February 17 – 5K Friday Night Recovery Solo

I think light, regular, continued exercise is preferable to sitting around lamenting your injuries.

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Injury and RecoveryDue to circumstances beyond our control, Melissa and I had to walk separately today. She went to the mall and I hit the neighborhood after dark and in the cold sprinkles of rain. There was a rainbow in the sky but no rain until I started my walk. It sprinkled but from where I haven’t a clue. There were no clouds above us but yet it rained, though only a light sprinkle that lasted for 15 to 20 minutes.

I was a little worried that walking alone tonight after my injury the other day might make me do something unwise, like jog, walk too fast, or favor the other leg. It didn’t. I had a good pace–somewhere in the 16 minutes per mile range and very little stiffness and slight soreness.

I stretched my left calf every time I thought about it all day long, which I think helped alleviate any residual pain and soreness. I think the remedy to minor injuries is to take it easy but also to keep the injured part in motion and try to maintain a full range of motion in the process. I know that there are different schools of thought on what to do for injuries.

Rice Rice, BabySome say that you should use RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) but others, who agree with me, think that you should use some rest, heat, compression, light stretching, light range of motion exercises, and slight elevation. I don’t necessarily believe all the rhetoric pushed by sports physicians or paraprofessionals of that ilk. I also don’t believe that injuries should be prolonged into weeks or months. My reasoning comes from the fact that the day after a person has open heart surgery, they’re required to get up and walk around.

Sure, I believe that you should take it a little easy on yourself after an injury, but these long recoveries are just nonsense. All those long recoveries set the athlete back to a point long before the injury occurred. I think light, regular, continued exercise is preferable to sitting around lamenting your injuries.

Keep stretching and keep walking.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

Twitter: @kenhess

Instagram: redhatrunner

February 15 – Ken and the Terrible, Horrible, No K, Very Bad Day

Today’s advice is to realize when an injury benches you, you need to be benched.

No K is Not OKSorry folks, I didn’t do my 5K today because of yesterday’s injury. Melissa walked her 5K at the mall, but I was ordered to RICE my calf. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are RICE. Actually, I disobeyed slightly. I used rest, heat, compression, and elevation. I guess this proves that no matter what, that you have to protect yourself and your health first. I limped around all day long with my stiff, sore calf and was exhausted from it by the time I came home.

I was about to change clothes and to take a very slow walk around the neighborhood when Melissa interceded and said, “No, you can’t. You have to stay down for today or you might have to stay out for a week or for a month and miss the half marathon on April 1.” I relented.

I apologize for not being able to stick with my daily 5K. Melissa has and so she carries the torch, while I nurse my calf. I’m trying, as I sit here typing, to give it a few stretches. I didn’t realize that it also hurts on the front of my leg as well as my calf.

Specifically, for those of you who are inclined to know. My pain is in the Gastrocnemius Medial Head and in my Tibialis Anterior. And the pain is pronounced when I stretch my calf and not when I flex it, hence the limp when I walk. Honestly, it feels more like the aftermath of a severe cramp, rather than the pain of a tear or of a pull. At times, when I was younger, I had cramps so bad that they stayed sore for days after an attack. “Attack” is the only way that I can describe the hard “grab” of the cramp, the intense pain, and the prolonged stiffness and pain that followed.

If Melissa hadn’t stopped me, I would have completed my daily 5K. I’m not sure at what cost I would have completed it, but it would not have been a missed workout. But this story might also be very different.

Benched!Today’s advice is to realize when an injury benches you, you need to be benched. Don’t fight it. Don’t be angry. And don’t be disappointed in yourself. Injuries happen. Look at the number of athletes who have surgery scars. Take care of yourself. Stretch, take the time to warm up, and take the time to cool down. Admittedly, I must have rushed my stretching last night or I must have run too soon. Looking back, I think I knew at the time that I hadn’t prepared myself adequately and I’m paying for it now.

So, kudos to Melissa who made it another day.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

Ken’s Twitter: @kenhess

Melissa’s Instagram: redhatrunner

February 14 – A Valentine’s Day Ouchie

[I’m writing this on the morning of February 15. You’ll find out why I didn’t post yesterday evening.]

Cute CalfMore rain today sent me back to the gym for my 5K. My Withings watch doesn’t work so well inside the gym, so I can’t rely on it for measuring my distance. I also can’t keep track of my laps around the gym because I run, jog, and walk, so I lose track (no pun intended) of my place. I have to rely on steps. I know that approximately 2,000 steps are equal to one mile. Actually, for me, it’s just over 1,800 steps, but I err on the long side to be sure.

I walked two laps and then decided to jog a bit. Remember that I’m trying to build up to jogging an entire 5K without stopping. On my fourth lap, I started to jog again, but this time something happened. I assumed that I pulled my calf muscle. There was a lot of pain. And yes, I did stretch before I started. I also stopped and stretched during my walk to see if I could relieve the pain. It didn’t work. I finished my 5K in pain–a lot of pain. By the time I finished, I could barely move. My left calf was a little swollen.

