November Recap

November recap? If you’ve followed this blog, you’re probably wondering what happened to updates for May through October. Well, it’s partly because life has gotten in the way. Another reason is that the weather can get so hot in Georgia, I take Memorial Day to Labor Day off from running. I don’t completely stop but if I get one or two short runs in a week, I’m good. I played more golf this summer than I have in several years. I wish I could say my golf game improved but it didn’t. The month of September was a scorcher this year. In fact, it was miserable with hardly a drop of rain all month. Not a whole lot of running for sure. 

The miles started picking up in the month of October, but the first two weeks were still pretty warm. We went on a seven-day cruise of New England and Canada in October and I have to say it was nice to get a few runs in with cool temperatures. To me, they were chilly runs, but they still felt great. 

Port of Boston
Boston Cityscape
Bar Harbour, Maine
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Just finished a brisk run in Halifax, Nova Scotia

I just checked my calendar and surprisingly, I got 10 runs logged for October and I only got 10 runs logged in November, but my miles picked up in November.

45.07 Miles in November
31.11 Miles in October

That’s a net increase of 13.96 miles. That’s especially good considering I had to take a week off due to doctor’s orders. 

Skin Cancer

I recently found out I had skin cancer on my back, so I had to have three places cut out. I still have stitches in one spot but those come out soon. The doctor has told me the cancer has been removed. The first spot they had to cut a pretty big spot out of my shoulder, so I had to take it easy for a week, which meant no running. If you run outdoors like I do, WEAR SUNSCREEN!

That’s a wrap. Really enjoying the cooler weather and looking forward to more running in December. If you’re outside running, even on cloudy days—put on your sunscreen. Happy running and Happy Holidays!

May 24th

One year ago today I was admited to University Hospital in Augusta, Georgia to repair my broken heart. Well… I guess my heart was fine, just the plumbing was bad. At least until the moment they knocked me out on the way to the operating room I can remember that day very well.

I remember being scared as crap for one thing! Yet, I was also hopeful that a sucessful triple bypass would mean a new lease on life too. I was disappointed that I couldn’t run anymore but also excited about getting back out there again in a few months.

I remember feeling so blessed and loved by my family. I needed their support much more than I realized at the time. Even though we were all hopeful and praying for a sucessful surgery there was still some fear and as much as I tried not to, there were tears shed by all just before they wheeled me off to the operating room.

Less than 12 hours after surgery.

I really had no clue what lied ahead after surgery. For the first few days just walking 200 feet might as well have been a full marathon. It was extremely difficult and exhausting. But I was determined!

In less than two weeks I was walking a mile or more and my stamina started returning. One mile became two and within six weeks or so I was walking five or more miles everyday of the week. Several months went by before I started running again but I was running and just a few weeks ago I ran in a half marathon. I’m proud of the accomplishments in the past year but I’m mostly greatful.

Greatful to be alive. Greatful I can sit here and babble about my progress and sometimes setbacks of running. May 24th, 2018 will be a date I will always remember. If you keep reading this blog–I probably won’t let you forget it either. God bless. Have a great running day!

OneAmerica Indy Mini Marathon 2019

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Encouraging the specators to cheer, and it worked!

Ten days on the road and I’m still catching up a bit. One of the highlights was running in the Indy Mini. Unfortunately, I had to cancel this event last year because of my heart issues. I waited until two days before the race to cancel. That was an expensive cancel. I had to cancel my non-refundable airfare and because I waited too long I had to pay for one night of lodging too. Ouch. After the fact I found out I could have entered this years race for free had I given them a statement from my doctor but I didn’t know until much, much later.

WOOHOO, back at it this year and I did it. But what a day it was. When I went to bed the night before it looked like the weather would be dry and in the mid-fifties which would be ideal. The first thing I did when I got up at 5:30 a.m. on race day was double check the weather and overnight it changed completely. The forecast was rain starting around 8 a.m. and continuing all morning and this time the forecast was correct. UGH!

I had hoped to watch my grandson run in his first official 5K but with the extra prep needed to get ready for the wet conditions there was no way I could watch him at the finish and still get myself ready. His start time was 7:00 a.m. and my start was 8:00 and I needed to be in my corral fifteen minutes before. If the start and finish were in the same place I might have been able to make it. Hated missing it but he understood the deal.

After a little breakfast it was time to start lubing up for the rain. I put body lotion everywhere to start and then I used a combination of Glide, TriSlide, and 2Toms Blister Shield. At the Expo and packet pickup I bought a lubricating wipe made by 2Toms called Butt Shield. Those things are great and now really wish I would have picked up more of them.

