The Long Road... #2014reboot

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Monday, September 26, 2011

#365: Pennsy Squats on TV!


This is video of a news story that ran this evening about our LIVESTRONG at the YMCA class. Check it out! See Pennsy squat!

And if you know a survivor who could benefit from this program, here's a link to more information that will help get them connected to Melissa and the gang.

We can help each other.

Peace,
Pennsy

#364: Weekend to Remember, My Precious

This weekend was good, bad, and ugly, but it had a happy ending. I love when that happens.

Friday's Resistance Workout: New Rules Break-in (B)
ExerciseSetsRepsWeight
Deadlift215135
Lat Pull-down215170
Shoulder Press (machine)21530
Step ups (Db)21520
Reverse Crunches21530
HTML Tables
Friday night, I went to the Y to do some resistance work. I have decided to take another shot at the New Rules of Lifting program, and had a workout scheduled for that day. Now that I can finally do a modified push-up and a lunge, I can take the program on.  I did forget my lifting gloves for the deadlifts, but I just slipped my wedding ring off and stuck it deep in the pocket of my shorts.My increased strength is just one more reason I have to thank the folks at LIVESTRONG  at the YMCA. I finished off with a short swim. That's becoming my favorite cool-down. I think it's helping to strengthen my upper body as well, though I'm still very slow.

Rainbow by Lisa Broome-Price
Saturday morning started early with a pre-dawn drive to the lovely little railroad town of Midway KY where I joined John's Striders for a 14 mile jaunt through the Bluegrass. I've been shy about running with a group because I'm so slow, but  on this trip I fell in with a couple of runners whose pace I could match for most of the way. We ran and chatted along through the sunrise and the morning mist. There was even a rainbow to greet us after the first turnaround. I know I've said it before, but I do love my Kentucky home.

After our run, I managed to drive home and crash on the couch for a couple of hours. I find that running gives me more energy, but it often takes a couple of hours to kick in. I also found a nasty blister on the end of one of my toes. I'll spare you the photos.  I got some good advice on Facebook about how to prevent these particular little buggers, and I'll keep you updated as I work my way up the ladder of solutions from cheapest to most expensive.

After my nap, Mrs P and I spent some play time with the dogs, then we dressed and went to the theatre to see The Blithe Spirt at the Woodford County Theatre. We want to see lots of theatre these days, and the budget is tight, so we've been volunteering to usher. It's a great way to get in for free, it isn't much work, and it also helps the company out by helping to welcome patrons and cleaning up after the show. The play was charming with several fine performances, but during the first intermission, Mrs P leaned over and asked, "Where's your wedding ring?" I remembered taking it off, but didn't remember putting it back on. No worries. I was sure it would be in the washing machine where I threw my clothes as soon as I got home from my workout. After the play, we stopped at the Waffle House. This has become one of our rituals when we drive out to Woodford, and the guys always take good care of us.

When we got home, we started going through pockets. No ring. I rattled the washing machine. Nope. Checked the car. Dumped out the gym bag. Searched the rack on the porch where I leave my shoes to dry. Damn. It must have fallen out during my workout. I resolved to be at the gym at noon to retrace my steps.

The search and a couple of insomniac dogs kept us up pretty late, and we slept through the alarms for church. I got up and went to the store for milk and bagels while Mrs P made coffee. After our breakfast, we had another nice chat, (the weekend really is our catching up time,) then I called the Y. The lady at the front desk found a ring in the lost and found right away, but it wasn't mine. Some other poor schmuck lost his wedding ring at the gym. You might think knowing I wasn't the only idiot in the weight room would give me some comfort, but no. Marilyn promised to give the place another once-over, and we got in the car and drove over to join the search. I re-traced my whole workout, even searched the locker I had used. Nothing. Somebody must have picked it up. It was gone. I felt like a total heel. Mrs P was very understanding about it, but that didn't make me feel any better, either.

