Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last run of 2010

It was after dark and during a snow storm, but I did 4 miles in neighborhood streets. I drove to the Jordan River Parkway, hoping the city had scraped the paths and the paths would thus only have an inch or so of snow, but the paths had about 6 inches of snow. So, I drove home and ran around the neighborhood. I wore my ice shoes and had no problems with packed snow from car tires or from ice. There was a 10 mph wind blowing, and I wore my ski mask on my face and my heavy winter mittens on my hands. I did 107 left-foot-steps running and 66 lfs walking.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My wakeup heart rate was still high but I felt fine

I ran my rest run of 5 miles during the late afternoon. I finished not too much before dark. The temperature when I finished was a degree or two above freezing. My resting heart rate was down a couple of points to 63, but I had a good energy level and did 106 left-foot-steps running and 66 lfs walking. As usual, I didn't wear gloves, and my hands were cold. I put my hands in my jacket pockets during my walks.

There were a lot of ducks in the Jordan River, bedding down for the night. The river is very low, compared to its level during the summer, and there are a lot of sand bars in the river that the ducks inhabit during the night.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gave myself a 4-mile run as a Christmas present

For those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas. I hope all of us have a great 2011.

I ran 4 miles along the Jordan River, doing 105 left-foot steps running and 66 lfs walking. My wakeup heart rate was high (61), so I was expecting to reduce my run from 7 miles to something less. There were quite a few runners and walkers out this morning. The sky was mostly clear with a temperature around 40 (F). A great day for being outside! Today ends a 16-mile week of alternating running and walking.

Now, it's time for me to peel potatoes for a family dinner at 4 pm (MST). Two of my children and their kids will be here. Last night we went to a brother-in-law's house and had a traditional Norwegian dinner that has been going on in my wife's family for more more years than I've been married (47 years).

Maybe I could call myself one of Santa's Elves

One of the walkers I saw during my run said that at a distance I looked liked Santa Claus. My nylon wind breaker is red, and my running pants are red. My white long-sleeved T-shirt wasn't tucked in and hung a couple of inches below the jacket; at a distance it probably looked like a white wool bottom to Santa coat. We do have a Santa suit, so maybe next year I'll wear the Santa hat and add a "Ho Ho Ho" to my "Hello" that I say or wave to the people I pass.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My wakeup heart rate is down to 55

My wakeup heart rate (WHR) was down to 55 this morning. It has been around 61, and that decrease is significant, especially with the 7 mile run I did yesterday. That run was more stressful than it would have been due to the big hill in the middle of the run.

I've learned from experience that getting sufficient sleep is critical to my having a low WHR. For most of my adult life I've felt that 7 hours sleep per night was sufficient for my body. But, as I'm getting older I'm finding that 7 1/2 hours is a good amount for me. Last night I got 9 hours.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ran my medium run of 7 miles on a cool but nice day

My wakeup heart rate (WHR) has been high the past week due to insufficient sleep, but I've been getting normal sleep the past couple of nights, and my WHR is coming down. I didn't measure my WHR this morning, but I felt pretty good when I got up, and I ran my medium run.

I drove to the big pavilion in Riverton at about 120th South and then ran 3.5 miles south and returned. My run took me past the big hill that was the turn-around point when I ran 15 mile long runs a few years ago (starting at 98th South, my usual starting point on the Jordan River Parkway). My turn-around this morning was about a quarter mile shy of the end of the path at 146th South. I only saw one other runner and one cyclist, but I saw several walkers. The sky was cloudy, and the temperature during the run was in the mid 30s. We've had about a foot of snow during the past week, but it is almost all gone due to above-freezing temperatures yesterday and during the night. One of the reasons I didn't run during the past week is that I used up my energy shoveling heavy, wet snow and didn't have any energy left for running :)

I enjoyed the run today, and it was interesting to visit parts of the path that I haven't been on for two years. During my run, I used a running/walking ratio of 104 left-foot steps running and 66 lfs walking, although during the last 3/4 mile I changed to 66 lfs running and 50 lfs walking.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ran a reduced distance due to being tired

My wakeup heart rate this morning was 61 and I felt tired. I did run/walk, but I reduced the distance to 3.5 miles instead of the 7 miles that I'd hoped to run. I did, though, increase the number of left-foot-steps of running from 102 to 103, keeping my walking at 66 lfs. About half way through the run I could tell I was getting tired, and I reduced my running and walking to 66 and 46-50, respectively.

The sky was overcast and the temperature was in the mid 30s (F). Not a bad day for running, but it was cold for an old guy like me who was tired. The good news was that the path was free of ice.

At noon I had a check-up on my surgery (last week) for a Basal Cell skin cancer (the skin graft is doing fine), and I went running in the mid afternoon.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Walked/Ran 5 miles as a rest-run.

My wakeup heart rate was 54, and I felt pretty good. My son, Chad, broke his ankle two weeks ago, and his family is staying with us until he can do more for himself. He and his two-year-old daughter sleep in my computer room, and that means that I can't stay up late at night working on my blogs. The result is that I'm getting 7 1/2 to 8 hours sleep each night, and that is really helping my wakeup heart rate to be down.

I'm not supposed to be running until Thursday of this week due to surgery for a Basal Cell skin cancer last Thursday. I did want to run some today, so I reversed my running and walking and walked for 102 left-foot-steps and ran for 66 lfs, hoping that small amount of running wouldn't cause my surgery to start bleeding. Monday is my 5-mile rest run, and that is the distance I did this morning.

The temperature was in the 50s (F), the sky was cloudy, and it was relatively warm. In fact, about half of the runners who passed me were wearing shorts. I did wear my long pants and the three layers that I use in cold weather, but I took off my wind breaker (nylon jacket) on the way back. I was still too warm with the two layers that were left on me.

If I run/walk 7 miles on Wednesday and 7 miles on Saturday, I'll have 19 miles for the week, and that will be the most miles I've done in a week since my blood clots on January 19, 2009. I'm capping my Wednesday/Thursday run/walk at 7 miles, so all of my future increases in distance will be in my Friday/Saturday long run. When that gets to 10 miles, I'll cap it and not make further increases in distance for a while. That will give me 22 miles per week, and I want to run that for quite a few weeks so my body gets used to it. During that time, I'll slowly increase the number of lfs I run while keeping my walking lfs at 66.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Walked 6 miles today

In my post last Wednesday, I mentioned I would have surgery for a Basal Cell skin cancer. I had the surgery on Thursday. The surgery uses the Mohs technique of removing the cancer in layers and inspecting each layer with a microscope. My surgery required three layers and a skin graft using skin from my chest. This was the third time that surgeon has removed skin cancers. A few years ago, I had 10 skin cancers removed by a different doctor.

I was told to not run for a week to decrease the risk of bleeding but that I could walk. I thus walked today. I decided to walk for the same time I ran last Wednesday, and I walked 6 miles. I felt fine during and after the walk. My walking pace was 21-22 minutes per mile. Normal walking is 20 mpm, so I was walking a bit slower than "normal". My walking seemed pretty fast to me, but my wife says I am a slower walker than she is.

The temperature during my walk was in the low 50s (F) and the sky was overcast. In the summer 50 degrees would seem like a great temperature, but in December, 50 degrees (today at least) is cold. I wasn't wearing gloves, and I had to tuck my hands under my windbreaker to keep them warm.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wow! My wakeup heart rate was 52 and ran 7 miles

That's the lowest heart rate I've had in two years! I had planned to run 6.5 miles again, but I decided that with the lower heart rate I might be able to do 7 miles. I did run 7 miles and had a great run. At around 3 miles I started getting tired, and I took a rest break for a couple of minutes at the 3-mile marker. On the way back, I took another break at that same bench. I took a third rest break with 1.5 miles left to go.

I'm not pushing for speed, but I did run about a minute per mile faster during the first two miles and last two miles. I did about 3/4 of the run at 102 left-foot steps running and 66 steps walking. During the last part of the run I changed to 66 lfs running and 45-50 lfs walking. I was getting tired by that time, and reducing the length of my running and walking segments helped a lot. I finished the run OK, in fact my last two miles were faster than the two miles that preceded them.

Today was a great day for running. During my run, the temperature was in the high 30s (F). The sky was cloudy. Most of the snow had melted, and for several miles it was like I was running in the early Spring. The path was clear of ice and was mostly dry.

In looking back on my run, I'm not quite ready for the faster pace that I ran during the first two miles. However, that is the pace my body set, and I went with it. The fact that I was able to maintain that pace for the first two miles and the last two miles was a good sign. However, I was pretty tired when I finished and climbed into my car. I ate an energy bar before I drove away; the energy bar (hopefully) helps my body begin its recovery.

Tomorrow I go in at 8 am for surgery for a Basal Cell skin cancer, and that might set my body back a bit.

I drove to the South Jordan East Pavilion to begin my run, and I was able to get into the territory that I ran when I was in half-marathon training three years ago. It was nice to revisit the area of the path than I ran back then. There is a large, empty concrete silo that is at the bottom of a large hill. Today, I didn't quite make it to that silo. I stopped in the middle of an area that will become at some future time a wetlands for wild birds.

New trees planted along the Parkway

I forgot to mention that during my run on Monday, on the 1.5 mile segment (round trip) that goes north from the 9900 entrance to the Parkway, I saw about 20 or so new trees that had been planted along the path. I'm guessing they are Cottonwood trees since Cottonwoods are native to the area. Right now there are a lot of Russian Olive trees along the path, but those trees aren't native. In about 15 years the Cottonwoods will be big enough that the caretakers of the Parkway can start to thin out the olive trees.

