Day 25. And a half.

Today was a difficult day for me. Time, I think, to put a little more time into doing some more research into this Keto diet. As I said, I've been winging it since starting. I believe it may be time to research it so that I do it right.

Today, I was tired most of the day and I think it's due to not having enough fuel to stoke the engine. In other words, I'm not eating enough fat in proportion to the protein I'm eating. From what I can tell, eating too muchprotein — which is, in effect, what I've been doing — can cause my body to create sugar, a process called. . . something or other. 

What I've been reading and watching in various videos is starting to make sense. Since the body (for reasons I don't understand) prefers sugar over fat for its energy source, if I don't eat enough fat to keep my body in ketosis, it will turn the protein to sugar and everything goes kerflooey.

Tomorrow, I'm going to spend the day learning more about the Keto diet. And I'm going to go to the gym to do a light workout. Nothing too rigorous. I just don't like the idea of sitting all day.

So, a little bump in the road but nothing I can't handle. It's time to educate myself a bit more and improve the effectiveness of this diet. Anyone who is on the Keto diet is welcome to put their two cents in.

Day 25.

Good news/bad news today. I'm a little bummed out. Yep, it happens. Why? I got on the scale and my weight has bounced up a couple pounds to 172!

The good news is that I set a PR (personal record) of 49:56 at Bachman Lake Trail this morning. The bad news is that my average pace was lower than my PR at the Katy Trail — only 15:48, a full 30 seconds slower per mile. :(

The good news is that my distance at my target time of 39:00 has moved up a notch to 2.60 miles. The bad news is that I'm tired as all get out after my run. After doing some research, though, I think I may be eating too MUCH protein and NOT ENOUGH fat. After reaching this conclusion, I've decided to adhere more closely to the Keto diet and not wing it as much as I've been. I'll let you know how things change over the coming weeks.

One minor technical thing: The steps counter I'm using reads data from the phone's accelerometer. The distance it shows has continually been less than the distance I've run. I'm not sure how to fix this issue because the result comes from the phone, not the app.

Day 24.

As I’ve said before, the hardest thing about this process is to go to bed early and to wake up at 4:30am. I seem to fight both with every fiber of my being. Long story short. . . I slept hard, finally leaving the arms of sweet Morpheus. I hit the floor somewhere around 5:30. I was in such a fog, I can’t remember, honestly.

Instead of driving 15 minutes to Reverchon Park, where I normally start my run, I walked outside, stretched and took off up Swiss Avenue. 

One thing that really bothered me this morning is an old problem. I have a little bursitis in my Trochanteric Bursa of my Gluteus Maximus. (See below.) Probably from SITTING on my Gluteus Maximus for so long! The upshot is that after running a fairly short distance, it begins to ache like a beast. My iliotibial band (IT) feels like it’s on fire after less than a hundred yards. I may have to have a cortisone shot in this thing to calm down the inflammation. That and/or start some exercises to strengthen my hip abductors and external rotators. I suppose this is where I get serious about this whole process. Time to go big or go home.

I’ve been monitoring my body intensely and noticed that the things that hold me back from running from start to finish are: 1) this bursitis, and 2) a general heaviness in my legs. What I’m NOT REALLY EXPERIENCING is 1) an abnormal shortness of breath or 2) much difficulty in processing either self-generated or ambient heat. So, I’m okay in that regard.

This process is taking on a life of its own. People are supportive of my efforts and some aren’t. Old friends are chipping in their encouragement. And new friends are asking where they can learn more about it and about this Keto diet that I’m on. I’m no expert on Keto and I can only share my experience. So, buyer beware. Besides, I’m not sure that I’m strictly adhering to the rules of Keto. (Sounds like a martial art, doesn’t it?)

So, enough for today. There’s more to learn each day and I’m doing my best to absorb and implement everything I can without being crazy about it. Let me know your experience if you decide to do any of this yourself.

Day 23.

Somehow. . . I got into my mind that I needed to do some hill sprints. So, that's what I did this morning. I promise you, I will be soooooo sore tomorrow morning. :(

If you know the Katy Trail, you've likely been by the Thomsen Overlook at Reverchon Park. The reason it's called an overlook is that the park is about 30 ft below the trail. There's some steps up to the trail but there's also a long spiral ramp from the park to the trail. I'm not sure how long it is but, I assure you, it's long e-damn-nough!

