January 29, 2009

Have a good laugh!

Walking can add minutes to your life.
This enables you at 85 years old to spend
an additional 5 months in a nursing
home at $7000 per month.
My grandpa started walking
five miles a day when he was 60...
Now he's 97 years old
and we don't know where he is...
I like long walks,
especially when they are taken
by people who annoy me.
The only reason I would take up walking
is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.
I have to walk early in the morning,
before my brain figures out what I'm doing..
I joined a health club last year,
spent about 400 bucks.
Haven't lost a pound.
Apparently you have to go there.
Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise',
I wash my mouth out with chocolate.
I do have flabby thighs,
but fortunately my stomach covers them.
The advantage of exercising every day
is so when you die, they'll say,
'Well, he looks good doesn't he.'
If you are going to try cross-country skiing,
start with a small country.
I know I got a lot of exercise
the last few years,......
just getting over the hill.
We all get heavier as we get older,
because there's a lot more information in our heads.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Every time I start thinking too much
about how I look,
I just find a Happy Hour
and by the time I leave,
I look just fine.
You could run this over to your friends,
But just e-mail it to them!

January 27, 2009

The mother of all hydrogenated bodies for running

All runners know the importance of drinking sufficient water to keep ones body hydrogenated. Well, I must have the world's greatest body, because I'm very well hydrogenated -- over a gallon of water in each leg! I start therapy on Thursday for the swelling in my feet and legs.

January 23, 2009

Had blood drawn for my INR test

My wife has been sleeping for the past 24 hours with a stomach flu or something. She felt better this morning and drove me to a clinic to have blood taken for my INR reading. INR is the number that tells the doctor how much Coumidan I have in my body.

My feet and legs are still swollen, due to the 17 pounds of water that I gained while in the hospital. I'll be going to a special clinic to help me get rid of the swelling. Until the swelling is gone, I won't be doing any running at all, and when I do start running I'll ease into it. I am walking today better than in the past, and I'm handling the stairs OK. Each day I walk a bit better.

January 22, 2009

Swelling a bit worse when I got up

When I got up this morning the swelling in my feet was a bit worse than it was last night. Also, I had hot spots on the bottom of both feet from, I think the covers being tucked in at the bottom of the bed and thus pulling tight on my toes contributed to the swelling. In the hospital the covers weren't tucked in. I went up the stairs last night and again a few minutes ago, and that is a good sign. All in all, I'm doing fine today. No running, of course. Just walking around the house.

Later: I'm on my way to bed and thought I'd report on my condition. I've been up and down the stairs several times today and have had no problems. I noticed a slight increase in my breathing rate, but it went back to "normal" within a few seconds. I'm able to stand longer and walk longer distances, but my feet are still swollen. Today has been a good day for me.

January 21, 2009

Welcome home, Allen!

I haven't posted to thus blog recently because I've been away from the Internet for 5 days at a plush resort. I said the resort was plush, because room service brought all of my meals to my room (great food). I had personal service from both male and female valets who attended to my every need. Maids cleaned my room every day. A pretty nice place! Where is this resort? At the new hospital recently built by the Intermountain Health Care.

My condition was worse on Friday

Friday was a bad day. My condition got worse, and I finally realized that I was suffering from more than overuse in my training.

It took me two hours to get ready to see a doctor. All I had to do was shower and brush my teeth, but I could only stand or walk for a few seconds and then had to sit for 15 minutes while I recovered. The 15 minutes was for the pain and stiffness in my legs to subside. My faster breathing went away after just a few seconds.

I knew if I drove to the main hospital I would never be able to walk the long distance from the parking lot to the ER, so I drove to the IHC Instant Care about a mile from my home. The nurses there immediately realized I needed to be in a hospital, and they transported me to the main hospital in an ambulance. I arrived there about 11 pm.

Blood clots, blood clots :(

It took the ER nurses, technicians, and doctor 7 hours to check me out. The conclusion was that I had several blood clots in my legs. The CAT scan didn't show any clots in my lungs, but the ER doctor felt that I probably had some small ones that were causing me get tired after just a few seconds of activity.

