February 23, 24, and 25 – Three Days of Neglected 5K Posts

The past three days of 5Ks have all looked pretty much the same.

NeglectedI know I haven’t posted in three days but sometimes there’s just not enough difference between days to post for a single day. That’s one reason why I’m moving toward posting once a week. The other is that I don’t want to clog your feeds with my daily posts. I think you get the idea by now that I’m walking a 5K per day. You should join in. Remember that you can start at any time; it doesn’t have to be January 1.

The past three days of 5Ks have all looked pretty much the same. The only minor exception would be the 24th. Yow, it was windy and cold. I debated going to the gym vs. walking the neighborhood but I chose the neighborhood.

Melissa, wisely, has chosen to stick to the mall with few exceptions. No cars to dodge, no dogs to be afraid of, no broken beer and whiskey bottles to wade through on the sidewalks, and no weirdos to avoid.

The 24th was so windy and so cold that my face was numb by the time I got home. I was also out of breath. There was one windy stretch when I walked to the West that almost stopped me in my tracks. I was thankful for that one to end. I guess I’m thankful when they all end. I guess 3.1 miles isn’t enough to induce those euphoric endorphins because I’m always glad to have it over with.

So, from February 26th onward, I’ll be posting once a week. Keep stretching and let us know how you’re doing.

Ken’s Twitter and Instagram: @kenhess

Melissa’s 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 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 5 – The BOGO 5K

Walking a split 5K means that you’ll have to pause your workout while you eat, so don’t forget to do that.

Just Like I Like It.Melissa and I took a morning walk to Village Inn again for breakfast where we had the Chicken Fried Steak Skillet BOGO special. It’s two eggs any style, chunky potatoes, and two buttermilk pancakes. Yum. It’s definitely worth walking 1.65 miles to have it. Of course, the walk home is a bit more difficult. We didn’t finish our breakfasts because it’s more than we bargained for when we ordered.

It was a nice, slow pace walk–especially on the return trip. We made it and were glad that we did.

If you’re going to walk, eat, and then walk again, remember to allow yourself a little time after you eat to let your food ‘settle’. I don’t think it’s a good idea to hop up and continue a multi-mile walk on a full stomach. I don’t know that for sure, but it seems counterintuitive to do so. Rest a few minutes, drink two glasses of water, visit, and let that breakfast have time to digest. You don’t want cramps or side stitches or any other ailments resulting from trying to be athletic on a full tummy.

Walking a split 5K means that you’ll have to pause your workout while you eat, so don’t forget to do that. Please watch those intersections. It seems that every time we cross a street, we have a near miss or a “Wow” moment that makes me think that we need camera surveillance or a cop on every corner in this town.

I noticed that a pair of Melissa’s shoes are looking a little worn and I brought her attention to it. They aren’t all that old, but the soles are getting rubbed flat. I have written about how fast she walks before and her shoes are ‘living’ proof of it. She doesn’t clap her feet down like I do sometimes nor does she jog with that sliding jog step. I don’t know if that’s the proper description or not, but when some people jog, they land their feet in a scraping movement, which I believe is hard on their shoes and possibly not great form. My point is that, if your shoes are worn, you should think about replacing them and using the old ones for ‘everyday.’

As for stretching, Melissa likes Yoga. She watches some Australian lady on a Roku channel for it. She says that it stretches her muscles and relaxes her for a better workout. If I liked Yoga, I’d probably agree. My problem is that I just can’t do the moves. Even as a teenager, I couldn’t touch my toes and I’m certainly not going to attempt it now.

Drink a lot of water and, if you like, take some with you on your walk. It gets lighter as you walk, so it won’t be much of a burden to you.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

Ken’s Twitter: @kenhess

Melissa’s Instagram: redhatrunner

February 1 – A Groundhog Day Eve 5K

I’m not a huge fan of February because I’m not really sure how to pronounce February.

FebruaryYesterday I lamented that January had 31 days, meaning that I wished that my first month of 5Ks had been shorter by, I don’t know…maybe a day, I guess. Melissa replied, “There are 365 days in a year, so what does it matter?” True, but the point is that a shorter month would mean that we’d surpassed a milestone–a whole month of 5Ks. It doesn’t matter now, of course, but it mattered a couple of days ago.

Today is February 1st. I’m not a huge fan of February because I’m not really sure how to pronounce February. There are two competing pronunciations and I’ve always favored the Feb-yoo-ary version, while Melissa favors, Feb-roo-ary. I can’t bring myself to say it that way, although it’s probably the more correct one. I mean, come on, when it’s followed by March, April, May, June, and July, why does February have to be so difficult? February is the Wednesday of months. It’s annoying and weird.

