Sunday, March 30, 2008

StartWalking v4

I got a new battery in my pedometer as the new walking program starts tomorrow and I, for one, am glad. The programs provide a good incentive to get in some additional exercise and for me, it has really helped. When the first StartWalking program began, I was able to do about 2000 steps on a good day. And I set a goal of achieving the 10k step recommended minimum It took several months to reach that goal. Over the course of the three programs, I've lost almost 50 pounds and can now run (or at least doing something I call running). When this started, it would have been a challenge to run 100 yards and on Friday, I ran over 5 miles. A couple of times last summer, I walked the equivalent of a marathon so I'm looking forward to see what this this summer brings besides motorcycle riding!

I think I figured out what was wrong with me yesterday. I think I was severly dehydrated. After drinking a ton of water, I felt a hundred times better. Maybe it was some sort of 24 hour bug but on Sunday morning, no trace of anything. I remember this happening before when I used to ride my bike a lot in California. And it is much easier to carry water while cycling than when running. What do most people do? Use a fanny pack or something? Not wanting to be discouraged by a little setback, I went for several short walks outside the longest only being about 3 miles. This time I took plenty of water.

My comment about cycling made me think of several rides way back including a couple of century (100 mile) rides from the L.A. area into the upper desert. We rode at night because it was cooler but I still remember going through about three gallons of water on each trip. Another was San Diego to Cabo and I carried over a gallon with me on the bike and must gone through over four gallons on some of the 100 mile 100 degree days. I guess I have always needed lots of fluids. The moral of this post is drink plenty of water.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Well, I finally went running outside this evening. I ran down the Farmers Loop bike path and stopped when I reached the Steese Highway. I guess I should probably be able to finish a 5k run since I went over 5 miles today. The interesting thing is that I only stopped because my ride was coming to pick me up along the road but probably could have easily gone several more miles. Guess I need to start pushing myself a bit harder. That must be one of the reason folks "train". To learn how hard they need to push themselves to go a certain distance. The uphill sections were much more challenging than simply changing the grade on the treadmill. Actually having to do work i.e. force times distance, takes much more energy. Not surprisingly, the scenery is better outside. It still seemed pretty cold but still lost a lot of water and I should have brought some sort of fluid with me. I guess I was planning to just walk but had to try running. There were still some very icy sections requiring me to walk, but what surprised me is that after walking through these sections, I really felt a need to start running again. What's that all about ...

Right now, I'm sore in strange places. Not my legs like I expected but back and neck. I wonder why? I can't wait to try again but thought I should wait a couple of days. Tomorrow is the Home Show at the Carlson Center. Maybe I should walk there? It can't be that far.

Saturday afternoon - It looks like I came down with something. A lot of aches and an intermittent fever. Could this be caused by running outside? I did get pretty chilled and tired. Maybe my resistance just dropped to nothing from the stress associated with being really tired. Interesting. Anyway, today was spent running kids around interspersed with sleeping. No Home Show today. I'm scheduled to go up to Barrow on Monday evening. I hope whatever this is passes.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I was looking at my exercise pattern trying to see if I can guess how I was going to do on any particular day. I discovered this view on the Nike+ site that shows my walk/jog history (short term) and several things stand out to me. First, roughly every third day seems to be a good day for distance and second, there has been a gradual increase in my distances. There has been a corresponding increase in time spent on the treadmill which means that my speed hasn't increased significantly. I guess I knew that since speed is set on the treadmill. I've been reluctant to go much faster since everything that I've read recently has indicated that we should exercise at about a 60% to 80% of our mazimum hear rate. When I'm running, I tend to be at 80% to 90% already. So is this recommendation based on real science or is it just what everybody has been saying for forever? For myself, I've stayed at the 90% value for literally hours and it doesn't seem to have hurt me or am I just fooling myself? Anyway, that is why I have been reluctant to go any faster. What I really need to do is get off of the treadmill and go outside.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

New shoes

Finally broke down and picked up a new pair of shoes. I tried them out this afternoon with a short run (3.8 miles) and they seem to work great. They have a spot in the sole for the Nike+ transmitter and the distance now matches the treadmill almost exactly. Before, they differed by about 2% (which was close enough for me) but now the difference after almost 4 miles was only 0.01 miles! I guess the designers of the gadget knew what they were doing. Like any new pair, I think my legs need to adjust a little as some muscles ache a bit after running. Then again, I had to take off immediately after exercising and didn't have time to stretch. I hope these last at least as long as the last two pairs of New Balance shoes I've had.

The bike paths are looking pretty clear. If I didn't have to run the boys around, I was thinking of taking advantage of them. Only another week of so until the new Start Walking program begins. Start wearing your pedometers now to get used to carrying it around.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

No travelling this month

I walked on the treadmill this evening for over two hours but I don't feel like I exercised enough. I guess I'm wanting to go for some long walks again. I guess I thought that two hours was more than enough time to devote to walking. I still feel very full from lunch so I think I'm going to pass on dinner. Maybe it's because I've spent all day in a network class so I didn't get to walk around much. It was a pretty good class. I found it difficult to run today even though I had sufficient energy and I'm blaming it on worn out shoes. My feet are sore and I really need to do sometime about them soon. I thought about running (not literally) into town after finishing but a friend stopped by to allow her dog to refamiliarize himself with everyone since we are dog sitting this weekend.