I got there in the rain about 6am and the skies opened up leaving only a few puddles from a brief thunderstorm as I was driving there.

About 3/4 of the way up the ramp, I began to wonder, "What the hell am I doing?!?" I didn't reach the summit before I not so much gave up as gave out. And walked back down. I did this 4 times before I decided I really WASN'T 26 years old and needed to drop back and punt.

After a couple minutes to catch my breath, I walked and jogged a bit until I came to my senses and got the hell out of there. Only a 1.1-mile "power(less) walk" this morning and a pace of 17:52. Sprints knocked me on my keister! But I may be doing more of them, pushing myself to build strength and stamina.

Come, join the fun! If it doesn't kill you, it'll make you stronger.

Day 22.

I started the day feeling good. Didn't sleep 8 hours but I woke up at 4:30 and got to the business of getting ready. Walking from the car to Thomsen Overlook on the Katy Trail, I did an inventory of what was going on with the old bod. Physically, I felt as good as or better than I've felt since starting this process. Good sign!

I always walk the first quarter mile just to warm up after stretching. After that, I did my best to jog as much as I could. One thing that seems to be a challenge is the build-up of lactic acid in my leg muscles. It was a recurring problem this morning and I think I might need to do a little research to see if there's a solution. I seem to recall seeing something about adding bicarbonate of soda to my water bottle in order to neutralize the lactic acid. I could be totally out in left field, though. I'll do some reading before I do anything stupid.

Overall, it was a good day. Shorter recovery time. Felt better from beginning to end. I'm kind of on a path of running a slightly different distance every day. Somehow, in my mind, it seems like that might be a good idea. . . keeping my body from getting into an expected pattern. 

Tomorrow, hill sprints. There's a winding walkway from the middle of Reverchon Park to the Thomsen Overlook that has a pretty good grade and isn't that long. I think I'll concentrate on running that hill a few times to work on strengthening my legs and my lungs. Don't worry. I'm only pushing myself to do what I'm able to do. If I'm going to run the Turkey Trot in a personal best time, I need to push this old body to do what it's still capable of doing.

I'm still looking for running partners. Beginners are more than welcome. Let me know if you're interested.

Day 20.

I just finished Week 3 with a long, slow, steady walk of 5.7 miles. 13,771 steps. 570 calories. If there's any doubt that it took a lot out of me, see the picture, below. This morning was probably the most difficult for me to crawl out of bed and hit the trail. The alarm went off, as it always does, at 4:30am and at 5-minute intervals until I haul myself out of bed. (What!? You think my CAT is going to roust me from my slumbers?)

This time I found the unnatural call of the iPhone klaxon completely resistible. My body screamed, “Go away! Let me sleeeeeeeep!!” with equal urgency. It wasn’t until the dulcet tones of my 5:10 alarm (signaling my normal time to leave) that I pulled my covers back and hit the floor, only to stumble toward my morning ablutions.

The net result of all this is that I didn’t start my “run” until after 6am. There’s a very good reason for starting so early: It gets rather warm this time of year, quickly, when the sun comes up. (Funny how that works!) 

Between the heat and the huge throng of runners and bicyclists who seem not to care about the other people on the Katy Trail, it can be pretty disconcerting if you are there much beyond 7am. Come to think of it, I’ve only had 2 people wish me a good morning this entire week on the Katy. 

At Bachman, about half the people I encountered either said “Good morning!” or nodded or kicked out their chin to acknowledge me. Katy draws a much more serious crowd, I’m inclined to believe.

Even as hard as getting up is, going to bed, for me, is even more difficult. And, yet, that seems to be the key for me to being more focused and at ease as I train for the Turkey Trot.

Day 19.

This hard work is beginning to pay dividends. Down another pound this morning. That makes 8 in 3 weeks. If I lose a pound a week through Thanksgiving, I'll be just about where I want to be for the Turkey Trot.

This morning I ran my fastest pace since beginning this training — 15:19. Another stat I'm tracking is the distance I run in 39-minutes flat, my target for this year's 5K Turkey Trot. Today was 2.53 miles. Since a 5K is 3.106856 miles, I have some work to do. I only have to improve by 0.02307424 miles each week to make my target time. That's only 122 ft further each week at the 39-minute mark to make my goal. That's just 56 steps farther. Ain't no hill for a stepper! :)

Next week, I believe I'm going to hit the gym and work primarily on legs. It's going to take a lot of stamina to do this. At my age — 67 just six days before the Trot — it's not as easy as it used to be. I don't mind being old. . . it's the aging part that really sucks.

