 miles remaining to San Diego and the West Coast.

Theba also represents a major milestone as I will reach the 500 mile mark for 2008 and be right on schedule to reach my 1,000 mile goal for the year.

When I went to research Theba, Arizona I couldn't find anything on Yahoo or Google about the town. A more extensive web search still turned up nothing except the fact that it is indeed listed as a town in Arizona and is located on Interstate 8 between Gila Bend and Dateland - for what that's worth.

For the past two weeks I made a 30 mile trek on Interstate 8 through the Sonoran Desert. That seems only fitting considering the extreme heat we have been experiencing here in Atlanta where the real running has been taking place. In order to complete my 5 mile runs with such hot and humid conditions, I have found myself leaving the house around 7:30 PM and still coming home drenched.


410 MILES TO GO

MAY 4, 2008
410 Miles to go

On my virtual cross-country run I arrived in Tucson, Arizona today. It's a run that started September of 2005 on the East coast in Savannah, Georgia and will wind up, this year, on the West coast in San Diego, California.

I've got about 410 miles to go which means I should be arriving in San Diego right on my birthday (September 15) assuming I am able to maintain my 20 miles per week goal, which was set to achieve my goal of 1,000 miles for the year.

Of course the real goal here is good health and weight maintenance, but I've learned without more measurable (and fun) goals it's just too easy to talk myself out of going for a run from one day to the next.

The snow and ice in Montana, and my hatred for treadmills, set me behind in the last week or two. On the other hand, the weather this week was great - so I piled on extra miles. As a result, I was not only able to catch up, but to get a day ahead of schedule. That's going to help with all of the things going on this coming week with Allie's wedding.

Looks like I've got several more trips to Montana in the next few months. Can't wait to get back on Baxter Road in the spring time...


THE PERFECT RUN

APRIL 14, 2008
Perfect Run 1

I know - the title sort of resembles The Perfect Storm. However, Montana does indeed offer the perfect run - and this is it.

It's a 2.5 mile run from the edge of civilization out a lonely country dirt road to the turn around point - a stop sign out in the middle of nowhere.

Then, it's 2.5 miles back with a view that is more breath-taking than the one encountered on the first half of the run.

Now, before you get to thinking that you could find a run like this anywhere, be sure to consider that this is the kind of scenery I saw (below) whether I looked to the left or the right. Don't miss those mountain ranges in the distance. The picture just doesn't do them justice.

Perfect Run 2

It was nothing but cattle ranches nestled in between two majestic mountain ranges and a couple of farm houses and barns scattered along the way.

Needless to say I left the MP3 player back at the hotel. On a run this beautiful, taking in the sounds becomes part of the experience.

I could hear the gentle trickle of the crystal-clear water flowing through the channels alongside the road, which was actually the run-off from the melting snow coming down from the mountains.

The entire experience is a smorgasbord for the senses and presents a rustic charm that has a romance all of its own...


MORE ON RUNNING

APRIL 4, 2008
More on Running

It's been a few months since I ran this race on Tybee Island, but the memories are still vivid and wonderful. There' just something great about the sport of running and something extra special about training for, and running, half marathons around the state and around the country.

Today I reached the 1,900 mile point since I started my running log in September of 2005. And, because I'll be traveling some with my new job, I decided to add my running log back to my blog, at the end of the Running thread, so I can update it from anywhere I might be.

I'm right on target for my goal of 1,000 miles for 2008. My weekly goal is to get in four runs of five miles each. Twenty miles a week, over the course of the year, will put me over my goal for the year.

Part of my strategy is to do what I can during the week and then use the weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) to play catch-up with my miles as necessary. I usually push myself on one run during the week with an 8 to 8.5 minute per mile pace and I usually take a more comfortable 9 minute mile pace on the other runs.

I also find that I have to keep a sharp eye on my work schedule and the weather map and plan ahead accordingly. This ensures I don't get caught (flat footed?) at the end of the week with insufficient miles. And believe me, with a new job and the kind of weather we've been having (snow, tornados, and thunderstorms) it's required quite a significant level of attention.

My priority will be to devote serious attention to my new job and the new material that I must absorb in a short amount of time. But, ironically, running will actually enhance that process despite the time commitment. I find that I'm more energetic and able to handle a tougher schedule when I am running. And, I even put the run to good use sometimes by reviewing things I need to have committed to memory.


RUNNING TO THE WEST COAST

MARCH 11, 2008
Goal Digger

Despite the surprise of having met several of my running goals earlier than expected this year, I still have two major goals that remain. One has already taken a couple of years and both will take most of the rest of this year to accomplish.

