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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 competiting 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 struggline 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 runnning 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.


Doctors & Dentists

MARCH 24, 2021



Doctors and Dentists

It seems to be a season of Doctors and Dentists. We were delighted with our previous doctor, but she made a move to an office in Jacksonville, Florida. We were delighted with the way she approached our medical care and were very sorry to see her go.

On the other hand, we are very optimistic about our new doctor since we already have experience with her in her previous care for Patty's mom. In fact, she is a specialist in the arena of senior citizens and in our mid-sixties that suits us us just fine.

We've been putting off any dental care but having waited and now fully vaccinated, we decided it's time. I'm pretty sure I have at least one cavity that needs attention, and both of us are in need of a cleaning. I was quite surprised at how far out the earliest available appointment dates were, but I gave them a full go-ahead to book us with any cancellations that turn up. It seems that everyone else is doing the same thing that we're doing.

As for vision care, I broke my old pair of glasses and have already had them replaced, despite a few misfires along the way. Patty also had her appointment to secure new contacts but seems to be in need of some additional support as well.

Like I said, it seems to be a season of Doctors & Dentists.


ANOTHER BUSY DAY

MARCH 06, 2021



Another Busy Day

The combination of temps still in the 50's and strong gusty winds is not going to make for a good walking day. Looks like we're going to take this one off. We were also supposed to have rain mixed in with this, but the weather prognosticators are backing off of that one.

With all of the wind, I'm still not ready to pull out the paint brushes and rollers. We're supposed to have some very good days next week and I'm planning to get back to my painting project with the arrival of better weather.

For our bible study we decided to choose a book and do one chapter a day. I read the first half out loud and Patty reads aloud the second half. If there's anything that seems of significant importance from my study bible, I shave that as well. Finally, we share with each other anything that the Holy Spirit has prompted within us about what we've read to each other.

We started our study yesterday in Proverbs and went through Chapter 2 today. The study seems vey alive to me, and I believe we both agree that it's been a great experience so far. I'm truly looking forward to all that is yet to come.

I'm also going through The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and we both talked a little about that as well today. I've only made it through 4 chapters of a 33 chapter book so there's plenty left to read and consider.

We also decided to revamp our diet and menu yet again. There's a lot going on in that arena and I'll spare the details here, but suffice to say I'm very encouraged with the steps we are taking and the changes that should result, both in our health and our weight maintenance.

Last but not least, we're taking steps to start with a new doctor since our former doctor has moved to a practice closer to her family. Claire was a great doctor and we will truly miss her, but our new doctor was looking after Patty's mom and so we are quite familiar with her and feel very good about the change.

Oh yeah, one other thing. Since we're fully vaccinated now for Covid-19, Patty is aleady on the schedule for an eye appointment and I'm going to schedule a hearing test. I'm not looking forward to the prospects of dealing with my apparent hearing loss, but playing and teaching in loud school bands, playing in rock bands, and listening to loud music, have all taken a toll on my hearing. I guess it's time.


Busy Day

MARCH 04, 2021



Busy

Busy day today! Got my daily chores out of the way early this morning and had a very nice call with Allie. So good to catch up with her and all that is going on with Josh and the grandsons over in Germany. They're doing such a great job over there!

I also cut and weed-wacked the yard and cleared all of the leaves and other stuff that was deposited by the rains and the high winds. It's always so nice to see a freshly manicured yard when the storms clear out and the weather turns nice.

Got in lunch and a 3 mile walk with Patty. I must say that lady keeps quite a pace and I had to hustle to keep up with her. It was a perfect day for a walk with the bright sun and the nice breeze feeding in off of the gulf.

The rest of the day, into the afternoon, was filled with more house painting. I finished up the deck trim and also the trim on the French doors facing the gulf. Finally finished off that gallon of white semi-gloss primer and paint and had to open a second gallon. Guess my next project will be getting a coat of gray paint on the stilts under the house, part of the staircase in front, and whatever else needs it.

I Finally had time here to sit down, catch my breath, and write a blog post here around 4:00 PM. I also made a big decision and decided to abandon my fitness and weight tracking logs. The fitness log made more sense when I had goals for running races, but I'm stepping away from that in favor of my up-tempo 3 mile walks with my soul mate.

Also, the weight tracking log made more sense when I was in weight loss mode, but now that I've converted to weight maintenance and determined a range in which I would like to say, the log is no longer worth the time and effort, especially since this is going to be a life-long thing.