As Dylan Thomas wrote:
"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

So, that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Day 18.

In case you’re wondering...yes, I did re-number the days I’ve been tracking my running. It’s confusing to me, too. 

Today was a bit better pace than usual on the Katy. Did 3.59 miles in 56:56. That’s a 15:51 pace. Not bad for a sedentary old man. I’m looking forward to a sub-40-minute 5K on Thanksgiving Day. 

If you haven’t had your Forrest Gump Moment yet, get off your butt and take the first step. Take control of your health. Take control of your life. Give yourself over to the process and know that it works. You only have to do one thing. Take the first step. Others will follow. Walk. Jog. Run. Do whatever it takes to get you from here...to there.

See you on the trail!

Day 17.

Today wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. In spite of jogging more than normal and running a bit, my pace was a bit off. But all that will get sorted as I train toward the goal of running in the 2018 YMCA Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Progress is never linear, as much as we’d like it to be.

More good news, though. I’m now down 7 pounds from when I started 2 weeks ago. Only 28 more to meet my goal! By then, I’ll be able to do things like: tie my shoes without straining, climb the stairs without huffing and puffing, and look good in my Speedo! Of course, by Turkey Day, it’ll be a bit too cool for swimming, so I’ll hold off on modeling it till a later date!

If you see me out on the Katy Trail between Fitzhugh and Reverchon, say hello and join me. We’ll blaze the trail together. 

Day 16.

Today was the first day back on the Katy Trail. Had no idea it had changed as much as it had. There was some new concrete laid down and with the Memorial Day celebrations, there was some fencing up that, I'm guessing, isn't normally there.

Being a little flatter than Bachman Lake Trail, it was a fairly easy run. Okay. . . power-walk. But there was some jogging thrown in there. Getting my pace down and, more importantly, not feeling like I'm so depleted afterward.

Had breakfast with my friend and primary care doc, John Richmond. He's thinking I can ease off one of the meds I'm taking for my Type 2. I'm hoping this is a trend.

Oh, and I'm down another pound. Seven in all so far. Looking for about 35.

Day 13. 

The company was good this morning. My friend and former trainer, Monica, joined me this morning. She’s a tiny thing but mighty. And speedy. I have to, occasionally, put a light hand on her shoulder to keep her from outpacing me over Bachman’s 3.17 miles. Otherwise, she’d leave me in the dust!

Today was a bit of a challenge. Not yet at the point where I can jog or run more than about 40% of the course (on a good day), at just before mile marker 1, I tried jogging and pulled up after 75 yards with a pull in the muscle or connective tissue just above my knee. Repeated attempts gave the same result. So, we pretty much power-walked the 3 miles. 

Not wanting to encourage an injury-in-the-making, I’m putting ice on my knee over the weekend to calm down whatever’s going on. 

So...a bit of good news. I’m now down 6 pounds over the past 2 weeks, which means between the walking/running 6 days a week and eating a high protein/high fat Keto diet, something is working. 

Speaking of Keto, it’s been hard adjusting to life without carbs. Potatoes, pasta, and pancakes were part of my diet, I’m embarrassed to say, but no longer play more than a minuscule, “cheat-day” role. Part of my difficulty is coming up with new and interesting ways to eat HP/HF meals. Time to use the Internet for its intended purpose — to find recipes! Go Google! Go Google! Go Google! 

I’m taking Monday off but I’m back at it on Tuesday at the Katy Trail. 5:30am to stretch. 5:50 to start. Join us at Reverchon Park and walk your ass off!

Day 12. 

It’s interesting how my body changes and adapts to new conditions. Today at the 2-mile mark roughly, my feet started to tingle and they continue to tingle for the rest of the run. Not sure what that’s about. The obvious choice doesn’t seem likely and that is, that I tied my shoes too tightly. Doesn’t feel that way.

