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Staying Fit ( or just Healthy) During Cold and Flu Season…with AFib (atrial fibrillation) February 19, 2019

I have spent the last few months on the edge of a full blown winter cold. A small sniffle here and a teasing cough there. The whole time i have been in some level of fear since 2 years ago- I entered winter with a pretty bad cold(bronchitis later) and emerged in spring in HEART FAILURE- AFIB (atrial fibrillation) and been dealing with it since then.

I survived the winter of 2017-18 without any illness but just before the Christmas holiday I started feeling the twinge in my chest and throat.

Now the fear crept in and I started with tea and juice. I am concerned with the empty calories in juice BUT also concerned with getting a chest cold so I water down OJ, Grapefruit and grape juice with seltzer. It gives me plenty of fluids and the vitamins- Speaking of vitamins I add more supplements to my intake as the lungs feel “funny”.

I fought the cold ll season BUT still ended with a full blown cough- that occasionally kept me awake. This year the cough never progressed beyond the pain in the butt stage But it was still there and it added congestion to my chest that was already compromised in breathing due to the Afib. The pumping of blood through the upper chambers of my heart is out of whack and I often have mild difficulty catching my breath. This winter has been a minor breathing challenge.

I have also noticed an increase in weight, most likely due to water retention. Since I have had trouble have not been to the gym nor done much other exercise. That usually helps when I detect bloating. A good sweat helps.


I found this article on PINTEREST…similar to other info I have read.











WAKE UP CALL -Let the Journey Begin March 30, 2017

Filed under: diet,Emergency,fitness,Health,Hiking,Recovery,Results,Safety,Walking — bigfootmarty @ 5:05 pm
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While struggling with a cooled and thin bronchitis this winter I was eagerly looking forward to putting my sneakers on and getting out on the road. I had recently strengthened my knee and was able to get going as soon as I COULD. 

BUT things went awry as th cold and bronchitis seemed to let up but my breathing never returned. In fact, it got worse and I could not grab a breath after 10 or a dozen steps. So I finally bit the bullet and went to the hospital emergency room.  Thank Goodness I went to the ER that day. I may not have been at deaths door , I am now in a much better health position with hope and possibility.

The date was March 7,2017 at approximately 10 am, I entered the University of Virginia ER. In the next hour I gave blood was plugged into machines and had exrays of my chest. My ch st/ heart was soon examined with sonogram and I was disappointed diagnosed in heart failure and Atrial fibrillation. This was due to extreme fluid build-up…..and I was PUFFY, like a big S’More. 

An IV was started and diuretics were administered and I started producing fluid (urine) boisterously and I soon had lost 12 pounds ( 32hours) . Shortly I started feeling better and then my breathing improved. It was not good nor was I healed but WOW did I feel better. 

The diagnosis of heart failure was shocking but possibly motivating. As long as no damage is found I/ we can overcome this and build back to a healthy and strong heart and exercise into a long active life.

When I got out of the hospital I spent a few days resting and then got back into life in a reasonable way and have even started working out. I have completed several fun walks to  get the foundation set for future walking and running. As a lifelong competitive athlete and multiple marathon runner it might be tempting to push my workouts BUT so far I,have taken it easy and happily completed 1/4 mile walks with some hills for strength . 


A. Lungs feel strong and seem to be functioning properly

B. Heart beating easily

C. Legs getting stronger after extended period with limited exercise

D. Leg exercises are feeling good and will be upgraded/ increased

E. Abs exercise feels good to date.

Finally continued use of diuretics to reduce/ remove fluid have resulted in a ” weight loss” of approximately 80 pounds to date .  The time to lose real weight( body fat ) is now as I have set a goal that should work nicely for long term healthful life.

As they say, A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES STARTS WITH A SINGLE STEP….. I hVe taken the steps…..now some more….



Snow Storm Day- How to Run in the Snow? January 21, 2014

Filed under: apparel,Cross Training,Emergency,Safety — bigfootmarty @ 7:51 pm

I have always loved winter and after college when I started running for fun I had to figure out how to do so safely.

I loved hiking/walking in snow- even an adventure of hiking to store for food or supplies- more for the adventure rather than necessity (thankfully) I college we had lots of snow and winter and I was fond of taking a night time hike- after studying I would get home from the library and drop the bag and head out for and hour or so.

My friends would joke- call me a Yeti- especially when I returned with ice crystals in my eyebrows or mustache and in my hat or clothes.

After school I moved to a more temperate climate but we still got some snow on an annual basis. I would try to schedule runs to go out when the snow was falling (more than once I went back out because it started snowing as i finished)


I have big feet- so that is helpful. I am also quite cold hardy so the need for warm clothing is minimized ( as long as I don’t run out in the country or in the woods where i might fall, get hurt and be stuck for a little while)

The most important thing I learned- drink/hydrate just as if it was July- I sweat in cool but I still lose a lot of fluid from respiration so I can quickly get dehydrated even when Frosty is walking around.


I learned a few other things- make sure shoes have pretty fresh tread ( unless wearing traction device), oil or lotion on face protects from wind, tell someone where and when, fingers and ears are the most vulnerable.

*Some fun about snow running:


SOme real fun if you live with lots of snow- Snowshoe





Running in Cold and Ice January 6, 2014

Filed under: apparel,Emergency,Health,Safety — bigfootmarty @ 3:36 am
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I love the winter and enjoy running when it is chilly and especially when it is COLD !!!