Weisenberger Mills. This picture
doesn't begin to do it justice.
Since it was such a pretty afternoon, we took a drive out to Midway. I wanted to show her the beautiful route we had run, and  maybe calm down a little about this really bad situation. We drove past the beautiful Weisenberger Mills where grains are still milled with water-driven stones. it's like a scene out of a Merchant-Ivory film. Just breathtaking. After a few more twists an turns through the Kentucky sunshine, we headed home for a snack and some chores. I had a few more snacks than I should have. Guilt eating: one of my favorite forms of self-destruction.Then it was time for the Steelers.

Mrs P always makes plans to occupy herself when the Steelers are on. She knows I won't be of any use at all, and football just doesn't do it for her. The game was terrible. My boys stunk up the joint and at half-time, they looked determined to lose. I sat despondent, sipping an O'Douls, (Mrs P says they taste like beer flavored pop,) when my sweetheart walked into the den with a smile on her face. "With this ring, I thee wed," she beamed and slipped the gold band back on my finger. She found it in the first place I had looked: the washing machine. I had warned her to use one of the mesh, lingerie bags when she washed her dainties. She couldn't find it, so she ignored my good advice. The ring got caught up on one of the hooks of her unmentionables. A happy ending. Suddenly it didn't matter so much that the Black and Gold were looking black and blue, and my craving for sweets went away immediately. They even managed to pull the game out with a last-minute field goal.

And to top it all off, One for the Five went over $2000 this weekend. I am so proud of my brother and sister cancer fighters for the support they are giving to this effort. $2000 will make a real difference to some cancer patient. And this is just the beginning. There's less than a month left to contribute. If you haven't joined us yet, use this link to learn the story and pitch in.

My Precious
There's a short recovery run on the schedule for today. I'll probably knock it out before class at the Y. But first, I'll be taping my ring to my finger. It's not coming off again for a long, long time.

Peace,
Pennsy

Monday, September 19, 2011

#363: What Does it Mean to LIVESTRONG?

Shelia (behind the thumb), Teri, Pam, Melissa, Ruthie,
Pennsy, Carrie Lynne, Ladonna, Chelsea, Dee Dee
A new PR in the 5K
I've been thinking about  "the girls." At the gym, they call us the "Survivors," the ones who made it. They are amazing women. It's some kind of accident of fate that I'm one of them... but then, who can complain about being the only boy in such a bevy of beauties? They are some of the toughest people I know, and I want to be like them. If you knew them, you would to. They have taught me what it means to LIVESTRONG.

When a doctor points to a blotch on a CT scan image and gives you a 50/50 chance of living ... then tells you that if you give up you will surely die... and you choose to live... that's Living STRONG.


When it's a year and a half later and they've told you you're cancer-free... but you know damn well that it could come back tomorrow... and you choose to hope... that's Living STRONG.


Drumming releases dopamine! A
massage for the central nervous system
When you dedicate whatever life God has left you to fighting cancer... your cancer, my cancer, anybody's cancer anywhere... that's Living STRONG.


When you bury a loved one who didn't make it, then lace up your shoes and hit the treadmill,


When you work to get all the garbage that's holding you back out of your life,

When you go to radiation in the morning and the gym in the afternoon,

That's no "survivor," that's a Champion
When you do all you can to make yourself fit for the fight,

When you don't care who you help, as long as you're helping,

When you can barely walk because of the pain in your breast, but you dance anyway,

When you know you're not strong, but you decide to live as if you were,

You're Living STRONG,


Whether you've ever had cancer or not.
Where's Boo-Boo?

This is what we do.

This is who we are.

This is why we run.

I want you to believe... if we can do it... then so can you.



Three hearts that cancer couldn't break
Peace,

Pennsy

If you know someone who could benefit from LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, contact Melissa Bellew or Chris Andrews at the Lexington Northside YMCA, 859-258-9622. You can also contact Melissa by email. Just say that you are calling about the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program. The next session starts in October, and there is room for more people.