I left the ER and went to a regular room, where the doctor and nurses and techs there tried to figure out why I had the clots. They asked if I had recently been on long (5-7 hours) airplane flights in which I wasn't moving around. Nope. I did tell them that I would spend several hours at my computer without moving around. I was put on Coumidan and was told I would probably have to stay on it for the rest of my life since these clots were a relapse from my having clots four years ago after an auto accident on April 19, 2004. I'm taking Coumidan once a day, and I'm getting Lovenox shots twice a day.

I didn't get any sleep Friday night, and I spent most of Saturday taking short naps. I got more sleep Saturday night, but still not my normal 7 hours.

Improvements in my condition started showing on Monday

I was hooked up to an EKG 27/7 so the nurses could monitor my heart. No problem there. They scanned the arteries in my legs but found no clots. The clots found at the ER were in my veins. They did an ultrascan of my heart and it looked fine. My breathing (lungs and chest), blood pressure, and temperature were checked many times during each day and were fine. I was on oxygen for a day but was taken off because my oxygen rate without my breathing from a tank was 98-100 and I didn't need extra oxygen. My main symptoms were swelling in my feet and not being able to walk very far or even to stand very long.

On Sunday my pulse rate while sitting quietly was in the low 70s. On Monday the rate dropped to the low 60s, a sign that my body was beginning to not need a lot of extra oxygen via a faster heart beat rate. On Tuesday the rate was still in the low 60s, and this morning before I left the hospital the rate dropped slightly. However, as of the time I left the hospital the swelling in my feet hadn't gone down.

The doctor told me to walk as much as I could. I did a lot of walking in my room due to frequently going to the bathroom because of the water I was drinking. On Sunday afternoon I took a short walk in the hallway and went about 100 feet before I had to sit down and rest. On Monday I increased my walk to, maybe, 250 feet before I had to sit down, and on Tuesday I went about 400 feet and repeated it twice, once in the afternoon and once in the Evening. During these walks, it only took about 5 minutes for the soreness in my legs to go away, and the groin-pain that I had over the week end after walking was gone.

I haven't walked much since getting home today about noon, so I don't know if I've regressed or not in my walking ability. It does look, though, like the swelling in my feet has gone down a bit tonight.

My toes have a better color to them, too. More like the natural color of my skin. Earlier in the week my toes were a light reddish/purple color, and they were starting to get a darker tone to them. Some of that color was due to my wearing compression socks that the doctor prescribed for me to reduce the swelling. Instead of doing that, the socks reduced the blood circulation in my feet. After two days of wearing the socks I took them off without asking the doctor about it.

As soon as I finish this post and get some water in a pitcher, I'll go upstairs to my bed. I'm curious to see how I do with the stairs. On Friday evening I was huffing and puffing and sweating after going up the stairs.

I'm glad to be alive. The doctor told me that if I hadn't come in as soon as I did, the clots could have gone into my lungs and presented a serious problem to my staying alive (by the time I left the hospital, the doctors had decided I didn't have any clots in my lungs). I actually should have come in a couple of days sooner than I did.

January 15, 2009

Today's progress in my overuse soreness

My pulse rate this morning was 56-59, and that is about what it has been all week. That value is about what I've been having when I'm tired and/or stressed out. When I'm well rested and feel good, my wakeup pulse rate is 50-52. My blood pressure this morning was 113/69. Blood pressure varies a lot. Those values are typical of me. The stiffness in my legs is gone, but I still have soreness in my groin when I walk 40 or 50 feet.

January 14, 2009

Found out why I had low temperature readings

I figured out this evening the cause of the low temperature readings. Not leaving the thermometer in my mouth long enough. It is a digital thermometer, and I haven't used it for a couple of years; I'd forgotten that I had to wait for a telephone like string of beeps to tell me that the thermometer was finished. My temperature currently is 98.1, and I sweated slightly from walking up and down the stairs a few minutes ago. That slight sweating fits in with my slight temperature (my normal temperature is about 96.5). This makes sense. If I really had a temp of 91+ I should have been in hypothermia and almost ready to go into a coma. So, the low temp is a non-issue. I didn't take my temperature a few days ago when I was sweating more from moving about, and the temperature then was likely a few degrees higher. Having the temperature come down is a good sign.

