10K Training Starts Now!

Just 94 days ago I had my chest ripped apart and had three arteries added to bypass blockages to my heart using a vein in my right leg. Kinda gross when you think about it that way but that’s the real truth of coronary artery bypass surgery.

IMG_4419Today I probably did my last 5 mile walk for a while. Now its time to starting training for a 10K race in early December. During my walk today I mixed in a half mile run with an average pace of 11:34 per mile. The walk was a little over five miles so once I hit five miles I ran to the finish. I ran .29 miles at a 9:28 per mile pace. I think I’m ready to get serious about running now.

On Friday I joined the Anytime Fitness gym located in Riverwood Plantation in Evans, GA. The recovery from triple bypass made me realize I’ve got to pay attention to strength training and not just running. I’ve neglected my strength, especially my upper body for far too long. Using the weight machines at Cardiac Rehab have made a huge improvement in my recovery. Quite a bit of the aches and pains from surgery are gone now. I still have a few quirky pains and some nerve endings that are a bit touchy but I’ve come a long way in the past four weeks. So yes, the focus will be on more than just running.

I’m looking at my 10K training as if I’ve never ran in my life. For the first few weeks I’m going to use the 10K Runner app from Fitness22 and the Nike+ Run Club app. I’m going to try to merge the two programs together at least for a few weeks, maybe a few months. Once the mileage goes up I’ll have to decide which app to let go. I’ve used several of the fitness apps from Fitness22 and I really like them but, I think they are little overpriced.

I plan to visit the gym three times a week for strength training and on my own at home work on a series of exercises to strengthen my abs and core. My my non-running days I still plan to do a 2-3 mile walk on those days. I hope I’m not overdoing it here. I think I can manage it. Now that I’m retired I have more free time.

I’d say the first thing I need to start doing is to get busy and focused on working out just as soon as I wake up. I’m a morning person for sure. Since surgery I’ve been getting up leisurely, not worrying about the time too much. Drink coffee, eat, read some, surf the net, whatever. The problem is the next thing I know its going on 9 a.m. and I really haven’t done much. Today for example, it was 69 degrees out when I got up at 6 a.m. By the time I got out for my walk it was around 9:45 and the temperature was 75 degrees. For Georgia at this time of year that’s still pretty nice but by the time I finished it was 88 degrees. Honestly, there was no reason I couldn’t have had my five-mile walk out-of-the-way before 9 a.m. Gotta work on that one.

Ok Jingle Jam 10K, registration starts around Labor Day and I plan to be one of the first to sign up. I just hope I’m ready for you in December!

14 Days of Retirement

IMG_4287The day after my 62nd birthday, I officially retired. Has it really been 14 days since my first day of retirement? Where has all the time gone? Honestly, with cardio rehab three times a week and at least one doctors appointment every week I really don’t feel like I’m retired yet.

The first five days all the family celebrated by going to a cabin in the North Georgia Mountains. It was great to have the kids and grandkids all together for a few days. The cabin was awesome. And the view! Oh my, it was gorgeous. It rained a lot the first day and a half but by the weekend we had enough sun to sit out at the infinty pool to soak up the sun and enjoy the view.

Next week is my final week of rehab so things will change a bit once that is off my plate. I believe after next week the frequency of my doctors appointments will reduce too. Yeah!

I haven’t felt the need to post much right now because it’s the same old, same old. Three rehab sessions each week and on non-rehab days I walk five miles. I will say I’m feeling better and stronger. The use of the rowing machine and weight machines at rehab have been a big help. Oh! and NO FEVERS in over two weeks now! The doctors never could figure out the cause but they are gone so I don’t really care anymore.

In the past week I have added a little bit of running to my walks. Just short 30 second sprints and each day I add one or two more. I’m up to six sprints now. Once I get up to twelve I’ll probably start trying one minute sprints. On my last walk I placed all six sprints within the same one mile split. My split time for the mile was 14:39. Just before I found out I needed a triple bypass, at times I was logging running mile splits slower than this. How did I not know something was wrong back then? Well… I guess I did realize it but never would have guessed it was a heart problem. A mile split of 14:39 with only three minutes of running included is pretty impressive to me right now.

On Labor Day weekend I plan to consider rehab officially over and will begin training to run a 10K in December. Registration for the local Jingle Jam 10K opens right after Labor Day and I plan to sign up. It’s a course with quite a few hills so I’m not sure how ready I will be, but it’s a goal. Hey, if I can’t run the whole thing–so what! At least I’ll plan to be there.

I’m considering a gym membership too. We have a small gym in the clubhouse of my neighborhood but the equipment is somewhat limited. I’m really going to miss the Concept 2 rowing machine and the muscle specific weight machines available at rehab. We have an Anytime Fitness gym within walking distance of my house so I plan to go check it out next week and then decide.

So far, retirement has been great. Super busy right now and so far I’m not really getting much done that I thought I would. Where does all the time go and how did I get anything done before? Crazy! Unless there is a drastic change of some sort this will likely be my last post concerning my recovery from open heart surgery. The next time you see something from me it will be about my preparation for my next 10K!

 

AJC Peachtree Road Race 2016 Results

AJC Peachtree Road Race 2016 Finish Line
AJC Peachtree Road Race 2016 Finish Line

Well I have my first Peachtree Road Race in the books now. When I signed up for this race I was thinking I’m crazy for running in a race on July the 4th in Georgia and the end results haven’t changed my mind either. It was extremely warm. I didn’t think to look up the temperature at my 8:10 start time but I know it had to be upper seventies and with the humidity feel like it was in the lower eighties. Conditions were Yellow when I started but twenty minutes later the conditions were changed to Red. Luckily, there was a breeze in some areas but even with that it was hot!