I also saw during my run today quite a few trees that had been planted along the path. However, these trees are on the other side of the fence, and the trees left the path and followed the fence away from the path. That is an open area that gets a lot of wind, and the land-owner might have planted them as a wind-break.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Today is the day for my weekly rest run -- did 2 miles

When I woke this morning, I didn't feel very energetic. My wakeup heart rate was 57. I hoped to run 5 miles but when I reached 2 miles, I could tell I was getting tired, and I aborted the run and drove home. I could have pushed fore 5 today, but then I would probably be tired on Wednesday. This way, I'll get extra rest today, normal rest tomorrow, and (hopefully) be ready for 6 miles on Wednesday. I did continue running 101 left-foot-steps and walking 66 lfs.

We had rain during the night, and the ground was wet when I started the run. However, by the time I returned to my car, the sky was clearing. There may be rain or snow tonight, though. The temperature during my run was in the high 30s (F).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ran 6 miles again -- getting my body used to that distance

I was surprised when I measured my wakeup heart rate this morning at 54. I consider 53 my "normal" rate. This means that my body recovered from my long run on Thursday. I've been getting 7-7 1/2 hours of sleep each night, and that helps a lot.

I mentioned in my last post that I was considering making small weekly changes in the number of left-foot-steps before I walk. I was considering adding 2-3 steps each week. After thinking about it, I decided to do it differently, and I tried out my new scheme on my run this morning. My new scheme is to add 1 lfs on my Wednesday/Thursday run and another lfs on my Friday/Saturday run. The total for the week is the same both ways, but my new way smooths out the change during the week. I tried the new way this morning and ran 101 lfs and walked 66 lfs.

The weather during my run was cloudy with temperatures in the mid to high 30s (F). Most of the ice on the Parkway path has melted, and I only encountered three patches of black ice. When I first started the run, I carefully looked at each wet spot to see if it was water or ice, and they were all water. I thus gave up looking for ice and just ran and enjoyed being outside. Then, all of a sudden my two feet slid. I immediately stopped running and recovered my balance. I didn't go down. I started examining the wet spots again and found two more spots that were ice. I stopped and walked across the ice (these spots were pure ice with no snow on them).

As I did on Thursday, I ran the full 6 miles with no rest stops.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Extended my run to 6 miles

I ran 6 miles on the Jordan River Parkway this morning. The temperature was 27 (F) when I left home and in the mid 30s when I returned. My wakeup heart rate was 58. I thought it would be lower since I've been getting about 7 1/2 hours of good sleep night. Apparently, my body is still recovering from my snow shoveling a few days ago. I left home just before the sun came over the Wasatch mountains, and most of my run was in the sunshine. I only saw one walker (saw him at the beginning of my run) and one runner (saw her about 3/4 through my run).

Most of the Parkway path was clear, and it was a pleasant day for running. I wore my usual three layers, but I didn't wear gloves. Instead of gloves, I kept my hands inside the sleeves of my windbreaker. My fingers did get cold, as expected, but after I had gone 3 miles, they felt fine. It usually takes about 2 miles for my fingers to begin feeling better and 3 miles for them to feel fine. I wore my wide-brimmed hat instead of a knit cap, and my face and ears felt fine. In my previous run, I started running for 100 left-foot steps (I had been using 96) and walking my usual 66 lfs. During this run I continued the new number of lfs while running. I've been thinking that instead of increasing my lfs by 5 or so every 3-4 weeks, I would make a smaller increase each week. I may try 102 lfs next week and see how it goes.

Looking into the future, I should be running 6 1/2 miles by the end of the year, and I might be running 7 miles if things go well. My Monday/Tuesday run is capped at 5 miles as a rest run, and my Wednesday/Thursday run will be capped at 7 miles as a mid run. My Friday/Saturday run will be capped at 10 miles as a long run. Eventually, I'll move the mid run up to 90-10 miles and the long run up to 13+ miles.

Saw a "million" Canadian Geese in the Jordan River

During my run, I saw something in the Jordan River that I hadn't seen before. Over a mile of the river was full of Canadian geese! Usually the river has a lot of ducks. The sun was just coming over the Wasatch mountains when I saw the geese. On my way back, the geese were all gone from the river, but I saw a hundred or so of them on the lawn near the East Pavilion. Apparently the geese spent the night on the river and then left for the day. I think of Utah having cold winters, but apparently our winters are warmer that Canadian winters, warmer enough that the geese go south to Utah for the winter.

The following picture is from the web, but it shows what the geese looked like this morning as they left the river as I ran past them.

Lots of snow during the past three weeks

The Salt Lake valley has had over two feet of snow during the past three weeks (significantly more than we usually get in November). The first storm dumped about 15 inches of wet, heavy, snow on a Sunday morning. I spent almost four hours shoveling my walks and driveway. I took it slow and paced myself while shoveling, but I was really tired when I finished. The second storm dumped about 15 inches of light, fluffy, dry snow, and I was able to finish my shoveling in about two hours. I was tired, but not like I was the week before. I had enough energy left that I was able to help my neighbor shovel her driveway.

During the past two weeks, the low temperature during the night was about 0 (F), and the daytime high was in the mid 20s (F).

I don't like to run on ice, and I was glad that the cities quickly removed most of the snow from the Jordan River Parkway. I do have my ice shoes that I made last year if I have to run on ice.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My rest week ended with a 3-mile run/walk

My total distance for this week is 7 miles. During my run this morning, I extended the running phase from 96 left-foot-steps to 100 lfs, a 4% increase in running before I walk. The walking phase is still 66 lfs.

The sky was overcast (expecting snow tonight and tomorrow), and the temperature during my run was about 32 (F). Most of the path is clear, but there are still places where the path is covered with ice. I could tell that some of the ice has melted since my last run on Thursday. I didn't see any other runners on the path, but I did see several walkers. One guy was stopping often to look at birds through his binoculars, and he had a paperback bird guide in his pocket.

I had a breakfast of French Toast and orange juice about an hour before I left, and I could tell I wasn't ready to run. I need at least two hours after eating before I run. However, my run went OK. I didn't feel nauseous, just sorta bloated. However, I felt fine towards the end of my run.

My wakeup heart rate was 61. That is almost 20% higher than my "normal" of 53, and I decided before I left I would only do 2 miles instead of my planned 4 miles. However, after I had done 1 mile, I felt fine and decided to add another 1/2 mile (giving me 3 miles for the run). I felt fine during and (so far) after the run, but I'm glad I didn't go for 4 miles. My goal is to feel fine at the end of my run, and I reached that goal today. If I had run 4 miles, it is likely that I would have been tired at the end.

Before my blood clots in January 2009, I could run three or four miles and not even think about the distance. Then, after my blood clots, it was a struggle to do anything. I've been slowly increasing my distance by alternating running and walking, and I've noticed recently that I'm able to run 2-3 miles without even thinking about it. This indicates that my endurance is getting back to my pre-blood clot levels. I have my distance up to 5.5 miles, half running and half walking, and I hope to be up to 6 miles or maybe 6.5 miles by the end of the year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My first ever Thanksgiving run

This week is a rest week, and I decided to do a short run on this Thanksgiving Day. My wakeup heart rate was 54, and I felt great. The temperature was 0 (F) when I got up, but when I left for my run it was 17, and when I returned it was in the mid 20s.

We've had a blizzard and some snow during the past two days (mostly two days ago), but the Parkway path had been plowed, and the path was around 80% clear and dry. There was ice on the path, mostly in shady spots, and most of the ice was covered with a thin layer of snow that was blown onto the path. I ran on the dry spots, jogged on the snow covered ice, and walked on the bare ice.

I ran my planned 2 miles and enjoyed the cold crisp air and wonderful sunny sky. I wore my normal three layers for winter running, and I used a dry pair of stockings for my hands. I wore my wool ski cap, and I pulled it over my face when I started to run. It was a nice way to begin this Thanksgiving Day. During my run I saw two pairs of runners and two walkers, plus two runners on the street as I drove to the Parkway. My wife was concerned about me being alone on the path if I should slip on ice and fall. I assured her there would be other runners there, and I was glad to see them. I always wave hello at the other people I see while I'm running.

You Can Always Come Home

We have been blessed to belong to families. Hopefully, our families love us and care for us. But, not always. Some of us have parents, siblings, children who don't always treat us in love. Some of us have not always treated them with love. Let us always remember that we were placed in families for a reason. Let us always keep bonds with our families. Let us find ways that we can be together in the love, the sharing, the joy that God would have for us.

September When It Comes

I plan to crawl outside these walls,
Close my eyes and see.
And fall into the heart and arms,
Of those who wait for me.

I watch the clouds go sailing;
I watch the clock and sun.
Oh, I watch myself, depending on,
September when it comes.

So when the shadows link them,
And burn away the clouds.
They will fly me, like an angel,
To a place where I can rest.
When this begins, I'll let you know,
September when it comes.

-- Rosanne Cash

Thanksgiving Day is a time when we reflect on life, what it means, what it has done for us, what we have done for it. I'm 75 and it is not September yet. This is my Summer. This time is the highlight of my life. Not the highlight of my achievements, but the highlight of my appreciation, of my gratitude for others who have helped me in my life, and my gratitude for others who have let me give them service in the Summer of their lives. When my September comes, I will fall into the heart and arms, of those who wait for me. But, now it is Summer and I still have mountains to move, I still have to run.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wendy: Delayed Recovery from Injury

Happy Thanksgiving from Korea. We are keeping on eye on the turkey and one on the news, but so far all is well.

