Catching Up!

I haven’t posted anything since the middle of November and I wasn’t posting much in the month of October either. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a post and never finished it. Why? Well, mostly life just got in the way. It’s affected my running schedule as well but I’ve never stopped running–I just stopped blogging.IMG_0416

Thankfully, life has settled down again. Ah! The relief. I guess I’ll begin by giving a rundown of my running life the past four months:

December

On the very first day of December, which was 191 days after my triple-bypass surgery I ran in a 10K. I was really kinda down on myself the week before the Jingle Jam 10K in Evans, Georgia because I knew I hadn’t been training to the expectations I has set for myself. I just wasn’t ready for it. It’s a fairly hilly course so I decided I’d run the flats and descents but walk the inclines. I did exactly that but it was more incline than I though. The organizers essentially reversed the course route. I think it made it harder, not easier but maybe it was just because I wasn’t trained up enough. I finished but at my worse time ever! It was so bad I didn’t even write it down. It was something like and hour and 20 minutes. Really awful finish time.

Like I said, I was down on myself all week but once I got out on the course all I could think about is how grateful I am. Here I am at 62 years old and gone through open heart surgery just six months before and running in a 10K road race. That’s quite an accomplishment isn’t it? I think so. Sure, I wish I could have done better but don’t we almost always feel that way?

January

The month of January started with going with friends to Hilton Head, South Carolina to celebrate the new year. We spend five days and the first two were a bit wet but the last three days were beautiful. Anytime I travel I like to find a place to run and Hilton Head is a fantastic bike and pedestrian friendly place. We stayed in Harbour Town which is a little more secluded and we could see this historic landmark from our condo. Anyway,

Harbour_Town_July_2007

I got one run in on New Year’s Eve. It had rained during the night so it was very humid but a nice mid-sixties temperature. Got a little over 3 miles in.

Of course, I ate a lot of seafood there. Mostly raw or fried oysters. It was New Year’s Eve after all so I also drank a bit too much but no hangovers anyway.

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Love ’em Raw!

Just seven days after our Hilton Head trip we were on the road again. This time to St. Augustine, Florida. Actually, this wasn’t our final destination, it was just the first leg. Final destination? Keep reading. HAHA!

It was chilly! A cold wave starting coming through Florida the day we hit the road. No shorts or beach for this portion of the trip anyway. On our first full day, we drove over to the World Golf Village and the World Golf Hall of Fame.

As you can see in the photo above I’m not wearing a jacket but that was only because it would interfere with my golf swing. Trust me, just as soon as I finished trying to get close to the pin (wasn’t even close), my jacket was back on again.

st-augustine-tour

Our second day we spent mostly in the historic part of St. Augustine doing the usual tourist stuff. I didn’t do any running in the historic part but I sure did walk a lot! We did the Historic Tours of America thing in St. Augustine. If you’ve travelled in the U.S.A. you’ve probably seen them before. They’re open-air bright green and orange trolley’s and you can get on and off wherever you like all day.

After a few days in St. Augustine we were on the road again heading down I-95 to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Still windy and chilly though. The winds made driving a little hard sometimes but we made it safe and sound.

Just like St. Augustine, this isn’t our final destination. Hold on, I’m about to tell you. On our first full day we headed to the Port Everglades to catch a ride on this baby:

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Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas

Once on board the ship, we get settled in and just before sunset we headed out to sea for two destinations:

Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba

This was with a group of people I went to high school with Indiana. Even though it was sometimes chilly, sometime cool, rarely warm we had a great time. Our ship was smaller than any other cruise ship I’ve travelled on and no running track. I did get to the gym 3 of the 5 days on the cruise. We were at the port in Havana for a day and a half and looking out the windows in front of me on the treadmill I had a great elevated view of Havana while I ran. So technically, I’ve now ran in Havana, Cuba! HAHA.