Oh yeah, One for the Five is doing great. Nearly 40 donors so far... almost $2000 raised. Join us and make a contribution. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of the next generation of cancer fighters. Get out your debit card, and click this link. Or email me for my address, and you can mail me a check made out to "Markey Cancer Center Foundation." One for the Five: You write the check, I'll run the miles!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

#362: Iron, Asphalt, and A Beautiful Weekend

It is Sunday night, and I really needed my day off. I didn't need to see my Steelers get their lunch money taken by the Ravens. That was just ugly. Mrs P's chili and a beer helped soften the blow.

After the game, we loaded Jake and Clare into the back of the Honda and drove off to see the Bluegrass. It was a perfect day. The bright afternoon sun shone on the golden, empty corn stalks. Thoroughbreds lazed in pastures. Clare got car sick. OK, it was a perfect day except for the puking. And the ball game. But the truth is, Mrs P's company more than made up for it.

Friday's Resistance Workout
Exercise Sets Reps Weight
Squats 3 15 135
Deadlift 3 15 155
Assisted Dips 3 15 75
Wood Choppers (R/L) 3/3 15 120
Row, Bent Over (Db) 3 15 30

Friday, after class at the Y, I hit the weight room. I wanted to do some of the classic bar bell exercises that I love so much. I also tried the assisted dip machine for the first time since my surgery. My triceps are still burning! Carrie and Melissa are weaning us off of the machines, and I couldn't be happier. I prefer free weights. It's great to be moving real iron again. Once I finished my workout, I hit the pool for a short few laps, just to cool down. That night I set my running clothes out so I could jump out of bed and beat the UK football traffic for my long run. Then we got a distress call from a friend and I wound up staying a lot later than I intended.


Saturday's Long Slow Run
72 Degrees. 11:22 AM. Legacy 6mi out and back. 12mi/2:57:11. Pegasus. RWR: 1min/mile (till HR <130) Splits 12:53, 13:26, 13:22, 13:25, 13:40, 13:28, 14:02, 13:47, 14:10, 14:10, 15:10, 15:10. (4 long walk breaks in the last two miles)

After sleeping in, and waiting for my digestive system to do its morning duty, I got a late start on my 12 mile run. It was the hottest part of the day, but hardly hot compared to what I've become used to. I went 6 miles out on the Legacy trail, then 6 miles back. it was a beautiful day. After my run, I drove home, made a smoothie, and slept for a couple of hours, then our friend Tami called to say she had a coupon for Tony Roma's, and we all went out for ribs. Just a great day. And by this morning, I was ready for a day off.

I learned something from that long distance.Two weeks ago, I finished 8 miles of a 10 mile run when I ran out of energy. I walked most of the last two, and was cramping in my thighs by the time I was finished. Yesterday, after two more weeks of training, I ran right through that 8 mile mark. I had finished 10 before I really slowed down. Galloway says that the best way to beat "the wall" (that place near the end of a run when you run out of gas, but have to keep going anyway,) is to train at distances longer than the race you're going to run. So here's my plan. I want to get my long runs up to at least 15 miles. I'll know I can run the half without bonking at the end. And my conditioning will be strong enough to get me there. At least that's the plan. I'll keep you updated...

And Finally...
One for the Five is flying along. We've now raised $1325. I am so proud of my friends and family, even some folks I've never met have pitched in. I'm determined to finish this Half Marathon. And I'm determined to raise at least $2000 for the Markey Cancer Foundation. We're going to do it, and we're going to make a difference. I hope you'll decide to contribute. You can click the link and contribute online, or you can send a check to me directly. Make it out to "Markey Cancer Center Foundation" and send me an email so I can get you my mailing address. We're going to be a great team.

Peace,
Pennsy

Thursday, September 8, 2011

#361:Gotta Love Running in the Cool

61 degrees. 4.06/46:31. 11:27/mile. 12:21 PM. Arboretum Loop. Calibration run for Pegasus after nike+ fail. No breaks. Splits: 11:33, 11:13. Break to change into Adidas. No Breaks. Splits: 11:11, 10:15. Feeling fantastic for 12 miles on Saturday.


