February 16 – I’m Baaaack! Heeeere’s Kenny!

I will take it easy for a few days until the stiffness and soreness are completely gone.

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WHATeverAgainst Melissa’s wishes, I walked my 5K today–with her at my side. She insisted on walking with me to “monitor my leg health.” Seriously, I have the text she sent me with those exact words in it. She did, in fact, monitor my leg health throughout our walk, which was a brisk 20 minutes per mile.

My calf was just a little stiff today and only slightly sore, so I’m back and I’m glad. I hate being benched. I really think I could have walked my 5K yesterday but you know who didn’t want me to. So to save myself the grief of an “I told you so”, I remained still for a day. Well, an evening.

I think part of the issue is that at the end of the year, Melissa wants to be able to say, “Hey, some of us (referring only to herself, of course) walked 365 5Ks, while some of us (referring to one whose name cannot be spoken) didn’t.” Yeah, she’s like that.

So I made it without any pain. No pulls, no tugs, no tears, and no stopping–so I feel pretty darn good about my progress. I will take it easy for a few days until the stiffness and soreness are completely gone. I don’t want to tempt Fate nor do I want to provide a certain person with any fodder for verbal abuse.

I hope everyone, including Melissa, knows that I’m kidding. She has my best interests and health at heart. After all, as she told me yesterday, “I’ve already paid for the Aquarium Half Marathon, so you’d better be able to do it with me.” Words that frankly sounded like Charlie Brown’s teachers talking. Wah wah, wah-wah, waaaah. You know.

We had a successful walk together and I’m better now, so thank you for all your well wishes. Keep those cards, letters, and positive thoughts flowing in my direction. Please remember to stretch.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

@kenhess: Twitter

redhatrunner: Instagram

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 12 – The Long and Windy Road

It’s perfectly fine to stop during your workout, pause your tracking app, and do some needed stretching.

Lake VictoriaWe couldn’t avoid it any longer. Melissa and I had to walk six miles today to pick up on our training for the Aquarium half marathon on April 1. We chose to do our training walk today because it was going to be cooler. I don’t think we anticipated the wind speed. At times the walk was pretty tough. Part of our six miles included the 3.1 (5K) mile walk around LaFortune Park. The park includes numerous hills, the last of which was painfully windy and right in our faces. The wind was chilly and strong, which made it difficult to maintain a decent pace. A few big gusts took us by surprise and left us gasping for breath.

Seriously, I think too much air right in your face is why people tell you that you shouldn’t blow into a dog’s face. Funny thing is that as soon as a dog gets into a car, he sticks his head out the window and faces the wind. It makes no sense to me but they’re dogs. The point is that I don’t like a strong wind in my face.

How much wind is that doggie in?By the time we returned home, I had reached 12,567 steps from that experience and another six miles added to my walk repertoire. Yesterday, I earned my Lake Victoria Badge from my Withings app. Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake and if you walked around it, you would travel 870 miles, like I have since November 2015 (I think). My Withings app is linked to my Withings Activite watch that I’ve written about before.

A bit of good stretching before and once during a restroom break did wonders for keeping any pain at bay. That’s today’s tidbit of advice. It’s perfectly fine to stop during your workout, pause your tracking app, and do some needed stretching. You now have permission to stop and do it. Stopping won’t hurt your time and it will help avoid injury and fatigue. Don’t be embarrassed. People who workout know what you’re doing and why.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

February 11 – A 5K and my Yogi Bear-approved Day

Stay hydrated even if you have to carry a water bottle with you.

  • 212 degrees Fahrenheit – Water boils.
  • 32 degrees Fahrenheit – Water freezes.
  • 84 degrees Fahrenheit – Tulsa’ Temperature Today.
  • 99.9 Fahrenheit Degrees – Cool song by Suzanne Vega.
  • Fahrenheit 451 – Good book by Ray Bradbury.

A pic-a-nicI call that Tempertrivia. It was a very warm day in Tulsa. A little breezy, but after all, it is Oklahoma where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain. We sure have some clean plains here in Oklahoma. The first thing I did this morning was to go to HairFX and get a haircut. Thanks, Betsy.

Next, Melissa and I got ready and walked three glorious miles in the neighborhood. And while we weren’t driving, we were still affected by the ever-present Tulsa road construction. 61st and Sheridan is a mess. Seriously, when will it end? There has been road construction within a mile of our house for the past four years. I’m really tired of it.

We navigated our way around the construction, easier than most Tulsa drivers I must say, and completed our non-record breaking 5K before 11 AM. I then had to come home and fix weekend breakfast, which consists of eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee.

If you thought we were done walking for the day, you’d be wrong. We went to Sam’s to gather items for our picnic. Sam’s is not as entertaining as Wal-Mart but pretty close at times. Hey, we have to take advantage of the good weather while it’s here you know. We bought some wine (Lindeman’s Bin 55 Shiraz/Cabernet), gathered our other items, and went to the park for our picnic and to read. Melissa read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, while I read through the latest copy of Writer’s Digest. I think we fell asleep for a few minutes.

There were lots of people at the park today. Families, couples, kids, squirrels, birds, and insects were all a-buzz with joy. I fed grapes to a woodpecker, which is my favorite bird just after the Cuckoo.

A good day. A good walk. Melissa and both stretched adequately and report no pain. The thing that we did not do is to hydrate appropriately. I found myself panting by the time we got back home and really needing something to drink. I didn’t realize how warm it was going to be on that walk. Stay hydrated even if you have to carry a water bottle with you.

#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