Now I am very cold hardy and generate a lot of heat when i workout. My theory is that i carry enough clothes in the event that I get hurt or stranded some where while running but usually am running in or near town so and injury may lead to a brief.crawl to nearest house or business- But when I run out in the country or on the trails I leave a note (or a flight plan) about my run[hike] and my timetable and map or route I will be following. I carry in a pack the necessary safety stuff(bright colors, a layer of warm, gloves….)

Now i also live in Virginia so the threat of real winter challenges is minimal.

What do you do in the winter that varies from your warm weather actions?





– More thoughts on running in the winter ( dark)


These and many other posts and articles discuss the idea of running when it is cold , snowy, icy or dark.


A. footing

B. visibility ( see AND be seen)

C. Dress to limit Sweat ( wet can chill and kill)

D. Slow down when needed- (a slow run is better exchange than an injury)

E. Tell someone where and when ( or post on computer)


Winter / Ice Running – Plan Ahead, Slow Down and Enjoy the Day December 15, 2013

Filed under: apparel,Emergency,Health,Walk-Run,Walking — bigfootmarty @ 12:29 am
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       Out for a workout earlier this week as the fun ‘ wintry mix” was falling and the rain from the day before had frozen over in many places.

      Since the winters here are usually quite wimpy they tend not to clean them up- just shut everything down for a day or 2.

But to go out and maintain fitness and sanity I have to be aware of the slick spots, run at the safest pace ( like driving) and dress accordingly.

Dress:    Warm enough with out causing too much sweat -especially as the workout is slower and end up out there longer than normal

       : shoes – wear the newest ones with best tread just in case

       : hat – if needed and packable

       :gloves – same as above

       : glasses or sunglasses- for protection from sun and/or wind( different lenses for light levels) Clear for Morning runs /evening runs

And carry water just like in July.


What to Wear ? Cool Mornings September 15, 2013

Filed under: apparel,Emergency,Safety — bigfootmarty @ 8:16 pm
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It is fun and funny to see the jackets and sweatshirts on all of the morning runners.  The 47-50 degree mornings feel positively arctic even after the moderate summer we had in Virginia.

Though we had only a week or so of deep  heat the humidity was relentless as we had a lot of rain this year. This led many runners to run as naked a legally possible to deal with the discomfort of the summer.

NOW it feels cold.

The threat of chill or frostbite is minimal but the old rule of thumb- “if you feel comfortable ,you are over-dressed” is helpful but not terribly important YET.

In a month or 2 as it gets “really” cold, being comfortable means being over dressed and can lead to sweating followed by chills or hypothermia.

Just remember smart layering and peel the layers of the onion if it get warm.


Cough and Sickness Weather is upon Us October 14, 2012

Filed under: Emergency,Food-Fuel,Recipes — bigfootmarty @ 2:04 pm

I love winter and the hope for snow and cold and I have not been sick in years but every year as the weather changes and illness abounds I struggle to stop the bugs that sneak in.  They are everywhere due to the crappy state of most folks lives/health.  I look for ways to stay strong and fit and healthy all winter long.  Juice and fruit and vitamins help.

Probiotics and garlic and ginger provide a powerful punch but as I deal with festering cesspools of disease on the street.

I look for and have several tools tools to help….

1) Vitamin C  2-3 grams a day and crank up to 10 or more if threatened

2) Garlic capsules 2-3 times a day as well as lots of garlic in foods and even garlic cloves chewed

3) pro-biotic capsules every day and some probiotic foods (rejuvelac/sauerkraut and soon kimchi)

4) Lots of water and good juice

5) green tea


Found this tonic and I am looking forward to using it.

Tonic for sore throat and cough

1 lb Organic Raw honey

2 small lemons – cleaned/sliced

3 Tbs crystallized or fresh ginger slices

***           ***

1)wash and slice lemons

2) slice ginger into small pieces

3) Place in jar of honey

4) seal with wax paper and lid

5) store in fridge and turn jar over every  weeks for 4 weeks

6) use by spoonful in mouth , in tea or in warm water

Tonic- aging in the fridge.




Emergency Prep September 2, 2012

Filed under: Emergency,Safety — bigfootmarty @ 3:47 pm

Hopefully you never have to deal directly with a disaster but in all likelihood we will have periods without power-water or other basics.  It is best to be ready for some or all potential disaster situations.

What will you eat?

How will you prepare it?

How will you stay warm /dry?

How can you stay hydrated?            This is the real lifesaver if all else falls short. make sure you have water or  a way to get some.

Where will/can you go?

There are many considerations and many places to get info for planning purposes. The best- but very basic- site is ready.gov

KEY POINT – have at least a gallon of clean water per day per person.  Now this can change if you are in a hot climate or have any health issues.  We can survive a few days without food but not without water. We lose water every minute and need  to replace it all day long.

Where do you live?

What emergencies / disasters threaten you and your “neighborhood” ? This will guide your decisions on what and how to prepare.  No body and no places are immune but some are more likely to be impacted by wind/rain, storms, tornado , snow and earthquakes.

How about Safety and First Aid?

You can not forget some Basics for boo-boos- bandages, cleaner, antibiotic ointment, support bandages and a few other necessities. Safety will also include blankets or sleeping bags or warm clothing if cold weather emergencies as well as covering needs.

And of course flashlights with spare batteries and/or lanterns with the same power. A battery or hand cranked radio is also helpful and useful.


Do you have anything that makes sense for you?


Just added a few brand new heavy duty tarps and some nails in case a nearby tree makes an unplanned skylight in our roof.