Memorial for the victims of ConAir
Flight 5181 in the UK Arboretum.
I ran in two legs today because something went screwy with my Nike+ wrist pod and I had to re-calibrate both sensors so I had to change shoes. That started out as a hassle, but turned into a fine run.

Oh, but I love running in the autumn mist. It has been cool and damp here for days. Hard to believe it was so blistering hot for last Saturday's 5K. Today, I did 4 miles in the cool at the Arboretum, and never felt so strong. It's as if all those 85 degree runs in July and August are starting to pay off.

On Saturday, I'm going to try using mileage instead of time to measure my breaks. I'll walk a minute every mile. I've started wearing my heart monitor with my sportsband, and just can't cope with the thought of running in three watches. Using distance instead of time  for breaks might be a good solution.

I have a confession to make. I chased a young girl in the park today. She passed me shortly after I changed shoes, and drifted away through the trees. I didn't think much about her since I was doing a calibration run and just trying to keep a steady pace. About 3/4 of the way through my second time around the park, I saw her pony tail bobbing up ahead. Either she was slowing down, or I was speeding up. "Great," I thought, "now I'm going to have to follow her all the way back to the parking lot." Just then, we crested a hill, and I felt my stride open up. I've talked about that feeling before, where you feel like you're barely touching the ground and your limbs seem to be liquid? We'll that's what happened. I glanced at my watch and I was running 9 :20/mile. That's very fast for me. And I wasn't slowing down. I flowed down the hill, caught her on the bridge, and pulled away up the other side of the hollow toward home. I've never felt so strong and fast, not because I out ran a co-ed, but because I went looking for something extra inside me, and it was there. What a great thing to learn about yourself. What a great run!

I got a pair of Nike+ Pegasus in the mail today from ebay. Spent about $25. They need a little glue near the toe, but otherwise look fine, a lot fresher than either pair I've been working in. I'm hoping they can get me through the race, then I can start hassling Santa for some shoes for 2011. I'll try them out on my next short run, maybe Monday's recovery jog.

One for the Five passed the $1000 mark this weekend, so I raised the goal to $2000. We're at $1200 already. Use the link to get on board. We're building a great team. Be one of us!

Peace,
Pennsy




Sunday, September 4, 2011

#360: Sabbath Run: Eyes Up, Chest Up

72 Degrees. 3.49mi/40:19. 8:17 AM.  Pegasus. Intervals: 1:00/mile. Splits:11:35, 11:34, 11:20. 62% humidity.

Diffused dawn glows in the bedroom curtains,
Squinting, I check the clock,
7 AM,
Late,
I am alone.

In the peaceful kitchen, she washes the dishes,
Sunday morning coffee brewing by the stove,
The fragrance wraps my face in its hands, and kisses me good morning.

Shorts, socks, shoes, shirt,
The full armor
Harder to skip the run once you're dressed for it.

I pad out to the kitchen,
Eyes up, chest up,
Drawn by the aroma of freshly ground beans,
And the promise of a good morning kiss.

French roast, granola, yogurt, blackberries,
Breaking the fast on a Sabbath morning,
Smiling silently from across the room as she reads the news,
And the dogs play tug of war on the couch.

Bowl empty,
Cup empty,
One more kiss for luck, and out the door.

The air is cool,
Cooler than it has been for many days,
But thick, somehow,
The damp seems to press against me as I walk through it,
Resisting me like a swimmer,
Just enough to remind me that it's there.

Jog a little, walk a little
The joints lubricating themselves
The blood flowing to the big muscles,
The butt, the thighs,
My ankles swing free and start to run,
The Papillons on the corner yap through the fence at me as I start my wrist watch,

And suddenly,

I've got all the time in the world.

An elderly walker smiles as we pass,
Exchanging proud good mornings,
All those drawn curtains are sleepy folks,
Missing this steely, sweaty morning.