In September of 2005, I decided to start recording my miles in a running log. I had already been running regularly for about 15 years and, as each year passed, I found myself regretting, more and more, that I had not kept a running log to track my progress. Since starting the log, I've found that there is something very satisfying about logging my miles after a run - not to mention the built in accountability factor of measuring my progress in relation to predetermined goals.

With my log started, I set myself a goal in 2005 to run from Atlanta to the West Coast on a virtual run (where I total my miles and track my progress on a US map.) As I continued to make progress, I later revised the goal to run from the East coast to the West Coast. Measuring from Savannah, Georgia through Atlanta and on over to Los Angeles, California via interstate 20 and interstate 10, it's a total of 2,469 miles according to mapquest.

As of March 10, 2008, I have completed 1830 miles (almost 3/4's of the way) and have 639 miles to go. At my current 20 miles per week pace, I should reach the West Coast by the end of the year. If I maintain that weekly average, I should also achieve my other goal of running 1000 miles this year.

Of course, when all is said and done, the races and goals are nothing more than motivators to keep myself training and in good shape. As I have blogged before, running simply comes with too many benefits to ignore it.


THE ALBANY GEORGIA MARINE CORP HALF MARATHON

FEBRUARY 10, 2008
Albany GA Marine Corp Half

I came across an ad for a half marathon in Albany, Georgia several months ago. Since Martha (Patty's mom) lives there in Albany, I figured Patty and I could both get in a visit, and I could catch the race while we were down that way.

With that in mind, Patty and I traveled down to Albany this past Friday night and I caught my third half marathon in as many weekends. The race was held at the Marine Base there in Albany. I've seen the race advertised several times and thought it might be a fun race to enter, especially considering the flat terrain down that way.

Coming into this race, my PB (personal best) was 1:48:20 which I did at the Silver Comet Half Marathon in October of 2007. However, with my extra training, the half marathons I had run over the last two weekends, and the flat course there in Albany, I thought this race might provide an opportunity to achieve a new PB.

I had set a goal this year to achieve a new PB and thought that if I could get down in the 1:45 range, I would be very pleased. I also had set a goal to place (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) in my age group (50 to 54 years old) at some point in the future. Placing is something I have never done before and thought I might have a shot at it in Albany considering that this race does not have the draw of a major event like the Atlanta Half Marathon.

I set a strategy for Albany to run strong and fast up front and then just try to hold on and dig deep to finish as strong as I possibly could. When I passed the 1 mile marker my time was 7:30 even. This is a good sign and a good start I thought to myself. I passed the 3 mile marker at 23 minutes. Hmmm - 3 miles at a 7:40 pace. Still not bad I reasoned.

I cranked out the next 7 miles averaging an 8:06 pace and passed the 10 mile marker at exactly 80 minutes (or 1:20:00.) I must confess I was totally spent and I still had the equivalent of a 5k race (3.1 miles) to go. I dug as deep as I could and pulled out that 5k in 25 minutes and 54 seconds (an 8:35 pace) and crossed the finish line at 1:45:54 with an 8:05 average pace over-all and a new PB. As the medal in the picture indicates, I was also delighted to grab first place ahead of the other 6 runners in my age group. At the award ceremony, I was surprised to discover that I had come in only 40 seconds ahead of the next runner in my age group.

By the way, there was a 64 year old guy who ran it in 1:38:36 (a 7:32 pace) and the winner, a 21 year old, finished in 1:16:23 with a 5:50 pace.


THE 2008 TYBEE ISLAND HALF MARATHON

FEBRUARY 3, 2008
2008 Tybee Half 1

Well, as a follow-up to my race in Key West last weekend, and with my love for races by the ocean with flat courses, I ran the Tybee Island Half Marathon this weekend. I enjoyed running it back in 2006 and thought I would give it another go this year.

Patty and I left Friday evening and stayed with Allie for the night. She had a band function going on until pretty late, so we didn't rush to get down there. Allie is always such a wonderful hostess and I'm so grateful that she allows us to stay with her. She and Patty spent most of their time together working on wedding arrangements and plans while we were there.

I decided to skip a Friday night trip to Tybee, since we arrived late, and took care of picking up the race packet and t-shirt before the race on Saturday morning. I arrived at 6:45 AM (for an 8 AM race start) and the parking spaces were already beginning to fill up rather quickly. By 7:30 AM people were riding in circles looking for places to park and the police were out in full force ensuring that runners didn't park in illegal areas or in front of people's homes.

