Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Did I Meet My 2013 Fitness Goals?

2013 is almost history.  I wanted to compare how I did against my fitness goals for the past year.  You know, those goals I posted in my blog a year ago and then never looked at?

I missed my first goal by a mile.  Remember, I was going to fit into all three of my pairs of jeans, not just the one pair?  Sure I will.  Well, in the upcoming year, I will either accomplish this mission or have to buy new jeans, because my one pair that fits (barely) is wearing out.

My second big fitness goal was to continue to walk and hike, and average at least 13,000 steps a day for the entire year, with bonus points for averaging 14,000 and whipped cream and a cherry on top for hitting 15,000 a day.  How'd I do?  Well, for the year, I took nearly 5,111,000 steps, which averages out to 14,002 per day.  In miles, that amounts to over 2,000 miles on foot.  So I crushed that one.

My third goal was to figure out what is going on with the left knee, and take actions to heal it.  Well, I guess I get partial credit for this.  My knee has hurt for two years now, ever since training for the Shamrock Half Marathon in 2012.  I did get medical attention this year, and did stretching and physical therapy religiously for several months.  I also largely gave up running.  The net result is that the pain is much less, although I never did really figure out the exact cause.  I do need to resume the PT work, however.

The fourth goal was to participate in Team in Training again.  And (proof in the photo at the top) so I did, walking with just enough running to finish under three hours the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon in Hampton, Virginia on October 6.  The race was on what would have been my friend Ed Stone's 44th birthday, and was a special moment.

Regarding my fifth fitness goal, I didn't do very well.  That one was to get a regular upper body workout going.  Unless the definition of "regular" has changed, I missed the mark pretty widely on this one.

And finally, although not strictly a fitness goal, I wanted to keep this blog updated with at least a post a week. I am going to claim success with this one, have posted about 70 times for the year, even though I know that there were some weeks that didn't get anything written.

So with six goals, I hit three right on, partially hit a fourth, and missed the other two.  I am sure I will have some fitness goals for 2014 soon, and this time, I will write them down outside of this blog, too.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Battered Shoes

For the first time ever that I can remember, I've done a really good job with my latest New Balance shoes in reserving them for "formal" walks and runs - where I go out to do specific miles rather than just taking a walk.  I used my older and worn pair of New Balance shoes for the latter.  I got the newer shoes in late June, and used them to finish my training for the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon.  I carefully kept track of the miles on them in a spreadsheet.  And since the half marathon, I have pretty slack about "formal" walks.  I still do plenty of walking, mostly on breaks at work and short walks around my neighborhood, and for all of those, I used my older and increasingly battered shoes.

Until recently, that is!  About a month after the race, I realized that the old shoes were actually hurting my feet, they were so worn out.  So I stopped wearing the old shoes and I stopped keeping track of the miles on the new ones at the 211 mile point.  To show you how worn the old ones were, the newer ones with over 200 miles on them felt brand new by comparison!  But now, they have many more miles on them from all of the incidental walking, and I will have to replace them soon.

Buying shoes is a major purchase, costing about $150 with inserts.  It is money I don't want to spend right now.  But I also know that I need to walk more, not less, than I have recently.  For the next five weeks, I am back on 8 hour days at work, which means I will have a hour for lunch.  In the cooler weather, that is a perfect time to get in a 3 or 4 mile walk right in the middle of the day.

So I guess my strategy is something like this: buy a new pair of New Balance shoes as soon as I set $150 aside.  Wear them only for walks where I go out for a predetermined distance.  Use my current shoes for all incidental walking, including walks at lunch.  They will wear out quickly with all of that use.  At that point, I will look for a less expensive pair of just walking shoes, and try them without inserts.  I'll use those shoes for any incidental walking, of which I do a lot.  In a given day, I probably average 8,000 - 10,000 steps a day between the time I get up and come home from work, and more than that if I have an hour for lunch and it is not really hot or pouring rain.

I have been walking about 5 million steps a year, which translates to over 2,000 miles in a year.  That is a lot for anyone who is working full time (which is how I can afford shoes).  But it also means that I wear out shoes.  A good pair of walking / running shoes should last about 400 miles, but I wear mine longer.

So that is my latest shoe saga.  For any serious runner or walker, there is always something going on with shoes.  And it usually involves money!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Things I Missed

Wow, today marks 11 years in remission for me from Hodgkin's lymphoma!  Here is a picture of me on chemo in 2002!  ;^)
This past Saturday, Team in Training did the Silent Mile ceremony for the Spring Team.  I was out of town, and so wrote something for Kate to read to the gathering.  Here is what I wrote for the team: "The Things I Missed."

Dear 2014 Spring TNT participants:

I was thinking about all the things I missed these last 11 years because of lymphoma. I never got to hike up Tumbledown Mountain in Maine with my wife and good friends, a trip we had planned to do together. I missed my friend’s fiftieth birthday party on the same excursion.

I would have loved to have been present at the birth of my granddaughter, to hold this sweet little bundle that day, filled with instant love for her. But I couldn’t, nor could I celebrate her birthday each year, watching her grow a little bigger each time.

I never got to go to Alaska to do that incredible marathon for Team in Training. I also never got to do marathons in San Diego and Arizona, and half-marathons in Nashville, Seattle, and Hampton for the same great cause – to raise money to help find and fund a cure.

My wife and I always wanted to go to Glacier, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone National Parks, and also to Alaska. But we never got to any of those places together, all because of that lousy Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis in 2002. Too bad, because it would have been amazing!

In 2007, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she died in May of 2011 from this awful disease. I wish I could have been there to give her some support and comfort. Likewise, I wish I had been around to celebrate her 60th birthday along with the rest of the family.

Speaking of birthdays, it would have been nice to have been around to celebrate my wife’s birthdays, and our wedding anniversaries, and Christmases. It must have been lonely for her.

And, it would have been amazing to have walked in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure 60 mile walk to honor my sister’s memory – and to sleep in a pink tent! I hated to miss that!

Those are just a few of the big moments that I missed in the last 11 years. And when I think of all of the little day-to-day moments of joy that I missed as well, it is almost overwhelming. These little moments may not be earth-shaking, but they still help to weave the rich and colorful fabric of our lives. I missed so many things!

Now, the statements about the things that I missed are false. I actually did do all those things, and many, many more as well. But had my 2002 cancer diagnosis turned out differently, I easily could have missed all of them. Because of effective research on my type of cancer, conducted years before, I had such a great chance to survive. However, many others don’t have that same chance. You, by your sacrifice and hard work, are giving hope to others who don’t have much now: giving them the chance to build their own great memories, just as I was able to do!

I want to thank you for all you are doing for this cause, and for tackling such a tough challenge. I wish I could have been here with you today at the Silent Mile, my 11 year remission anniversary weekend. But up in Pennsylvania, I will be (silently) cheering for you and thinking of your efforts and sacrifice. Thank you so much!