The hills rise and fall quietly here,
Easy climbs up, gentle rolls down,
Rhythm of the land. rhythm of the feet.
Music of breath draws me forward into the morning.

Slowly, slowly,
All the first mile, I'm still getting warm,
Landing softly on the foot,
Swinging the arm smooth, fingers lightly furled,
Eyes up, chest up,
Like a winter engine pumping cold oil over shafts and valves,
Coming slowly to life,
Slowly, slowly.

A handful of golden leaves crunch underfoot,
The promise of Autumn,
On a late summer morning,
A sound I haven't heard before,
One I'll be hearing differently from now on.

From behind, a young runner in blue breezes past on the grass,
Unusual,
He does not greet me as he glides by,
His mind elsewhere,
The soles of his shoes wink at me till he crests the hill,
And is gone,
Untempted, I hold my pace.

Further along, a slower runner trudges around the corner and slips in ahead of me,
He is working hard, much harder than the boy in blue,
He hears me crunching behind him, and turns his shoulders to see who is following,
Just an old Fat Man,
Shamed, he presses his tempo and slowly floats away during my next walk break.

A handsome couple greets me as I move from sidewalk to street,
She smiles sweetly, he hails me loudly,
Half cheery neighbor welcoming the day,
Half old lion warning off a stranger,
His pride is safe from me this morning,
I "Good Morning" them and return to the sound of my run.

One last walk break, then the press for home,
Ignoring the young men with their tireless legs,
Ignoring time, distance, and pace
I race against myself, a Fat Man running for his life,
Picking up the tempo as the familiar hills and curves start to roll toward home.

No need for the numbers on my wrist,
My heart beats out the minutes,
My legs are the pendulum,
Tick-tocking the seconds to that tree, the next hydrant, another block;
Faster, faster, holding my form,
Eyes up, chest up,
Skipping across the asphalt like a flat rock on a calm lake,
Breath, two, three, Breath, Step, Breathe, two, three, Breathe, Step,
The rhythm of the morning, the music of the run,

Around a corner,
Breathing hard,
One more light post,
One more driveway,
Don't quit yet,
One more hill.

At the crosswalk, I stop my watch.
Shirt soaked,
Shorts sticking,
I squeeze the sweat out of my headband,
Into a warm, salty puddle on the concrete.

Walk it out, cool it down, check the time,
Not bad.
Not a bad way to start a holy day.
Not a bad way to remember the Sabbath.

The dogs greet me at the gate,
Inside, she is just coming out of the bathroom,
Soft and clean, I blow her a sweaty kiss,
She towels off to dress for church,
As I hang my clothes on the porch to dry.

Later, after the sermon, we exchange Peace,
Kissing softly, leaving me the taste of her lipstick,
I turn to Christus Rex,
Hanging above me in his crown,
No more nails, just royal robes and a gentle smile,
Eyes up, chest up,

Peace,

Pennsy

With thanks to Antonio Brown @antoniobrown84


Saturday, September 3, 2011

359: Body Weight Workout, and Cheering for Team Mates

Body Weight 60X60s Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Total Reps
Squat 28 36 27 91
Lunge Lt 24 25 24 73
Lunge Rt 17 20 18 55
Row, Gr Band 38 43 45 126
Push up, Mod 40 30 24 94
Crunch 33 35 31 99
Bench Dips 18 20 20 58

I am stuck at a weight plateau. I've been at 263 for weeks now. It doesn't make much sense to me, since I'm running consistently, and eating pretty well, I think. Melissa from the Y suggested that I workout more often and mix up my program and diet to shock my system out of balance. I've decided to eat more, smaller meals, and spend more time on strength training, especially body-weight training at home.


