About 30 days ago I sat in a doctor’s waiting room waiting for my six month check up. A year earlier I had been prescribed a small dose of blood pressure medicine to manage my blood pressure. From periodic pressure readings, I knew my blood pressure had been rising recently. A nurse confirmed my bp was high. I knew what was coming, they were going to prescribe a higher dose of BP medicine. Would they need to increase my meds again next year, and what about the year after that?
I had given up on cardiovascular exercise earlier in the summer. I didn’t want to subject my knees and hips to jogging anymore. I didn’t plan to run anymore 5ks so why keep jogging? I questioned whether or not walking would give me any cardio benefit. Besides, I considered myself active. On work days I averaged 10,000 steps on my Fitbit.
However, In the last 90 days (minus any cardio) my resting pulse had risen significantly as had my BP. To make matters worse, I was coping with a stressful family medical situation. I am grateful my doctor didn’t overreact. He calmly recommended the D.A.S.H. diet, some cardio, and said losing a handful of pounds would make a big difference.
It was time to draw a line in the sand. The next day I started walking for at least 20 minutes a day. I focused on trying to keep my pulse in the cardio range, 110 to 130 beats per minute as defined by my Fitbit. I also started making better choices on the food I ate to lower my salt intake.
The results have been noticeable. In just a little over 30 days my resting pulse has fallen almost to what it was when I was jogging almost 90 days. ago My BP has fallen below my doctor’s suggested ideal range (that’s with taking my BP meds). I have also shed a couple of pounds in the process. My Fitbit now declares I have excellent cardio vascular health! Cardio walking for 30 minutes or more a day 4 or more times a week does make a huge difference!
Its been a week since Ash Wednesday and the self-proclaimed restart of my couch to 5k experience. Having learned last year, if you haven’t been exercising regularly (above and beyond a daily activity routine) you need to start out slowly (i.e. a jogging and wa
lking combination). I was able to get one workout in this past week along with several dog walks.
The temperatures here in the northeastern USA have been brutally cold.
Brody, my short-legged miniature dachshund, is assisting me in easing back into a workout schedule. He is a fast walker and is always trying to pull me along at a faster pace. Why not use that to my advantage, right?
My goal is to be ready to start jogging continuously by the first week of April.
I ran a 5k about two months ago and haven’t gone on more than two runs since then. I suppose you could say I’ve been resting my body. But that would be stretching the truth wouldn’t it. Autumn is a busy time. There’s so much to do before the weather sours. But the snow and cold came very early to our area. We happened to have the coldest Thanksgiving day on record. It interrupted my fall cleanup. The leaves are still on the ground underneath the snow. Sounds like I’m making excuses does’t it.
My main goal this winter is to not gain back all the weight I lost. I thought it might be a good time to dust off my elliptical trainer I purchased over a year ago and hardly ever used. I also have a reading list I’d like to put a dent in. Sounds like a win-win situation doesn’t it?
In the coming weeks I’ll be experimenting with workout times on the elliptical. During that stretch, there is bound to be a couple of warmer days to exercise outdoors. I’m shooting for one outdoor and two indoor workout a week between now and Christmas. Stay tuned!
Tomorrow I will be running a 5k fun run. My hit and miss training endeavor began back in May. This past Saturday I had planned to jog part of the course to prepare myself. As I mentioned in a previous post, the route I’ll be traveling is one laid out on a cross-country course. I showed up on the athletic field only to find a number of college teams prepping for an invitational meet. My grandiose plan went out the window.
Not to be dismayed, I walked over to the 400 meter track for one last workout before the fun run. Here’s where the my tale turns humorous. I began jogging laps, taking care to press lap on my iPhone each time I passed my water bottle propped up against the base of a light tower. During the course of the workout, I became convinced 16 laps was the 5k distance equivalent. So I jogged and jogged and jogged racking up laps.
At lap 14 I began to tire and pumped a couple favorite songs into my ear buds for some much needed inspiration. I ended my workout after lap 15 and decided to wander over to the cross-country venue to check out the race. I did not expect to see a total workout time of an hour and ten minutes. That was too much time for having not walked a single lap! Something was amiss and it troubled me the whole walk home.
I sat down on the sofa and began listing out my lap times on a piece of paper. The problem wasn’t with my iPhone, it was me. After much thought, it finally dawned on me 2.5 laps on a 400 meter track equals one kilometer. Since the race is 5k, I only needed to run 12.5 laps (not 15). I felt like a moron. My wife came to my rescue, “honey, at least you know you can jog the distance!”
Less than two weeks of training remain. As it turns out the 5k fun run I’m participating in takes place on a cross-country course. I downloaded a map of the course and printed out a copy. Thursday afternoon I decided to hit the trail. Unfortunately I neglected to bring the map with me and wandered off course as I tried to visualize the route from memory. On the positive side, it is a good gravel trail. However, much of the race is run in the woods on crisscrossing trails. Despite my inability to navigate the course, I was able to jog continuously for 20 minutes, which near as I can tell is about 2k. Part of that time amounted to retracing my steps so I could live to tell about it!
Saturday morning I returned to the 400 meter track for another training session. I jogged four laps (4:15 pace) and took a quick water break. It was getting hot quickly. Immediately, I resumed jogging for another five laps (sub 4:00 pace) and took another water break, this time walking a full lap. Since I still felt good, I decided to jog another two laps (3:30 pace).
It became apparent that if I hold my pace to about four minutes a lap I can run for an extended period of time. Jogging at this pace has done wonders for my confidence. I’m trying to put out of my mind the 5:45 laps (per mile) I ran in college. Oh well.
My weight loss over the past two weeks plateaued so I decided to shake up my diet by switching to eating chicken and a salad for supper for several days. Sure enough I began losing weight again. After my Saturday workout I touched 199.8 pounds on the scales. It didn’t matter that I was partially dehydrated and would gain back some of it later. It’s a milestone accomplishment and a great feeling to be able to say I’ve lost 25 pounds!
In spite of a few well-placed roadblocks on my path to participate in a 5k fun run, I’m 23 pound lighter than I was earlier this year. With my heart deemed healthy and my blood pressure readings stable, I figure it’s time to test my stamina again.
I plan to resume my walking regimen and see where it leads. I think my dogs are more excited about the prospect than I am.