Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A tired 1.5 miles

I completed the 1.5 miles, but I was pretty tired when I finished. I ran about 0.7 miles. My wakeup pulse rate has been high (low-mid 60s), likely from not getting enough sleep, and that indicates my body is tired; today's performance confirms that.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My oxygen level surprised me during my 1.5 mile run/walk

I measured my oxygen level a number of times during my 1.5 mile exercise. I was surprised to see that my oxygen level increased during my running, especially when going up small hills. The level was 96% when I started, and it went up to 99% during my runs. After I thought about it, I realized that my running was causing me to breath more deeply and more often, and that put more oxygen into my body. I had already determined on the evening the finger-clip arrived that I could increase the oxygen level by taking deep breaths.

So, I decided that my getting tired during my running is either due to my body condition not being very good from the effect of the blood clots and my inactivity for several weeks while I was getting the swelling under control, or my clots haven't been dissolved yet, or both. My oxygen level is pretty good.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The finger clip for measuring the oxygen-level came

The finger clip came yesterday. The clip displays both oxygen level and pulse rate, and it is giving a surprising result.

The pulse rate numbers are accurate and are within one beat of my measurement of my pulse at my right ear taken for a minute. My pulse rate last night was 77 plus or minus a couple of beats. The pulse rate this morning was in the mid 60s. In both cases, the numbers are significantly greater than my normal wake-up value of 50 and my daytime value of mid 50s. This increase in pulse rate isn't unusual, considering the sleep-deficit that I've been having the past couple of weeks (I'm still not doing very well in getting to bed earlier, and I still wake up around sunrise).

The oxygen numbers last night and earlier this morning were 93-94%. They are above the 90% threshold that was used when I left the hospital 5 years ago after my auto accident. My oxygen was around 87% when I left, and for a couple of weeks I had to use an oxygen tank until my recovery improved and my oxygen level went above 90%. The last time I used the tank was during a visit to my doctor. She used a finger clip to measure my oxygen level. It was about 95%, and she took the tank away. The last time I had my oxygen level checked was a couple of years ago, and it maxed the clip at 100%. So values of 93-94% are above the threshold but not as good as they should be.

However, I just woke up from an hour nap, and my pulse rate is 51 and my oxygen level is 96-97%. It appears that with proper rest, not only does my wakeup heart rate come down, which I already knew, but my oxygen level goes up. That makes sense. I'll use the clip for the next couple of weeks to see if that trend is correct.

I also will take the clip with me when I run tomorrow to see if the oxygen level varies between my walking and my running. I won't use the clip while I'm moving but will stop for a few seconds and check my oxygen. I also will use the clip when I mow my lawns next week; I'm really curious to check my oxygen level while mowing, because that activity has been making me very tired and huff and puff in my breathing. In fact, it is that huffing and puffing that caused me to worry about my oxygen level.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bought a finger-clip thing to measure the oxygen level in my blood

When I was in the hospital in January, the docs did a CT scan of my legs and lungs. The scan showed multiple blood clots in my legs but none in my lungs. However, the doctor was concerned that I might have small clots in my lungs due to my heavy breathing from climbing stairs and while walking.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, my recovery and ability to run again is going very slow, and I'm still breathing heavily while I run and especially while I mow my lawns. I don't breath heavily, though, when I climb one flight of stairs (15 steps) to my bedroom. In January, before I went to the hospital, I had sweat running down my face after climbing to my bedroom. My heavy breathing while I run and mow my lawns concerns me, so last night I bought a finger-clip that will measure my pulse rate and the oxygen level in my blood. The clip should arrive in 5 or 6 days. My blood level should be in the high 90%, and if it is below 90%, I'll revisit my doctor and probably go back to the hospital for more testing for blood clots in my lungs.

As long as I don't die from all of this, this experience is pretty interesting. I've had almost perfect health for 72 years, and I'm enjoying the experience of being in a hospital, being tested, having mummy-looking legs, and wearing compression socks 24/7. If I do die prematurely, meaning before I'm 100, then that will be interesting too.

Pictures of the inside of my colon

Here are the pictures of the inside of my colon that I mentioned in my comment to the post just above this post. Older people like me should have a colonoscopy every 10 years. Click an image for a larger view.

End of colon looking into small intestines.

Point where appendix connects to the colon. The camera is inside the colon and doesn't see the appendix.

Other end of the colon, looking into the anus. The gray area in the center is a hemorrhoid. The black area above the hemorrhoid is the balloon that was pushed through the colon.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My 1.5 miles started out good but I aborted just before the end

As I anxiously left for my run, I wondered if the increased blood flow would have a significant effect on my running. I did run a bit farther on my first running segment, and my legs didn't feel as tired at that point as they have in the past. However, at the half way point I had run about the same distance (0.37 miles) as I've been doing. On the way back I felt nauseous, and I aborted my run about 200 feet from the end and made a bee-line for my car and then to home (the nausea was caused by my bowels needing attention, and there wasn't a porta-potty nearby, and due to a chain link fence, I couldn't go into the bushes. I did make it home ok, and the nausea was gone.