Patty and I have decided to do a Bible study together and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to reading The Cost of Discipleship

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

In fact, I've got a list of classics that I want to read by all of the big names in the Christian community including but not limited to Packer, Yancey, Piper, Chesterton, and of course C.S. Lewis. One or two I've already read and want to read again, but most I have not and, I'm sorry to say, I probably should have by now.

I've got a ham radio net meeting tonight followed by a Zoom meeting featuring a promising presentation on the technicals behind 5G. Should be interesting!

Like I said, busy day today!


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!


NEW SHOES

FEBRUARY 23, 2021



New Shoes

When it comes to leisure sneakers, I'm a big fan of the K-Swiss brand and have been for a long time. After wearing out my old shoes, I recently picked up a pair of the men's ST329 CMF sneakers and really like them! K-Swiss considers that shoe a 'cult classic' so I guess that means I'm part of their cult.

Now, when it comes to running shoes, I'm an Asics guy all the way. I placed an order with Amazon for my new shoes and was supposed to receive them two days ago (Sunday.) Instead, I received them early (Friday), the same day I received my second Covid-19 vaccine injection. Well, yesterday (Monday) I finally got to try them out and it was a great experience as usual.

It's amazing to me how easy it is to get used to bad (old!) running shoes and accept the wear and tear on my feet, no to mention the rest of my body. When I've been running with those old shoes for far too long, the first few days in those new running shoes becomes such a dramatically different experience that I feel like I'm out running on thick, comfortable, carpet.

I also like New Balance and even Nike, but over many thousands of miles the Asics Gel's have consistently proven to be the best running shoe for me. The stability, toe construction, and over-all feel for my feet makes the Asics Gel's my go-to running shoe and a real winner for all of the distance races I've run over the years and all of the training I'm doing these days. The way I'm going on, you'd think Asics was paying me LOL!

I was so much looking forward to getting out with them that I failed to do my daily weather radar check or I probably wouldn't have taken a chance on getting out at the point I did. Fortunately, I got home before any rain arrived.

After a quick look at the radar, since Patty was still out walking, I was persuaded to hop in the car with an umbrella in case Patty needed it. She was less than a mile from the house when I met up with her and she took the umbrella. As it turns out, she opened it up on the last tenth of a mile - which is where the pavement from the end of the highway meets the dirt road that leads to our house. Fortunately, it was just a light drizzle.

Oh, one other thing! As usual with the new shoes, I forgot that those thick and round shaped lacess don't tend to stay tied very well (especially when they're new) and I forgot to double knot them. I had to pause not once but twice in the last tenth of a mile to re-tie each shoe. I would say lesson learned, but it will probably happened again since I tend to go a long time between new shoes.


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!


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.


FREEZING TEMPS

DECEMBER 23, 2020



Cold Temps Ahead

Freezing temperatures are ahead! It won't be so cold that boiling water thrown in the air will turn to snow, but it's Florida so no surprise there.

It looks like Christmas Day will fall in the middle of a three day cold snap. We're slated for 30 degrees fahrenheit on Christmas Eve followed by 27 and 28 the following two nights.

Highs will only be in the upper 40's which will provide for a couple of challenging running days. For the past two days it's almost hit 70 and I've been getting used to running in shorts with nothing more than long sleeves to protect me from the effects of a strong breeze on an otherwise seemingly warm day.

I'm always amazed at the difference these strong ocean breezes can make on an otherwise mild day. I hate to call it wind chill when temps are in the upper 60's, but I guess that's what it is when the winds are up around 15 mph, because it sure does make a difference.

I suppose dripping the water in the house will also be involved since the house is up on stilts with exposed water pipes. They're insulated but I'm not counting on that to avoid more serious problems. I'd rather go ahead and spend a few extra pennies on the water than to take on the headaches associated with a busted water pipe, not to mention a water pipe repair bill.


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!


WORKS FOR ME!

NOVEMBER 24, 2020

Works For Me

I want to follow up on the theme I chose for yesterday. I talked about the idea of what works for me from a very high level but today I want to dive into specifics.

If I don't have a photo to go with my blog post, I usually type the title in Google and see what comes up in the images category. Well, today my working title started out as What Works For Me but when I put that in Google I was presented with picture after picture of something I used to say much more often way back when.

Works For Me!

I've always thought of that comment as another way of saying that something wouldn't be my first choice, but that I could still go with it. Or, it might be another way of saying that I'll defer to another person's approach for the sake of working together.

Well, that's a long way from my focus for today's post. This really is about the idea of learning what works for me, even when it doesn't work for anyone else. I'm not trying to pursue originality for the sake of originality, but I'm also not interested in being who I'm not in order to attain the affirmations that too many seem to be seeking these days.

