January 31 – Giant Ginger 5K Day

Ginger BeerToday’s 5K was a special one. I walked my 5K with my giant ginger son Walker, which in spite of how it sounds, isn’t redundant at all. He was home and I asked him to spend 45 minutes with me while I walked. He’d already worked out today. Melissa had already gotten her last January 5K in the book, so it was my turn and I didn’t necessarily want to face it alone. OK, so that’s not really the reason why I asked him to go with me. I wanted to spend a few minutes just talking to him about life, the universe, and everything.

He and I walked what is now my semi-regular trail. It’s kind of a decreasing circle. The first two miles is a long stretch around the neighborhood, with the last “leg” being just over one-half mile ending near the house. He was impressed that I had it timed so well that we finished no more than 50 yards from the front door.

I needed some time with him. You see, he turns 21 next week and this was my last chance to speak to him in a father to son, parent to child sort of way. Yes, I realize the wrongness of what I just wrote, but at 21, he’s a fully-grown adult. He will have transitioned from minor to adulthood. I also know that chronological age has little to do with mental age, but it’s more of a rite of passage than anything else.

I plan to have a couple of beers with him and talk future stuff. I told him that, “I’d buy.” I told him that the happiest day of my life would be the day that one of my kids bought me beers somewhere. We laughed at the humor in that statement. He quipped with, “I thought the happiest day might be when I drive up in a pink Corvette and toss you the keys.” I said, “Yes, that would be a close second to the beer thing.” Another laugh followed.

Our 5K stretched into an hour because our pace varied with the topic at hand. We pondered his future. I offered my help. I doubt he’ll need it or take it, but I offered nonetheless.

I think he might be a little proud of me for taking on my 5K a Day Challenge. I get no medal at the end of it. I get no applause for it. Heck, I might not lose weight by doing it. But it’s as I described to him, a challenge. I formulated the challenge, I accepted the challenge, and I committed to the challenge. As you know from reading, I don’t necessarily feel ‘it’ every day. Some days I don’t really want to do it at all. I told him that too. “I made a committment and I’m sticking to it,” I told him. That’s the difference between success and failure. Making a committment and sticking to it and seeing it through is success. I hope he understood. I’m not famous for subtlety.

It’s easy to quit something. You’re off the hook and aside from any feelings of guilt that might plague you, you’re done. You never have to face the challenge again. No more stretching. No more soreness. No more shin splints. And no more looking forward to that looming 3.1 miles that faces you every day.

How many times, as a parent, did you say, “If you don’t stop that, I’ll turn this car around and just go home.”? You see? It’s easier to quit and go home when things get difficult. No one ever says, “If you don’t stop that, I’m going to keep driving until we fall off the edge of the earth.” That would be going too far, both literally and figuratively. No one does that. We teach our kids with those kinds of statements that quitting is easier. I’ve always tried to tell ours that quitting is not an option. Only time will tell if I’ve gotten through. If I complete an entire year of 5K walks, then maybe I’ll have a better leg to stand on, both figuratively and literally.

#5KaDay  #5KaDayChallenge


January 30 – 30 Days of 5Ks

JanuarySo, 30 days in, and I’m feeling fine. I’ve walked 93+ miles and I’m still in the same place where I started 30 days ago. It’s funny but now I’m so used to doing a 5K every day that I have almost forgotten the details of the previous days’ walk. Today’s 5K was a nice, warm one. It was 70-ish degrees when I got home and went for my walk. I jogged some of it as usual for a total time of 40:06 minutes at an average pace of 12:57 minutes per mile. A 5,300 step walk is nothing to write home about when my daily goal is actually 10,000 steps. I get close at 7,000+ steps per day, but I’m short of the goal because of the 5Ks. I need to go ahead and finish out my 10,000 steps or reset my goal to match my performance, but that’s not a good idea.

Melissa did her 5K in the pleasant morning air with no wind and no unusual happenings.

I find all kinds of interesting bits of trash and debris around the neighborhood. I found a Cadillac hubcap centerpiece. I found a Nissan logo. I’ve found money. I found a dead squirrel near a clipboard (I tried to create a good short story around that one). I’ve also found that there are a lot of metal things on our roads: bolts, nails, screws, and many things that I can’t identify. A lot of these things end up in people’s tires. Sometimes they end up in my tires. Melissa and I both have had punctures from objects found in the streets that our local Sam’s Club calls “road hazards”. I’m not a fan.

