August 28, 2008

An even greater 5.5 mile run this morning

My wakeup heart rate was 53, and I felt great when I got up. The shade temperature when I left was 72 (F) and 77 when I returned. Even though it took me 2 miles to warm up, I had a great run and felt stronger than I have in the past few weeks. I drank 32 ounces of water during the run. I've been sleeping well, and that is a blessing.

My running was reduced during the 6 weeks I was on chemotherapy cream for a skin cancer, and it will take me several weeks to get back to where I was. Most of the scabs from the cream are gone, and the surgery for the other skin cancer is healing well according to the dermatologist who checked me yesterday.

If all goes well, on Saturday, I'll do 5.5 miles again, and next week will be 6 miles on my mid-week and end-of-week runs. Monday is capped at 5 miles as a rest run.

August 25, 2008

Another great 5-mile run

I ran 5 miles again this morning. My wakeup heart rate was 53, and I felt great. I left later than I did on Saturday, and the shade temperature was 77 (F) when I left and 91 when I returned. A nice 7-8 mph headwind helped keep me cool, although on the way back the wind was less effective. I drank 30 ounces of water during my run this morning. I didn't take any water with me on Saturday due to being distracted by my grand kids who were visiting. I got thirsty on Saturday, but the temperature was 10 degrees lower than today and my need for water was less.

Last week I took 4 miles to warm up, but this morning I was warmed up after 2 1/2 miles (my turnaround point). In fact I was enjoying the run so much this morning that I missed one of my half-mile markers for my walking break, and I ran the full mile with no walking.

August 23, 2008

My last 5-mile run for the week

I was out early this morning and ran 5 miles on the Parkway. The temperature was in the low 60s (F) when I left home and in the high 60s when I returned. Keep in mind that those are shade temperatures. Most of my run is in the sun and thus significantly warmer. Because I was out earlier than I've been doing, there was more shade on the path due to Russian Olive trees that border areas of the path. I passed two people at an aid table for an 11-mile race that was in progress. The race was by runners who work at a nearby business.

August 21, 2008

Dean Karnazes' new book

I just finished reading Dean Karnazes' new book, 50/50, that tells of his unbelievable experience in running 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states! I've posted a review of the book in my tutorial site. I still can't believe that he did it!

I ran 5 miles again

My wakeup heart rate was 55 this morning, and I felt really good during my sit ups. I ran 5 miles again on the Jordan River Parkway. I was late getting out (11:15) and the temperature was in the mid 80s (F) when I left and in the low 90s when I returned. I ran pretty slow and drank 32 ounces of water during the run. If I'd gotten out four hours earlier the temperature would have been in the 70s, but I felt OK during the run.

August 18, 2008

Did a 5-mile run

My wakeup heart rate this morning was 56. Still high, but I felt pretty good and ran my normal Monday distance of 5-miles. Ordinarily that distance would be a rest run, but since this is a recovery week from not much running during the past six weeks, this run was actually a heavy run. I felt fine during the run, but my legs were stiff later on in the day. During the evening I attended a family reunion and walked about a mile with my grand kids. That helped to stretch out my legs.

August 16, 2008

My body is starting to recover

My last day to apply the chemotherapy cream to my skin cancer was Thursday evening. That application affected my body on Friday, so today is the first day in the adjustment of my body to no cream. The area where I applied the cream is full of scabs, and it will probably take a couple of weeks for the scabs to disappear.

My wakeup heart rate this morning was down to 56 from 59-60 during the latter part of the week, and I decided to go for a short run. I ran a slow two-miles to begin my recovery from the chemotherapy cream. I felt pretty good during the run, but I was glad I wasn't going farther.

August 12, 2008

More rest today

Yesterday my wakeup heart rate was 53. Today it is 57. I applied the chemo cream last night, and will apply it each night through Friday night.

August 11, 2008

Extending my rest days to cover today

My wakeup heart rate was 53 this morning. I felt ok but not super energetic. I decided to not run today, because I would probably have to reduce the length of the run, and I decided it would be better to give my body extra rest.

I'll use the chemotherapy cream tonight (1st of 5 times for this week), and my wakeup heart rate will probably go up during the week. Thus, I may not do any running this week. We'll see.

August 9, 2008

The feelings of being a marathoner

Dean Karnazes ran 50 marathons in 50 days. I'm posting, with permission of his publisher, an essay by Karnazes that captures the emotional feelings of being a marathoner. One caution about his comments on the pain of a marathon. Competitive runners, especially those who run 50 marathons in 50 days, do need to train hard for a marathon and will likely experience the pain that Karnazes describes. Most of us, though, are recreational runners who can reduce the intensity level of their training such that they need not feel pain during the marathon. I ran four marathons when I was in my mid 40s, and I never felt pain of any kind during or after the races. I did, however, have the emotional feelings that Karnazes describes.