February

Things are starting to get back to normal again! A few months ago I signed up for the Augusta University Half Marathon scheduled towards the end of the month but I wasn’t ready so I didn’t even go. I did run for an hour on the day of the race! Monthly mileage still isn’t quite where I would like it but it’s better than it has been. For the month, roughly 37 miles. The longest run was for just shy of 5 miles. That’s no where close to half marathon distance.

March (So Far…)

So far this month everything is going pretty well. I’m on track to log over 50 miles this month. On Saturday I ran seven miles and that’s the longest run in a long time. As in BEFORE my open heart surgery.

I’m 47 days away from running the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon. You may recall I ran this one week after the St. Jude’s Half Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee in 2017 and was supposed to run it again last year but the heart issues caused me to cancel. I’m pretty happy with my conditioning at this stage. I’ve lost 19 pounds since the 1st of January! I’m only about a pound and a half from my race day goal weight. Maybe I’ll have to reset my goal before then? Looks like I’m well on my way to being ready. I’ll try to post more often now.

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Whoops! Where Did the Time Go?

I can’t believe how fast the days go by anymore. How did I do it all when I was still working? It’s been a month since I posted but it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago. Life has been busy, especially in the last two weeks of October. The past ten days or so have been very quiet and not much going on–including my training. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been in a bit of a funk and haven’t been running much. The weather has been chilly and wet and that hasn’t helped much either.

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I never mentioned it but I hurt my shoulder while I was in cardio rehab. I never mentioned it because I thought I could work it out. Well… that didn’t happen. This all started probably around the end of July, first of August and it just wasn’t getting better. So a couple of weeks ago I decided to take a break from lifting weights until my shoulder improved. I’m happy to say I’m now seeing quite a bit of improvement. This week I hope to start lifting light weights to see how things feel.

Since my last post you know I have switched from using a Fitbit fitness tracker to an Apple Watch. Let’s just say I’m getting used to it. There are things I really like for sure but the Apple Health and Activity apps just don’t compare to the Fitbit app. Even with a third party sleep tracker installed on my Watch, the Fitbit sleep tracking is far more informational. While the Nike Run Club app doesn’t show you your final split time unless the split ends at a mile marker, the Apple Workout app does!

IMG_0131Looking at this screenshot, this isn’t one of my best performances–in fact probably my worse in quite a while. It was pretty chilly that day and I didn’t take the time to warmup before I started. I like having all the split times, and cadence which is something you don’t get with the Fitbit app. I was surprised by my cadence because I thought it was a little faster than that. I’ll have to work on picking that up a bit. Swiping the screen also give you your heart rate recovery information. As a CABG patient that’s important to know. A little more detail on the route map would be nice but it’s not the end of the world for me anyway. I just learned but haven’t tested it out yet is you can double tap the Watch screen to get manual split times when I use the Workout app. The manual calls them segments. I’ll have to try that soon and let you know how that goes.

You may recall I’ve signed up for a half marathon in February. The Augusta University Half is on February 23rd and my original thoughts were I would run this and see how it goes before I commit to anything else. If you are a regular reader you know I was supposed to run in the Indy Mini Marathon the past May but I had to cancel due to 80-100 percent blockage in three arteries to my heart. It was very disappointing for sure and that’s when the reality of the situation started kicking in too. Guess what?

Here I Come Indy!

I went ahead and signed up for 2019! It seems to me if I don’t do this, I’ll regret it later. So here I come Indy! See you on May 4th. When I signed up the other day I learned if I had sent them information from my Doctor last year I could have gotten a deferment for the 2019 race. Oh well–win some, lose some. I’ll remember that but I hope there isn’t a next time.

That about wraps things up. I’ll try to do better about posting next week.

 

 

Drats! Another Change of Plans

In my last post I said I plan to walk the Indy 500 Mini Marathon on Saturday, well… my heart surgeon OK’d it but today I had to go for a follow-up with my Cardiologist and he put a nix to it. He told me it’s fine for me to travel but I should do nothing to exert myself. The way he talked I shouldn’t walk anymore than absolutely necessary. Now, I’ve been walking 3-5 miles a day since all of this started! He told me he would rather I hang out at Hooters, drinking beer and looking at the ladies than doing any walking. I have to admit I did laugh at that one.