I was excited to be at the end of my prescribed rest from running, but my foot didn’t feel completely healed so I went in to see the orthopedic surgeon to be on the safe side. Unfortunately, he told me exactly what I DID NOT want to hear. 6-8 more weeks and then another doctor visit before running again. Oh yes, and walking is okay, but NO HIKING! I nearly burst into tears on the exam table. The doc was very sympathetic and concerned, and understood how I felt. He has seen me at the gym enough times to know how committed I am. I had warned him at the start that I would probably heal slowly due to the rheumatoid arthritis and medications that go with it, but he was still surprised and how true it turned out to be.

It can be hard to be at the low end of the bell curve, taking longer than your peers to heal, longer to make gains in strength or speed, having to work harder to control weight or reach physical goals, but it doesn’t mean we have a free ride to give-up-city. Yes, this will likely be a 6 months break from running instead of 2 or 3, but that is what it is, a break. Not a permanent end and not a reason to quit working out. I still have the gym, spin class, and belly dancing (awesome for core work and hip flexibility). It is up to me to stay motivated and moving forward to try to minimize the losses. 6 weeks puts me on top of New Year’s Day so now I’m probably the only person I know that is anxious for the holidays to be behind me. I hope everyone has a joyous end to the year and a bright new beginning for 2011.

PS For those of you who don’t feel up to the task of holiday cooking, here is proof that I’m a worse cook than any of you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I ran 2 miles in a cold wind

My wakeup pulse rate was 61 this morning, and I limited my run to 2 miles. The air temperature during my run was in the mid 40s (F), but it was windy with wind gusts of 50-60 mph. Between the gusts the wind was about 25 mph. I had three layers, which was enough, but my middle layer should have been a thicker long sleeved T-shirt instead of the thin short sleeved one that I've been wearing. Also, the wind gusts were brutal to my face, and I should have worn my wool ski mask that can be pulled over my face. I didn't have gloves on, but I kept my hands tucked inside the sleeves of my nylon wind breaker, and they were OK.

About half the run was in trees, and I didn't feel much wind at all. I thought, "This isn't bad; maybe I'll keep on going." Then I would reach an open space, and the full force of the wind, especially the gusts, would hit me. I decided that 2 miles was enough; time to give my body more rest.

My high wakeup heart rate indicates this week should be a "rest" week of about 8-10 miles (maybe less). That low mileage will be helpful to my busy schedule of Thanksgiving. We're staying home for Thanksgiving, but two of our four children will come for Thanksgiving dinner.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I did it! 16 miles of running/walking this week

I ran 5.5 miles again, giving me 16 miles this week in three days of running/walking. This is the largest weekly distance I've had since my blood clot attack in January 2009. I did 22 miles the week before the attack.

My body felt tired as soon as I started running, and I switched to running 50-66 left-foot-steps and walking 40-50 lfs. I completed the run without out much difficulty. I did sit down for a couple of minutes on the way back. There was a 20-30 mph south gusty wind that made my going out more difficult, but on the way back the tail wind pushed me, and I enjoyed that. There were a couple of times that a large gust tried to push me faster than I wanted to go, and I had to put on the breaks, so to speak. Even though I had my hat pulled down on my head as much as possible and had the chin strap tight, a large gust blew off my hat. I was worried that the wind might blow the hat down to the Jordan River, but the hat stopped at the edge of the path, and I was able to retrieve it. I carried it the rest of the way.

The sky was overcast. We're expecting rain later this afternoon and possibly snow during the night. The temperature was in the mid 50s, and it was a warm, pleasant day to be outside.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jason Lester, a fine athlete and a fine person

If you want some motivation to help you in your running, check out a new book by Jason Lester. My review of the book is at

Jason has a paralyzed arm (given him by a hit-&-run driver) and has completed the Ultraman World Championship (that's like two Ironman).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

With all of the ups and downs in running, it's nice to be on an up

I ran 5.5 miles again. Instead of going south, as I've been doing, I went north. It is 1.5 miles round-trip going north, and I ran that three times, for 4.5 miles. Then I went south for 0.5 miles and back, giving me a total of 5.5 miles. I used my normal ratio of 96 left-foot-steps running and 66 lfs walking for the whole distance. I did sit down several times for a minute each, not because my body or legs were tired, but because my hips and later my shoulders were a bit sore. I think I went a little faster than I've been doing, but I didn't have my GPS with me and, I don't know my actual pace. I'm not pushing my body to go faster; my body sets its own pace.

My wakeup heart rate was 55, and I felt fine (energy and legs) before, during, and after my run. The sky was cloudy, mostly overcast, and the temperature was in the mid 40s (F). There was a 10 or so mph wind blowing. The wind wasn't much of a problem, though, due to trees and bushes that line most of the path on the northward segment that I used.

The dog that I rescued on Monday ran past me while I was doing the 0.5 miles southbound. After I got back to my car, the dog appeared again. I whistled at him, and he came, sniffed my leg, and galloped away in the direction of his home. The 5-foot leash wasn't connected to him. I'm beginning to think that his owner turns him lose on purpose, because the 5-foot lease was fastened to his collar with a sturdy clip that wouldn't likely come lo0se by itself.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ran my "rest" run of 5 miles

I felt pretty good this morning. I ate breakfast soon after getting up, and I waited a couple hours before leaving for my run. My body had sufficient energy and felt fine, but my legs started getting tired after about 3 1/2 miles. As I had done on Monday, I switched from 96 left-foot-steps to 45 left-foot-steps, and I finished the run. After I reduced the number of my running-steps, I stopped counting my walking steps, and I just walked until I felt like running again. I probably walked for about 60 or 70 steps (sometimes more). Instead of following the route I used on Saturday, I ran north for 1.5 miles (round trip) and then south for 3.5 miles (round trip). Changing my routes gives more variety to my runs.

The weather was typical Fall weather -- cloudy sky, a 5-8 mph wind, and temperatures in the mid 40s (F). I wore my nylon wind breaker during most of the run. During a mile in the middle of the run, I took the jacket off, but on the way back I put the jacket back on because the headwind felt colder than it had during the first half when it was a tail wind. I took three short rest breaks on benches near the path -- one going out and two coming back. I don't mind sitting for a minute or so when I feel tired, because I'm not training for any particular race. I'm just running for enjoyment.

Right now, the 5-mile run isn't much of a rest. But, when my mid-week medium run is 7 miles, and my Saturday long run is 10 miles, the 5-mile run will be a true rest.

I picked up several pieces of litter on my way back.

I rescued a dog during my run

Shortly after starting to run south from the parking lot, a big dog ran past me. He was dragging a 5-foot lease. I thought to myself that the owner of the dog was probably coming down the path, and I forgot about the dog. However, a mile later as I was nearing the Mulligan Golf Course, I saw the dog, still running and still dragging the lease. Later after I got back to the parking lot and was finishing my stretches, I saw the dog come up the path. I whistled to it, and it came over to me. I held the dog by its collar, and I phoned a number that was on his dog tag. The owner, who lived not far away, came over and got the dog. The owner said the dog loves to run. The dog has a wire "run" that allows the dog to run back and forth across the back yard, and somehow the dog had gotten loose. The owner thanked me for rescuing the dog, and I replied that it was my pleasure, that I was glad I could help out.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An OK run for 5.5 miles

I ran/walked the same route that I used on Wednesday. This time, however, my legs felt tired during the run, especially the last half. When I started feeling tired, I reduced my running from 96 left-foot steps (slightly more than a minute) to 45-50 lfs. A few minutes after I reduced my running, I stopped counting steps during my walks and just walked until I felt ready to run again. Running for shorter periods helps a lot when I get tired.

It was about 10:00 when I started running, and the temperature was in the high 30s (F). The sun came out, and I had to take my nylon jacket off due to getting too warm. However, about half an hour later, the sun was back behind clouds, and I put my jacket on and kept it on for the rest of the run. I didn't record my wakeup heart rate this morning, but it was 56 yesterday.

While driving home, I heard a radio report of the storm that hit the midwest with 10 inches of snow. I was glad that I wasn't running in that snow. The Utah ski resorts opened their new season today, and a lot of people are enjoying the 15-24 inches of snow up there.

I saw quite a few geese in the field that I mentioned in my previous post, but not nearly as many as I saw there on Wednesday. I'm surprised that the geese are staying here this late in the year. It will be interesting to see if they spend the winter here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A great run! Added 10% to give me 5.5 miles

I didn't run last Friday or Saturday or Monday because of a quick trip to Phoenix for the commissioning and pinning ceremony that made my son a Second Lieutenant in the Arizona Army National Guard. He completed the 8-week OCS in Pennsylvania and Virginia. He is 41 and had to be commissioned by his 42nd birthday in January. This was the last class he could attend and be commissioned. During the past year and a half he worked really hard to lose about 130 pounds. He ran every day. He biked every day. He worked out in a gym every day. He had an unbelievable schedule. I'm glad he wasn't injured. He is going to continue his physical exercises, but on a reduced schedule. He also will continue his 5-mile road marches with a 45# ruck sack on his back.

My wakeup heart rate was 56. I felt really good and looked forward to my run. I didn't run until mid afternoon, and I was home before dark. I felt great during and after (so far) the run. The temperature was in the low 40s (F) during my run and was 39 when I returned home. It was a cold day. A few snow flakes fell in the morning, but the "storm" was over when I went running. The sky was overcast, and a cold breeze was blowing. I wore my long pants, a T-shirt and my nylon jacket (plus underclothes, giving me three layers on my core). I was warm and comfortable while running. I did forget, though, to drink water before I left, and I forgot to have water in my car to drink upon finishing the run. I got thirsty, but because of the cold weather, I didn't get very thirsty.