I've felt fine during the day, although when I mowed my lawns this evening, I still got pretty tired. Before my blood-clot attack in January, I could mow the lawns without stopping and feel great at the end. Now, I have to stop and rest several times, and my legs and body feel tired. My total distance for the run was 0.85 miles for the 1.5 mile course.

I made a great discovery last night about my legs

I've noticed for quite a while that my toes were a reddish color, as if they weren't getting enough blood. Last night I decided to sleep without my support stockings. Sure enough, when I got up this morning the reddish color was replaced with the normal skin color. In addition, I went to the bathroom several times during the night, and the volume of my urine was greater than the water I drank during the night, and my weight this morning was 4 pounds less than it was on Saturday. I'm not sure I understand this very well, but what I think happened was that by removing my compression socks, I got more blood into my feet, and that resulted in more blood going into my lymph system and down to my kidneys and out as urine. When I received therapy in February and March for the swelling in my feet, I was told to wear the compression socks for 2 years. However, the measurements I take each morning on my legs (I measure the circumference of my legs at 3 places) showed my feet weren't swelling any more. I've left the socks off all day, and I'll sleep without them tonight. Then I'll see if my measurements in the morning show any significant swelling.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another 1.5 mile run/walk

I was out about 9 am and did the 1.5 mile course again. I didn't have my GPS with me to measure the amount of running, but I think I did a bit more than on Wednesday. Probably 1.1 miles or so. There are two places that I use as a judge of how much running I'm doing. The first place is at the beginning of the run, and the second place is at the beginning of the return leg. In both places I ran about 200 feet more than I've been running. I can't use any guideposts in the middle of the run since I don't have an absolute place to start those phases. At the beginning of the out-phase and at the beginning of the return-phase I have a consistent starting place.

After my run I went to a local hospital for a health fair and had my cholesterol checked. It was 162. Six months ago it was 240 (I've been eating less cheese and red meat during the six months). That 162 is the lowest I've ever had. My glucose number was 74 (80 to 120 is considered good), so I'm better than that. My blood pressure was 117/70. My eye test wasn't good, though. My right eye is 20/50 and my left eye is 20/40. Both eyes together are 20/70. I've been aware that I was starting to have problems in my distance-vision, and this confirms that. I'll have to get to an eye doctor before my drivers license comes due in October. Considering everything, I'm in pretty good health for an old guy.

My wakeup pulse rate is high. This is probably due to my not getting enough sleep in past weeks. Even though I'm doing better in getting sleep, it takes time for my body to recover from the lack of sleep. When I was in marathon training 25 years ago, it would take me a couple of weeks to recover from lack of sleep, and due to my it probably takes more time than that now. After my pulse rate comes down, I should do better in my running, although my legs are my weakest point right now.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My body wasn't quite so tired during my run

I completed the 1.5 mile course again, and I ran 0.97 miles or 65% during the run. I had a big bowl of Cheerios and a banana about an hour before I ran, and I could tell my breathing wasn't quite as good as it normally is. However, by the end of the run I was breathing normally. I usually stop running and walk the last 0.1 miles, but today (and the day I ran 1.01 miles) I ran to the end of the course. That is a good sign, indicating my body is slowly getting stronger. Many people would ignore small signs of improvement, such as running the last 0.1 mile, but I notice them. They are signs that I am improving, and they help keep positive my attitude and emotions about my running.

Before my run, I drove to my son's house in the west part of the valley, and it was starting to rain as I got there. However, the central part of the valley, where I run, was partly sunny, and I completed my run with no rain. It is now starting to rain at my house. Not a big downpour, just a gentle rain. The temperature is in the low 70s (F), and it is a nice day!

Rock chucks again

I forgot to take my camera on my run, but I did get a good lock at a rock chuck. It did have the reddish fur, and it had the stripe across its nose.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My legs (and my body) were tired during my run this morning

I ran the 1.5 mile route again this morning, but as soon as I started running I could tell my legs were tired. I ran 0.8 miles of the 1.5 miles. I felt tired during the rest of the day and didn't do much yard work when I got home. The snails in my flower gardens are getting a holiday since I didn't put out the snail bait today as I had planned.