Left the hotel about 20 minutes before the start. It’s really nice to be staying close to the start line but it is a little pricy for sure. Anyway, the rain had already started by then. It wasn’t much more than a drizzle at that point but it still sucked.

The crowd of spectators was huge as usual and the pre-race challange was for me to find my daughter and grandkids before the start. I wanted to strip off my rain poncho and my pullover and hand them off to them. When the temp is 55 or under my hands get cold so I wasn’t going to give up my gloves. The forecast was pretty much 54 to 56 the entire morning. Luckily we found each other just moments before the start.

Wave 4 was scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and things got started right on time. Before I get into some of the details here are my offical results and the result from my Apple Watch. Total time between the two only varied by eight seconds but the distance on my watch was a little further. I tried to take the apex of each turn but maybe not as well as I could have.

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Official Results

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Apple Watch Results

Honestly, my primary goal was to just finish. My secondary goal was to finish at around a 12 minute mile pace. For the first eight miles I was pretty close to doing just that (according to my Apple Watch). I don’t know why the official results didn’t give me a 5K and 15K split. It sure would be nice to compare that to my mile splits on my watch but oh well.

Rain Would Not Go Away

A mile or so into the race it was raining fairly hard. Not in buckets, but far from a drizzle too. Just before mile two I decided to get my Clif Blocks out of my SPI Belt and put a pack in my short pocket. By then everything and everywhere I was soaking wet. I had to take off one glove to get it done. I didn’t realize somewhere in the process I had dropped the glove on the ground. There was no way to go back and get it so I just had to hope my hands didn’t get too cold.

I like to run listening to music but it was raining so hard I had trouble keeping my earbuds in. Finally by the 10K mark I turned them off and put them in my pocket. Hated it but it wasn’t too bad cause I keep the volume low anyway.

Heart Rate Jumps Up

If you don’t already know, the course turnaround is on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway After mile eight which is near the end of the two and a half mile loop on the track, I noticed by heart rate was getting into the 160-165 bpm range.

Let’s do some math here. 220 – 62 (my age) = 158 (maximum heart rate). According to that calculation I was exerting my heart over 100%. Now, since my bypass last year I’ve gotten used to running with a high heart rate. I can run at 100% and still talk. Ok, I’m not going to speak paragraphs but I can shout out sentences without a problem. Really weird but that what it is. Honestly, I think my medication has my heart rate too low and I probably need an adjustment when I go back to my cardiologist in August. It’s not uncommon for my resting heart rate to register in the 45-50 range.

I also know it’s going to be hard for me to finish the last five miles at that heart rate. I had to start walking some. I’d walk until my heart rate was below 140. On mile ten I found a pace that kept my heart rate at 155 or lower but by mile 11 my heart rate was over 160 again. So more walking. That’s pretty much how I had to finish.

I also noticed around the ten mile mark my hands were very swollen and had a purplish tone to them. My hands were not cold even though I no longer had my gloves. In the photo at the top of this post I can sure tell my hands are swollen but you probably can’t. In that photo my fingers look like the marshmellow man! No idea why. Probably lack of blood flow to my hands. Something I need to watch for in the future.

My average pace ended up somewhere in the 12:36 to 13:00 per mile. Slower than I wanted but I’m not disappointed about it one bit. I finished AND finished three minutes quicker than I did in 2017. To be fair, I spent more time enjoying the motor speedway in 2017, so if I hadn’t stopped on the track so much I’m quite sure my time would have been faster then. This year the rain was coming down hard while on the track so I just kept on moving. At the end I had some tired and wet feet but for the most part this was the best I’ve ever felt after finishing a half marathon.

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Tired and wet feet. But no blisters!

Even with the rain, it was a great event. The spectators are everywhere and very supportive. My bib had my name on it and it was nice to hear people calling you out by name supporting you. If you’ve never ran in the Indy Mini you should consider it.

I have to admit I’m tired of training for half marathons. I’m ready to get out and just run for the fun of it. I do have a 5K trail run coming up but it will be for the challenge of the course. After this, I have no plans to sign up for any events for a while. Let’s see how long that lasts!

Bluegrass Country

This week I’m on the road making my way to Indianapolis for the Mini Marathon. I was on the road most of the day yesterday making my way to Versailles, Kentucky to see my mother and sister. In case you don’t know Versailles is pronounced “Ver-SAILS” and it’s just a few miles away from Lexington, Kentucky. Versailles is the location of the distillery of my favorite bourbon, “Woodford Reserve”.

