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 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

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.

#5KaDay2017

January 15 – Easy Like Sunday Morning

Our pace today was close to the 20 minute per mile mark and that worked for us. I’m not ashamed.

Take It EasyMelissa and I went to the small mall to do our 5K today and chose to take a slower, easier pace to heal from the more intense workouts of the past few days. The carpeted mall floors helps cushion our steps, for which we’re very thankful. Our pace today was close to the 20 minute per mile mark and that worked for us. I’m not ashamed. It’s better than skipping a day, for sure. We’re dedicated to this 5K-a-Day challenge and we’re going to do it. The accomplishment isn’t in breaking a record, but in doing it.

What’s hardest about mall walking is the temptation of the food court. The temptation increases exponentially when one of the proprietors of an Asian restaurant asks, “Would you like a sample?”

“Hell, yes I want a sample, but my wife won’t let me,” is what I want to say. That and, “Sorry, I’m in the middle of a 5K.” I wonder how that would actually sound coming out?

Would it sound awesome like it does in my head or would it sound kind of uppity and douchie like I think it might?

I didn’t say it, so either way it doesn’t matter.

The music today was pretty good. We were serenaded by 80s music including hits by James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Simple Minds, Madonna, and others. It helps to have decent music when you’re working out, walking, or running. Most people seem to bring their own, but I like ambient music and the cacophony of conversations and other assorted noises. I sometimes hate being “trapped” by earbuds and blaring music, although I do find it preferable to “elevator” music.

Another 5K in the books for us. Thanks for reading. Let us know how you’re doing on your challenge.

#5KaDay2017