The first five kilometers went very well considering the heat. My 5K split time was 34:26 which comes out to an 11:02 per mile pace. My goal at start time was to finish under 1:08:00. Not even close to a PR time but with the heat and the huge crowd of almost 57,000 runners I would be extremely happy with anything under 68 minutes. The 5K split time put me pretty close to accomplishing that goal.

The fourth mile was the beginning of the hills. The first big hill is nicknamed “Cardiac Hill” and it was challenging but I’ve had worse to deal with during my training runs. With the heat though it was brutal! My body temperature was rising quickly and I started to slow down quite a bit. I finished the fourth mile with a split of 12:42! When I got to the mile four marker I had to change from a slow run to a fast walk. At the next water station I dumped two cups of water over my head to cool off. I continued to alternate from walking to running throughout the fifth mile. The mile five split time was 13:59! Uck! No way to finish in under 68 minutes now.

By the mile five marker I was feeling better and started to run to the finish. We got to a section that was shaded by tall buildings and had a nice breeze running through it that help too. I completed the last 1.2 miles at very close to an 11:00 per mile pace.

Race Results
Race Results

On the bright side, even with an 1:14:44 finish time I placed slightly better than middle of the pack for the overall and my age group. No matter what, you’ve got to find something to be happy about.

I’m glad I did it. Now I can say I’ve ran in the world’s largest 10K road race. Will I do it again? I don’t know yet. At the moment, I’d say no way. By the time signup for the 2017 race comes along I could change my mind so you just never know.

Peachtree Road Race Training: Weeks 3-5

Sorry I haven’t posted anything about my training for the Peachtree Road Race. The main reason why I stopped posting is because I stopped training specifically for that race.

I’ve decided to concentrate on improving my running form and technique. You may recall from a previous post I’m trying to include some of the principles of ChiRunning. Surprisingly, I was already using quite a bit of the form and technique of ChiRunning but I didn’t know it. There are some things I’m working on improving: breathing, pelvic rotation and forward lean from the ankles.

From my days of learning to play stringed instruments I learned to become faster you have to practice slower. Yeah, I know that doesn’t sound right. When you’re learning new techniques you have to practice slow so you can develop the feel of the technique and to allow your muscle memory to respond without thinking. And I certainly have slowed down. Of course, it’s June in Georgia so the heat and humidity are a part of the slow down but not completely.

This will be my last post about preparation for the Peachtree Road Race and you probably will not hear another thing until I’ve finished the race. I plan to continue my technique work through the months of June and July and then reevaluate where I’m at and go from there. Until then the adventure awaits.

 

Peachtree Road Race Training: Week Two

If you read my other posts from the week you know I’m trying to learn a new running form/technique using the book “ChiRunning” by Danny Dryer. This week I focused on nose breathing and cadence.

On Saturday’s run I ditched the music and used a metronome app on my phone set at 90 bpm. I found that my running cadence is not as consistent as I thought. It’s not bad but not perfect either. Some of its due to terrain and I guess that is to be expected at times. The most significant thing I noticed is my natural cadence is a little faster than 90 strides per minute. I’ll continue to use the metronome set a 90 for a few weeks and see how it goes. My run was cut short because I had an early morning meeting to attend. It’s good to have a plan but there are times when you have to adjust.

I’ve been a belly breather for as long as I can remember but I breath through my mouth. The change to breathing in from the nose is very difficult for me to learn. I figured out I can’t concentrate on cadence and breathing at the same time that’s for sure. For now, nose breathing is on the back burner.

Here’s the breakdown for the week:

Monday: 10 minute slow run; 2 minutes fast run/1 minute walk (x8); 10 minute slow run.
Tuesday: Rest day (but still did some walking).
Wednesday: 18 minute slow run; 5 minute fast run; 15 minute slow run
Thursday: Rest day (but still did some walking).
Friday: Rest day.
Saturday: Ran 5.69 miles at 11:24 per mile pace average. Fastest mile: 10:56, slowest: 11:45.
Sunday: Strength training and stretching.

Peachtree Road Race Training: Week One

It would have been nice to have another easy week after the half marathon in Nashville but with eight weeks until the Peachtree Road Race on July the 4th I can’t do that.

I’m keeping my expectations low for this event. I’ve never ran it. I don’t know the course and the crowd will be huge for a 10K. The heat of July will likely be a factor as well. I just want to go out knowing I did my best to prepare.

It’s been nice to cut back on my distance since the half marathon that’s for sure. I’m not real crazy about interval training but if I’m going to pick up my pace I need to do it. Overall, it was a good week. Felt good all week. My run on Saturday started out a little quick but I slowed down on the last three miles. I choose a slightly different route and it made the hills harder, especially during the last few miles. On Sunday though, I felt a little tenderness in my left shin area. As long as I kept moving all was fine though. Guess I need to go back to my walking for five minutes before I start my run and maybe add a few stretches too. I stretch when I finish but not usually before I start. Don’t think it’s anything to be too concerned about–just gotta keep an eye on it.

Here’s the breakdown for the week:

Monday: 10 minute slow run; 2 minutes fast run/1 minute walk (x6); 10 minute slow run.
Tuesday: Rest day (but still did some walking).
Wednesday: 18 minute slow run; 5 minute fast run; 15 minute slow run
Thursday: Rest day (but still did some walking).
Friday: Rest day.
Saturday: Ran 7.08 miles with 11:17 per mile pace average. Fastest mile: 10:36, slowest: 12:03.
Sunday: Strength training and stretching.

AJC Peachtree Road Race

Got my official notice that I’m entered into the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA on July the Fourth! I entered at the very last minute and really didn’t expect to get in. Looks like after the half marathon in Nashville it will be time to start training for this 10K in Atlanta. I’m not sure what to expect while running with 60,000 other runners but I’m looking forward to living the experience.