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Marathon -- The Ultimate Proving Ground
By Dean Karnazes,
Author of 50/50

A Marathon is not about running, it is about salvation. We spend so much of our lives doubting ourselves, thinking we're not good enough, not strong enough, not made of the right stuff. The Marathon is an opportunity for redemption. "Opportunity," because the outcome is uncertain. "Opportunity," because it is up to you, and only you, to make it happen; only you can turn your farfetched dream into a reality.

You see, there is no luck involved in finishing a marathon. The ingredients required to tackle this formidable challenge are straightforward: commitment, sacrifice, grit, and raw determination. Plain and simple.

So you set about your preparation to ready your body for the rigors of running 26.2 miles. You train diligently, dedicating yourself wholeheartedly to the challenge ahead, pouring everything you've got into it. But you know the Marathon will ask for more. In the dark recesses of you mind, a gloomy voice is saying, you can't. You do your best to ignore this self-doubt, but the voice doesn't go away.

The Marathon shakes you to the core. It deconstructs your very essence, stripping away your protective barriers and exposing your inner soul. At a time when you are most vulnerable, the Marathon shows no pity. It tells that it will hurt you, that it will leave you demoralized and defeated in a lifeless heap on the side of the road. The Marathon heckles you, saying it can't be done, not by you. "Ha!" it torments you, "In your dreams."

However, you fight back, and continue your training and preparation with steadfast resolve. Then, one day, you find yourself standing courageously at that starting line, nervously awaiting the gun to go off. When it does, you put your head down and charge off into the abyss with the knowledge that you either paid your dues, or skimped along the way. There is no lying to yourself, the Marathon sees right through excuses, shortcuts, and self-transgressions.

All goes well for the initial miles. But slowly, step by step, the pain mounts as the intensity of the endeavor amplifies beyond your expectations. You remain resolute, knowing that you did not skimp, that you did not take shortcuts along the way, that every footstep was earned through countless days of diligent preparation. Still, with each wearing thrust forward, that little nagging inclination of self-doubt progressively advances toward the surface of your awareness.

Then, at mile twenty, the voice looms louder than ever. It hurts so bad you want to stop. You must stop. But you don't stop. This time, you ignore the voice, you tune out the naysayers who all your life have told you that you’re not good enough, not strong enough, not made of the right stuff. This time, you listen only to the passion in your heart. This burning desire tells you to keep moving forward. To continue putting one foot boldly in front of the other, and don't stop. Courage comes in many forms, today you will have the courage to keep trying, to not give up, no matter how dire things become. And dire they do become. At the 26 mile mark, you can barley see the course ahead, your vision falters as you teeter on the edge of consciousness.

Then, suddenly before you, looms the finish line. Tears stream down your face as you cover those final few steps. Now you are finally able to answer back to that nagging, pervasive voice with a resounding: Oh yes I can!

You burst across that finish line and are forever liberated from the prison of self-doubt and limitations that have formerly held you captive. You have learned more about yourself in the past 26.2 miles than you had known in a previous lifetime. Now you are freed from the chains that bind. Even if you can’t walk for a week, you have never been so free.

As they carry you away from the finish line, wrapped in a flimsy mylar blanket, barely able to raise your head, you are at peace. That daunting adversary that has haunted you for an entire lifetime is now your liberator, your fondest ally. You have done what few will ever do -- you have done what you thought you could never do -- and it is the most glorious, unforgettable awakening ever. You are, a Marathoner, and you will wear this distinction not on the lapel of your clothing, but in your heart, for the rest of your life.

©2008 Dean Karnazes

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dean Karnazes is the author of 50/50 and the 2005 New York Times bestseller, Ultramarathon Man, and a columnist for Men’s Health magazine. Often called the “Lance Armstrong of the running world,” he is the winner of the 2004 Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley (considered the world’s toughest foot race). Dean Karnazes lives in San Francisco with his family.

For more information, please visit http://www.ultramarathonman.com.

Taking a rest day today

My body's reaction to the chemotherapy cream that I'm using for a skin cancer on my left ear is following a definite pattern. I use the cream 5 days per week, Monday night through Friday night. My wakeup heart rate has been low (typically 51 or 52) on Monday morning due to not having used the cream for two days. I've thus had good runs on Monday morning. However, during the week my wakeup heart rate increases, usually to 59 or 60, although during one week of using the cream, my heart rate increased to 75. On Saturdays, my wakeup heart rate has been about 55, and I've had to reduce the distance of my Saturday runs due to being tired.

My wakeup heart rate this morning was 55, as it has been in past Saturdays, and I've decided to take a rest day rather than likely run a reduced distance. By taking a rest day, I'll hopefully be stronger for my Monday run. If my wakeup heart rate is low on Monday and I feel fine, I'll run 6.6 miles instead of my normal 5 miles.

August 6, 2008

Moved my distance up to 6.6 miles

I ran 6.6 miles on the Jordan River Parkway. I didn't have a lot of energy, so I just focused on completing the distance, taking short walking breaks when I started to feel tired. My wakeup heart rate was 55 this morning.

Yesterday, my wakeup heart rate was 59, and I had no energy. I just moped around the house all day and played some games with my grand kids who were visiting but left yesterday in late afternoon.

We're having a cold front pass through the area, and the sky was cloudy during my run, and the temperature was in the mid 80s (F) instead of the mid 90s that we've been having. I drank 32 ounces of water during the run.

August 4, 2008

Today was a rest-run

I ran my five-mile rest run today and enjoyed being out. My wakeup heart rate was 55, a bit higher than normal, but I felt fine. I was out earlier, and the temperature was 75 (F) when I left home. However, I spent half an hour watching two guys fly a RC dirigible, so the temperature was probably about 80 when I started running. It was about 90 when I returned home.

I think I'm getting used to the heat. During my run I was hot and sweat a lot, but I didn't seem to get tired due to the heat. I measured my pace during the last half-mile at 13 minutes. A slow pace, but fine for a rest run in the heat. I drank about 24 ounces of water during the run.

Saw a RC dirigible flying

When I arrived at the parking lot at the Jordan River Parkway this morning, I saw two guys launching a RC dirigible. The airship was about 20 feet long and probably 3-4 feet in diameter. It was propelled by an electric motor in the tail of the airship. There was no gondola on the bottom of the body. It flew for about 5 minutes and then did a nose dive into the ground behind some trees. I didn't see the impact, but the crash made a lot of noise.

The crash didn't seem to damage the airship, because the two guys retrieved the ship, put more helium into it, and then launched it again. It flew for about 20 minutes. I was curious how they were going to land it. For the landing, the airship did a slow dive towards the ground. Just before the airship hit the ground, the assistant pilot grabbed the nose and stopped the descent of the ship. The other guy took the tail, and they carried the ship to their truck.

A few weeks ago, I saw a guy flying a RC jet F15 or something. The plane had a real jet engine, and it went pretty fast.

August 3, 2008

Take the Road to Fitness, and Stay the Course

Heather Johnson is a success story of exercising for fitness and enjoyment. She tells her story.

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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.

By-line:

This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on the subject of EKG Technician. She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.

Good news! I've adjusted to the chemotherapy cream

My wakeup heart rate was 53 this morning, down from 55. I feel fine and am looking forward to tomorrow's run. Today is day 5 of my 5-day use of the cream this week. Last week on day 5, my heart rate was in the 70s. Today's almost-normal heart rate is significant in light of my mowing my lawns yesterday right at the max of the high temperature yesterday of 99 (F) in the shade. I have to use the cream for three more weeks, and then I'll find out if the skin cancer is gone or if I'll need surgery to remove it.

August 1, 2008

I ran 4 miles this morning but was getting tired

I was out 2 1/2 hours earlier this morning, and it was nice to run in cooler temps. The shade temperature was in the mid 70s (F) when I left home and in the mid 80s when I returned. Right now the shade temperature is 97.

My wakeup heart rate was 55. It appears that my body is going through the same reaction to the chemotherapy cream that I had last week. Today is day 3 of the 5 days of treatment for this week. I felt pretty good this morning when I first got up, but as I ran I could tell I was getting tired, and at the 2 mile mark I felt about the same "tiredness" that I felt last Thursday at the 1 1/4 mile mark. I thus turned around and headed back. Before I left home, I filled four 8-ounce bottles with water, but I forgot to take them. I thus ran the four miles with no water. However, thanks to the cooler temperature, I didn't need water as much, and I think the two glasses of water that I drank before I left home was enough. This week I was out earlier and ran in cooler temperatures, while last week I had been on my feet for two hours in the morning at the Pioneer Days parade in Salt Lake City. So, I'm not surprised that I ran farther this week.

I just woke up from an hour nap, and I feel more tired than when I went to bed an hour ago. I'll see how I feel tonight and tomorrow.