Today, I tried a workout based on one of the beginner plans from The New Rules of Lifting. The author, Lou Schuler suggests that you really should master these moves with body weight before you get too serious about weight lifting with them. Makes sense. Not much point in bench pressing 75 pounds when you can't even do a push up yet. I've been doing most of these for some time, now, but I want to come up with a workout I can do at home with the equipment I have on hand: my body; a yoga mat, straps, and blocks; some resistance tubes; a big yellow inflatable ball; and a couple of those springy things that are supposed to give you a grip of steel and forearms like Popeye. I wanted to challenge myself, so rather than setting a number of reps to complete, I set 1 minute intervals on my watch and tried to see how many reps I could complete in that period of time. I moved down the circuit, completing one set of each exercise, with one minute to rest between sets. When I finished the last exercise, (Dips, in this case) I took a two minute rest, then went back up to the beginning again. The whole workout took 45 minutes and set a bench mark I can use to compete with myself. I'll try to better these totals next time.


I learned one surprising thing. My balance is much better when I lunge with my left leg than it is when I put my right leg forward. I have a feeling this has something to do with the way I'm using my upper body. It seems to improve when I clench my butt, but I can also get a lot more reps out with my left leg. I'll talk to the trainers at the Y on Wednesday and see what they think.


One thing that did not surprise me is that my upper body is weak. I still have to do those modified push ups with my knees down on the floor, and I wasn't able to do bench dips for the full 60 seconds at all. Some of this is because of my weakened shoulder, but I've never been very macho in my arms and chest. Building strength and endurance up top will help my running by helping me to maintain my form when I start to fatigue, so it's valuable to my training. Plus, big bulging arms will make me even more arousing to Mrs P. 


Pennsy, Pam, Clare, Ladonna, Shelia,
Lynne, Jake, and Melissa
I went to a 5K today. I didn't run, but I cheered on some good friends. Most of my group from LIVESTRONG at the YMCA ran in the race. I am recovering from yesterday's long run, so I didn't join them on the course, but I did cheer them on at the start and the finish. In between, Jake, Clare, and I walked a couple of laps around the dog park. One of my team mates is training to run the LIVESTRONG half-marathon in Austin next spring, so she ran and she finished before the rest of the group who were walking. She did great, and looked fantastic after a hard, HOT 3.1 miles. The rest of the team finished together, including Coach Melissa. They walked across the finish line proudly in their black and yellow "Survivor" tee-shirts. We all posed for this sweaty photo after the race. I am really coming to love these people. We are each on our own journey, but we share this victory: cancer tried to take us, and we wouldn't go. A lot of people lose that battle. We are the lucky ones. And we are determined to pass our message of hope and health on to as many people as will listen. We aren't just surviving. We're LIVING STRONG! And so can YOU!


Peace,
Pennsy


Pennsy and his ugly friend from Markey
The One for the Five project is going great! More than $650 raised as of this writing. You can help sponsor my first half-marathon, and support the work of the Markey Cancer Center by clicking this link, or by handing me a check made out to the Markey Cancer Center. You write the check. I'll run the miles!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

#358: Starting the climb towards $1000 and 13.1 miles

One for the Five is going great! We're almost half-way to our $1000 goal, with 53 days to go. Here's a link, just in case you don't know the story of The Five, We were all diagnosed with cancer last spring. Four of us are gone, but I am left to continue the battle. You can join me by sponsoring my run in the Iron Horse Half-marathon, my first 13.1 mile race. Just click this link to make a contribution. You write the check, I'll run the miles.

And the miles are starting to add up. I've been averaging 15 miles a week, and that number will start climbing as the October 23rd race day approaches. Yesterday, I ran intervals for a couple of miles. One minute rest, one minute hard. Really hard. These workouts are designed to build strength and get your legs used to turning over quickly. It worked. I actually peaked at 7:00/mile. Of course, that was down-hill and only lasted a very short time. This kind of a run wears you out, and I confess, I wasn't much good in the gym yesterday. I really enjoyed the flexibility cool-down at the end of the day, though.

Sweating on Mum after the 2011 Midsummer Night's Run
I'm doing my part. So jump over to Crowdrise and pitch in. Every cancer fighter should get a chance at a night like this...


Peace,

Pennsy
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