I'm still able to go up and down the stairs fine, in contrast to the first 24 hours when I couldn't do that.

Now that the temperature thing is resolved, all of my symptoms point to a simple case of overuse. I did a lot of snow shoveling during the week after Christmas. We had one storm of 6-8 inches of wet heavy snow, and I spent four hours shoveling my driveway/sidewalks and those of a neighbor who was out of town. Then we had several storms of 3-4 inches of light, fluffy snow that was pretty easy to shovel. Also, I spent an hour helping clear my daughter's driveway of 8 inches of heavy snow. All of this would have put stress on my body. During this time I was doing a weekly run of 10 miles and another one of 8 miles -- more stress. I knew I was tired and had shortened the 8 mile run a couple of times. Apparently I needed even more rest, and my body succumbed to the stress with soreness in my right buttock and in my groin. I stretched my buttock, and that soreness was gone after 24 hours. My groin soreness is slowly going away, as witnessed by the reduced temperature, no problem climbing stairs, and being able to walk further before the groin-soreness comes in. Another thing that tells me my problem is overuse is that I feel fine when sitting down, even for several hours of sitting down.

I haven't been doing my groin stretches during the past few days, and I'll start doing them tomorrow for several days to help my body overcome the stress in my groin. I usually do them before each run, but I had skipped them during the runs last week. Having weak groin muscles is not a good thing, because those muscles control the alignment of the knee cap as it moves up and down the knee.

My body is "brittle"

I have a friend, Bruce, in Las Vegas, and one of the visitors to his blog used the word "brittle" to describe how our bodies age. I like that word. Something that is brittle cracks under stress rather than bending.

"Brittle" describes my body. Up until I was 71, I didn't notice a lot of difference in my body then as compared to my body when I was younger. But, in the subsequent two years, I've discovered that my body is aging and is becoming more "brittle". I'm having to make increases in distance and speed at a slower rate than I did two years ago. I'm having to allow more time for recovery after a stressful run than I did two years ago. Yes, my body is becoming "brittle".

January 13, 2009

Some progress in my leg and some not-so-good-conditions

I usually get up several times during the night to go to the bathroom. I drink water just before I go to bed, and each time I get up I drink more water. I discovered last evening that the problem was with my right buttock not my hamstring. Before going to bed, I did my buttock stretches, and I could tell the stretch of my right buttock was centered on the muscle having the problem. Each time I got up during the night, I did the buttock stretches. The first time during the night that I did the stretches, my right leg was still sore, but the leg was not sore during subsequent stretches or throughout today. This was a good improvement.

I am now free of the problem in my right leg that caused me to abort my run yesterday, but the stiffness in both legs and low energy that I mentioned yesterday is still there when I walk a few feet or more. Also, when I walk I sweat profusely as if I were in a steam room. I took my temperature, and it was 91.5 (F), and I said to self, "I'm dead!" I tried it again and left the thermometer in my mouth for about 5 minutes, and the reading was 94.1 My normal temperature is 96-97. I decided I probably need a new battery for the thermometer. I don't feel like I have a temperature. Again, I can sit or lie in bed for hours with no problems, but as soon as I walk I have the symptoms that I've mentioned. Climbing stairs is still a problem, too.

I'm stretching my hams and quads and calves during the day to see if that helps with the stiffness in my legs.

I took my blood pressure about an hour before I went to bed, and it was normal (115/69). Dr. Gabe Mirkin says the best time to take blood pressure is in the evening, because the BP should go down in the evening, and if it doesn't go down, that is a good indication of a circulation problem.

Very, very strange! But, at least the buttock problem is gone. I was worried that I might have injured a muscle, and I was relieved to learn that it was only a stressed muscle.

Later: When I went upstairs to go to bed, I found out that I can climb the stairs OK. That is a good sign.

January 12, 2009

My run started out great, but...

My wakeup heart rate was 52 this morning. I had a good energy level, and I looked forward to my run. After my walking warmup, I started the run shortly after 12:oo noon. The sky was sunny, the high temperature was expected to be in the low 40s (F), and itr was a beautiful day for running.