I’m not happy about it to say the least. My wife is happy to hear this and I haven’t told all of my kids yet but I’m pretty sure their opinion will be the same. The kids that would actually read this blog already know. The others will find out later this evening.

So now, I’ll be flying to Indy to pickup my race packet and number but after that I’ll just be a spectator. This really stinks. My Cardiologist did tell me he thought by August or September I could start running again so if I wanted to sign up for a race later in the year to go for it! I was happy to hear that news but I think I’ll wait until I can actually run again and then decide where to go from there.

If there is anyone reading this that will be running the Mini Marathon, best of luck to you. Maybe I’ll wave you through the finish line.

Indy 500 OneAmerica Mini Marathon

Indy 500 OneAmerica Mini Marathon

I’m really late getting this out–I’ve got to do better but the time just seems to fly. We departed Nashville in a blaze of heat but by Monday morning the weather was getting a little chilly in Evansville. The winds were really blowing too. Somer and I went out on a short run and the wind along with the stiffness from Saturday’s half marathon turned an easy run into a not so easy run. We kept the pace down and ran only about 2.5 miles. Since we were going to run another half marathon none of us wanted to push it during the week. The weather got a little colder every day. I drove to Versailles, KY for a couple of days to visit my mother and sister. I didn’t do any running but I did go for a little walk on Wednesday morning before heading back to Evansville. Kentucky horse country is so beautiful so I had to take a few photos along the way.

I would have like to have gone on a run while I was there but there are so many hills around my sisters house that I felt like I should take it easy and just go out and walk to stretch my legs and get some fresh springtime air.

After my walk it was time to get cleaned up, go out for a little lunch and then hit the road back to Evansville. It was good to see Mom and sis again but the stay was short. Oh yeah, I got to have chicken noodles with mashed potatoes too. Yeah, if you’re not from a small section of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky you probably think eating two starches is crazy. This stuff is good! It’s carbo loading to the max for sure.

Thursday and Friday in Evansville was even colder than the first few days. I wasn’t prepared for the chilly weather and the forecast for Indianapolis on race day was looking pretty bleack as well. They were calling for temps in the low 40’s and rain all morning. The percentage of chance of rain seemed to change every hour but it wasn’t looking good when I got up on Friday.

But wait, it gets worse. I guess due to the chilly temps my muscles and tendons really tightened during the night on Thursday. When I got up I had pain and tenderness in my right Achilles’ tendon. As the day went on, it only got worse. After the three plus hour drive to Indianapolis things seemed to tighten even more. I managed to move enough to get through packet pickup and dinner but it was painful. I spent the rest of the evening soaking my heel in hot water followed by massage, stretching and ice. I also took a double dose of Aleve. 

We were up early on Saturday morning and the pain and tightness in my right Achilles was even worse. At this point I wasn’t even sure I could make it a mile. I ate a light breakfast and swallowed a couple more Aleve. Our motel was close to the OneAmerica Mini Marathon start line so we didn’t have to get up quite so early and it was a short walk to our starting queue. Just before heading out I tried doing a little run up and down the hall of the motel. It felt better running than it did walking that’s for sure but it hurt! The temperature was in the low 40’s and we had a light drizzle which continued at our 8 a.m. start time. The forecast was for continued rain all morning.

I had to change my foot strike to avoid some of the pain but by the time we hit the two mile mark my Achilles was feeling like it was loosening up. I was so focused on finding a way to continue that at first I didn’t notice the rain cleared out. By mile four, the sun was starting to shine! For this Georgia boy it was still chilly so I kept my top layer on as well as my glove but by mile five the gloves came off.