I stopped my walk when I hit 8,000 steps, which put me well over a 5K. I stretched for a few minutes, again in an attempt to relieve some pain, but it didn’t work. I hobbled into the Men’s Locker Room and sat down to check the damage. My left calf was swollen and painful. I massaged it a bit grimacing with each rub. The last time anything like this happened was during high school track. Back then, I had a coach to treat it with an Ace bandage wrap, some Icy Hot, and a bit of stretching.

After a nice Valentine’s Day dinner at The Bistro, I came home, heated up the “corn” pillow, took some Ibuprofen, massaged my calf a bit more, placed the corn pillow on my calf, and eventually fell asleep.

I woke up this morning to perform “cat maintenance” and found that most of the soreness has gone but my calf is still a little stiff. No long term damage, thank goodness. My 5K today will be a slow walk with some wrapping, some Icy Hot, and more Ibuprofen. Until then, keep stretching for your daily 5K.

Melissa walked the mall with no issues. Yay, Melissa.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

February 13 – The Bagel Shop Bang-up and the Glorious Gym Walk

It was a dark and stormy night.Do some of my 5K post titles remind you of Love American Style show titles? Maybe I shouldn’t ask that. I came home and got ready for my 5K but when I walked outside, it was raining. I uttered an expletive or three and decided to go to the !@#$% gym to do my 5K. Oh, the humanity.

Just before I got to the gym, there was a huge accident in front of the bagel shop where I turn. A firetruck, an ambulance, and a lot of bystanders were looking at the wrecked truck. Bewildered by the truck’s odd positioning, I stopped, got out and took some pictures because no one would believe me if I just told the story.

Stopping by the Bagel Shop on a Rainy EveningA fireman told me that apparently the driver hydroplaned off the road and ended up on the embankment and on top of a Volkswagen Beetle’s hood. How fast was this person going to do that? Ah, Tulsa drivers. They are entertaining, to say the least. And you don’t really want me to say the most about them. It would fill volumes. In fact, I could write a daily blog post about my experiences to and from work or where ever else I go in the course of a day. I’ll only say this. I cuss Tulsa and its drivers from the moment I get in the car until I get to my destination. I try not to but it’s impossible to refrain.

Sorry, this is about the 5K isn’t it? I had to go to the gym, which was packed tonight. I didn’t get started until almost 6:30 PM but I was determined to do it. My Withings watch showed that I had approximately 2,000 steps, so I thought I’d just walk until I hit 10,000. It’s more than a 5K but who cares. It’s my life. I can do what I want.

I stretched. I walked. I jogged. And I ran. Yes, ran at an almost full speed gait around the track. Impressive much, if I do say so myself. I reached 10,000 steps, did a few post walk/jog/run stretches, and then I ventured back onto the treacherous city streets, now fully awash with rain. I made it home safe and sound. I feel like I’ve cheated death again. To heck with surviving a 5K–that’s easy. If I can make it all the way across Tulsa without wanting to commit a road rage crime, it’s a pretty good day.

Melissa walked her 5K at the mall with her mall cronies. That’s OK. I prefer for her to walk at the mall. It’s a fairly safe environment–safe from traffic at least and protected from the weather.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

Ken’s Twitter: @kenhess

Melissa’s Instagram: redhatrunner

February 10 – The Triple Celestial Events 5K

Take a few extra minutes and stretch more, stretch farther, and get those muscles ready for a more strenuous workout the right way.

Snow MoonI didn’t see the eclipse because I was in the middle of my daily 5K. Melissa asked me if I saw the awesome moon near the horizon because it was so big. I hadn’t. In fact, I didn’t see the moon until we left for dinner and it was still impressive. I explained to her about the moon illusion and requested that she view it in the manner that the moon illusion ceases to be. That’s called the ‘angle of regard’ hypothesis. I’ve never viewed it that way, but I trust that it’s accuracy has been tested.

It was warm this evening–in the 70s so I did my 5K in shorts and a T-shirt again. Yes, I looked good. What a silly question that just ran through your mind. Seriously. I finished in just over 40 minutes with a pace in the 13-minute range. I don’t remember it exactly and my phone is in another room and I’m too tired to go fetch it, so you’ll just have to trust me.

I resumed my standard counter-clockwise course that’s just over one mile long on each pass. I figure that I’ll stick with what works for me. But I have noticed one interesting thing about myself–I need more stretch time. I’ve been giving it about five minutes total. Until recently it’s been enough to prevent soreness, aches, and shin splints. I think I need more stretching because I’m running/jogging more that I did before. More running equals more stretching. I get it. From now on, it’s five minutes per leg.