In all it was a good 5K day, with a little pain from the weekend’s longer treks, but overall I declare it good.

I need to remember to take more time to stretch until I feel that my muscles have truly given in to what’s about to occur. You should do the same.

#5KaDay2017   #5KaDayChallenge

January 29 – The Stretch from 5K to Breakfast

My bad decision was overcompensating for the number of calories burned during my 5K.

Stretch it outThey say it isn’t good to go to the grocery store when you’re hungry, but I think it might be worse to walk your 5K when you’re hungry. The problem, for me anyway, is that being hungry on a 5K can lead to poor decisions, just like it does at the grocery store. My bad decision was overcompensating for the number of calories burned during my 5K.

But that’s a story for another day.

Today, Melissa and I took it a little easy because it was chilly and windy, so no real timing. Plus, my phone was at home being updated to what I’m sure will be its swan song. It seems that Apple updates older devices with a suicide bug that basically renders them unusable. My iPhone 5 still works and I’d like to keep it a bit longer.

Our 5K was probably closer to a four-mile walk today because I forgot my wallet and we’d walked about a quarter of a mile before Melissa asked me if I had it with me. Thank goodness we didn’t walk all the way to Village Inn before realizing it.

Her feet were really sore today, even after a decent massaging of them last night. Guess who did that? Stretching would have helped some with that pain. To experience that kind of pain after 28 days of 5Ks means that either she has an injury or that she’s not stretching enough. My guess is the latter.

Keep up your good work and let us know how you’re doing.

@kenhess (Ken’s Twitter)
redhatrunner (Melissa’s Instagram)



January 28 – From 5K to 5 Miles

It was not only a training walk and our 5K, but it was also an adventure.

Willy Walk 5 Miles?Melissa and I completed the second of our “training” walks today. Our five-miler contained our daily 5K, for which I’m grateful. I don’t think I could have covered eight miles today. It was not only a training walk and our 5K, but it was also an adventure. That’s right, a full-blown adventure right here in the middle of Tulsa. We took a detour into an abandoned area that looks as if it was going to be an office site. There are roads and parking areas, but it’s long abandoned condition shows that whatever proposed development there was, is now long forgotten.

Once we left that grand adventure, we walked up another large hill that coupled with the chilly wind, almost took away my breath. The walk wasn’t unpleasant, but it could have been almost perfect without the wind.

We had to maneuver around construction crews and orange cones during this excursion, which is always fun. I asked Melissa to remind me to avoid that area, to which she promptly replied, “Hey, Ken, don’t go this way.” Right. Duly noted. Thanks for that. She’s so handy to have around.

Glad to be finished with this week’s training walk, we went to lunch straight away after going home. We went to Sam’s Southern Eatery, which is one of my favorite places. The catfish nuggets, which they didn’t have today, are always my first request. Today, I opted for the two fish and two chicken meal. Melissa had the fish po’boy, which is her “go to” meal there. They have all the good things that I love. I’m glad it isn’t close to my office, or I would eat there every day, spoiling my 5K activity.

If you experience soreness and pain after you walk/jog/run and don’t have someone around, like me, to rub your feet and legs, then you can self-massage. Get into a comfortable position and slowly and firmly massage your pained parts. You can use some sort of muscle rub, aspirin-containing cream, or other healing salves to ease the ache. Fortunately for her, Melissa has me for that. I have to resort to self-massage.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

January 27 –

…when you’re out walking in your neighborhood, always be aware of your surroundings.

Car vs. PersonI always find it a bit challenging to relax after my 5K. I think it must be because I do it in the evening after work–most of the time anyway. I think mornings are actually best for a run/jog/walk because that way your metabolism stays up for the better part of the day. Doing an evening 5K makes dinner less pleasurable and sleep a little less possible. That’s my experience. Your mileage (pun, ha!) may vary. But I also might not be able to relax all the way because I feel as if I’ve cheated death by surviving my 5K.