Brian and Somer ran together and I was on my own. Somer wanted to use run/walk intervals so we pretty much took turns passing each other. I didn’t know it until after mile four that Brian had to stop for a potty break and I lost sight of them for quite a while. I wasn’t really sure what was going on. I entered the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at approximately the 5.5 mile mark. 


   

 

If separated, we agreed to meet up after turn four heading toward the main straightaway. I’m not sure how long I waited. Maybe two minutes before they caught up. Right away we had to get some photos together and then head to the row of bricks to indicate the start/finish line.

     

I don’t know how much time we spent taking photos on the main straightaway. I’m guessing 5-8 minutes. After kissing the row of bricks it was time to finish out the next five miles. As we left the track you could still thousands just making their way to the famous raceway. The first mile or two after leaving the track the course was a little tight and crowded. My right foot was feeling fine but I wasn’t going to push my luck. One thing about the Mini Marathon course is it’s very flat. It seemed weird to never be able to see very far ahead of you. I only recall one very small hill. Can’t remember where but I think it was around mile eleven. A very short hil and really didn’t take much extra effort.

The last mile is pretty exciting. The crowds are larger and the shouts of encouragement seem to be much louder. Brian Somer and I stayed pretty close to each other during the last five miles. Once we got within site of the the finish we got together so we would finish at the same time.


Our official chip time was 2:53:19. Considering how my Achilles felt at the start of the race I’m just happy about just finishing. Once we got to the finish and received our medals. I joked to Brian and Somer, “Where’s ESPN so I can annouce my retirement from half marathons?” I was only half joking because I really was thinking my half marathons days were over. But after a few days of rest and some time to think about how much fun the course is, I went ahead and signed up to run the Indy Mini Marathon again next year!

St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon

We did it. Two half marathons in seven days! It wasn’t always pretty–especially the half in Nashville where the temps were unseasonably warm. That was a difficult day. It started out warm and only got hotter as the run progressed. The half marathon in Indianapolis was the exact opposite–chilly and sorta damp. Indy could have been awful but the weather reports were wrong about the rain. Thankfully!

Things got started on April 28th; the day before the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon. My wife and I flew from Augusta, Georgia to Nashville where we met up with my daughter Somer, and my son-in-law Brian. The three of us ran this event last year so it helped we sorta knew the ropes going into this one. My training and Somer’s training leading up to Nashville hadn’t gone as we hoped. Last year our goal was to run in under 2 hours, 30 minutes. If not for a necessary potty stop we would have made it. This year, our expectations were lower. I was going to be happy with anything under 3 hours. Brian on the other hand had higher expectations so instead of us running together this year he was going to run on his own. Because of the heat the race start time was moved up by 30 minutes. The temperature at start time was around 75 degrees and only got warmer very quickly. I didn’t think to find out the temp at the finish but I’m pretty sure it was around 85 degrees or warmer. Brian finished with an approximate time of 2:08. Somer and I on the otherhand walked more than we ran on the last five miles and finished around 3:14.

None of us had the finish we expected because of the heat. I still think it was a success though because this year I entered as a St. Jude Hero to raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. My goal was to raise $2620 which comes out to $200 per mile. I had over fifty donors from fourteen states help me not only reach my goal but to exceed it. In all, I was able to raise $2665 for the St. Jude kids! Thanks so much to everyone who helped me help St Jude.

After the race we found some shade around the Nissan Stadium and enjoyed our chocolate milk and ice cold Mich Ultras and did some stretching. Unlike last year we are staying an extra night so there wasn’t a big rush to get back to the motel to check out. Once we got back to the motel we were ready for a shower and something to eat! We wanted to try Hattie B’s hot chicken but the line seemed like a mile long out the door and by then it was at least 90 degree’s out. So we settled on a Tex-mex place called Chuy’s. Service was great and the food tasted pretty good too. The rest of the day/evening we just relaxed and hung out together then got up early on Sunday to see my wife off since she was flying back home and we got in the car to head to Evansville. My next post will be about the Indy 500 OneAmerica Mini Marathon. Hope to have that one posted before the end of the week.