After I had run about a third of a mile, I felt what I thought was a cramp coming in the hamstring of my right leg. I immediately stopped running, and about two seconds after I stopped, the cramp hit. I felt the muscle that was cramping, and it was very hard. I stretched my hams for a few seconds while massaging the muscle. The muscle felt better, and I started running. I could tell the cramp was still there, and I stopped and repeated the stretching and massaging. I again started running and stopped within a few steps due to the cramp.

My leg felt OK when walking, so I walked to the end of the new north path and back to the parking lot (1.5 miles total), all the time massaging the muscle. The massaging didn't reduce the hardness of the muscle, so I aborted my run and went home.

Later: The condition in my leg is more serious than I had realized. My leg feels fine while I'm sitting, but if I walk, both of my legs tighten up and I can feel the "cramp" in my right leg, and I have a very low energy level. Climbing the stairs to my bedroom to take an afternoon nap was painful in my right leg.

This is really a strange situation. I felt great in the morning before my run, but after a third of a mile, I didn't feel good at all.

January 10, 2009

A 4.5 rest run

In a previous post I said I was tired after my 10-mile run on Thursday. When I went out for my run today I found out I was still tired, even though my wakeup heart rate was 53. I thus reduced my run from a planned 8 miles to 4.5 miles.

January 8, 2009

I ran 10 miles again, along the Jordan River Parkway

My wakeup heart rate was 52 yesterday and today. Even though my heart rate was down yesterday, I felt tired during the day, and I was glad I'd decided to not run yesterday. I felt pretty good today, and my legs felt fine for the first 7 miles. During the eighth mile, my right leg was tired, and I took extra walking breaks. During the last two miles, that leg felt better. In fact, during the last mile, I felt strong and ran a consistent pace like I had run during the first few miles.

The temperature during the run was in the low 40s (F), and there was a lot of water from melting snow running over the path. I waited until early afternoon to start my run to give the sun more time to melt snow and ice, but I made sure I would be finished before the sun set and the path iced up. There was a 5-7 mph headwind going out and a tailwind coming back.

As I ran down a residential street that acts as a detour for a portion of the Parkway path that isn't finished, I passed two kids walking home from school. One of them gave me a thumbs-up and said, "You're doing great!" I smiled and waved at them. A minute later I passed a man getting into his car. He smiled and said I should turn around so I would have the wind at my back. I smiled back and said that I would be turning around in a short time and had to go back to 98th South (he was at 119th South, approximately).

I'm starting to get used to 10 miles

There are two aspects to conquering a distance. The first phase is the ability to complete the distance. Most runners who train for a half marathon or a full marathon only train enough to do this phase. They complete their race, but they typically suffer soreness, pain, and perhaps injuries during and after the race. Some of them get discouraged and give up on distance running.

The second phase is your body being able to handle the stress of the distance, such that the distance is now a "breeze in the park" so to speak. It takes doing the distance several times before your body becomes strong enough to handle the stress. Most marathoners only accomplish this phase after running several half or full marathons. Many people only complete one or two marathons and never accomplish the second phase. We're all different, and some people accomplish this phase after running the distance two or three times, while other people need many repetitions of the distance before their body can handle the stress.

Today was my 3rd time to run 10 miles, and I think I'm starting to get used to that distance. I'm not claiming that my body has gotten used to the 10-mile distance, but I think it is starting to do that. I felt better today after completing the run than I did after my first two times of doing that distance, although I'm still tired after doing 10 miles. I forgot to take a short nap when I got home from my run, and I sorta moped around and didn't do much for the rest of the day.

A flock of geese was foraging on a large lawn for food

On my way back I saw a flock of geese (perhaps 100 or so) foraging on a large lawn that surrounds a picnic area. This was the third time this winter that I've seen them foraging that way. I don't know if they were looking for insects or for grass. They are beautiful birds. Here is a picture from the web showing geese foraging on a lawn. Click for a larger image.

Mallard ducks come in two colors: brown females and brightly colored males. The geese, however, seem to only come in one color. I've probably seen up close a dozen or so flocks of geese, and they have all looked alike. I don't know if this means they were all males, or if the males and females have the same coloring. (later) Here is a picture I just found on the web showing, I assume, the parents of two goslings. The parents have the same coloring. This makes more sense than having just males foraging on the lawn.