Today’s 5K was a very respectable 39:29 minutes at an average pace of 12:44 minutes per mile. I’m getting there.

Melissa completed her 5K this morning in the neighborhood too. She told me that she jogged the streets, which means that when crossing the street, she jogged. You kind of have to be fully aware of your surroundings at all times in Tulsa as a walker/runner/jogger because you never know when someone is going to lose control and hit you. Almost once a week we have a car-pedestrian injury or fatality.

Someone we knew had just moved here for a new job and two or three weeks into his stay, BAM!, hit by a car and confined to a wheelchair for months. It happens way more often than it should and it seems to be getting worse. I blame cell phones. I see people messing with them when stopped at traffic lights and often those people are very unaware of when the light changes or what’s around them.

Even when I’m alone in my car I yell, “OK, quit looking at your phone and let’s go already.” They can’t hear me, but it helps calm my road rage. If I can verbalize my disdain, it’s way better for them and me.

So, when you’re out walking in your neighborhood, always be aware of your surroundings. And don’t believe that just because you’re on the sidewalk that you’re safe. You’re not. I’ve seen many accidents on the major road just to our north where people have driven fast enough, in a 40MPH zone, to jump the curb, cross the sidewalk, travel 30 or more feet of space to hit a telephone pole. I’m not sure how that even happens, but it does. I’ve also seen a house that someone ran into with his car. I’ve seen amazing things in this town and I don’t want to become another statistic, just because someone couldn’t control themselves or wait to respond to or to read a text.

OK, so digressive rants aside, my 5K was pretty darn good because I didn’t have to dodge a single car.

Now you can hit this site using http://www.5kadaychallenge.com

#5KaDay2017  #5KaDayChallenge

January 26 – Wake Up and Smell the Sushi

When it hurts bad enough that you want to slow down, then you should slow down. Pause and pick it back up. Don’t ever overdo it.

Bernie has nothing to do with this post.Walking and jogging around the neighborhood, as I told you yesterday, has its share of odors. Tonight’s nasal treats were a bit different than most. On one side of the neighborhood, I breathed in the delicate aromas of barbecue, pizza, an upscale Italian restaurant, Sushi, and steak. Yes, quite a menagerie, isn’t it? However, on the other side of the neighborhood, three blocks away, the watery stench of scorched household goods filled the air, from a house fire this morning. It was very tragic. The elderly lady who lived in the house has just lost her husband and now this. I tried to focus on her recuperation and well-being more than I focused on the burned house smell. Her two major losses in a week certainly outweigh my discomfort with the windblown stink of her burned-out home.

My performance wasn’t quite stellar tonight. I wasn’t 100 percent for some reason. I blame the effects of a 3D experience that I had earlier that left me mildly traumatized. It’s OK though, I’ll survive.

Ah, Sushi.My total time was a respectable 41:34 minutes at an average 13:22 pace. Not bad. I’ll take it.

So enough about me because Melissa had an interesting day at the gym for her 5K. She went to the upper level of the gym to the treadmills (Satan’s Hate Machines). She told me that she had this great pace going. 4.3 miles per hour walking and faster when jogging. She was kicking backside and taking names. She got so excited about her accomplishment at 1.56 miles into her 5K that she wanted to check her pace by pressing the button to display it. The design of this particular model isn’t exactly ergonomic, so when she meant to tap the button for displaying her awesome pace, she instead hit the Reset button, which cleared her information. Luckily she remembered the last reading of her distance, so she could pick up and finish.

The same sort of thing happened to me on that same set of treadmills. After my workout, I wanted to check my stats and cleared them instead. Frustrating. And I’m a computer guy, so hitting the wrong button isn’t something I normally do.

It was a good workout day for both of us. Remember to breathe deeply when you workout. Don’t get overtired or exhausted. When it hurts bad enough that you want to slow down, then you should slow down. Pause and pick it back up. Don’t ever overdo it. Avoid injury and overexertion by being smart about your workouts. Tell us how you’re doing.