Ready for Nashville

Just five days until the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon. I logged my last long training run this past weekend. I’m ready! I’m starting to get pretty excited too.

I’m starting the week trying to stay hydrated mostly. Concentrating on a more high protein, high fiber through Wednesday and then I’ll focus more on carb loading Thursday and Friday. I do have a short run planned for Wednesday and Thursday. Short runs at this stage are tempting to push the pace but I intend to make them nice easy pace runs and avoid the hills around my neighborhood.

The wifey and I will fly to Nashville on Friday instead of driving. Once we get through airport security in Augusta, GA things should be relatively stress free. The hardest part of the trip will be finding a healthy place to eat lunch. After lunch we’ll meet up with my daughter, son-in-law and the two grandkids at the motel. We’re hoping we can check-in early.

Brian, Somer and I will head over to packet pickup as soon as we can. Last year we were rushing a bit to get through packet pickup and get to dinner at an early time. We’re hoping to eat dinner a little earlier this year so there’s plenty of time to layout our gear and get a good nights sleep. I tried to get a reservation at an Italian restaurant near the motel but theyv’e been booked up for over a month now. Now we have to get somewhere early enough so we won’t have a terribly long wait. Eating a running friendly meal will be a challenge too. Since we’re flying instead of driving it’s pretty hard to supplement our food. Which reminds me I need to find a grocery store close to the motel.

Temperature for Nashville on Saturday is looking a little warm. There is a chance of rain but it looks like it shouldn’t interfere with the run. Last year we had about a 45 minute delay due to thunderstorms. Fingers crossed–no rain and hopefully a few degrees cooler than the forecast.

That’s it. I’ve done all I can do. Some parts will be easier this year because I’ve done it before. Other parts will be harder for exactly the same reason. Like remembering some of those not steep but very long hills. I had hoped to finish with a faster time this year but a few minor health issues forced me to cutback some of my training. That’s Ok. I’ll enjoy running with Brian and Somer and hanging out with 30,000+ runners for a few hours. All is good.

13 Days Until Nashville!

I know I haven’t posted in a while but that doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting on my butt. With work commitments, March Madness (NCAA Basketball), “The Masters” in town, Major League Baseball starting up it’s been hectic.

Thirteen days until the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon! I’m starting to get a little excited about heading to Nashville again. My training is going well. Ran 11 miles this morning and I plan to get a 12 mile run in next weekend. I’m running slower than I was at this time last year. Oh well, it’s not like I’m going to win in my age category. I’m out there for the fun of it. Yeah, for non-runners I’m sure that sounds crazy. If you’re reading this then you are probably a runner to so I know you get it.

Take the time to enjoy your surroundings.

Looking forward to hanging out with my daughter and her family. Brian & Somer are running with me in Nashville–just like last year. I don’t think any of us are where we were hoping we’d be at this time in our training. It’s been a little harder this year for sure. Can’t explain why really, it just is what it is I guess. I’m not sure if Brian will run with us this year or go on his own. As slow as I’m running this year, Somer may leave me in the dust too.

Help Me Help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Training up for Nashville isn’t the only thing I’m working towards. I’m raising money to support the outstanding work that the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital does to help so many children and their families. My goal is to raise $200 for every mile I run. That’s $2620. I’m getting close but I’m still $665 short of my goal. Please help me reach my goal by visiting my Fundraising Site and making a donation:

http://heroes.stjude.org/rickhannon

That’s a wrap for now. Looking forward to Nashville and I’ll try to post once or twice before the run. In the meantime, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE support my fundraising campaign for St. Jude.

Sidebar: I live in the suburbs of Augusta, GA; the hometown of the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown so I have to give him some credit for the use of “Please, Please, Please”.

I’m outta here. Thanks for visiting.

??? Just looked at my blog stats at it appears my post in the works got posted two weeks ago and then I did the final edit today. HA! I told you I’ve been busy. I didn’t even notice I had auto post turned on.