Tomorrow, more meetings. No travelling this month since I am on jury duty but so far, I've only had to go in one day so far. There seems to be so much that I need to get done in Barrow and this is really making it difficult to do what I need to do.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Too Much Time on the Treadmill

This evening, I was on the treadmill for two hours and ran for the first 5 1/2 miles then walked for the next 45 minutes. I'm not sure why I kept walking but I never really got tired like I usually do. I just stopped because I still needed to eat dinner and it was getting late. Right now, I'm just waiting around before heading to the airport to pick up my son who is returning from a school trip to mainland China. I would have been a fun trip to go on. I still haven't found new shoes and the soles of my feet are letting me know that their still needed. I need to try and find a pace that will just get me to 5k. This evening, I increased my pace about 10% but I was still able to run way past the 5k goal. At least that is what I think I want to do. If I still have a lot of energy left at the end of the run then maybe I should've pushed myself more. Is this right? I need to talk to some runners. Maybe I should search for a training schedule on the Internet.

Unfortunately, two hours per day is probably more time than I should normally spend on the treadmill. In the past, I've spent a lot of time walking. Probably too much time. Today, I put over 30k steps on the pedometer with 17k on the treadmill. I shouldn't be spending this much time exercising.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Slow Sunday

A pretty slow day today. I ran almost six miles on the treadmill while watching a great show on the human body on the Discovery channel. I don't remember the name of the show but it had great animation. It really is amazing how complex the bodies systems are that enable us to actually function. I didn't run the entire distance as I was a little tired. Since today at noon, I volunteered to cook burgers for a mission trip fund raiser. While standing outside, I was amazed at the thermal gain from the sun. It was really pleasant standing out in the sun but I still ended up feeling drained by the end of the day. I'll be glad when the bike paths are clear enough to walk on again as I tried the road this afternoon and it was almost deadly with a light dusting of snow on top of ice. The warmth from the sun doesn't seem to be melting the ice.

Monday afternoon - I noticed the borough had equipment out clearing snow from the bike path. This is another sure sign of Spring. Unfortunately, there will be water on the bike paths which will then freeze at night since the temperatures these days are still dropping well below freezing and even below zero.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Had a nice walk on the treadmill this evening while I was cleaning the calcium deposits in our boiler. I had to shut down the furnace for the day so it could cool down. Then set up the acid pump to circulate acid through the hot water coil in the boiler. I took advantage of the cool house to walk on the treadmill. I still had to turn on the ceiling fan on to keep from overheating. I wasn't able to run except for a bit after an hour of walking. I did some cleaning in the garage (one of the cars was leaking oil) and replaced the valve cover gasket on the bike to stop another leak. All that still needs to be done is an oil change but I need to warm up the engine to do that. Only another month or so before biking weather.

Went shopping for shoes this afternoon but didn't find anything. I am looking for a running shoe that provides additional support on the outer heel since my ankle tends to roll outward when I get tired. Also, I've always gotten "trail" shoes but was looking for something a little lighter that wasn't too gaudy. I don't know what market shoe manufactures are marketing to but most running shoes are really flashy. Finding a good pair that is relatively plain is proving to be difficult. I was also looking at the Nike shoes that have a built in pocket for the Nike+ transmitter but didn't see any at the discount shoe stores. They only carried them at the sports shoe stores. I wish shoes lasted longer, it would be easier to justify but then again, the soles of my feet ache after running because my shoes are really worn out.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Grey Line

Yesterday, I ended up getting a long walk that I didn't plan. I went down to the credit union in Wood Center and they were closed. The next closest branch that was open was down on Geist Road so off I went. The sidewalks were much slicker than I thought they would be thanks to the dusting of snow hiding ice below. So I slid my way down to the bank then worked my way back to my office. Total mileage, 4.12 miles. That afternoon, I had arranged to meet my son and show him how to take the bus home so I left the car at Fred Meyer and walked towards where he was working but since I was a bit early, I went to the Bentley Mall to kill some time before meeting him and walking back to Fred Meyer to catch the bus. I am glad the borough brought back the grey line. I used to take the bus all the time and was sorry (and vocal) when they cancelled the route. I'm glad that it's back. My son couldn't figure out why we were taking the bus since the car was sitting right there. He is so used to us driving him around that the thought of him getting around on his own was almost foreign to him. Didn't feel much like walking on the treadmill when I got home. Anyway, the late afternoon walk was another couple of miles. Maybe tonight would be a good time to get a replacement battery for my pedometer. (exciting life, eh)

This afternoon, I stopped by the GCI office and talked to them about their "ultimate package" which includes cable modem, local telephone service and digital cable TV. I mentioned in the past that I usually watch TV while walking on the treadmill and we currently have Dish satellite service. I don't have any complaints about their service but was looking for a bundle to get "better" Internet service. The GCI cable modem has been working great except the kids have started using the Internet much more and we keep exceeding the bandwidth limit. The "unlimited downloads" option is only available with their "ultimate package." Installation is next Wednesday but until then our Internet connection is dead. Boy, some boys are going to be pissed when they get back as they seem to be addicted to the Internet. Maybe I should have subscribed to a slower service ;-)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

12,000 steps/Big Mac

I managed to run 5 miles this evening then walked for another 20 minutes to to get to 10km. Went at a pretty steady pace with a few "bursts" for the 5 miles. I think that I may have been able to keep that same pace for quite a while. It seems that I feel like stopping at about 20 minutes then if I keep going, the feeling passes. I wonder if aerobic exercise raises or lowers blood glucose levels? Maybe I need to do some Internet research on that.

