10K Training and Almost a 5K Run

IMG_4493I did try to run a 5K race on Saturday but I came up short because the route wasn’t 5K. My Fitbit measured only 2.2 miles. It was a low-budget race. No bibs, no clocks, timing chips, etc. There was portion of the route you were supposed to run twice but very few understood that part. Oh well, I ran 2.2 miles and that’s the furthest I’ve gone since my bypass surgery and I got to run somewhere new. The route was hilly. My Fitbit showed 147 feet of elevation. I was hoping to average under a 12 minute per mile pace but with the terrain it ended up being a 13:22 pace.

Ok, that’s pretty much how the week ended so now let me tell you how it started. The week started with interval training. 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk, 2.5 minute run + 2.5 minute walk x 2, 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk. I’ve decided not to worry much about the split times. While I’m not running steep graded hills, they do have an impact on the times. Now I’m just focusing more on the level of effort. I finished with some weight training.

Tuesday was a benchmark run with the Nike Run Club app. After the run, I continued walking until I hit 5 miles.

Wednesday I started with a one mile warm-up before my intervals. The intervals were a repeat of Monday’s training. I had some things to take care of in the morning so I skipped by weight training. I took the day off on Thursday because I had a few appointments in the morning.

Friday started with a 1.5 mile run. My goal was to finish at an 11:48 per mile pace. I was close. I finished at a 11:49 per mile pace. Also, this makes the longest continuous run since before my bypass surgery. Next, interval training again but this time the intervals were: 2 minute run + 2 minute walk, 3 minute run + 3 minute walk x 2; 2 minute run + 2 minute walk.

Saturday was the 5K run that wasn’t but after the run I went to the gym to do some weight training.

Sunday isn’t over yet but I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Either take the day off or go to the gym for 30 minutes on the rowing machine.

Training Recap

Monday, September 10:
1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk, 2.5 minute run + 2.5 minute walk x 2, 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk

Strength training at Anytime Fitness.

Tuesday, September 11:
15 minute benchmark run using the Nike Run + app.

Walk for 5 miles (counting run).

Wednesday, September 12:
One mile warm-up run at 11:21 per mile pace.

1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk, 2.5 minute run + 2.5 minute walk x 2, 1.5 minute run + 1.5 minute walk

Thursday, September 13:
Rest day.

Friday, September 14:
1.5 mile warm-up run at a 11:49 per mile pace.

2 minute run + 2 minute walk, 3 minute run + 3 minute walk x 2; 2 minute run + 2 minute walk.

Saturday, September 15:
5K Race

Weight training at the gym.

Sunday, September 16:
? I haven’t decided what to do. Maybe go to the gym for 30 minutes on the rowing machine or just call it a rest day. I’m leaning towards calling it a rest day. What do you think?

Week Two: 10K Training

IMG_4483Monday started with a .75 mile tempo run. The goal was to finish in 10:05 but I came up a little short. My finish time was 10:13. Still pretty good especially considering the last quarter of a mile was slightly uphill. After the tempo run it was intervals. 1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 4 and 1 minute run + 1 minute walk x 2. Then I finished the workout at the gym lifting lighter weight than last week but did 20 reps x 3 instead of 10 reps.

Tuesday was a nice 3.97 mile walk and then some bodyweight core strengthing exercises.

Wednesday started with a half mile warmup at about a 10:55 per mile pace then the interval set from Monday was repeated. My split times are becoming a little more consistent but I still need some work in that area. I had intended to go to the gym after my run but I couldn’t work it into my schedule.

Thursday I did my first speed work session. I’ve never liked speed work and I can honestly say that hasn’t changed. I did 4 x 400 meters. The goal was to average a 9:25 per mile pace. I did it with a 9:18 pace. My split times were very inconsistent. Each split got a little slower and the last 400 meters came in at over 10 minutes per mile pace. I was sucking wind on that last one! After this short but intense workout I headed to the gym for the weight training I missed yesterday.

Friday was intervals using the Fitness22 10K Runner app. 1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 6. While not perfect, my split times for were a even more consistent than on Wednesday. I’m starting to feel a little more like a runner now. Not quite there yet, but I’m making progress. Afterwards, I should have done some core strengthing but I blew it off.

Saturday was a rest day. It’s college football season so my focus on Saturday is watching football. The Dawgs of Georgia beat South Carolina 41-17 so it was a good day for me. Drank too much beer and ate too much food but hey, once in a while you gotta let loose a little.

Sunday was a Nike+ Run Club app benchmark run. I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong or its just the way the app works but once I’m done, I don’t have the split time to know how fast I ran during the 3 minute benchmark. Anyone out there have any advice? After the benchmark run I went to Anytime Fitness and rode a stationary bike for 40 minutes. I haven’t been on a bike in a while and my butt hurt a little once I finished. I may have to wear my cycling shorts the next time.

Training Recap

Monday, September 3:
Tempo run at 10:12 per mile pace.

1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 4 and 1 minute run + 1 minute walk x 2.