Other than feeling tired, it was a nice run. There was a walker behind me. She was walking faster than I was walking, and during my walks she would almost catch up to me, and then I would start running and pull ahead of her. At the turn-around point, I stopped for a couple of minutes to look at the river, and the walker came to the turn-around point, and we spoke for a couple of minutes. She said we had talked last summer when it was awfully hot; I recognized her face, but I don't remember our conversation. She thanked me for helping her last summer during the heat. I guess I suggested she drink more water or walk slower or something like that.

A family of rock chucks

There is a family of rocks chucks living in the rocks at the turn-around point of the path. I've seen them on several occasions. Last Saturday I saw four of them poking their heads out of their hole or sitting on rocks. Including their tails, they are about 18 inches long, and their body looks like it has a diameter of about 4 - 6 inches. I mention their size so you will know they aren't gophers. If I remember I'll carry my camera tomorrow on Wednesday and see if I can get a picture of them. In the meantime here is a picture of a rock chuck that I found on the Internet. I don't remember there being red on their bodies, and I think their tails weren't as fluffy as the one shown in the picture.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I reached next week's running goal today!

I mentioned in my last post that my goal of reaching 1 mile of running in the 1.5 miles of my workout would likely be reached on Wednesday of next week. I was pleasantly surprised that my body performed better today than I had expected, and I reached 1.02 miles or 68% of the total distance. My legs didn't feel as tired as they have in the past, and my body didn't feel tired either; I was able to breath fine. It will be interesting to see what happens on Monday. I'm avoiding the temptation to push for more distance and am just letting my body tell me when to stop running.

The temperature during my run was in the low 70s (F) and the sky was cloudy. A great day for running.

One positive result of my blood clots

My blood clots really weakened my body. On the Monday that I discovered the clots, I could only walk 50-100 feet, and going up stairs to my bedroom was really hard and my head was covered with sweat. I was in the hospital for 5 days and did a small amount of walking there -- I got up to about 400 feet. I gained almost 30 pounds of water-weight in my hips and legs, and I had therapy for two months to get rid of the water; the therapy consisted of bandaging my legs with 5 or 6 layers of compress stockings, closed-cell foam, and Ace bandages to hold all of it together. This put a lot of compression on my legs to force the water from the swelling to go into my lymph system and then out through my bladder. After the therapy was over, I started to wear thick compression stockings, which I will have to wear for two years.

Upon returning home, I got my walking up to 1.5 miles, and then I started merging in some jogging. At first I could only jog for a short distance. Even though I've been running for 36 years, I'm starting over as a beginner since my body is taking longer to return to running than I had expected. For example, after my auto accident 5 years ago, I started with 1/8 mile or running, but I was able to add 10% each week, and I soon returned to the 7 miles I had been running before the accident. This time, however, I'm progressing at a much slower rate.

I like to be positive about my life, and I realize that having to start over in running is actually a good thing. I'm using myself as an experiment of one to test my philosophy of not following a plan but letting ones body dictate how fast increases in distance or speed should occur. The results of this experiment of one are good -- my body is a much better manager of my training than any training plan could be. Training plans are written for a fictitious person and should be modified and adapted to the person using the plan, while my body knows exactly how much stress it can handle. So far, the results are good. I'm improving each week and I haven't overtrained such that I get injured or depressed. It's true that my progress is taking longer than I had expected, but that just shows the severity of the impact of the blood clots on my body. I'm being reassured that my philosophy of beginning running is good, and I think I will have more compassion and understanding of beginning runners who are having a difficult time getting their body trained.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My running is inching toward the full 1.5 miles that I do

I used my GPS to measure the distance I was actually running: 0.92 miles or 61% of the 1.5 mile path. If all goes well this week and Monday, I should reach the 1 mile mark on my Wednesday run next week.

When I was ready to leave for my run it was raining, so I waited until the rain stopped and then drove to the Jordan River Parkway. I started my run, and just as I reached the turn-around point, it started raining again, although a lighter rain, and it rained for most of my return to the Parkway. After I got in my car and started home, the rain came again and was much heaver that it had been while I was on the Parkway. Just before I stopped I passed two runners, and one of them said,"You'll get all wet". I replied, "It feels good". The temperature was in the high 50s (F), and the rain did feel good.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another 1.5 miles during my run

I ran my 1.5 mile route this morning. It was a pleasant day in the mid 60s (F). I had a good 7 hours sleep last night, and I felt great before, during, and after my run. I also picked up a couple pieces of trash. The new path that I'm following is clear of trash and looks great. New grass and plants are growing along the edges of the path, giving the appearance of a path winding through the woods and fields.

An American White Pelican

I saw an American White Pelican floating down the Jordan River. This was the first time I've seen a pelican on the river. It was a large, beautiful bird. The following picture of an American White is from the Internet.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ran a bit farther in my 1.5 mile run/walk

My running during my run/walk follows a particular pattern. The first run is relatively long, and the runs get shorter as the workout proceeds. Today my first run was the longest I've done since I was attacked by blood clots, approximately 1/4 mile. The rest of the runs were about the same as they were on Wednesday, and I would guess that my total running was about 60% of the total distance.