I drove to the East Pavilion at 108th South (approximately) and ran about a quarter mile past the tunnel under 123rd South. There were a number of runners and cyclists out today.

During my run I saw lots of geese preparing for the night

During my run I passed a big field that had at least 100 Canadian Geese in it. The area occupied by the geese was about an acre, and they were everywhere in that area. It was late afternoon, about 2 hours before dark. I passed the field going out and again coming back, and the geese were there both times, although some of them did move to another area in the field. I've noticed this in the past. The geese seem to like open fields, even big lawns.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wendy: The Fountain of Youth Korean Style: Staying Young and Fit on Buraksan Mountain

Koreans are a hardworking, dedicated people and their drive to stay strong and healthy does not wane with age. Every day I see older Koreans out power walking in track suits with big sun visors and running or hiking shoes. On the street to our house I frequently see a tiny little old lady on her daily walk, scooting alone with her walker. She is smiling and waving to friends, but determined in her march up the hill. I am a terrible judge of Korean age, but I dare say that they age very well and that little old lady is likely a centenarian or close to it.

Korean culture and everyday life contribute to this awareness of fitness with endless opportunities to exercise. Every block has a small park with pieces of exercise equipment we normally only see in a gym. However, Koreans do not need a special place to work out, I’ve seen cab drivers doing push-ups against their cars while waiting on fares and people doing push-ups on low walls or fences waiting for busses. They never seem to stop moving.

All of this has been reinforced by my outings to Buraksan Mountain.

It is a small peak in the middle of a bustling city with a surprisingly technical trail that has a huge open air fitness center in the middle of it.

You can bench press, crunch, pull up, elliptical, or do a variety of other exercises, some of which I haven’t quite figured out, (like hanging from a wheel and twisting back and forth).

With places like this, there is truly no excuse for anyone not being in shape.

Buraksan Mountain also encompasses several burial areas. It makes me wonder: Were they put there so family members could get in a healthy hike while visiting their ancestors, or to remind us what happens if we don’t take care of ourselves?

(In all honesty, the burial mounds are likely one of the reasons this hill has not been turned into apartment complexes.)

A few weeks ago, I was on the military base and samples of Ginseng were being given out in hopes of selling very expensive boxes and vials of the stuff. I found myself talking to an older American man who was raving about how Ginseng was the secret to Koreans being so healthy, fit, and aging so well. I was looking at him and thinking that the enormous beer gut he was sporting suggested that Ginseng could not cure gluttony or sloth! I have no doubt that Ginseng is healthy or at least won’t hurt you, but I’m pretty sure the secret to health and youth in Korea can be found on Buraksan Mountain.

Live, love, stay fit, and be happy!

For my runner take on this day and a few more pictures, please see my main blog: Rustedrunner

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

John: Road Trips Revived: A Running Road Warrior's Top "Run Stops"

Like many Americans, I am constantly traveling from coast to coast for business. Because of the many small town I visit and the rather short distances between them, I spend a great deal of time in my car.

Recently, my business has required me to travel the eastern seaboard. As an avid runner and fitness enthusiast, I've found a great way to exercise and stay fit while on the road. I regularly research running trails either online or through local parks and recreation departments and find trails that are right off the highway! Not only am I able to explore new places on foot, but it is a welcome break during my long road trips.

I've spent a good amount of time on I-95 in the past year. Being cramped in a rental car for long periods of time is certainly hard on the body. Seeing the sign for the Palmetto Trail when I pulled over for gas one day gave me an idea. Why couldn't I plan ahead and fit in a run on these trips? I decided to start leaving a little extra time so I could stop and check out some of these opportunities. There is simply nothing better for refocusing your energies and priorities than jogging outside, taking in the fresh air and sounds of nature. This interstate has a lot to offer as it meanders from Florida, through the Carolina lowcountry, the Virginia countryside and continues north passing within easy reach of many quaint New England towns. Whether Palm Trees and Live Oaks in South Carolina or golden cornfields in Virginia, there is certain to be scenery that will take your breath away. Though I have visited many, here's a short list of some great "run spots" I've explored on my treks on I-95:

Virginia: James River Park This park area is built into the city/urban area as a nature area for the residents to enjoy. While not exactly the raw nature that I crave and usually go for, it does have its charm in being a very pleasant piece of manicured nature inside of the city. The trail runs along the James River Waterway where you can observe fishing and small recreational boats. There are great views of the city skyline and a run at sunset allows you to watch the city light up in preparation for the night to come.

Virginia: Powhatan Trails (Wildlife Management Area) Virginia is interesting because instead of numerous national parks, they have an array of wildlife management areas. This trail is approximately 12 miles long with a variety of scenery. It begins in the forest and then opens up to wetlands and fields filled with large hedges. I was fortunate to not only see a woodpecker but I was lucky enough to also spot a Buck in the distance during my run.

Florida: Retro River Run (Jacksonville Area) An old friend and fellow runner took me on this route while visiting Florida. It's a city trail, which I usually don't prefer, but this route crossed over three bridges to two different sections of Jacksonville so I was able to see a lot of the Historic City. The trail starts appropriately at the statue of “the Runner” and goes down the Acosta Bridge. After two miles it loops back around Main Street Bridge. In total, this is a four mile city loop which allows you to observe the interesting and intricate architecture the city has to offer.

South Carolina: Palmetto Trail (Capitol City Area) South Carolina is home to the Palmetto Trail, a combination of trails in the state that run across its entire length. This section was by Capitol City; a good 7 mile trail that's a lot easier than its nearby cousin, the heavily wooded Fort Jackson Trail. This is a paved trail which uses the sidewalks of downtown Columbia. There are trail heads laid out that will guide you through different neighborhoods of Columbia as well as historical sites such as University of South Carolina and the State Capital Building grounds. And of course, if you are really ambitious you can follow this trail east to the sea or west to the mountains!

Helpful Tip: Purchase a small portable GPS with a “create a marker” function, so you can mark where your car is and also mark the path you took. That way you can find your way back if the trail ends up being a little to rough or underdeveloped. Though I don't rely on other electronics, such as heart monitors, timers, or even watches, if you're exploring a new area you should be prepared. Besides being a great way to squeeze in a workout, jogging in new areas is also an excellent way to kill time when the inevitable traffic jam hits!

Heather: Take the Road to Fitness, and Stay the Course

I took the fitness route a little late in life; although I did play basketball and just about every other sport all through school and college, it was more on a casual basis and not in an effort to increase my stamina or get healthy. The last thing on your mind as a teenager is the drive to play a sport as a form of exercise or to get fit. It’s when you reach your late 20s and begin to see the gradual changes around your hips and thighs, when friends teasingly comment on how round and chubby your face looks these days, when you see a stranger looking at you from the mirror, when the button on your jeans refuses to shake hands with the fastener on the other side, and when the bathroom scales groan even as you walk past them, that you realize you must do something drastic to regain the figure you carried all those years ago.

And so I looked around for the best ways to lose weight; I tried dieting, but that didn’t seem to last long – it’s extremely hard to gulp down bread and soup when those around you are gorging on delicious food with nary a care in the world. For a while you tell yourself that it’s ok if you’re a little plump, and forget your resolution to lose weight. But when you huff and puff to climb the stairs to bed every night, the nightmares of looking like an elephant wake you up at 5 am and you hit the roads for a jog. Things were on track for a day or two, after which the toll of waking up before it’s daylight and the aches and pains in your legs lull you to shut off the alarm and turn over to go back into the land of slumber.

I realized I needed a plan, one that would enable me to stick to my resolution to lose weight, come hell or high water. I looked around for a sport I could play and found a squash club on my way to work. Not satisfied with my daily hour of the game, I cajoled a friend into joining me during my morning jog. The power of two was definitely greater than one, as each of us motivated the other and had bets going on who was going to register the first 5 lbs loss. I also invested in an exercise bike and combined my TV times with at least 10 miles of cycling.

The biggest motivator of course was the reading on the scales – when I saw that I had lost a couple of pounds more than my target, I cut down on my calorie intake in an effort to expedite the reduction process. I started eating just fruits and salads for dinner. I did reap the rewards of my labor a year later when I found that I lost around 40 lbs. Changes in my life did not allow me the freedom of devoting more than an hour to exercise every day, but the new me balked at going back to the pudgy person I had been a year ago. I had to decide which of my activities I wanted to keep and which I had to sacrifice. It was a tough choice, but I went with squash and gave up the rest.

When someone asks me how I stayed motivated all year long, I have only this to say:

  • Choose something you love – I enjoyed squash the most, which is why I chose to retain it as a part of my life.
  • Vary your routine so that it does not get monotonous – I had more than one activity going simultaneously, so if I got bored with one, I would just spend more time at the other.
  • Don’t give up until you start to see a change in the way you look and feel – once you reach this stage, you’ll never look back.
  • Get someone to exercise with you – it’s harder to stop when you know someone else is dependent on you.
Go ahead then and exercise; it’s never too late to start, and always too soon to quit before you’ve seen results.

5 more miles toward my lifetime goal of 1,000,000 miles :)

Today's run was a duplicate of Monday's run. Almost the same wakeup heart rate. Same route. Same distance. Same performance, getting tired after 2 miles. Same weather, sunny, temperature in the low 60s (F), and a nice day. More people on the path, though. I didn't carry water with me, but I had a bottle of water in my car and took drinks at the beginning and ending of my run.