So, let's get into some specifics.

I've always been able to hide my extra weight and to sort of get away with being a heavier version of myself than I really wanted to be. I envied those who were trim and either had the genetics or the discipline to stay that way.

My battle has always been a battle with food. I got away with it as a kid when I had a hyper-fast metabolism, but as I grew older and the metabolism slowed the bad habits remained and I found myself with more weight than I wanted to carry. In my battle between extra food and losing weight, the extra food always won! In my battle between more sweets and less sweets, more always won.

Six months ago, in June of 2020, I finally got tired of sugar crashes and living on wishes and excuses. I knew I had a tough battle ahead of me and that it was one I had failed at many times before. I also had no idea what would be different this time in my battle, but I knew something had to be different if I were to succeed.

I was amazed at what I discovered and it has been revolutionary in my ongoing battle toward weight loss and finally weight maintenance. By the way, the operative word in that last statement was ongoing!

It is an ongoing battle, but I've turned it into a hobby or better yet a lifestyle and new way of living. And, more importantly, I've been able to identify and incorporate those things that work for me instead of battling those things that don't. That's been the key to my success in this effort - finding a replacement for the things that haven't worked in the past and focusing upon the good instead of the bad.

One key thing I have learned about myself is that this has to involve an all or nothing approach. I can't do cheat meals. I can't do occasional sweets. Others might be able to, but I can't! I have to be able to commit to a firm plan and stay the course at all costs.

And guess what? For six months I've done it. If you would have told me that I could replace all processed sugar with natural sugar I would have never believed you. If you would have told me I could drop 20 more pounds I would have laughed - especially knowing how difficult it has been for me to drop just ten or even five.

The real good news is that success breeds more success. I knew that going in, but it's a great feeling to enjoy success and the strength and momentum that come with it. I'm even running more consistently than I ever have before and my training runs are better and stronger than they've ever been.

Here's to success, yours and mine!


WHAT WORKS FOR YOU?

NOVEMBER 23, 2020

What Works For You?

It's not even in my top 10 list of favorite Mark Twain quotes, but when it comes to good advice it's hard to beat! So, why don't we pay heed to that advice, stake a claim on it, and run with it? Here's an example right from the pages of my own life.

It's the week of Thanksgiving. We've always gotten together with family to celebrate. And when we gather in a circle for the prayer right before the meal, it's always been a tradition to go around the circle and have each person say one thing for which he or she is thankful. You can tell that some struggle with it and some tolerate it, but most get in the spirit of it and participate. Some even go into the deepest recesses of their hearts for an honest and vulnerable answer.

Still, the thankful list turns out to be generally the same year after year. There's more than a few tired answers and always one or two that border on eloquent, but could be considered insincere. So, what is it for which I am truly thankful? In the absence of a large gathering this year and with the feeling that I have lost my Thanksgiving mojo, I asked myself that same question. And guess what? When I finally landed on my honest answer, I didn't like it!

One might think that I've lost my Thanksgiving mojo because of the pandemic, but that sincerely has nothing to do with it. Truth is, the generation that has always taken the lead in pulling the event together has pretty much passed away. The rest of us have begun to gather with the new patriarchs and matriarchs in our individual, smaller, and much more geographically diverse, family units. There's still a few holdouts, but it seems things (and the times) have changed.

Then where did my Thanksgiving mojo go? Well, to be honest I am incredibly thankful for all that God has done and has provided in my life and the lives of everyone in our family unit. So, in that sense, my Thanksgiving mojo is still there and will always be there.

Then what is the problem, you might ask? I wish I could offer some super spiritual answer relating to the loss of those more senior generations and, in particular, my mom and dad! But, this one is much more simple than that and frankly a bit embarrassing, if truth be told.

Six months ago I took on a major change in my life and now it's going to be time to pay up! I discovered what it is that works for me and I'm going to have to be true to it, despite the sacrifice for which it calls. It sounds a bit trite, but this year will not be a year where I include those delicious and delectable desserts that have played such a prominent role in my life in years past. This year's event will not include a primary focus on eating way too much either!

This year's event will continue to support my newer eat to live focus with a continued refrain from my former live to eat lifestyle. This year will include a continuation of my six month old diet and the weight maintenance program that has worked for me in such an effective manner. I will eat well, and will enjoy what I eat, but all within the new limits I have set out for myself. And, in all of that, I will have discovered a wonderful and healthy contribution to my newly reformed and revitalized Thanksgiving mojo.


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.


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.


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 took 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?


Copyright © 2021 Hutch DeLoach






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