Follow our shenanigans: Melissa’s Instagram: redhatrunner   Ken’s Twitter: @kenhess


January 25 – Only 11 Months ‘Til Christmas

The only problem that I really have with doing a 5K in the neighborhood is that I have to endure a variety of aromas…

Right around the cornerToday’s 5K was a spectacular success for me. I finished mine in 38:11 minutes in the neighborhood, with an average of 12:19 per mile. I’m very pleased with those results. As I might have written in the past, it’s my goal to be able to jog the entire 3.1 miles. It’s not an easy goal to attain, but I’m working on it.

Melissa walked her 5K at the gym because it was a bit chilly and windy. I (stupidly perhaps) braved the chilly winds.

The only problem that I really have with doing a 5K in the neighborhood is that I have to endure a variety of aromas from restaurant cooking to exhaust fumes to fireplaces and grills. Sometimes the odors are a bit overwhelming. There was a time or two that I thought I would have to stop and turn around and run a different direction because of the smoke and fuel stench. Sometimes fireplaces and grills can smell good, but for some reason, they did not today.

I realized that it’s only 11 months until Christmas, so I need to start getting my lists together and checking them twice. You can never start too early on Christmas. OK, January might be too early, but I’m thinking ahead.

Remember that breathing in a lot of cold air can dry out your mouth, your nose, and your sinuses. Be sure to stay hydrated. I think that I get thirstier in winter than in summer. Keep up the good work and let us know how you’re doing. Tweet me: @kenhess.


January 24 – Pie Day not Pi Day

…today’s takeaway rule is to take a few minutes and do some post walk stretches.

PiesI arrived home late again today and by late I mean close to 6 PM. It was an errand of mercy that made me late. I delivered a special treat to my family: Fried Pies from Fulton’s Pies and Pies. (I don’t get the name either–maybe I’ll ask them the next time I go, which will be sooner than later if no one tells my wife, so shhh, let’s let this be our little Internet secret. K?) And mercy, they’re yummy! I bought three apple pies and one coconut cream. I prefer coconut cream, but I also like apple. They have several other sweet flavors and several savory ones too. It was my first time to try them out, but it won’t be the last.

After Piepalooza, I changed and went for my 5K. I thought that I would walk it all again today, but since it’s nice and warm and the wind died down, I began to jog. I jogged a lot. I jogged so much that my first mile was in the twelve-and-a-half minute range. Impressive, yes? Impressive is a word which here means that I’ll pay for doing it tomorrow. Because what happens on a 5K, remains with you until the next day.

My second and third miles weren’t as impressive coming in at leisurely 13:40-ish per mile paces. I don’t care. My overall time was 40:26 minutes and my average pace was 13:03 minutes per mile. My best pace was 6:09 minutes per mile. Yep, that blur you saw was me out there scorching up the sidewalks.

I didn’t do a post walk stretch, which means that after sitting down to dinner, my legs stiffened like rigor mortis had set in a little too soon.

Melissa took in the nice weather on her neighborhood-oriented 5K today. She said she took it slow and just enjoyed the weather.

The high today hit 70 degrees, which for January in Oklahoma is not unheard of, but it also means that we’re in for a bad ‘spell’ as my mother would often say. She called unseasonably warm weather like this, a “weather breeder”, a term which most nearly means a weather pattern that’s going to please you one day but not the next. She had many “old saying” that got pretty old to me. For example, if it thunders in February, it will frost in April. Although I’ve seen it happen, I’ve never put much stock in it, as a rule, especially these days with our global climate change. Notice how I didn’t write, global warming? Yes, that was on purpose.

So, today’s takeaway rule is to take a few minutes and do some post walk stretches. Melissa is better about than I am. We both do it at the gym. That’s mostly true because I see her doing it and I follow suit. And it’s not a stretch to say that she’s much better about stretching and definitely more limber. I can outrun her though if I run; walking, however, is another story.


January 23 – It was a Monday

…today’s 5K let me know that I could walk at our old “competitive” pace again without pain and suffering.

Monday BreakupAnd it’s not like any other day. It started out pretty bad for me when I left my glasses and my security badge at home and it hasn’t gotten any better. To say that today has been a trying Monday is an understatement. I finally started my 5K today at almost 6 PM, which is much later than usual. I walked the whole way with no jogging. My pace was a surprising 15:41 minutes per mile. But I felt like I just wanted to walk and walk a little faster than in the past few days.