Unlike last week, I was much better prepared for this race. I had taken in sufficient fluids and carbs to feel well energized during the run. I have discovered that a small 'Rice Crispy Treat' is the perfect pre-race energy bar - along with a few sips of Gatorade to wash it down.

2008 Tybee Half 1

The 40 degree temps and low humidity didn't hurt either. Nor did a return to running with my MP3 player - which I decided to do without in Key West at the last minute. Not sure why I did that since I've proven over and over that I run a much more focused race with music to drown out the distractions - not to mention the metal effects of hearing one's own breathing.

This race is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It's well organized, not too large, has a nice flat course that passes by the marsh and the famous light house, and always boasts beautiful medals and t-shirts.

I thought the t-shirt design this year (see photo) was one of the better ones. I particularly like the lighthouse and enjoyed living close to it, out on Tybee, while we were building the house on Wilmington Island, and where we lived for four years before moving up here to the Atlanta area.

I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:51:07 and an average speed of 8:30 per mile - a result with which I was very pleased. I was 14th out of 49 in my age group (50-54 years old); 179th out of 487 male runners, and 241st out of 1054 finishers of the half marathon.

Including all of the races that morning (Full Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5k Fun Run) I believe there were just under 3,000 runners - which was a new record as I understand it. By the way, the winning time for the half marathon was 1:12:13 - which nets out to a 5:31 per mile pace. I cannot begin to comprehend the level of commitment it takes to turn in those kinds of times!


KEY WEST HALF-SHELL HALF MARATHON

JANUARY 27, 2008
Key West 1

I always enjoy my monthly fix - pouring over the latest Runner's World Magazine searching for the next cool-sounding race. The Rock & Roll Half Marathon, The Country Music Half Marathon, and on, and on.

Hmmm.... The Half Shell Half Marathon in Key West, Florida... How cool could that be? After all, oysters are my favorite food! So, why not?

Why not!?!? Who drives almost 2000 miles in 3 days and pays good money to run 13.1 miles? That's not obsessive! That seems more like somewhere between low IQ and no IQ. With that settled, I mailed in my entry fee.

I left the house last Friday and spent the night in Savannah with my daughter, Allie. While there I decided to do one more check for the race-day weather report in Key West. I went to weather dot com just to make sure. Wait a minute - rain? That wasn't there yesterday! They were forecasting sunny and warm!

I decided to Google the Miami TV stations and see what their weather reports had to offer. I found 3 reports and none of them were promising rain - just suggesting it. Good! I can live with those odds. (Getting the obsessive picture here?) I got up Saturday at 4:30 AM and, after filling the gas tank and grabbing a coffee to-go, was on I-95 South by 5:00 AM.

For two and a half hours it was just me, miles of narrow lanes bordered by orange highway construction markers, uneven and shifting lanes, and dozens of eighteen wheelers. Did I mention the blinding rain?

I was thinking to myself - Lord is this one of those 'Hutch, you've been an obsessive fool - turn around and go back to Atlanta' moments or is it one of those 'don't give up and wimp out now you wuss loser pansy' moments that have provided men, all across our nation, starring roles in those 'stupid things caught on video' TV shows? No video cameras around, so I decided to press on.

By 7:30 AM the sun was peeking through and by 8:00 AM it was beautiful and sunny and the clouds were all behind me. And, it didn't rain in Key West all weekend either! By 1:00 PM I was in Miami and by 3:30 PM I was rolling into the Sea Shell Motel and Youth Hostel on South Street in Key West and just a few blocks from the southernmost point of the United States.

The ride in confirmed what I had been told about parking in Key West. It's horrible and expensive. As such, I parked my car at the hotel and walked everywhere. After checking into the hotel, I took a 1.5 mile hike to pick up my race packet and race t-shirt. The location for packet pick-up was the Half Shell Raw Bar. They were also the primary sponsor of the race and located right on a beautiful marina. We enjoyed a nice Pasta dinner to 'carb up' for the race, and a very interesting slide presentation and discussion by an elite runner who had done a 6 day ultra-marathon in Africa. Quite interesting!

I hiked back to the hotel a different and more direct route. On my way, I discovered a very large cemetery - probably a couple of blocks long. I later discovered, from one of the locals, that the original cemetery had washed out to sea in 1847 during a hurricane. As a result, they moved the cemetery to the center of the island. I found that to be very interesting. I took a last-minute detour to visit the southernmost point and catch a picture of the marker that is located there. Key West 2

I crashed early and was on the road by 5:30 AM hiking back over the Half Shell Raw Bar, which also served as the starting (and ending) point for the race. At 7:00 AM the gun fired and we were off. I had already made up my mind that I was going to enjoy the view and not focus too much on a real fast time. As it turned out, I didn't have much of a choice. With no breakfast snacks to supply me with energy and having probably eaten too lightly at the pasta dinner, I was not adequately nourished for 13.1 miles. On top of that, I had no idea how warm and humid it was going to be. I had been training in freezing temperatures and it had been months since I had done any heat training. I was caught totally off guard.

