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.


January 2 – Dark Days

My basic strategy for this 5K, and all races really, is to jog the downhills to increase my overall pace.

No picture today I’m afraid because it was dark by the time I got home, changed, and hit the road for my second 5K. I decided that today I’m going to do the jog/walk strategy and see what kind of time I can turn in. It is my own personal challenge and is not part of any workout format or online routine. It’s just something I decided to do in the moment. According to the MapMyWalk iPhone app, I covered 3.12 miles in 39:35 minutes, which is approximately 12:42 per mile. Not bad considering that my walking average is somewhere between 15 and 16 minutes.

I also wear my Withings Activite Watch that measure steps by arm swings. It is pretty accurate, but be aware that it isn’t precise. In a 5K walk, I lose about 500 steps, so that’s something to consider. I suggest using a geo-tracking device or app to give you a more accurate measurement. Step watches aren’t bad, but they just can’t compare to their satellite-based competitors.

My basic strategy for this 5K, and all races really, is to jog the downhills to increase my overall pace. I don’t jog fast, but jogging is at least twice as fast as walking, so I use it to get those lower mile per minute numbers. I also sometimes jog level ground, after I’ve caught my breath a bit. No, 12:42 won’t win any medals, but it also puts me far from the back of the pack, so I’m happy with it.

Melissa walked her 5K today on her own. She didn’t provide any details. To her credit, she has been sick for a week and does well to get out and walk 3 miles. Kudos to her for being dedicated to our challenge.