I saw a garter snake in the rocks at the South end of the tunnel under 106th South (probably one of the snakes I saw a few days ago). It disappeared in the rocks and then stuck its head out of another hole and looked at me. The snake is about the diameter of my little finger and about 2 feet long.

I saw a cross-country skier. We have no snow, of course, and he had wheels on his skis. He was pushing himself with his poles, the same as he would do with snow. He should have strong arms by the time snow arrives and he does it for real.

While I ran, a muscle became tight and a little sore

I've noticed during the past few runs, that a particular muscle in my left leg became tight at around 4.7 miles. In previous days, the tightness only lasted a couple of minutes. Today, the tightness came at about 4.8 miles and didn't go away until I was home. As soon as the tightness occurred today, I stopped running and tried to stretch it out. It remained, and I walked slowly the last 1/4 mile to my car. Before getting in the car, I did my usual post-run stretches, but the muscle was still tight. After I had been home for an hour, I noticed the tightness was gone. The muscle is on the back of my leg, right where the ham strings join my buttocks. I don't think it is an injury; probably a muscle that needs more time to adjust to the 5-mile distance.

To run or not to run, that is the question!

While running today, I was thinking about my training. My wakeup heart rate has been high for the past couple of weeks, usually 60-63. Monday for example, it was 63. Today it was 62. My base wakeup heart rate is 53. A 20% increase would be 63.4, and my basic philosophy is not to run when my wakeup heart rate has a 20% increase or higher. Based on that philosophy, I should not have run on Monday and today.

I did run, however, on both days. I thus had an important decision to make.

a. I could not run and thus give my body extra rest.
b. I could ignore my wakeup heart rate and push on with my normal training.
c. I could run but give my body extra rest during my run.

On both days, I chose option c. I did keep my normal running of 96 left-foot steps, but as my body got tired, I increased my normal walking of 66 left-foot steps. Sometimes I took 70 or so left-foot steps, and other times I took 96 left foot steps. Also, sometimes I didn't count steps and just walked until I felt ready to run. I also took rest stops, sometimes standing and sometimes sitting on a bench. By giving my body extra rest, I was able to complete my planned distance of 5 miles with about half of that distance while I was running and half while I was walking.

In terms of injury, the safest option is option a, not running at all and giving my body extra rest. The next best option is option c, running but giving my body extra rest by increasing the amount of walking, or (which I didn't do this week), aborting the run when I started getting tired and walking/jogging back to my car.

The worst option (one which many runners choose) is to ignore my body telling me it's getting tired and pushing on with my normal training. That option puts runners on the path to injury. It's better to lose a little running and avoid injuries rather than to lose a lot of running after an injury occurs.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Another 5-mile run is in the log

Today is a beautiful day. Temperature in the 60s (F), a few clouds, and lots of sun. The visible peaks in the Wasatch mountains are snow covered (about 1/3 of each mountain). I ran 5 miles again, going south from 100th South.

I felt fine during the first half but was tired coming back. I kept my ratio of running and walking of 96 steps running and 66 steps walking for most of the run, but during the last half mile I switched to 46/33. Running the shorter distance before I walk helps, because I walk before getting really tired from running.

I haven't been carrying water with me, because I've been getting drinks from the fountain at the East pavilion. However, I found out today the fountain has been shut off for the winter. I knew that would happen, but I hoped it wouldn't happen for a couple more weeks. I had eaten a banana, two energy bars, and two small packages of gummy fruit just before I left, and I needed some water. Oh well, I'll start carrying water again.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Maximum Oxygen Intake (VO2max)

Runners who compete need to understand VO2max, how to estimate it and how to increase it. I've added a page on VO2max to my training site:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another 5 miles of running after our first snow storm of the winter

The weather forecast said rain, but when I woke up this morning, there was 5 inches of snow on the ground. The weatherman said it was lake effect from the Great Salt Lake. When I left to go running in the early afternoon, the shade temperature was 41 (F), but the sun temperature was probably in the low 70s, and the snow was almost all gone. The Parkway path had no snow.

I really enjoyed the run, even with a high wakeup heart rate of 62 and only 6 hours of sleep. It's been a week since my last run, and I think the week of rest was good for me. I purposefully didn't run on Saturday because I wanted to give my body more rest, and I missed Monday's run due to schedule conflicts. The cool weather probably helped, too. I was sweating around my hat, but I wore my nylon jacket, and I felt comfortable.

A great day for reading as well as for running

During my run I passed a guy who was sitting on a bench enjoying the afternoon sun and reading a book. As I passed him, I thought, "A nice way to spend an afternoon". On my way back I passed him again, only this time he wasn't on the bench. He was walking slowly on the Parkway path reading as he walked. Seeing him brought back memories of my childhood, when I would walk 3/4 mile to the library, check out a book, and then read it while I walked home. As I passed the guy, I commented that he must have an interesting book. He stopped and showed me his book -- a book on Greek philosophy. He said the book helped him keep his sanity.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Taking a rest day today from running

I woke up tired, and my wakeup heart rate was high (62), so I'm taking a rest day today. I slept well last night, but earlier in the week I only had around 6 hours of sleep per night. When I was younger I could handle a few nights of less sleep, but as I get older I am affected more by a lack of sleep. Also, I've been on my feet a lot during the past few days painting a fence.

I got 10 miles of running this week. I'll have to wait until next week for 15 miles.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I've run 10 miles this week, 5 more to go

On Monday when I first ran 5 miles, I started at 100th South and ran across the new narrow bridge across the Jordan River to the point where the new path joins the old path (about a hundred yards past the bridge. I ran 5 miles today, but I drove to the East Pavilion and ran to the tunnel under 123th South (I went to the East Pavilion so my 5 miles would take me further south). I started getting tired on the way back, and I took one rest stop about a mile before I reached the narrow bridge. The path from the narrow bridge along the east side of the river to the playground in the city of Draper is a mixture of old path and new path. I found one spot where there is a bench made of railroad ties that is on one of the segments of old path, and I used that bench for my rest stop. There are drinking fountains at both the East Pavilion and the Draper playground.

Today was another beautiful day. The next two days will be great, and then a storm front will move through Utah, bringing snow in the Wasatch mountains, rain here in the valley, and temperatures in the 50s (F). We've been having temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s, but the 50s are even better for running. As long as we don't have lightning, I'll run through the rain if it comes while I out. However, Utah summer rains usually don't last more than a few minutes at a time. So far, this has been a warm Fall -- no serious frosts yet. We're still harvesting tomatoes, string beans, squash, and pumpkins. Also lettuce. Our fruit trees, though, didn't have any fruit at all. We had a wet spring with changing temperatures, and I guess the fruit trees didn't like that.

Changes to the Jordan River Parkway

Today, my run to the tunnel under 123rd South was the first time in over two years that I've been to that tunnel. I noticed two changes to the Parkway.

About three years ago, the Jordan River had a lot of water during the summer, and that water eroded the dirt under the Parkway path at a spot about 100 yards north of the 123rd South tunnel. By the time the damage was noticed, the dirt had been washed away for a distance of 5 feet or so under the path, such that the path was on a dirt bridge over the washout. The path was in danger of a cave-in that would dump whom ever was on the path into the river. The river isn't more that a couple of feet deep, and an adult would likely be OK, but a small child could easily drown. The city of Riverton blocked off the path and graded a temporary path around the spot. I noticed that the temporary path has been paved with asphalt and is now the "official" path. The area where the erosion took place has grown over with grass, and people not familiar with the history of that section of path wouldn't never know the path had been modified.

The path inside the tunnel has been improved. It is a little higher and a little wider. In addition, large rocks line the east edge of the path (inside the tunnel) to keep water from reaching the foundation of the bridge. Now, it would take a pretty high river to overflow onto the path and to continue up towards the foundation of the bridge.

Draper has fixed up the playground area such that it is a nice picnic area with a playground for the kids. There are several tables around the playground (with wooden tops for shade) and grass growing around the area. Not far away is a larger playground that is maintained by the city of Riverton. This playground is on the west side of the river, and a narrow bridge connects the two playgrounds. The old Parkway path used that bridge to cross the river and continue on the west side of the river. Now, the Parkway stays on the east side of the river until it uses the new narrow bridge just south of the 114th South bridge. On one of my runs when I reach the Draper playground, I'll have to cross the river and see what improvements have been made to the Riverton playground.

I saw two garter snakes

On Monday, as I left the tunnel under 106th South, I saw two garter snakes next to the path. I look at them and they looked at me. Then I continued my run.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Finally made it to 5 miles in my run

Today was a special day in my running. I increased my run to 5 miles. This is special, because now a 10% addition will be 1/2 mile or more, and that is a significant increase. Also, I'm capping my Monday/Tuesday run at 5 miles, and that distance will become a rest distance. My Wednesday/Thursday run will continue to increase until it reaches 7 miles, and then it will be capped at that distance. My Saturday run will increase to 10 miles and then be capped. That will give me a 22-mile week, the distance I was running before my blood clots in January 2009.

My wakeup heart rate was 55, and I felt pretty good when I left home. I started from the 100th South entrance and ran south for 2.5 miles. I turned around about 100 feet after the narrow bridge across the Jordan River. I ran/walked 95/66 left-foot steps the whole distance. I took two sitting rest breaks, with 1.3 miles to go and with 0.5 miles to go. It was another beautiful day -- slightly warmer than last week, but fine. The shade temperature was in the low 70s (F) when I left home about 10:45 am. There was a slight wind from the south, about 5 mph.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

One more 4.4 mile run, but further south than where I've been running

I drove to the East Pavilion, the location of the water fountain that I've been using, and ran south for 2.2 miles. I followed the new part of the Jordan River Parkway across the river and south to a non-vehicle bridge that connects playgrounds in the cities of Draper and Riverton. I didn't carry water with me and didn't have a drink until I was finished with the run. I also didn't do any sit-down rests because there weren't any benches on the new path. I used a ratio of 95/66 left-foot steps for running and walking for most of the run, but I got tired during the last mile and changed to a ratio of 45/60-70.

It was nice to have a new path to explore. Eventually, I'll be able to start at 9800 South (my usual starting point), and go further south than I did today, but for now I'll have to park at the East Pavilion in South Jordan or the large playground in Riverton and go south.

It was another beautiful day for running. Eventually the snow will come, so I'm really enjoying my running in these beautiful days.

I checked out the new Jordan River Parkway path at 11400 South

There is a new non-vehicle bridge across the Jordan River just south of the new bridge for vehicles. The Parkway goes under the new vehicle bridge and turns left onto the new non-vehicle bridge. The path then goes south through the city of Draper and finally joins the old path at a non-vehicle bridge that connects Draper and the city of Riverton. There are large playgrounds on both sides of the river at that point. So, now the Jordan River Parkway is continuous and finished from 14600 South north to 9400 South at the boundary of the cities of West Jordan and South Jordan.

I'm glad the Parkway doesn't use the new vehicle bridge, because it would be dangerous for all if runners, walkers, cyclists, roller bladers, etc. were mixed in with automobiles, trucks, and buses on the bridge.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Another great running day and another 4.4 miles

The shade temperature was in the mid 50s (F) when I left home, and the sun had only been up for an hour. Today was a wonderful day for running! I continued raising my knees a little higher, and I tried to lean slightly forward (from my ankles not my waist). I also started increasing each segment of running by going from 90 to 95 left foot steps (lfs) and taking the 66 lfs walking that I've been doing. This worked fine until I got into my last mile. I began getting tired, and I switched to 45 lfs running and 40-50 lfs walking. I didn't take any rest stops, but I did get a drink from the fountain on my way back.

The bridge at 11400 South is finished

I found out this morning from a friend, who uses a motorized wheel chair to travel the Jordan River Parkway, that the new bridge across the Jordan River at 114th South is finished and is open to walkers, runners, etc. but not to vehicular traffic. My friend said the path I've been running goes under the bridge and then up to the bridge. On the other side (east) of the river, the path continues south and connects to the old path. In the past I've mentioned a big hill that is part of a detour around some private land. The new path on the east side of the river bypasses that detour. I'll miss the big hill though. It was a great training hill. I need to go check out the bridge and the new path, because I'm concerned about running across the new bridge once vehicular traffic is allowed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

An OK 4.4 mile run but not as good as my previous run

My wakeup heart rate was 55, and I felt pretty good. The sky was cloudy and the temperature was in the 60s (F), so it was a good day for running. I felt fine during the the first 2/3 of the run, but doing the last part I was tired and did more walking relative to my running, although during the last 1/8 mile, I felt less tired than I had felt during the middle part of the run. I've been getting about 6 1/2 hours sleep, close but not quite enough.

I remember a few weeks ago when I was running 3 miles. When I reached the turnaround point, I felt tired. Now, when I go past that turnaround point, I feel great. This shows that my body is getting stronger.

On my next increase in distance, I'd like to add 0.6 miles to put my distance up to 5 miles. We'll  see how it goes when I make my next increase.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Today was a great run, and I added 10%

The day began with my wakeup heart rate of 52, the lowest its been for 1 3/4 years. The temperature was about 60 (F) when I left, and the sky was overcast with just a bit of sun once in a while. I left home about noon full of confidence that this day would be a good day for running, and it was. I added 10% to make my run 4.4 miles, my longest in 1 3/4 years.

During the first several running segments, I measured my pace at a bit under 13, significantly lower than the 17 or 18 that I ran a year ago (my normal pace is 14-15).  I only kept that pace for about 3/4 mile, because I knew I wouldn't have the energy to keep it up for the full distance. It's like running a race. One has to avoid going out too fast and then running "out of gas" during the last half of the race. I didn't push myself to run the faster pace. It was the beginning of the run, and I felt energetic. For most of the run, I did practice lifting my knees higher.

I'm still using the  90/66 ratio of left-foot steps running/walking. I didn't carry water with me, and I got a nice drink from the fountain on my way back. Also, I didn't take any rest breaks, and I found two golf balls -- what more could a guy ask than that for a successful run!

I saw two explorers come in from the river

Just before I left my car to walk to the Parkway path, I saw lots of ducks fly up from the Jordan River. I thought to myself, "Strange. Must be something in the river." A few minutes later two men came up from the river carrying a Kayak. As I walked past them to the Parkway path, I was tempted to ask them how far they had come on the river, but I didn't ask.

A couple of years ago, I saw a Kayak floating down the river with nobody in it. Unless the owner of the Kayak recovered his lost boat, that was an expensive trip on the river.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Had a good run for 4 miles

Thanks to a good 7 hours of sleep last night, my wakeup heart rate was 55, a significant decrease from the 59 I had on Monday and the 60-62 I had last week. I left home about noon and ran my 4-mile route again. The shade temperature was 70 (F) when I left, and I didn't carry any water. I did drink from the fountain at the East Pavilion (both coming and going), and that was enough. The sky was mostly cloudy (rain expected this evening), and it was a great day for running or walking or cycling or whatever you do for exercise.

I've noticed on several occasions, including today, that I feel great for about 1.75 miles, and then I start getting tired. My turn-around point is at 2 miles, and I start feeling tired just before that point. I did take one rest stop during the run today, this time at about 2.7 miles into the run. It appears that my body does great for 1.75 miles, and then it starts to feel the stress of the run. 1.75 miles doesn't seem like much, but I remember a year ago that I was running/walking about 1.5 miles. And I remember January 2009 when I was attacked by blood clots and could only walk 10 feet (couldn't run at all). So, I've made a lot of progress during the past year, and I'm grateful for that progress and grateful to be alive today. I have a friend that I see on the Jordan River Parkway often. He can't walk very far, and he drives an electric cart on the Parkway. He breathes oxygen through a tube. He likes to be outside, and he notices the plants and wildlife along the river. He is doing the best that he can. That's all any of us can expect: do our best and take each day, one day at a time.

I found another golf ball near the Parkway. The golf course is separated from the Parkway by a barbed wire fence, and the golfers aren't able to get their balls that go out of the course.

Riverton students studying the Jordan River and playing sports

As I ran past the East Pavilion, I saw a lot of students from Riverton who were having an outing at the East Pavilion. I saw one group of about 20 students at the basketball court, two groups were at the Jordan River, one group was playing volleyball, one group was being taught by a teacher holding a picture, and one group was sitting on the lawn talking. The students came in three school buses. It looked like a combination of sports and nature study.

I'm reminded of the time my wife and I helped chaperone a school outing to Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts not far from the Connecticut border. At the conclusion of our visit, we boarded our buses and headed back to the middle school. The other bus never appeared at the school. When that bus reached I90, it turned the wrong way and headed toward western Massachusetts. We went to our homes hoping the driver realized his mistake. This was quite a few years ago, and the buses were not equipped with two-way radios.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Another four miles goes into the log -- nice run!

I ran the 4-mile route again, and I wasn't as tired as I was last week. The temperature was in the low 70s (F), and that helped. The sky was cloudy with breaks of sunlight during the run, but by the time I finished, the sky was overcast due to a storm moving in. It should be raining by this evening. I took one rest stop just before the 2-mile turnaround point.

I felt stronger on the way back compared to how I felt going out. This happens a lot, and I wonder if it is due to the two energy bars I ate while driving down to the Jordan River. By the time I turned around, my digestive system might have started extracting energy from the food. I did eat breakfast this morning because I knew I wouldn't be going out very early, and I'm sure energy from breakfast was helpful during the run.

All in all, it was a nice run. I need to run the 4-mile route several times before I increase the distance. As soon as I reach 5-miles, I will cap my Monday run at that distance and let the other two runs head for 7 miles.

My wakeup heart rate was 59, a little higher than it was Friday and Saturday. The likely cause of this was that I only got 6 hours sleep Saturday night. I got a good 7 hours last night.

The Chicago Marathon as seen by Andrew

Before you head out for your run or walk today, take a moment to listen to Andrew (one of the visitors to this blog) rap his vision of the Chicago Marathon.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wendy: Keep Your Groove On: Stay Fit During Recovery After an Injury

Before I can go too much into my recovery plan, I should probably explain what I did to my foot. As I said in my last post, I over did it by adding hills to every run. Of course, at first I thought whatever had popped in my foot would heal on its own so I just rested for a few days and tried a short run once it no longer hurt to walk or jog around my living room. That short run was great at first, but ended in excruciating pain. I realized this was a serious injury and called for a visit with my doc. He made a tentative diagnosis of ligament tear, which was wrong, but he sent me on to an orthopedic surgeon who knew what to look for and diagnosed the stress fracture. Unfortunately, the time from the initial injury, to diagnosis and being placed in a boot took over a month. Yep, for a whole month I walked around on a broken foot. Once I had the boot in place, my 6 to 8 weeks in it started.