The most spectacular view I've had of a flock of geese was the time a few years ago they flew over me about 15 feet above me. It was thrilling to be so close to them! Here is a picture from the web of geese flying. Beautiful birds!

January 6, 2009

Taking another rest day

My wakeup heart rate was down to 53 this morning, thanks to a rest-day yesterday. My blood pressure is a bit high though (123/76 when it usually is around 110/65), and I'm taking another rest day.

January 5, 2009

My wakeup heart rate went off the chart

I don't know why, but my wakeup heart rate was 59 this morning. I've been sleeping well, so a lack of sleep wasn't the problem. It could be the stress from my 10 and 8 mile runs last week. Because of my older age, I need more time to recover from a long run. What ever the reason, something is causing my heart to beat 20% faster than it usually does. I'm taking today as a rest day. If my heart rate is down in the low 50s tomorrow, I'll do my weekly 5-mile run. If it is still high, I'll take another rest day tomorrow.

Our night time temperatures have been in the single digits this week, and our mid-day maximums have been in the mid 20s (F). We've had an inch or two of snow each day and another inch or so each night. The daytime temps should go up to the 40s this week, with the night temps in the 20s. Also, the snow is supposed to stop, but some rain showers are forecast for Thursday. The warmer temps will help melt some of the ice and snow that are everywhere. I'd like to run the Jordan River Parkway instead of 27th West. The parkway should be plowed, but there will be some ice on the trail. I'll take my ice cleats with me if I go running tomorrow.

A neighbor slipped on ice and broke a leg

I found out yesterday that a neighbor a few houses down the street slipped on ice in front of her house, and she broke a leg when she fell. It was a pretty bad break, and she had surgery on her leg. She is young, probably in her 30s, and should have healthy bones, so she must have landed pretty hard. I think I was blessed when I slipped on ice a year ago. I bruised my buttocks and back, but I didn't have any broken bones. It did, though, take about three months for the bruises to heal. I'm posting about my neighbor as a reminder to all of us to be careful during the winter.

January 3, 2009

Finished the week with an 8-mile run

We had two or three inches of snow last night, and I ran eight miles on 27th West instead of on the Jordan River Parkway. The asphalt on the street was bare and easy to run. The street has wide shoulders that were mostly bare, and I had no problems during the run. 27th West is a major street and is salted, thus melting the snow and leaving the bare asphalt.

My wakeup heart rate was 51 this morning, and I felt pretty good. The shade temperature during my run was in the mid 20s (F), but the temperature in the sun was slightly above freezing, and there was a small amount of melting taking place along the edge of the street. I made certain I ran early enough in the day that I was home before the street started to freeze.

This was a nice running week. I did 23 miles for the week, which isn't bad for an old guy who runs only three times per week. My plan is to add another 7 miles to this run, giving my a long run of 15 miles and a 30 mile week.

January 1, 2009

My first run of the year -- 10 great miles!

I ran my medium run of 10 miles this afternoon. The sky was overcast due to expected rain or snow tonight, but the temperature was in the high 30s (F), and ice on the path was melting. Most of the path was either free from ice or had large patches of asphalt without ice, so I was able to run without much risk of slipping. There were only a few places where I stopped and walked over ice. On the way out, the ice was hard and slippery, but on the way back it was soft and slushy. Interesting how much two hours of warmer air can soften ice.

My wakeup heart rate was 53 this morning. I was a little tired during the run, but not nearly as much as last Monday. At the end of the 10 miles I felt better than I did on Monday after 3.5 miles. I was the only runner on the path. I did see two walkers, but I guess most of the "regulars" were home in their warm houses.

Three kayaks in the river

While running past the picnic tables that are south of 106th South, I heard voices coming from the Jordan River. Shouts of encouragement and glee indicated the people were having a lot of fun. I looked through the trees and saw three kayaks in the river. I couldn't see the full boats, but I saw enough to identify them as kayaks. On my way back, I saw several people placing the boats on top of their cars in preparation for their trip home.