Mystery Jogger seen on South Jordan Parkway

The following article was written by Aleta Taylor, a member of the South Jordan City Council, and appeared in the South Valley Journal for June 4, 2009. She wrote about a jogger who picked up trash as he ran. Her description, except for the age she ascribed to the runner, fits me to a "T". I do run the Parkway, and I've never seen other runners pick up trash (readers of this blog know I do pick up a lot of trash). I do wear red shorts and a wide-brim hat, and my wife says I have sexy legs. Here is the article.
Some time ago as I ran along our own Jordan River trail I observed a singular phenomenon that reminded me how great it is to be part of this fast growing and diverse city of South Jordan. Up ahead of me I watched a jogger who stopped no less than five times in about a half mile to gather a bit of trash, then carry it with him while he jogged to the next garbage container. Kudos to South Jordan City Parks. There were garbage containers placed about every 200 yards. It wasn't just the fact that he picked up garbage that caught my attention, or even his multiple stops, it was the fact that he must have been in his late eighties or nineties and even with his stops, I never quite caught up to him.

Mr. Jogger in red shorts and safari hat, you inspire me. Yes you! You will always remind me of what is right in South Jordan. Our people really are the salt of the earth, and not just because they enjoy the out-of-doors and sweat a lot, either. I am honored to represent such a diversity of caring individuals and neighborhoods where people pay attention and get involved in the needs of their community.

And, by the way, nice legs, Mr. Mystery Jogger. If I see you again I'll be sure and learn your name. After all, isn't that what it's all about; older people being able to enjoy our community in all its facets with a reasonable expectation of safety and enjoyment? Grab your fishing pole and come sit for a while. This is a great place to live.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I ran .83 miles during my 1.5 mile run/walk

Today I used my GPS to measure the distance I ran, and the number is 0.83 miles or 55% of the run. That is the most I've run during my recovery from the blood clots that attacked me in January. That number shows that my gut-feel estimates of 50% that I've been making are pretty close to the real value. I could tell that I was doing a bit more running this morning.

As I've explained in past posts, I don't push myself to get more distance. I just let my body and legs tell me when to stop running and to walk for a minute or so. I don't experience any pain or soreness, just a tired feeling in my legs. A short walk is sufficient for my legs to recover and to let me run again. Another sign that I'm getting stronger is how I feel when I finish. When I first started jogging earlier this spring, I was pretty tired when I finished the 1.5 miles, even though most of the distance was done via walking. I felt fine this morning and could have gone farther if I had wanted to. However, I don't want to increase my overall distance until I can run all of the 1.5 miles and feel pretty good at the end.

The temperature during my run was in the mid to high 70s (F), and I ran earlier to avoid the high heat that we'll have later this afternoon. It was a pleasant day, not much wind, lots of sun, beautiful clouds, and a great time for a morning jaunt!

I'm doing better in getting my 7 hours of sleep at night, plus an afternoon nap, and that helps my running.

Almost got hit with a golf ball during my run

Some of my 1.5 mile course borders a golf course, although the course is across the Jordan River and is in the city of Sandy. While I was running, I heard a noise that sounded like a fire cracker, and I saw a white object bounce from the asphalt path into some grass and weeds. The ball landed about 10 feet (3 meters) in front of me. The river at that point is quite wide, probably 200 feet. The ball cleared the river and the Russian Olive trees that border the Parkway path and hit right in the middle of the path. Because of the trees I didn't see the ball coming. It just fell out of the sky and with a loud crack bounced off the path. I don't play golf, but I'm keeping the ball in my car, and later this fall when I've mastered the 1.5 mile course and am heading south, I'll throw the ball onto a golf course that is near 106th South and borders the path. This is the 3rd ball I've recovered while I was running. The other two balls were from the course near 106th.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another great 1.5 mile run/walk

In mid afternoon, with a temperature in the mod 70s (F), I ran and walked the 1.5 mile course that I've been using. This was the first day in quite a while that I felt like I was a runner again. I had a good energy level, and I ran a bit farther than I've been doing. I think I'll take my GPS on Wednesday and measure the total distance that I run.

The Jordan River is high

I've noticed during the past week that the Jordan River has a higher water level than it did earlier in the spring. Most of the water in the river is pumped from Utah Lake in Provo county, and some of the water comes from creeks that drain into the river. The higher level in the river shows that we are having a good spring in terms of snow melt and rain. This is good because the cities around here get their water from large reservoirs in the mountains, and more water in the reservoirs means more water will be available during our hot summer.