As a result, I simply extended my plan to enjoy the sights of the race and slowed my pace significantly. When all was said and done, I turned in a 2:00:44 time - which is still not that bad for me. I'm happy with anything under two hours and, considering the conditions, I wasn't going to concern myself with an additional 44 seconds.

After receiving my medal, I found the shortest route possible back to the hotel (still over a mile) and showered and was on the road by 10:00 AM. I snapped a lot of pictures on the way back. By 1:15 PM I had hit the mainland, gassed up the car, grabbed some lunch for the road, and was entering the Florida Turnpike. That's where my trip started to sort of fall apart.

Key West 3

I had been warned to take a lot of $1 bills for the tolls, so I did. Upon entering the first toll booth, I headed away from the 'change provided' lanes since I had exact change. What I didn't realize was that I was heading for the SunPass lanes and I didn't have a SunPass. I didn't even know what a SunPass was! But, to avoid getting killed I went on through. I felt as stressed as if I had just robbed a bank and was trying to get away from the police - except I was trying to not get away. I kept thinking a speeding car might catch up with me at any moment. But wait, it gets better.

A short while later, I made a wrong turn. The sign said I-75 and I knew I needed to catch I-75 but it seemed that it was coming up much too soon. With no time to consider my options I took the I-75 exit. It was about 45 miles later that I began to suspect that something was wrong. I pulled out my GPS and discovered I was headed due West for Naples. To continue in my present direction meant I would probably be adding 6 or 7 hours to my trip. I turned around and lost 90 miles and an hour and a half in the process. It still gets better.

Now I needed to get back on the turnpike. I pulled up to a small toll booth and noticed it was only going to cost me a quarter to get back on. That's good, I thought. The machine took my quarter but didn't raise the bar. Well, actually, the bar had been broken off, but it didn't raise the 'stub' either. My logic was, "The machine took my quarter - I'm outta here!" I had no idea what was coming but a light flashed and the machine took my picture. I'm sure I wasn't smiling at the time. But they did get my best side!

The rest of the trip home involved excessive speeds, a couple of gas stops, and a late arrival home at almost 2:00 AM - just in time to catch 4 hours of sleep before starting the work week. By the time it was all over, I had traveled 1,855 miles round-trip which included 912 miles from Atlanta to Savannah and on to Key West via I-95 and Highway 1 and a return trip that involved a more direct route up the turnpike and onto I-75 for a total of 847 miles - if you don't include the 96 mile detour through the everglades. :+) I used 66.68 gallons of gas at an average price of $2.97 (greatly assisted by the lower Georgia prices and careful planning to minimize Florida gas stops) and averaged 27.82 MPG in my Ford Taurus with speeds consistently in the 70 to 75 MPH range. All those miles and I never did eat any oysters.

Still, I would do it all again!!!


THE CARPET CAPITOL 10 MILER

DECEMBER 8, 2007

Varnell 1

This morning (12/08/2007) Patty and I rose at 5:30 AM and hit the road for a full day of activities that had already been on the calendar for a few weeks now.

We made our way to Dalton, Georgia and then a bit further to the tiny town of Varnell. Varnell was incorporated in 1968 and currently has a a population of 1,491 and an area of 2.5 square miles.

The target was Varnell Elementary School where I was registered to run the Carpet Capitol 10 miler. From there we were scheduled for Blueridge, Georgia where I had promised Patty we would spend the rest of our day taking her out to lunch and providing her with an opportunity to browse all of the shops in what has become a really neat place to spend a day.

Varnell 2

We arrived around 8 AM in Varnell, picked up my t-shirt and race number, and hung out with the locals until 9 AM when the race started. The skies were gray and the temperature was 60 degrees with what I would guess were less than 5 mph winds - a perfect day for a long run and it really brought out my best.

I had 'carbed up' last night and when all was said and done I came in at 1:21:54 which is around an 8:12 per mile pace. This is my PB (Personal Best) yet for a run 10 miles or greater. It was just one of those perfect days where I decided to push it.

The course was 5 miles out and 5 miles back with 2 small hills, one each on the last 2 miles, and nothing else but gentle rolling slopes and beautiful scenery.