I don't know why I am worrying so much about being able to finish the 5km run that I've entered next month. Yesterday, I walked from lower campus to West Ridge along the route for the run just to see how winded I would get going up the hill. Before I knew it, I was at the top not winded at all but almost falling on the ice a couple of times near the top of the hill. I'm excited about this change in my life. I never want to go back to being a couch potato. Losing weight has been incredibly difficult for me and there is some water commercial on TV that is a great reminder to me on how how many steps are required for each 100 calories (for me this number is about 2230 steps/100 cal). That translates to something like 12,000 steps per Big Mac i.e. it's not worth it to me. Fortunately, a Macdonalds anything doesn't appeal to me at all.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sore muscles today

Another beautiful day in Fairbanks. I think that the temperature is only like 15°F but the sun is shining brightly and there is running water along the edges of the road. I was told that the pussy willows were coming out and that is supposed to be a sure sign of Spring. Another sure sign is the empty parking lots since most of the students and faculty are on Spring break. I didn't do any walking on the treadmill yesterday and my legs are really sore today. I think that is either a sure sign of either needing to exercise or old age. I think I'll opt for the former. Yesterday, I did run to church since it isn't that far and I needed some way to "step up" the exercise level since I wasn't sure how much I would get to do. Maybe that would explain the soreness since actually running is different than simply running on the treadmill. Plus, I went much faster than I've ever managed to run on the treadmill. I probably need to do a whole lot more to get ready for the 5k in April.

Monday evening - I walked a bit on the treadmill this evening and my legs don't feel as sore as they did this afternoon. I guess I just needed more exercise. Unfortunately, I didn't feel like jogging this evening. I finally dug out my pedometer this evening and, big surprise, the battery is dead.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Back into running

Finally getting back into it. I jogged for 5k on the treadmill this evening. It felt good to be able to run and not feel completely exhausted. In fact, after 20 minutes, I felt absolutely no reason to stop except I had promised my son to take him to the store. One of these days I need to try this outside.

It seems that my shoes are already worn out again. They only lasted about 6 months or so and the jogging seems to have significantly reduced their useful life. Maybe because of the impacts. I guess that 6 months is plenty of life for shoes but it seems short considering how much they charge these days for a good pair of shoes. I read on the Internet (which means that it must be true) that running shoes generally only last a couple of hundred miles. If this is the case, I need a new pair every month or so. I have been managing about 120 miles per month just on the Nike+ gadget and probably another couple of hundred or so with all of the other walking. This is much lower than what I used to do when I was just walking. My steps have dropped significantly since I started jogging. I can't run anywhere near as far as I can walk.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Six more weeks!

Last night I really did try running on the treadmill but only managed to run for a mile and a half. I then walked for another hour or so. Kind of depressing since only a couple of weeks ago I was able to run seven miles. I guess all I can do is keep plugging away. Today, it is up to 43°F so I was tempted to try running until I actually went outside. It was challenging just to stand or walk due to the ice on the sidewalks and parking lots let alone trying to keep your balance while running.

Yesterday, my office neighbor said "only 6 more weeks!" He was referring, of course, to the roads being clear enough to ride. I am really getting antsy to get out and ride. I am trying to think of a location near the house to go and practice starting, stopping, and low speed turns. After all, all the class did was to get you comfortable riding their motorcycles. There is a big difference between the Kawasaki Eliminator I rode during the class and the R100RT I picked up a couple of months ago. Heavier, top heavy, and a larger engine. I'm a pretty conservative driver so I don't see a lot of problems with the larger engine but the first two items make me want to go out and practice. To say that I'm excited about riding would be an understatement.

An announcement went out a couple of days ago with information on the new StartWalking program. I've never wanted to climb Everest but it sounds like a good program. Just to see what's involved with the Nike+ challenges, I created a challenge today titled "100 miles before April 5th" aimed at joggers (>12 minutes per mile) and beginners (<1000 total miles). We'll see who shows up.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Skewed Motivation

With temperatures still hovering around -10°F, it is still a bit cold to go for a walk outdoors. At least for more than a mile or so. Last year, I went x-country skiing on nice, sunny days like today but for some reason, I haven't felt like skiing this year. Maybe because I was able to log skiing on the StartWalking site last year but there isn't any way to log other activities on the Nike+ site. I just finished walking on the treadmill and went 5 miles with a little bit of jogging but I'm still not able to keep going like I was doing before I got sick. I guess it takes a while to recover.