Nearly everyone ends up injured at some point. Even if you are smart and do not injure yourself running, you still have the potential to step wrong off a curb, get in a car accident by no fault of your own, or be clobbered by a shopping cart on Black Friday, these things just happen. So, what to do when your usual workout routine is off the schedule? Find something, anything, to keep moving! Anyone can do it and it is tons of fun.) I also have good results using a foam roller on sore muscles and tight joints, particularly my ITBand.

Rheumatoid arthritis has taught me a lot about the importance of movement even when we feel it is impossible. Are you sore all over from a marathon? Go for a walk. Stress fracture in your foot? Lift some weights. Chronic illness? Don't give up, do what you can for now and when things are on the upswing, you will improve even more. If you are injured, do something so that once you are healed and ready to get back to training, you haven’t taken a huge step backwards. Taking advantage of an excuse to be lazy will only set you up for another injury. A forum friend said that if she had a cast on, she would just spend 6 weeks on the couch. I can only think about how much hard work it would take to get over 6 weeks of lethargy!

My doc told me I can do pretty much anything I want at the gym provided I can do it painlessly and in my boot. So far that includes the upright stationary bike, elliptical trainer, stair mill (like walking up the down escalator), and almost all of the weight machines (obviously working calves is out.) I am working out 6 days a week with 5 hours a week of cardio, plus weights, and stretching, in whatever

combination meets my needs, (generally the cardio is done in 1 hour blocks.) I now have 3 weeks in the boot done, hopefully only 3 to go, and feel good about my new workout routine. I am also taking supplements of calcium, magnesium, and Vit. D, along with watching the rest of my diet (also so I don’t gain weight on my running hiatus) while staying as active as possible. With limited mobility, it is important to stay flexible too. I love doing something fun like Yoga or belly dancing (which is amazing for core muscles and hip flexibility, I highly recommend this video, anyone can do it and it is tons of fun.) I also have had good results using a foam roller for sore muscles, tight joints, and ITBand problems.

I hope no one reading this ever has an injury to contend with, but if they do, I hope they will remember this and do everything in their power to keep moving, keep fit, and stay strong!

Friday, October 1, 2010

My wakeup heart rate was down 3

I've been getting 7-8 hours sleep for the past two or three nights, and this sleep is having its effect on my body. My heart isn't working as hard to supply oxygen to my body.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ran 4 miles again, but pretty tired

My wakeup heart rate was 63, high enough that I should have not gone out at all, but I did go out. I felt fine up through the 2 miles to the turn-around point. Going out, I took fewer rest stops than I did yesterday, and I used the 90/66 ratio of running and walking. However, on the way back my body gave out, and I took as many rest stops as I could find benches in the shade. During the last 0.8 miles, I gave up and walked back to the parking lot.

During the past two days, I've only gotten 6 1/2 hours sleep. Today I forgot to eat breakfast or lunch, and I was running with my tank almost empty, so to speak. I ate a few handfuls of Cheerios, and a granola bar before I left, but that didn't give me many calories to run on. It seems like I never learn about eating. I get up thinking I will go run first thing, but I get busy on the computer and end up going out in the afternoon (2 pm today). I keep telling myself I need to get up and go running before I touch the computer, but the urge to read email is too strong. Today I was running tests on FeedBurner, and that kept me busy until I finally left to run. I sound like a teenager who is addicted to email, only now the teens are addicted to texting.

The shade temperature when I left was 79 (F), about the same as during the past few days. It was a beautiful day to be out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ran 4 miles in the mid-day heat

My wakeup heart rate this morning was 55, a big improvement over the 60+ that I had last week (including Saturday). I've been getting good sleep for the past week or so, and it looks like that sleep is finally having its effect on my body.

I left home not knowing how far I would run. The rule of thumb for time needed for recovery from a race is one day per mile. Based on that I would need 3 days. Today was day 2, and I expected I would get tired and abort the run. The shade temperature when I left was 82 (F), and I used the 90/66 ratio of left-foot steps running and walking. I ran at a relatively slow pace, and I took rest breaks every time I saw a bench that was in the shade. My body felt fine, and my legs felt fine, too, although they did get a bit tired during the 3rd mile.

I made a great discovery about running!

On my way back I was thinking about a comment I made yesterday on One guy, who is going into the Marine Corps, has shin splints and came to the forum for suggestions. Wendy, our guest blogger in this blog, said he should be sure his feet hit the ground under his center of gravity. I clarified that by saying that he should be sure his feet hit the ground behind his knees rather than in front of his knees.

As I thought about that comment, I wondered how I was doing in that regard, and I glanced down at my legs and noticed my feet were hitting the ground almost under my knees. I thought that maybe I could move my knees forward a little bit, so I sorta bent my knees a bit more, and lo and behold, I started running faster. In fact I went enough faster that I was out of breath after 90 lf steps. And, not only was I going faster, it seemed easier for me to go that way instead of the low shuffle that I usually use.

I thought about it and decided that I must have lifted my knees more. I know that people who sprint have to lift their knees higher to get more energy into their running, but I hadn't thought about lifting my knees higher during my slow running pace. I ran this way during the last mile of the run and felt fine at the end. I'm going to experiment with lifting my knees to see how it goes for 4 miles instead of just 1 mile.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I had a good run in the Pirates 5K

The 5K run/walk sponsored by the Pirates swimming community activity began at 8 am. The sun was just coming up, and the temperature was probably in the high 40s (F), almost perfect conditions for a race. There were fewer than 100 runners and walkers.

On Thursday, my last training run before the race, I took 1 hour and 6 minutes to run 3.1 miles (that time included several rest stops). Because of that, I felt that anything below 1 hour would be a good achievement. I finished in 48 minutes 3 seconds. My son and grandson, who did the 2K walk, accompanied me during the last couple of hundred yards.

I didn't walk during the first half mile, and then I started alternating running and walking. I didn't count steps to control my running and walking. When my body started to feel tired, I began walking. When my body felt better, I resumed running. The course went through the city streets, and about 1/3 was slightly downhill, 1/3 was slightly uphill, and 1/3 was level. I did fine on the downhill and level parts, but the uphill part was more tiring to me, and I took extra walking breaks. The good news is that I didn't stop running to take a rest break. I think the low temperature was a significant part of my doing better on this run.

I like small races, especially if I know the people participating. In this case, I didn't know anyone except my son and grandson, but I enjoyed the small-town atmosphere.

Here is  a video of me finishing the race and of some of the prizes that were given out afterward. My number (657) was drawn, and I received a nice shoulder bag.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Running with Rheumatoid Arthritis, in Korea, with Bare Feet

       I am so honored to be invited to blog here; thank you Allen! You are an inspiration!

      Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Wendy, I have been running since spring of 2007, am 41 years old, mother of 2, Air Force wife, live in South Korea, and have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The last detail is the biggest challenge to my running, but I haven’t let it slow me down. I believe everyone has a challenge that they must overcome to be able to run and what it takes to overcome it is largely the same whether the challenge is working your running around a busy life, or a medical condition. We all have the potential to succeed or allow ourselves to stack up excuses and walk away.

       Currently, my biggest impediment to running is pretty concrete, albeit temporary. I had been running for 3 years in a coastal town where it was flat as the proverbial pancake, so when we arrived in Korea in late July, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to conquer hills! I was so excited that I did not stop to think how much intensity hills were adding to my runs and the result was two stress fractures in my right foot less than 2 weeks after our arrival.

       Over the next few months, I will be blogging about my training plan, progress, goals, and setbacks. Once the injury is behind me, I will continue with stories of my experiences here in Korea as a runner with RA, and how I run barefoot every chance I get.

       If you are interested, the back story about my life with RA and how I got started running it is all in my blog, starting with my earliest posts from 2008. My journey as a barefoot runner, starts in May 2009.

Still tired...

Even though I had 7 hours sleep last night, my body is still tired. My wakeup heart rate was 60 this morning.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ran 3.5 miles again

When I left home and drove to the Jordan River Parkway, I felt pretty good, and I hoped I could do the 3.75 miles again and maybe 4 miles. But, as I neared the first mile marker, I could tell I was getting tired, and I reduced the run to 3.5 miles as I had done on Monday. I mentioned in my previous post that during the last mile of that run I went to a 45/33 ratio of running and walking. I used that ratio during most of the run today. I didn't have a lot of energy during the run, but I felt OK. On Monday my legs were the limiting factor in my running. Today it was mostly my body that was tired. I had a good 7 hours sleep last night, but I need more nights of good sleep to help my body recover.

The temperature during my run was in the mid 70s (F), there was a slight breeze blowing, and there were lots of clouds in the sky but lots of sun, too. A great day to be outside and to be running.

Now, I get to spend the rest of the day scraping and staining the wooden retaining wall around my deck.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Reduced my distance to 3.5 miles for running

I felt pretty good when I started, but by the time I had gone about 1 1/3 miles, I could tell my legs were getting tired. I ran to the 1.75 mile marker, taking a couple of rests, and then turned around. My body felt OK, but my legs felt tired. On the way back, I reduced my running and walking from 90/66 left-foot steps to 45/33, and that helped a lot. I was out a couple of hours earlier than I've been going out, and the air was cooler and there was more shade on the path. I took quite a few rests on the way back and didn't push myself. As I've said before, in hot weather I run to survive :)

I found another golf ball and threw it back on the golf course. The ball rolled up to the center of the green, and I thought to myself that it would be neat if I got a "hole in one". But, I didn't. When I left, the ball was visible in the center of the green, but on my way back I couldn't see the ball. I hope the person who got it appreciated a "free" ball.