Varnell 3

After the awards ceremony, we made our way to the car and enjoyed a 'back roads' ride to Blueridge, Georgia. We started out our afternoon in Blueridge with a superb lunch at the Victorian House. The atmosphere was delightful and the food - well, the grilled steelhead trout with herbs was amazing!

We spent the rest of the afternoon browsing the shops. There are probably 30-40 shops along a small stretch of road right in the historic area and right next to the North Georgia Scenic Railway (an adventure we had enjoyed the last time we were up that way.)

Patty picked up some chocolate fudge and a couple of other small items including a set of wooden spoons and we just sort of browsed our way through the rest of the stores. One of my favorites is the antique book store. That place is packed with first editions and other extremely rare and highly valuable books - not to mention some theological works that were of great interest to me.

By mid to late afternoon we were getting tired and began our trip back home. One of the highlights of the trip was nothing more than enjoying one another's company and the incredible view of life in North Georgia as we purposely stayed off of the interstates and drove the backroads through the mountains. Between the mountains, the beautiful valleys, the cattle and horses, and the farms and log cabins, there was always something amazing to see around every corner. As many times as we have been up there, we still have many roads up that way that we have not yet driven.

I can't wait to do it again!


THE 2007 SILVER COMET HALF MARATHON

OCTOBER 1, 2007

silver comet 7

I would like to say that I'm not very competitive. However, that would be a bold-faced lie. The truth is, I'm so competitive that I have avoided certain competitive events in my life just because I did not want to lose. But, somewhere along the line I was able to pause and reflect on the whole thing and what I came to realize was life-changing.

That we are going to be measured against each other is one of life's challenging realities. If we don't learn to deal with that fact, out existence can be pretty miserable. Whether it's being compared to a brother or a sister, being considered among other candidates for a job opportunity or a job promotion, the contest for the hand of the person with whom we want to spend the rest of our lives, or going for first chair in the high school band, we are constantly faced with the challenge of being measured against others.

Now, here's the epiphany that was in it for me. Being measured against others does not mean that I should, or need to, measure myself against others. Once I realized that I'm actually better off not measuring myself against others, even though some will (and in some cases must) measure me against others, I discovered that I actually perform better. By moving my focus away from my competition and back toward my own efforts, where it belongs, I actually come out stronger against the competition. It's an interesting irony.

Nowhere has this lesson in life been more clearly demonstrated than with my running. In my seventeen years of putting my shoes to the streets, the clear theme has been to 'Run My Own Race.' It's a common theme among runners, but not commonly followed. As a result, I often seen runners walking at the end of a race - the same ones that passed me in the first half mile. They try to run the race of someone else and wind up losing their own race. Today was no different - but I'm getting ahead of myself.

What I have found in running is that I don't have to beat anyone to win. I can beat my last effort and I wind up winning. I can put in more miles than I did last week or last year and I win again. I can run a better training run that I did yesterday and I win. I can finish that last mile stronger than I did last time and, once again, I win.

Running also reminds me of my relationship with the Lord. I can work to become better with both, but neither can be perfected. Furthermore, both are life-long pursuits that provide the most fulfilling and rewarding results only when competing with one's self.

So, back to today's effort, I ran the 2007 Silver Comet Half Marathon and secured an 'official' PB (that's 'Personal Best' time for non-runners.) My time was 1:48:20 for 13.1 miles and that shaved more than 5 minutes off my previous best effort. As a result, it was a win for me.

When compared against others, not only did I not cross the finish line first, but I'm confident I didn't even place in my own age group. But, that's not why I was there today. And, even if I had not bettered my time, just finishing strong would have been a win for me because it accomplishes so many objectives that I have set out for myself in my running pursuits. In fact, there are so many 'wins' to claim in each and every run that it's simply a no-lose situation.

For anyone who stuck around long enough to cross the finish line of this article, I hope you are discovering many similar 'wins' in your own life...


THE TYBEE ISLAND HALF MARATHON

FEBRUARY 6, 2006

2006 tybee half marathon

I was looking for another half marathon on one of the internet based race calendars and I came across the Tybee Island half marathon. It was to fall on the weekend after Patty's birthday so we decided to put the two together and book a trip. In fact, we realized that Patty's mom's birthday was just a few weeks later, so we decided to invite her to go along.

Friday afternoon we made it out to the race expo and I picked up my race packet and T-shirt. I also enjoyed viewing some of Anna Boyette's art (she does all of the art for the race shirts and posters) and picked up an additional T-shirt from a previous year's race. I liked the design because it primarily featured the Tybee light house. Besides, the price ($3 for a long sleeve cotton shirt) was right since the shirt was dated with last year's race.