I’m not sure about Melissa’s walk because she went first thing this morning at the mall and we haven’t talked about the 5K. I have to assume that she experienced nothing out of the ordinary on her walk.

Mine was a bit different. There’s no wind to speak of and the temperature is comfortable for a brisk walk, so what happened this evening is a little odd. I was walking down the block that is next to mine and I saw a flash of greenish light and then kind of a ‘BOOM’ sound and then some houses went dark. I don’t know how many exactly, but at least four seem to be without power. If there had been a storm or really strong winds, I’d think it was a transformer that popped. I think it probably was a transformer, but I haven’t read or heard anything about it yet. It was just odd that it happened as I was walking by. And no, I had nothing to do with it. It’s all part of this Monday thing, I think.

Anyway, today’s 5K let me know that I could walk at our old “competitive” pace again without pain and suffering. I owe a lot of it to persistence, stretching, and focusing on my step technique. I noticed that when we walked the other day my feet weren’t clapping the ground but making the normal walking sounds that they should make.

Glad to have another one in the bag. Thanks for reading.


January 22 – Hitting the Mall

The mall is warm, dry, flat, and relatively free of people at 9:00AM on a Sunday.

I'm going to the MallRainy days and Sundays always get me down. Today is both. No chance of an outside walk today because of all the liquid sunshine and wind. It’s still too early, even as I’m writing this, to go to our gym that doesn’t open until 12:00 noon. We opted for the mall. The bigger, nicer mall. It isn’t carpeted like the smaller, less desirable mall, but it’s just over 0.5 miles around the inside “track”, so off we went. The mall is warm, dry, flat, and relatively free of people at 9:00AM on a Sunday. A few mall walkers, a few vendors, and a dozen or so cleaning people are the only folks you see, which is a good thing. The other mall has a lot of, how shall I put this,…mall groupies who just kind of hang out because they have nothing else to do.

Both malls have throngs of people who come in everyday and just ‘hang out’ because they have nothing else to do and nowhere to go. It’s a great place to people watch. Some of these folks walk around all day long, go into every store, touch everything, get a free piece of chocolate multiple times at See’s Candies, go play with the Apple gadgets, go mess with the Microsoft Store stuff, check out every kiosk, and take up space without purchase at the food court.

That is to say, it’s a mall.

And another funny thing I noticed. They still have Dippin’ Dots kiosk stores. The Ice Cream of the Future. I remember when Dippin’ Dots first hit malls in the 1980s. It was “The Ice Cream of the Future” back then. 29 years later, you’d think that this would be the future referred to in the slogan and that they could just call it Ice Cream or something equally as clever. The company went bankrupt in 2011 and it was then purchased by Chaparral Energy founders, who have filed for bankruptcy in May 2016. Some people just make increasingly poor decisions.

I digress.

Our 5K was a fast-paced one. We’re not sure how fast-paced because GPS thingies don’t work well inside the mall. Melissa’s TomTom wouldn’t measure her pace and neither would my MapMyWalk app. We heard the first mile announcement go off after about 11 minutes, to which Melissa commented, “There’s no way we’re at an 11 minute pace.” I reluctantly agreed that it had to be wrong. I was bummed because the app also read that the mall was an astonishing 0.84 miles in size. I think realistically it’s about 0.5 miles. Good try MapMyWalk, but the TomTom wins again.

Because of the chilly outside rain, I think that I might have been a little overdressed with my T-shirt under my thick North Face hoodie. I was a little winded after the first mile-and-a-half. I almost stopped a couple of times, but didn’t, and just kept on going. Eventually, everything kind of evened out and I was back to normal. Just over five times around finished up our 22nd 5K. Thank goodness!

We then went for a nutritious breakfast at FirstWatch, where I actually drank some coffee (a rarity for me). It just seemed like the thing to do.

Here’s today’s bit of advice. If you feel light-headed, weak, or like you need to stop during your workouts, don’t push through it; stop and allow yourself to rest for a few minutes. You’re not beating the clock here. This is a long-term commitment and there’s no medal or fanfare at the end–only the promise of better health. Don’t overdo it. And yes, I need to heed my own advice.