December Recap

Still not running as frequently as I would like but I did manage to get in 12 runs during the month of December. I guess that’s not bad considering the holidays and the tons of rain we got during the month.

60.41 Miles in December
45.07 Miles in November

That’s a net increase of 15.34 miles from the month of November.

On December 7th, I ran in the local Jingle Jam 10K here in Evans. I’ve run this one quite a few times over the past few years. It’s a very well organized event and they always hand out really nice long sleeve shirts for this one. The Jingle Jam 10K benefits the Safe Homes Domestic Violence Center.

I’ve run a half marathon, and a few 5K trail runs this year, but this was the first 10K I’ve run since the last Jingle Jam 10K. Last year, I was still recovering from my triple bypass and wasn’t even close to being ready so I walked a great deal of course. It’s a pretty challenging course with a lot of hills, especially in the second half. I definitely felt better prepared this year but kept my expectations low. Because of the hills, I would have been happy with any finish time under 1:18. Last year, with the walking, I finished in something around 1:23 so the 1:18 finish would be an improvement. Certainly felt like I could do better and hoped I could finish with a time around 1:15.

Around the 2.25 mile mark.

I started out slow and easy. A ton of people went flying by me. After about the two-mile mark I almost felt like I was running by myself. The fast runners were long gone and the bulk of the “middle of the pack” was in sight but ahead of me.

My plan was to stay relaxed for the first three miles and see how I felt then. By mile three, I was feeling pretty strong so I started picking up the pace a bit. From that point on, I starting passing people left and right and nobody ever got past me again. The mile splits for the first three miles were:

Mile 1 – 12:16
Mile 2 – 11:39
Mile 3 – 12:04

Miles 4-6 got harder because there were more hills involved. Split times for the next three miles were:

Mile 4 – 11:35
Mile 5 – 10:46
Mile 6 – 12:07

Miles 5 and 6 were difficult. I was shocked when I saw my split for mile 5. That mile really hurt and I was shocked when I saw it was my fastest mile split. Mile 6 was pretty much uphill all the way. Not as steep of inclines like the previous mile but it was never-ending.

I finished the last two-tenths of a mile really strong with a 10:55 pace. All uphill except maybe the last 100 yards. My finish time was 1:13:21. For now, this is a post-CABG PR!

Since the triple bypass I’ve had a very hard time with running hills and where I live you really can’t get away from them much. I have to say since mid-November, I’ve really noticed progress in pushing up the hills. I slow down for sure but I’m not walking them anymore. The rest of the month I just kept trying to build my confidence on the hills and I’m more focused on trying to pick up my running cadence. I’m getting close to maintaining a cadence of 160 or more, but I’m not quite there yet.

That’s a wrap for December. I’m feeling pretty confident with my running now. Way more confident than I’ve felt since before the bypass for sure. The month of January is going to be more difficult for sure. Not because of anything weather or running-related really but, I’ve got a bunch of dental work scheduled and I know it’s going to prevent me from getting out some. We’ll see how it goes. I’m more into quality over quantity right now so it should all work out in the end. Until the next time! See ya!

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!

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.

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:

CruiseJan2019-8

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.

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.

framed1

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.