It didn't hurt that we made it to Paula Dean's restaurant (The Lady and Sons) for supper Friday night before the race. It was an excellent opportunity to "carb up" before the run on Saturday morning. Well, I wouldn't exactly call a serving from a low-country shrimp boil and a helping of turnips a high-carb diet, but I did manage to squeeze in a helping of macaroni and cheese and one of their ho-cakes, not to mention a small helping of banana pudding to top it all off.

As we reviewed the weather forecast, the weather man said we were in for heavy thunderstorms at race time. Fortunately, the storms moved in during the middle of the night and had already moved out by the time I arrived Saturday morning. The race wasn't to start until 8:00 AM on Saturday and our hotel was only 30 minutes away, but I knew parking was going to be a problem on so I decided to get up early and secure a good spot.

I got up at 5:45 AM and, after filling up the gas tank, was out to the Island shortly after 6:30 AM. With race day packet pickup extended to race day, a large crowd was already forming to pick up their shirts and numbers and I got one of the last good parking sports near the starting line and race headquarters. The winds were quite gusty, but the mild temperature and gray skies made for almost perfect running conditions (except for the large puddles left in the roads from the previous night's thunderstorms!)

While pinning my number on my shirt, I met a guy who drove up in a truck and parked illegally next to me. I was impressed that he had driven for four hours that morning from Newnan, Georgia just to come and run in the race. I can't believe that he was planning on running the full marathon after what had to be a tiring ride.

My daughter, Allie, came down for the weekend with a bunch of her friends. Neither of us knew the other was coming down until we had already booked our trips. A couple of her friends were running the half marathon, and Allie and the rest of her buddies came along to enjoy a cool weekend at the beach and to cheer on their friends.

I started out with a good pace, but quickly realized that large crowds of runners making their way around massive water puddles were going to slow things down - not to mention 25 to 30 mph head-winds in some places. The course started South on Butler Ave. (the main street on Tybee Island) looped through some neighborhoods, back tracked North along Butler Ave., looped through some more neighborhoods and past the light house, and then back tracked South along Butler Ave. once again to finish up pretty much right where it started.

A humorous moment occurred early in my 7th mile as I was making my way back to the North along Butler Avenue. I saw a young lady and a young man running on the sidewalk alongside some of us in the race. She was holding up a camera and trying to take a picture of someone. I thought how neat that was that someone was trying to catch a friend or family member on film and was willing to run to get the photo. As I turned to look at her again, I realized this person was taking a picture of me! And, before long I realized, "Hey, that's my daughter Allie!!!" I stopped for a minute to give her a hug and say hi to her and her friend, and then it was back to the races.

I finished up the race crossing the finish line at 2:03:03 (9:23 pace) greeted by much cheering from Allie and her friends. They were great and it was nice to meet them all and spend a few minutes with Allie before she headed back to cheer on the rest of her friends as they crossed the finish line. The race medal had a really nice 3-d sea shell on it with a purple neck strap. It was a great event and I would definitely run it again!


THE 2005 ATLANTA HALF MARATHON

November 27, 2005

silver comet 5

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I ran the Atlanta Half Marathon. In the days that preceded, I had been concerned about the below freezing temperatures that were expected. But, it turned out to be the only day, this week, where overnight temperatures would not drop below 40. In fact, temperatures were in the mid 40's by the start of the race and were close to 50 as we got on into the race. One can't ask for much better than that. There were a few gusts of wind as we got downtown, but by that time they were a welcome event. I pulled my racing gloves off after the first two miles and was very comfortable with two long sleeve shirts and a pair of running shorts and a extra light knit cap for the rest of the race.

There was no official race clock at the start, but I estimated a period of about one and one half minutes between the sound of the starting gun and the point where I hit the starting line. As usual, we each had a computer chip tied to our shoes and a special mat at the start and finish lines registered each individual's official start and end time.

My unofficial time at the finish line was 1:57:30 (minus whatever time interval existed between the starting gun and my crossing of the starting line.) So, I'm estimating I registered a time right around 1:56:00 +/-. Without taking into account that difference, I still managed an 8 min. 58 sec./mile pace and achieved my sub-two hour goal. At 1:56:00, my average would be 8:51 which is great for me considering the number of hills on that course. However, I want to keep health (not competition - if even with myself) at the forefront of my running. As such, I think I'm just going to go out and enjoy my next few races. At least that's the plan right now anyway.

