January 17 – A Series of Unremarkable Events

SnoozerIt was a dark and stormy night. Nope, sorry. Let me try that again. Call me Ishmael. OK, again, sorry. That’s not it either. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. Really sorry about that one. OK, one more time. The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. Yes, that’s it. Much better. Starting fresh.

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. Melissa walked earlier in the day, whilst I chose the evening. Her pace quickened in the midday sun like soft rainforest droplets that dare touch the ground from the high canopy above. My own footfalls pounded the concrete like the labored lub-dub of a heart given way to too many years of pain. Our rhythms matched one to another while yet in two separate timescapes.

Yeah, yeah, I know. It sounds like some 19th-century novel preparing you for some impending dastardly deed by a shadowy figure. The truth is that nothing happened here today.

Melissa walked her uneventful 5K in an unremarkable time without a single exciting thing happening to her. I, too, completed my 5K in unimpressive fashion, in almost zero wind, and in fairly pleasant temperatures. I jogged a bit, walked a lot, and I finished in an average amount of time, which was 43:06 minutes. My average pace was a very average 13:54. Neither of us saw, heard, or experienced anything noteworthy today. Hey, every day can’t be like July 4th, right?

Although I have no story to tell about my walk, I do however have a short story to tell.

This evening I was supposed to attend an IT people gathering at the local Dead Armadillo Brewery near downtown. I did not go. By the time I made it home, changed, spoke briefly to Melissa; I was out the door and onto my daily 5K excursion. I finished at 6:30, which to me was too late to clean up, go to the place, consume overly hopped beers, complain about the overly hopped beers, and then return home at a reasonable hour. Some of us have to work tomorrow, you know.


January 13 – Friday the Awesometeenth

Stay encouraged. Stick with your commitment to do this. It will pay off and then you’ll be so glad that you’ve done it.

Commit. Do. Succeed.Melissa’s schedule and mine finally synced up so that we could do our 5K together and that’s pretty awesome on this most auspicious of days. The cold, rainy day made us decide that our neighborhood was too inhospitable–a word which here means not optimal for walking and jogging a 5K. We chose to go to the gym–the nice, dry, inviting, and quite hospitable gym.

After some stretching, we walked. For some reason unknown to me, my MapMyWalk app announced ten minutes into our walk that we’d travelled our first mile. Not only was this impossible, it was also quite disturbing. I guess not all that disturbing when one considers that GPS-based devices don’t work all that well indoors. Thank goodness for her TomTom fitness band that keeps track of steps via digital display. My Withings Activite Steel also keeps track of steps, but in an analog way. And frankly, without my glasses I can’t read how far I’ve gone with any accuracy. The TomTom also uses GPS, when it can connect to the satellites, but also has an analog tracker as well. So, we were saved by our own failed technology. Irony?

We continued our trek until Melissa had the idea to jog one time around the track that’s somewhere between one-tenth and one-eleventh of a mile in length. We jogged it. One complete lap without stopping. We high-fived for our success. Hey, you take your victories when you have them.

Melissa also decided, in the moment, that we would ‘walk two, jog one’ from then on in order to decrease our pace and to increase our ability to challenge ourselves. I went along. We did it. for the last mile, we jogged one, walked two. If it sounds like we’re progressing really fast, we’re not. You see, Melissa and I have trained before and have walked half marathons, 10Ks, 15Ks, and 5Ks. We’ve previously trained ourselves and we know what we can do and what we can’t.

You need to proceed at your own pace. Don’t let our or anyone else’s training influence you. Everyone is different. We all progress at different rates. For many of you, we’re old and slow, but for some, we’re practically Olympics ready. Don’t get discouraged.

If you need help staying motivated, leave us a comment and we’ll help out by telling you how we started. We’ve dealt with it all: strains, pains, shin splints, sickness, lethargy, success depression, and more. Keep at it. Who cares if it takes you an hour to complete a 5K? You’re doing it. It’s more than most people do.

I watched a show about fitness a few days ago and the average person walks about 1,000 steps per day. That’s a tenth of what they really need to do. So, if you’re walking a 5K, that’s approximately 6,000 steps, which puts you six times above most people. That has to be encouraging. What’s even cooler is that if you use a tracker app of some kind, your miles are cumulative and you get rewards along the way.

I remember when Melissa received her Italy badge, which meant that she’d walked the equivalent of the entire length of Italy. I’m far behind her, but I’m encouraged by her stamina and dedication to this process. Sure, we both slipped last year, but we’re back at it now.

It’s easier not to do it. Trust me. It’s easier not to go to the gym. It’s easier not to walk. Do you think that I love it? I don’t love the thought of it, but I love the way I look and feel after I’m done. I love the way my clothes fit when I’m active. I love it when my ‘normal’ clothes feel too big.

Stay encouraged. Stick with your commitment to do this. It will pay off and then you’ll be so glad that you’ve done it.  Tell us about your struggles, your successes, and your routines. We’d love to hear from you.


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.