I only got about 5 hours sleep Saturday night (had to get up early Sunday morning for a 7 am meeting), but I took a nap Sunday evening and got a good 7 hours Sunday night.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nice 3.75 mile run and a golf-ball paradise

I did the 3.75 course again and used the 90/66 left-foot steps, alternating running and walking, all the way. I ran at mid day as I did last Wednesday, and the temperature was about the same 89-90 (F). The results were quite different, though. Today I enjoyed the run and felt pretty good. Because of the heat, I didn't push myself. I took several rest stops, and I drank my four cups of water.

I found 7 golf balls during the run. The first ball was on my way out, and the ball was on the edge of the path. On the way back, I saw another ball that was a few feet from the path. I crawled under the railing lining the path and got the ball. Then I saw another ball a few feet away and further into the trees. I got that and saw another one a few more feet away, still in the trees. I ended up getting 6 balls in those trees. I tossed them onto the golf course. I had one ball left to toss when a dad and two 5-6 year old sons came into view. I tossed the last ball close by them and yelled that there were more balls over about 20 feet away. The sons gathered up the balls. All together I've found around 12 or 13 golf balls in the past four years of running the Jordan River Parkway.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Completed the 3.75 mile run...sorta

I finished the 3.75 mile distance, but I walked most of the last mile. The shade temperature was 89 (F) when I left home. The temperature in direct sun would have been 110 or higher. I ran at mid day, and most of the Parkway path at mid day is in direct sun. I carried water (1 cup per mile) and used it, but it was still hot. When I reached the last mile, I could tell I had no energy, and I walked most of that mile, doing a bit of jogging at the first of the mile. I have a slight cold, and that probably has reduced my energy-level. There are two reasons I get colds -- pushing myself too hard in my running, and not getting enough sleep. My problem has been the sleep. I've been getting 5-5 1/2 hours each night, and I need 7 hours. My sleep deprivation finally caught up with me, and my nose started dripping yesterday afternoon. I've been waking up about 7 am regardless of the time I went to bed :(

Running in the NY Marathon this year?

I received an email this morning inviting runners who will be in the NY Marathon this fall to join the Fresh Air Fund-Racers Team. If you're interested, visit the Fresh Air website.

The Fresh Air Fund is looking for runners and sponsors to join our Fresh Air Fund-Racers team for the NYC Marathon on November 7th....This is a great way to participate in NYC's premier race while helping Fresh Air Fund children.

As you may be aware, over the past four years as a NY Road Runners charity partner for the NYC Half-Marathon, our 325 Fund-Racers have raised close to $400,000 for The Fresh Air Fund!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Signed up for a 5K race on September 25

My grandson is taking swimming lessons, and his swimming group is sponsoring a 5K run on September 25 to raise money for charity. I thought I'd support him, so I signed up for the race. I specified a small size for the T-shirt so I can give the shirt to my grandson. I'm assuming it will be a cotton T-shirt, and I never wear cotton T-shirts when I run. I thought the grandson would like to have it since the race is sponsored by his swimming group.

Yesterday I timed myself for 3 miles, and it took an hour. That time included several rest stops. I'm hoping during the race I can finish in 45 minutes. The race starts at 8 am, so the temperature should be in the 50s or low 60s. I'll be doing 4 miles per run by then, and I hope I can go a bit faster during the shorter run and do it in 45 minutes. We'll see.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Completed a tired 3.75 miles

I completed the 3.75 miles but was tired during the run. I was curious to see how far I could run before I walked, so I ran until my body said to walk. I went about 0.15 miles. I walked for a couple of minutes to recover, and then I went into my 70 left-foot steps running and 45 left-foot steps walking that I had used a couple of weeks ago. During my last half-mile, I went into the 90 lfs/66 lfs that I used last week. I rested several times going out and coming back.

I didn't take water with me, and I was thirsty during the run. At about the 1.7 mile point, I drank from the fountain that I've spoken of during the past few days, both going out and coming back. My turn-around point is at the 1.87 mile point. The shade temperature was 85 (F) when I left home, and I should have taken water with me. I knew the fountain was there, and I looked forward to drinking from it. Because of the extra distance to the fountain and back, I actually went 3.85 miles total.

During the evening, my wife and I walked around the block, about 0.6 miles. The temperature was in the mid 50s (F) during the walk, and the cool mountain air felt great! I said mountain air, because the Wasatch Mountains are just across the valley, and in the evenings and night, cool air from the mountains floods the valley.

Today was not a good day for me to test my body to see how far I could run. I only had 5 hours sleep last night, and I spent a couple of hours painting my porch before I ran.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Didn't run but did a short walk

Due to a busy schedule today, I didn't run today, but my wife and I did do a short walk around the block (0.6 miles). Even though it was quite late at night, I felt strong during the walk.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ran 3.75 miles again and ran longer segments

I ran 3.75 miles again. I felt pretty good before I started the run, and I decided to increase the length of my running and walking segments. For quite a while I've been doing 30 seconds running and 30 seconds walking (45 left-foot-steps running and 33-left-foot-steps walking). Last week I increased the segments to 70 lf-steps running and 45 lf-steps walking. Today I went to 90 lf-steps running and 66 lf-steps walking. That is double what I've been doing for quite a while. This shows my endurance is getting better.

I felt fine during the run. I didn't carry water because the shade temperature was in the mid 60s (F) and most of the path was in the shade due to a lot of clouds in the sky. I made no rest stops and only made one water stop (on the way out) to drink from the fountain that I've mentioned in recent posts (no water stops on the way back). All in all, today was one of the best runs I've had in quite a while. I had a good 7 hours sleep last night. My wakeup heart rate was 60, high due to sleep deprivation the past few days. It was a great day for being outside, too!

I saw two families of Quail

On the way out I saw 8 or 9 quail on the path in front of me. As I approached, they went into the bushes. The quail were large, and I assume they were from a litter that was born early in the spring. On the way back, I saw a mother quail and a smaller youngster. That youngster was born later in the spring since it is smaller than its mother. Actually, I can't tell the difference between male and female quail, and I'm assuming the adult quail were females.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ran 3.75 miles & continued running farther

I added a quarter mile to my run, and I continued the longer running that I did on Saturday. A cold front is going through Utah, and the temperatures are significantly cooler than they were on Saturday. The shade temperature during my run was in the low 60s (F). Also, I was out earlier (10 am), and there was a lot of shade on the Parkway path. I felt fine going out but started to get tired on the way back. It wasn't a good idea to increase both my distance and longer runs. Doing that meant that my body had an increase in stress from two sources (greater distance and longer running of each segment) rather than from one source.

Thanks to the Labor Day holiday, there were a lot of people,  mostly cyclists, on the Parkway. It was a beautiful Fall day -- lots of sun and lots of clouds.

Tuck in your elbows when you run and walk

I've been noticing that some people swing their arms across their body while they run. As your arms move across your body, your whole upper body tends to twist. People swing their arms this way, because they keep their arms folded across their body. This type of arm-movement isn't considered good running form, because it takes extra muscle-movement and extra energy to move your arms across your body. The solution is to tuck your elbows in toward your waist such that your arms move in and out in a motion parallel to the direction you're going. By doing this, you can keep your upper body stationary and only move your hips and legs.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ran 3.5 miles again but ran longer before walking

I didn't get out until 12:30 pm (ran the Jordan River Parkway), and the shade temperature was 89 (F) when I left home. I only took two bottles of water with me, and I had to spread each bottle over 1.5 miles. Just before I reached the turn-around point, I finished the first bottle and made a slight detour to a water fountain. I filled the first bottle with water and had plenty of water on my way back.

Due to the heat and the lack of shade on the Parkway path at mid-day, I stopped to rest four or five  times going out. On the way back, though, I felt pretty good and decided to run longer before I walked. For the first two segments, I ran twice as long as I've been doing (100% increase). Then I settled down for a 50% increase in my running and about a 40% increase in my walking. I continued that to the end of the run, and I felt fine, especially good since I was running mostly in direct sun at the hottest time of the day. On the way back, I took two short rest breaks.

I was glad that I was able to run longer segments today. A week ago I started taking a supplement called "L-arginine Plus" that is supposed to increase the Nitric Oxide (NO) in our bodies. The L-arginine and L-citruline amino acids in the supplement help our bodies increase the NO in our bodies. NO is supposed to help cleanse our blood arteries and veins. I need that because an artery in my left leg is plugged up (Atherosclerotic calcification of the lower extremity arteries). In past posts, I've talked about my auto accident, the filter put in my groin area to catch blood clots, and the blood clots I had a year and a half ago. This post is the first time I've discussed the artery in my left leg being plugged up. I learned about that problem about 10 months ago when I had a CT scan of my legs, but I didn't understand the significance of it. As I've learned more about my body, I'm starting to understand that decreased blood circulation is probably the cause of my lack of endurance and my not being able to run very far before I have to walk. I've known that the broken-down filter was inhibiting my blood flow, but I knew that auxiliary blood veins around the filter were being created, and I thought those veins would restore my blood-flow. I now realize that the plugged artery in my left leg is also reducing the blood-flow. I thus started taking the supplement last week in the hope that it would help increase the blood flow. My success today indicates that that may be happening, but I need more time to see if the success continues or if it was just an isolated anomaly.

For those interested, this supplement is based on the research of Dr. Louis Ignarro, who received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1998 for his research on Nitric Oxide. His book is called NO More Heart Disease. Dr. Ignarro determined that the two amino acids were needed as a supplement to help our bodies produce NO. The supplement also includes a number of vitamins and 72 trace minerals. I got the supplement and the book from a local health food store, but the supplement is also available via the web.