Update (01/06/06): Received a postcard from ATC

My official time: 1:56:03 pace = 8.58.1

Men's division 50-54 placed 108 out of 310

Overall placed 2016 out of 6339

Men's placed 1452 out of 3402


THE 2005 SILVER COMET HALF MARATHON

OCTOBER 29, 2005

silver comet 5

Today, I ran the 2005 Silver Comet Trail Half Marathon. It was the first time I have ever run the race, but it will surely not be the last. The race is well managed and the course is excellent. It's also flat - just the way I like 'em! The race was limited to 1500 entrants, and I believe we had close to that number. It was a great day for me because I turned in a much better time that I would have anticipated. In fact, it was my second-best time for a half marathon - 1:53:31. When I pulled out the calculator, I was pleased to discover that the time represented a pace of 8:40/mile.

I train for health - both of mind and body, but I suppose it just wouldn't be a race if I didn't challenge myself. I ran a 12 mile training run last weekend, and turned in a time of 1:52:00 without really pushing myself. That translates to a pace of 9:20/mile, or approximately 2:02:15 for a half marathon distance. Bottom line, it means that I was able to shave 10:15 off of my time by moving from a comfortable pace to a very challenging pace. The Atlanta Half Marathon is coming up, but considering "heart-break hill" and the rest of the rolling terrain, I'll just be setting my sites to come in under 2 hours. That, in itself, will probably be a significant challenge.


THE OLA HALF MARATHON

September 1, 2005

Blink and you'll miss it. It's the tiny, unincorporated town of Ola, Georgia. It's mostly farms and farmland and sits just to the East of McDonough, Georgia. But, it seems like a slice of heaven when you're running a half marathon along its quiet roads, gazing at the beautiful countryside. I suppose "slice of heaven" is an appropriate description, since the race is sponsored by the youth department of a Baptist church.

I don't think the race even exists anymore. I ran the inaugural run in 1999 before it became the "See Spot Run 20k" in its second year. I also ran the 20k in 2001 in preparation for the Atlanta Half Marathon, which was only two weeks later.

Sorry to see that race go by the wayside.


THE ATLANTA HALF MARATHON WITH ALLIE

November 27, 2003

Half Marathon with Allie

In 2003, my daughter Allie and I trained for, ran, and finished the Atlanta Half Marathon together. It was interesting because, for some of our training runs, I had to drive down to the University of West Georgia and run with her on the college campus - due to her busy class schedule.

Still, the training and the run is filled with many wonderful memories of quality father-daughter time that you just can't get any other way. And, when all is said and done, I thought our 2:15:09 time was pretty respectable - especially considering the very cold and windy weather conditions. Allie was 22 at the time and I was 49.

At the race expo, which the race holds each year, we bought Allie a 13.1 Christmas ornament. Every year, in December, when we hang it on the tree, it brings back all of the great memories of training and running together.


THE ROCK AND ROLL HALF MARATHON

September 2, 2002

Rock and Roll Half Marathon

I ran the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, Va., on Labor Day weekend in 2002. The course was great, but the constant rain put a real damper on any plans I had for achieving a respectable time. From the experience of my many 10k's I knew the wet shoes were going to be a problem - both for slowing me down and presenting blisters. And, I was right.

Still, it was a great race! And with the last couple of miles taking me down the boardwalk on the beach, well, running just doesn't get much better than that - even considering I was soaking wet! I had planned to drive up and run it, but actually managed to squeeze it in by making a stop-over on my way back to Atlanta after teaching a PeopleSoft class in Washington, D.C. the week before.

My time was 2:24:43 and I placed 5859 out of 10982 total finishers. Of particular interest was the fact that one third of the racers did not complete the race - probably due to the same blisters that I so stubbornly ignored.


THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALF MARATHON

April 27, 2002

Country Music Half Marathon

I ran the Country Music Half Marathon on April 27, 2002. It was a great race and surprisingly absent the large hills that I had feared might show up in Nashville. Patty and I took her mom and our son, Jonathan, up for a couple of days and enjoyed the hotel at the Grand Old Opry. In fact, the drivers in the gum ball rally arrived the night we checked in, and Jon and I had a great time looking at all of the incredibly expensive "cars of the stars."

My race time was 1:59:07, barely coming in under 2 hours thanks to a downhill section at the end of the race. It really added to the race that they had posted country music bands every mile on the course. Most of what they played was more what I might call "country rock", sort of like the Eagles, and I really enjoyed it all during the run.

I was 47 years old when I ran the race, and came in 101 out of 266 in my age division (45-49) and 966 out of 2404 male runners. The medals were very cool, and hand painted.