The other possibility is my breathing. I may have fallen into a breathing rate that became hyperventilation. The really weird thing is that toward the endof my cool-down, I stretched my shoulders and the area between my shoulder blades was completely numb. Has anyone ever experienced this? It’s a very odd sensation. 

The cool-down (about a ½ mile) is something I’ve decided to do to do the obvious but also to get my step count over my current goal of 8500. I’ve been just under that since I started this. Can’t hurt to burn a few more calories, right?

I think I might switch to the Katy Trail next week for a bit for a little variety. Starting from Reverchon Park up to Fitzhugh and back is about 3-½ miles if I remember correctly. It’s also a bit flatter. Think I might do some wind sprints. Such as they are for an old man! ;) Join me at 5:30am starting next Monday.

Day 11. 

Today was a day just to do the steps. You may know that I’m something of a night owl. Getting up at 4:30 every day has been a struggle. But I do it. Because it’s on my path to getting healthy. You may be in the same place. Come, join me @ Bachman Lake Trail east of the Pavilion. Stretch for 20 minutes and start by 5:50. See you there! 
UPDATE: I've lost 5 lbs since starting last Monday! And if I get a haircut, I’ll shed another pound or two! LOL

Day 10. 

Dropped another pound since starting my training. I'm down to 176. That's way too much for my size. Shooting for a 30 lb. weight loss by Thanksgiving. I want to get down to 145-150 lbs.

Staying on this High Protein/Low Carb/High Fat diet is more difficult than I thought. Not having my fruit (oranges, apples, and grapes) to feed the "monster", I'm starting to get a bit antsy about the whole thing. BUT. . . I'm determined to stay the course.

Today, I jogged more than I have since I started this training regimen, even ran a bit. Probably, a good 40-50% I'd estimate. It's a bit more each day. The transition from walking to running has been easier than I expected, certainly easier than it was 18 months ago. I'm looking at getting my average time for Bachman Lake Trail (3.17 miles) down to less than 50 minutes every day by the end of next week. That's roughly a 15:48 mile. It's also way off my pace of 11:44 from the Turkey Trot 18 months ago. So, I still have quite a way to go to beat that pace.

The good news is that I have 6 months to train. I only trained for 3 months back then. With these short, stubby, little legs, I'm never going to set any records (other than personal records). That said, my goal is to get healthy and stay healthy.

Day 9. 

I think my run with Monica yesterday was just the push I needed to get to the next level. Today's power-walk/jog/run timed out to 50:05, my best time so far. Well, out of 8 days. 😞

Surely there's someone out there at a beginner level who wants to get healthy and get in shape who'd like to start walking/jogging/running. Come, join me. 5:30am at Bachman Lake Trail. Meet in the Lakefield parking lot. Stretch and start by 5:50am. See you there!

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Day 8. 

Good morning. Yes, it was. Had a running buddy with me and it made a world of difference. Monica Clausen was my trainer 18 months ago when I trained for the 2016 Turkey Trot. She came out to encourage me on this new quest. 52:37. My 2nd best time. Since last week. :

 My running buddy and former trainer, Monica Clausen.

My running buddy and former trainer, Monica Clausen.

Day 6. 

Bachman Lake run. Starting to push myself. Walk/jog/run like a house afire. Spotify was “spotty” the first ½ mile. Had side stitches the last half mile. 54:25 for a bit over 3 miles. Life is good! Starting to feel better afterwards. . . Not so depleted. Come join in the fun and get healthy. Mon–Sat @ 5:30am. Now, I’m off to have a Keto breakfast — high protein/high fat. Lost 2 lbs this week and I’m psyched!

Day 5.

Hoo, boy! Was it hard to get going this morning or what?!? Needed a cuppa to get going. But I made it. Come, join me! Bachman Lake. NW Hwy @ Lakefield. Just east of the Pavilion. 5:30am. 3 miles. Do it!

Day 4. 

Today was all heel-to-toe walking. I even paused very briefly to snap a couple photos. Felt better today in spite of not letting up from the jump. Surprisingly, my 2-mile split was the fastest. Come, join me for an early morning walk/jog/run. 5:30 every morning (except Sunday) starting at the 0/3 mile marker at the parking lot east of the Bachman Pavilion. It’s safe, well-lighted, and the terrain is varied so it’s never boring. Come out and let’s get healthy together.
UPDATE: I've lost 2 lbs. since starting on Monday. Yay!