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Such a beautiful place to run. Very hilly though! Went out on a short 30-minute run this morning and I can’t help but stop to take photos along the way. It was supposed to be an easy run but I still pushed it more than I wanted. Even with the hills I was running at about a 11 minute mile pace. Yeah, not so quick for many of you but for me right now that’s moving along. Wish I could keep that pace in Indy but I know that won’t happen, even with the pancake flat course.

Here one more day then on the road again. More later…

April 26th

Awesome, a new Taylor Swift song came out today! Taylor sure likes to hype thing up a bit and she sure did with the new song called, “Me!” I’m a fan of Taylor Swift but I’m not sure I like this one. Guess I need to listen to it a few times.

SERIOUSLY?

No, I’m not posting today because of a new Taylor Swift song…

One year ago today I went in for a heart cath thinking they might have to put in a stent or two to open the arteries to my heart. Now that was my worse case scenario. Honestly, I went into University Hospital on April 26, 2018 thinking I’d walk out from the procedure knowing it was just a false alarm.

Boy was I wrong. I needed open heart surgery–a triple bypass.

I was in shock. My wife was in shock. Hell, everyone was in shock. I think my cardiologist was even a little surprised too. I didn’t look like a heart patient. I didn’t act like someone with a heart problem. How could anyone who is active and a runner need open heart surgery? Well, it happens. For me, it was mostly genetics. My body produces too much cholestrol. I’ve taken statin drugs for years and they probably have helped and most likely delayed the need for a triple bypass for a few years anyway.  But come on, I’m only 61 years old! Trust me, if it happened to me it can happen to you too.

April 26th, 2018 was a game changer for sure. I was just a few days from running the Indy 500 Festival Mini Marathon which I reluctantly cancelled. I really hated hearing the news and honestly I had no clue what layed ahead.

Let me say I’m blessed to still be here today. I guess God’s got something planned for me. I survived the surgery, the recovery, the rehab, and now by my own choice I’m retired. It’s been an adjustment for sure. Honestly, I’m still adjusting a little. Overall, things are great though–just different.

I’m looking forward to hitting the road in a few days to visit family along the way to Indianapolis to attempt the Indy 500 Mini Marathon on May 4th. I haven’t had a run in a couple of weeks now because of a head cold and the longest run in my training has been ten miles. Not quite where I wanted to be right now but I think it will be fine. Thankfully, Indy is pretty flat.

Tonight I’m runnin in the “Til the Cows Come Home 5K” and this will be my first run in two weeks. Just going to go out and have fun and I’m thinking about not even starting up my watch and just go with the flow.

Anyway, I felt like today was worthy of a blog post. Enjoy your April 26th!

 

 

Less Than Three Weeks Until the Indy Mini Marathon

Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 3.31.05 PMThat’s right, less than three weeks until the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon in Indianapolis and I’m feeling pretty good about it. Funny thing is, I’ve run the fewest miles ever in preparing for this one. And honestly, the week before I’m running in a 5K and then I hit the road for five days before the race. So really, training tapers after this week.

I logged about 55 miles in March. Even this is more than I’ve run in quite a while but still not close to my usual half marathon mileage. For a while there I was posting photos of me running here on the blog and on Instagram and I haven’t for quite a while now. Mainly because photos of someone running on a treadmill is kinda boring. That’s right, the vast majority of my training this time has been on the treadmill. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s boring! Once I discovered the treadmills at my gym had interactive routes you could choose so the TV displayed a scenic beach, mountain road, or a meadow and things got a lot better. Why the treadmill? Partly because of weather which is kinda why it started. Then I started thinking that running on a treadmill is much safer. No dogs (not that I had a problem with that where I live now), no cars, buses, trucks, no hills (unless I want them).

I’ve learned to enjoy the treadmill and will continue to use them more often now but anything more than 90 minutes is a bit much for me. The week before my two-hour run was on the road and boy did I enjoy it. The weather was a little warm during the last 30 minutes but overall it felt good. Even the hills didn’t bother me much.

I didn’t get my long run in this past weekend. I managed to pickup a head cold from hell. Starting to feel back to normal but not quite ready to run. I’m not too concerned about it, I feel like I can go the half marathon distance without too much trouble. The unknown will be the finish time. The head cold has changed my training plans but no matter I’m started to get excited about Indy.