THE ATLANTA HALF MARATHON WITH JONATHAN

November 23, 1995

Half Marathon With Jonathan

In 1995, my son Jonathan and I trained for, ran, and finished the Atlanta Half Marathon together. Jonathan was only 12 at the time, the youngest age allowed to participate. And, he had only been 12 for about 3 months, so it's quite possible he's one of the youngest (if not the youngest) to ever train for and run the event.

If memory serves me, we completed the event in just over 2 hours and 5 minutes. I don't remember the exact amount of seconds, and I suspect that they no longer keep the times from races that far back. But, I must say that Jon was a trouper and it was inspiring to see how much encouragement he received, during the race, from our fellow runners.

Unlike my experience with Allie, the year Jon and I ran the race was a brutally cold year - not only for the race itself, but for the training as well. I remember that Jon and I did a 10 mile training run at Deerlick Park (20 laps) with temperatures in the 20's and 15-20 mph winds. What were we thinking?

Still, my favorite memory of the race occurred at the finish line. In those years, the Atlanta Track Club did not hand out medals to half marathon finishers (this year, 2005, will be the first year) so we had a trophy put together for him. Patty and Allie surprised him with it shortly after we finished. How cool was that? !!!


THE ATLANTA MARATHON

November 26, 1992

Marathon

In 1991 I trained for, and ran, the Atlanta Half Marathon - my first half marathon. In 1992, I made the (some would call it crazy) decision to train for and run a full marathon. People had told me I would do stupid things like get up to run at 4:30 AM (to avoid the heat) and I didn't believe a word of it. Turns out they were right! What was I thinking?

From where I sit today, that was my first and last marathon. There's just too much cost, in terms of training time, for too little benefit. In addition, the Atlanta Marathon has some pretty serious hills. The half marathon distance is much more do-able. It's a healthy challenge, but can certainly be accomplished with a more reasonable amount of training.

Regarding my marathon experience, we ran the same course that the 1996 Olympians ran so, looking back, there's a bit of nostalgia involved in it for me personally. My finish time was around 4 hours and 20 minutes. The only goal I had set for myself was that I was not going to walk! And, I did indeed meet that goal, although it's possible I set a new world's record for the slowest running pace ever during one or two up hill efforts.


DISTANCE RACES

I keep this post as a formal record of the distance races I've run over the years. In 2011 I ran my last distance race and decided, as I approached and crossed the sixty yard line of life, to move my training back to a more manageable 5k distance. As a senior runner, this tends to better support my goals - especially in reducing the health challenges and risks that result from distance training and the often related weakened immune system.

1991 Atlanta Half Marathon (1)

1992 Atlanta Marathon (2)

1995 Atlanta Half Marathon with my son Jonathan (3)

1996 Atlanta Half Marathon (4)

1999 Ola Half Marathon (5)

1999 Atlanta Half Marathon (6)

2001 Atlanta Half Marathon with my daughter Allie (7)

2001 The See Spot Run 20k (8)

2002 Country Music Half Marathon (9) 1:59:07 2002

Virginia Beach Rock & Roll Half Marathon (10) 2:23:08 (rain/blisters)

2005 Silver Comet Trail Half Marathon (11) 1:53:31 2005

Atlanta Half Marathon (12) 1:56:03 2006

Tybee Island Half Marathon (13) 2:02:59 2006

The Silver Comet Trail Half marathon (14) 2:01:20 2007

Silver Comet Trail Half Marathon (15) 1:48:28 2007

The Carpet Capitol 10 Miler (16)

2008 Half Shell Half Marathon (Key West) (17) 2:00:45 2008

Tybee Island Half Marathon (18) 1:51:07 2008

Albany GA Marine Base Half Marathon (19) 1:45:54*

2008 Peachtree City Classic 15k with Josh (20) 1:29:28 2009

Martha Berry College Half Marathon (21) 1:57:45 2009

ING Half Marathon (22) 1:52:47 2009

Hatfield & McCoy Half Marathon (23)

2009 Inaugural 13.1 Half Marathon in Atlanta (24) 1:53:49 2009

Virginia Beach Rock & Roll Half Marathon with Josh and Allie (25) 2:42:00 2010

Museum of Aviation Half Marathon (26) 1:56:22 2010

Albany, GA Marathon Bar Half Marathon (27) 1:58:31 2010

Silver Comet Trail Half Marathon (28) 1:56:58 2010

Atlanta Half Marathon (29) 2:06:54 2011

Inaugural Savannah, Ga Rock & Roll Half Marathon (30) 2:09:18

* Notes:

2008 Half Marathon Personal Best 1:45:54

2008 First place in age group

2008 Most training miles run in one year 1,047


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