After all, I have to prevent injuries if I’m going to keep up this 5K a day thing. I can complete a 5K if I’m sleepy, tired, sick (within reason), bored, angry, and generally unmotivated but if I hurt myself too severely, I might not be physically able to complete the walk.

Take a few extra minutes and stretch more, stretch farther, and get those muscles ready for a more strenuous workout the right way.

Let me know if you see the comet tonight.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

February 9 – The Evening After 21

Today, I decided to walk in the opposite direction to change things up a bit.

Stay the Course. NOT!So, we’re all tired from yesterday’s and yesterday evening’s activities. Just after writing this entry, I’m hitting the sack. Indigestion kept me awake last night, so I got almost no sleep. Today was a bit of a difficult stretch (pun not intended) for me and I was glad to come home, change, and knock out that 5K. Melissa put her’s to rest this morning at the mall. I’m going to give her a ‘Fanny Pack’ for Valentine’s Day so that she can fit in better with her fellow mall walkers. Shh.
I forgot to mention that while we were out, Walker and I saw one of his Elementary School Teachers: Ms. Comfort. She couldn’t believe that he was 21. It was great seeing her. Honestly, Salk Elementary had the finest group of teachers that I’ve ever known.  And I’m not kidding. They were the best. It’s almost as if we individually chose each one for our kids. We and our children were very blessed to have them.

The 5K was good. Today, I decided to walk in the opposite direction to change things up a bit. A few days ago I thought, “I need to go the opposite way to balance out the curves, bumps, and angles.” I don’t want to favor one side of my body over the other, so I went the other way around.

This might have been an error on my part because I got shin splints again because now the right to left angles have been left to right angles, and now the upward inclines are now downward, and I think you get the picture. I started to sound like Willy Wonka with that explanation when he described all the different directions that the Wonkavator could go.

Happy Valentine's Day Dear!So, I’m dealing with a bit of calf and shin muscle pain. Yes, I stretched but there was enough difference in the paths I took to make it hurt a bit. To relieve the pain, I jog. It helps. I’m finding that I can jog for longer bits now. Initially, I could only jog for maybe 100 paces, but now I can jog the length of an entire block–downhill of course, but still jog.

I think the trick to lessening the possibility of pain is to change up my route more often. I originally changed it daily because I hate repetition. I don’t know if that’s a flaw or a feature, but it is a fact. Sometimes I’ll change my path just before or even during a walk. I used to do the same thing when I mowed our yard. I mowed it different every single time. I’m beginning to think it’s a flaw. I’m not going to dwell on it, but I will note it for future research. Yeah, I’ll get right on that. In the future.

My advice for today is that you should vary your workouts. Change the time of day, change your pace, change your direction, change enough from day to day so that your body doesn’t have time to become accustomed to a routine. Anyone in the physical fitness business will tell you that your body adapts quickly to routines, which actually lowers the effectiveness of your exercise. How about that for some trivia? So, now I’m thinking that the changing my course thing is a positive move rather than a bad thing. Thank you stream of consciousness. I appreciate you.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

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Twitter: @kenhess

Instagram: redhatrunner

February 8 – Coming of Age

All I need is a flat course and 45 minutes.

Done!!!When they’re little, they’re cute and sweet and lovable. When they’re teenagers, they stink, they’re moody, and they’re not pleasant to be around. When they’re adults, they’re almost tolerable. Kids. Yesterday was Walker’s 21st birthday. I left work a little early to pick up my daughter from school and then to spend a little time with him–just the two of us. Well, just the two of us and like a hundred other people at McNellie’s South. Yes, I bought him his first legal beer. We talked. We laughed. We shared. We went home.

I had to do my 5K between coming home and going to dinner with the family. All I need is a flat course and 45 minutes. I did it hurriedly. I showered, redressed, and went to Osaka Japanese Steakhouse for a wonderful dinner experience. We had an incredibly talented chef at our table. He was skilled and funny. I wish I knew his name so that we could have him by request next time. Walker tried Saki, against my advice, and he claims that he likes it. Sure he does. Saki, to me, tastes like someone made a weak alcohol extract of copier paper, strained it into a flask, slightly warmed it, and then served it in tiny cups. Not the tastiest beverage. I had delicious Diet Coke for my dinner accompaniment.

As for Melissa, she walked at the mall. No details from her, so I assume everything was OK. Mine was equally uneventful, except for the cold wind. If you recall, I wore a T-shirt and shorts for my February 7th 5K. Yeah. Gotta love it. Or not.

So, today’s advice is that you shouldn’t be rushed when you walk your 5K. Depending on weather conditions, the walk itself can be unpleasant enough without the added boost of being ‘under the gun’ to get done and then to do something else. It raises your blood pressure, produces anxiety, and tenses your muscles which leads to cramping.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge