February 22 – The Big Payoff 5K

Keep walking and stretching.

LoooozerOn a positive note for all this news-related negativity is that there’s a big Powerball payoff that might be shared by two people. One of them, unfortunately, is not me. My 5K was a good one. The weather was pleasant and I walked my 3.1 miles without issue. No dog bites. No dog chases and thank goodness for that because I don’t think that I could catch them with my wounded calf. No car dodging. No issues at all. I listened to Pandora radio on my way around the neighborhood.

The Cure. My Pandora station was The Cure, in case you were wondering what I listed to.

My calf is much better. I did a few calf stretches and flexes before I left to loosen it up a bit. It only stiffened a little in the first mile and then relaxed.

Keep walking and stretching.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

Melissa posts her 5K info and pictures on Instagram: redhatrunner

You can follow my Twitter feed: @kenhess

February 19 – The Brisk Walk of Vengeance

Our walk was brisk. Fortunately, the goal was to walk 3.1 miles with our Finish Line being Sam’s Southern Eatery.

Don't make me angryHell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned or so wrote William Congreve*. I do have to agree. Today was proof. I noticed that Melissa started our walk out at a very quick pace. I found it hard to keep up at first and I felt my legs starting to tense up in preparation for an impending bout with my familiar nemesis: shin splints. I wondered but I remained silent.

She revealed later that she’d read my previous discussion of our “leisurely” walks and reckoned that she’d brisken up the pace to show me that she indeed was taking it easy on me in my injured state.

Today there was no mercy. No, “Honey how are you feeling?” And definitely no, “Do you need for us to slow down a bit?”

Yeah, there was none of that. I panted, I gasped, I grimaced, and I kept my mouth shut, except to complain about the humidity or the wind. She informed me later that our walk today was ‘brisk’ and I agreed that is the proper adjective to describe it.

Our walk was brisk. Fortunately, the goal was to walk 3.1 miles with our Finish Line being Sam’s Southern Eatery. It was a perfect 5K to Sam’s.

We both enjoyed chicken, fish, fries, coleslaw, hush puppies, and a little less brisk walk home. By the time we left Sam’s, I’d stiffened up a little but at least the weather was more tolerable on the way.

So, my oath is to never again call one of our lower paced walks leisurely. I’ve learned my lesson and have altered my behavior according to plan.

I don’t think today’s walk re-injured my calf but it certainly wasn’t pleasant by any stretch (pun?) of the imagination. I came home and took a nap while watching Clouds of Sils Maria.

Keep stretching until you reach your fitness goals and try not to understate your pace; it can be detrimental to your health.

*Some think that Shakespeare wrote that. He did not.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

Ken’s Twitter: @kenhess

Melissa’s Instagram: redhatrunner

February 17 – 5K Friday Night Recovery Solo

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

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 16 – I’m Baaaack! Heeeere’s Kenny!

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

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 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