Strength training at Anytime Fitness.

Tuesday, September 4:
Walk 3.97 miles and bodyweight core strength training.

Wednesday, September 5:
Half mile warmup at a 10:55 per mile pace.

1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 4 and 1 minute run + 1 minute walk x 2

Thursday, September 6:
Speed work: 4 x 400 meters. Averaged a 9:18 per mile pace but each 400 meters got slower and slower.

Weight training at the gym.

Friday, September 7:
1.5 minute run + 2 minute walk x 6. Running split times were: 9:56, 8:28, 10:02, 9:22, 8:51, 10:01. The splits times over ten minutes per mile pace had hills.

Saturday, September 8:
Rest day.

Sunday, September 9:
3 minute benchmark run and then 40 minutes on the stationary bike.

The First Week Back to Running

IMG_4421My first official week of training for a race since the first of the year. I had to scratch my training and running in the Indy Mini Marathon because of the heart issues but now I’m no longer on the mend and looking forward to running again.

I know it will be a slow start. Not quite, but almost like starting all over. I realize the importance of including strength training into my workout routines now so the time and effort is going to increase as well. That’s Ok. I’ve got the time now that I don’t have to go to a real job anymore!

By Wednesday I was so stinking sore! Sitting down or getting up really hurt. It could be from the running but I think it’s mostly from the weight training and the bodyweight core workouts. I haven’t done any core workouts in a long time and I’m going from one set of each weight machine to three sets. That third set is sometimes a struggle. For someone that has no butt, I sure can feel mine now!

On Thursday I ran my first full mile since March 18th of this year. It was supposed to be an easy 12 minute a mile pace but it ended up as a 11:42 pace and none of it was easy. But I did it! My first running milestone after triple bypass surgery so I’m very happy about that.

Friday was an easy four mile walk day.

On Saturday I woke up really early–3:30 in the morning. I tried going back to sleep but after over an hour of tossing and turning I went ahead and got up. Decided to surf the net for a while and then I realized it was the first day of registration for the Jingle Jam 10K on December 1st. So… I just signed up for my first race after bypass surgery!

Training was pretty much a repeat of Wednesday except I flip flopped the half mile recovery run and changed it to a half mile warmup run.

All in all I think it was a pretty good start.

Training Recap

Monday, August 27:
Three minute benchmark run using the Nike+ Run Club app.

1 minute run/1.5 minute walk x 6 using the Fitness22 10K Runner app.

Strength training at Anytime Fitness.

Tuesday, August 28:
Walk 2.67 miles and bodyweight core strength training.

Wednesday, August 29:
1 Minute Run + 1.5 Minute Walk x 8

I got the split times today!

IMG_4457

The odd number splits are the runs, the even numbers the walks. The first split was slower I’m sure because of the soreness in my legs and it took some time to loosen up. Split 11 was slow because it was all uphill. Split 15 was mostly uphill. I have to say I’m very surprised about the split times. Much faster than I expected for sure.

Half Mile Recovery Run
I tried to keep the pace at about 11:45 per mile pace. It ended up being a 11:34 pace.

Strength training at the gym.

Thursday, August 30:
Ran 1 mile and bodyweight core strength training. Milestone: 1st mile running since before triple bypass. Pace for the mile was 11:42.

Bodyweight core strength training.

Friday, August 31:
Easy four mile walk.

Saturday, September 1:
Half Mile Warmup Run

1 Minute Run + 1.5 Minute Walk x 8

Split times were:

IMG_4477

Split 11 kicked my butt. Split 13 and 15 were both slightly uphill and after split 11 I never really fully recovered.

Sunday, September 2:
Rest day.

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!

So am I Still Living?

I can’t believe it’s been over three months since my last post. It’s been a very eventful time for sure and I’ll try to get you caught up but it will probably take two or three posts to get through it. The first part won’t be very exciting but you need to know what has been going on so you know where I’m going in the future.

I started my half marathon training right after my last post to this blog. Since my break from running was much longer than I anticipated, I decided to gradually build up my running miles. The first few weeks I kept my miles down to about 2 to 3 miles per run. The weather in January and early February was pretty crappy so most of my running was on a treadmill. Not my favorite way to run!

By mid February I was up to running three times a week for about 4 miles each And by March, my weekly long run was over five miles. As my runs got longer, I was noticing for some unexplained reason it was more difficult to run. Almost to the point where it wasn’t even fun anymore. No, I take that back, it wasn’t fun anymore. Also, my running pace had slowed down dramatically from last year’s running season. Now I’ve never been a fast runner but I was finding my running pace wasn’t much faster than my walking pace– especially uphills. This is probably the biggest reason I haven’t posted anything in so long. I’m a little embarrassed about my results. Since returning to running my progress hasn’t been anything to brag about for sure.

By the third week of March I was nearing my scheduled semi annual checkup with my doctor. I used to have high blood pressure but with diet and exercise I managed to come off of it. I’ve been taking statin drugs for high cholesterol for years– probably close to 30 years. Over the past several months I had noticed my blood pressure was slowly creeping upward. To the point I stopped measuring it because I didn’t want to know the results. But since it was close to my scheduled appointment time I figured I should start taking blood pressure readings for my doctor to review at my next appointment.

Okay, you are probably starting to see where this is going, right? Over the course of the week, I took blood pressure readings at random times during the day. I would imagine anyone reading this blog knows what a normal blood pressure readings should be, but just in case, a normal reading would be 120/80. I’m not going to explain those numbers so if you don’t know what they mean just “Google” it. My first measurement was on March 19th with a reading of 139/92. Not good by any means but not high enough to be overly concerned. As it turns out, this was one of my better days. From there I had readings ranging from 139/92 for a low, and 171/102 for a high! Now this concerned me enough to call the doctor to ask if I should come in now or wait until my scheduled appointment on April 17th. My doctor scheduled an appointment for that afternoon.

Once I arrived at the doctor’s office, they asked their usual 20 questions, got my weight, and took my blood pressure. I don’t remember the exact BP reading but it was something like 190/100 something! My doctor knew I was a runner and talked to me about my issues with blood pressure and my other concerns and difficulties in running. He ordered up an EKG right then and there in the office. Within seconds of the nurse getting the EKG readings she immediately called in the doctor.  I jokingly said to the doctor, “So am I still living?”  My doctor said “You are, but it looks like you’ve had a heart attack!”

Now my reaction was something like, “What? No way! If I did, I sure didn’t know it.” He told me to stop running immediately until more test can be done and I was scheduled for a nuclear stress test for the very next day.

I think I’ve built up this story enough to close it out for now. It’s should be pretty obvious I’m still alive and kicking but the story gets more interesting for sure. Honestly, I need a little more time to reflect before I continue writing. Stay tuned, I promise I’ll be back to post something in the next few days.

I’m Back!!! Kinda. Sorta. Maybe.

It has been a long time since I posted on my blog. I didn’t really tell most people but I took a break from running during the summer. I didn’t stop running completely but my miles totaled nine or less per week.

I had full intentions of starting back up in mid-September. In fact, I did slowly get back into it again for a few weeks until…

THE RESPIRATORY ILLNESS FROM HELL

I got a cold in the first week of October and honestly, I think it was bronchitis, I couldn’t shake it so I went to the doctor and he felt it was allergies. Now, I do suffer from springtime allergies but I’ve never had fall allergies. I even told my doctor that but it seems it didn’t change his diagnosis.

A week goes by and things are still not any better so I go back again. This time he puts me on a Z-Pac. After a week of meds I was actually starting to feel better. I even went out on a couple of short, slow runs.

Within days, I had a head cold like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I was really aggravated and frustrated now. On top of that, I had one week to get better before I had to board a plane to Japan. Mucinex DM, hot steamy showers, and I even agreed to use essential oils to help get over this cold. Things were no better a week later and I really wanted to reschedule my trip to Japan but it just wasn’t possible. Too many other events along the way. It was either now or never.

I didn’t do much on the plane other than sleep, sit there motionless, take my cold remedies and tried not to cough and hack all over everyone else. It was a fifteen-hour flight from Atlanta to Seoul, Korea for the first leg and the first ten hours were OK anyway. After that, it was all shit. I had sinus pressure and a headache that felt like it was killing me. I’ve never had a migraine but I’ve had a few hangovers in my life. This was worse! It hurt to move.

With almost a 24 hour layover in Korea, I was hoping some rest would help but it didn’t. Very little sleep, still a very painful headache. Nothing seemed to work. Thankfully, the flight to Naha, Okinawa Japan was only about two and a half hours. Once there I was hopeful a good nights sleep would help me recover. I did sleep better but I didn’t feel any better. So off to the emergency room!

After a chest x-ray to see if I had pneumonia (negative), I was given a new set of medications and off I went to try to enjoy my two weeks in Japan the best I could.  I had a great time and even got a short and slow two-mile run in on my last day there.

Ok, I see this story is getting WAY TOO LONG. Let’s just say I survived the trip home but the coughing and hacking still hung around. I ran a couple of times hoping it would knock the crud out of me but finally had to give in. No more running until things cleared up.

So we are fourteen weeks into this mess now. I probably could have started running a week ago–maybe two but after taking this much time off it has been hard to get back into it. Then on top of that–, I’m about 20 pounds heavier than I was this time last year! Let’s just say I’ve got my work cut out for me.

So today is my first official day back to running. It’s cold out and I think for now I need a pretty controlled environment so I went to the treadmill. Only 20 minutes. I really don’t have a game plan yet so I’m just going to take it slow and give myself a few weeks to figure out where I want to go from here.

I’m back but its a struggle right now. I know it’s not, but it sure feels like starting over. Stay tuned, I’ll probably post an update in a couple of weeks because honestly, there isn’t much going on in my running life right now. Wish me luck.

 

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.