Melissa and I walked together today in the chilly wind. When the wind hit us in the face, it was pretty rough to take. I’m not a fan of the wind, especially cold wind. It was literally breathtaking and not in a good way. We finally finished up and put another 5K into the history book or blog.

Our time was somewhere between competitive and love walk, which means that we weren’t hurried or trying to be competitive. In plain English, it was close to an hour for the 5K walk today. Such is life.

Remember to keep walking. Don’t let the weather or any other issues keep you from that daily 5K. It does get easier. To me, the 5K isn’t so much of a physical challenge anymore but has become more of a time challenge. I know that as soon as I hit the door, I can’t sit down and relax. I have to change clothes, get motivated, stretch, and then hit the bricks.

#5KaDay2017 #5KaDayChallenge

Twitter: @kenhess

Instagram: redhatrunner

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 21 – California Dreamin’

But through all the weather-related angst, road and sidewalk trash, and the random dog barking at us; we made it.

DreamingMelissa and I combined our half marathon training and our daily 5K into a single four mile walk, as promised. The weather was mostly cooperative. It sprinkled on us at first, which we thought might turn into an uninvited downpour at almost any time during the next hour. Fortunately, we made it to the end with only a light rain at the end. Certainly not enough to stop us or even to give us pause. Melissa is a determined trooper. She’s like the U.S. Postal Service, when it comes to walking–nothing stops her. We’ve walked in conditions that I wouldn’t even drive in, so her determination is much more determined than mine.

Well, you know what Jim Carrey says, “Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.” Which I’m sure she just did before reading that last line.

Today we walked the neighborhood and included the big hill that’s almost one mile to our South. We walked up the less steep, but longer side, which is no easy chore. Both of us panting, Melissa, the eternal optimist, looked out over the town and said, “Enjoy the view, you worked hard for it.”

When we got to the top and were taking in the awesome view, I said, “All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray…”. Melissa, being the lyric queen, finished the song. The song reference made perfect sense to me, because all the leaves are indeed brown and the sky is gray.

I could have enjoyed the view and the song more with cocktail in hand, while stretched out on the couch, but hey, you take life as it’s handed to you. I walked up there, so I took in the view.

There’s one thing about damp weather, though, it makes any lung or air passage problem worse. Melissa was wheezing a bit and my nose ran like crazy on the walk. The big hill was especially enjoyable on those two fronts.

But through all the weather-related angst, road and sidewalk trash, and the random dog barking at us; we made it. As always, I’m glad we’re done for another day.

#5KaDay2017

January 20 – Love Walk

…you have to take some time to recover, to let your muscles rest, and to allow yourself some time to repair.

RestToday, Melissa and I finally synchronized our schedules enough to have a walk together. We started out at an almost unheard of 5:15PM. I was thrilled that we had a chance to share one of the week’s 5Ks. She informed me early on, within the first 50 steps, that we are going to take it slow today and that this is going to be our recovery walk. We’ve both pushed it pretty hard this week and as she told me so many times before that, when training you usually take two days off for rest. Well, in a 5K-a-Day challenge, there is no day off or day of rest. Our compensation for that is a recovery walk, or as we like to call it, a love walk.

I think I might have described it before to you, but a love walk is a slow stroll (Think 20 minutes per mile here). It’s a walk where we can talk about the day’s events, world news, and kid things. Well, today being what it is, the conversation turned to politics.

We generally agree on things political, although I have a bit more of a conservative bent to my beliefs than she does. That said, I’m not a fan of the new Presidency, while Melissa takes a kinder, gentler “Let’s see what happens” approach to it. Of course I haven’t been a fan of any Presidency for a while now, but that’s another story.

Our walk today was a pleasant one. It was the perfect temperature with little wind and no obstacles such as pain or giant hills to impede us.

RestThe truth is that you have to take some time to recover, to let your muscles rest, and to allow yourself some time to repair. For a daily challenge like this, there’s no rest day, but do what we did and take it easy for a day or two here and there. A slow walk or two isn’t going to hurt your training nor is anyone going to criticize you for it. No judgements. Heck, you’re doing more than 99 percent of the population, if you’re doing this 5K challenge with us.

Remember to stretch, to get plenty of sleep, and to take a slow day every three to four days to rejuvenate. It will do you good and will keep you walking. Remember, it’s a long-term commitment and not a fad. Do what’s right for your health and your mental well-being. Let us know how you’re doing on your challenges.

#5KaDay2017