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Heart Failure,Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib) and Exercise September 27, 2017

Now that I am 6 months beyond the diagnosis of Heart Failure with Atrial Fibrillation I am looking at information about both of these conditions and my personal feelings and health.

I am still in A Fib but I have also lost well over 100 pounds and continue to workout , eat well and workout some more. I am doing a variety of cardio workouts to pump the blood, exercise the heart and of course burn some calories and fat. I am also doing some resistance exercise ( weightlifting and bodyweight moves)  to rebuild the body and muscular system.

I have written about the exercise and will do more in the future but my cardio includes walking outside, rowing on the Concept 2 Erg Trainer, Riding the Cybex stationary bike and the Cybex Arc Trainer ( Elliptical ) and starting on the Nautilus Stairmaster.

Now as Dr.Gupta says in the exercise video I may be able to attempt  a marathon again in the future. I need to take it easy and build up slowly- if I continue with a smart diet( currently plant based low fat diet) and the exercise program and a plan to build up to the kind of training necessary for a 4-6 hour run.

Regardless of that outcome I plan on dropping more of the weight- keeping it off and maintaining healthy lifestyle while dealing with the long term concerns with the heart failure diagnosis and possibly changing/improving on it.

Time to publish and eat a proper meal and later to the gym.

A video with info about A Fib…Not a good diagnosis BUT not the END either.

 

Exercise and Heart Disease video- good info and a great quote, ” for most, exercise allows for people to fell better AND a longer life than most medication only plans.”

Another good quote- wrong to dive into exercise , gradually increase effort and amount of exercise.

 

@martyroddy

 

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I got a little Focused on the Concept 2 Rower this Month August 29, 2017

During the recent month( ending today , as far as Concept 2 measures, for Dog Days of Summer Challenge) I was ( we were) challenged to row a total of at least 100,000 meters between August 1 and 28. It seemed like  fun idea when I first read about- a distraction from us sweating and a goal to reach for.

I looked at it a little more closely and was shocked to realize that in the 3rd and 4th weeks I would need to row 4300 and 5800 meters per day to reach the weekly/month goals.

Now these totals were not that big for someone who had been rowing hard for some period of time or was in training for races etc, but I just re-started rowing in April following a diagnosis of Heart Failure ( A-Fib)  I started with a cautious and slightly difficult 500 meters. BUT>>>> I decided to  GIVE IT A GO and jumped in and had some fun. Prior to August 1st I had been mixing up my cardio at the gym and doing some resistance work. After week 1 other cardio went away. I needed all of the gym time o get the rowing done…now I was a little upset but then realized it was a good substitute and temporary.

As the 2nd week started ( goal of 20,000 meters) I shifted away from Cybex Arc-trainer and Cybex bike cardio cross training but continued to do some resistance exercises with machines and barbells. The resistance work was also more narrowly focused during this time to Push type exercises (presses and similar moves) since the rower was concentrating on Pull type work.

Then I had to figure out how to do all of this rowing and keep my focus, I utilized the workouts sent out everyday in emails from Concept2  ,http://www.concept2.com/ , and from some suggested interval training workouts found on youtube. In much the same way that a “watched pot doesn’t boil” a watched “workout monitor meter measurement doesn’t add up”  I needed some ways to pass the time as I worked out. I was rowing 20-30-40 or more minutes everyday. As I did the workouts(i.e 2 minutes hard, 1 easy or 250 meters hard and 250 easy…) I was able to achieve the distances required and avoid the potential boredom

The following video is an example of one of the workouts I used.

It was fun and I look forward to the next challenge and I may create one for myself- like building my lifetime total on the rower to the 1 million meter mark. I am above the 1/4 million point after this recent month. My ultimate goal for the current period is reaching my bodyweight from middle high school years (245lbs).

An example of workout I was doing and am returning to ( in addition to rowing or biking or walking) now that I have completed the challenge

 

@martyroddy

 

 

HEART FAILURE – OK Now Whats for Dinner? May 30, 2017

The diagnosis of heart failure is/was shocking but additional information and research revealed that :

  • it is not a death sentence
  • it can be lived with and
  • it can be overcome with diet and exercise

Now when I arrived at the hospital I could not walk 20 meters without being out of breath, the diagnosis was actually a relief before it was a shock.  I now knew why I felt so bad. AND the medical team made it clear that I  could overcome and even thrive.

A lifestyle change that includes adjustments in diet and an increase in exercise. The diet will be a lifestyle change “forever” not just temporarily reducing calories and  weight for now. It has been fun, learning some new foods and recipes.

There are 2 authors/physicians and cardiac experts that i have read about before and have read A LOT about recently.  Drs. Dean Ornish and John McDougall have been proponents of very low fat, plant-based/plant focused diets.

Dr.Ornish published a great book, EAT MORE, WEIGH LESS  and it is loaded with great recipes as well as tremendous common sense information with evidence that such a diet improves and even heals heart damage.

Dr.McDougall has 2 “cornerstone books” , MCDOUGALL PROGRAM FOR MAXIMUM WEIGHT LOSS and THE STARCH SOLUTION. Both focus on plant-based, low/no fat diet choices much like Dr.Ornish.

Where to find these guys?  search the web or go to:

  1. http://www.ornish.com
  2. http://www.drmcdougall.com

BUT WHAT CAN WE EAT?

  • Beans- dried or canned (choose salt-free) – loaded with fiber and protein
  • Garlic – eat, add to foods and take as supplement
  • Spinach and Dark,leafy greens
  • nuts and seeds – good fats and loaded with minerals and protein (almonds,walnuts, brazils, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
  • salmon- great omega fats as well as protein
  • soy protein- organic tofu, tempeh, miso , edamame beans
  • whole grains
  • fresh fruits and vegetables

A future post may include information on specific nutrients required for heart failure patients( magnesium, potassium, good fats).

 

 

@martyroddy

 

 

 

Getting close to ACTUAL MILEAGE with My Workouts/Walks May 1, 2017

This is a little bit of fun with the words as I continue my journey to recovery from heart failure and creation of a fit and healthy body. Walks are increasing to 5 per week and time/ distance is also growing.

The play with the title is the fact that I am about to walk a mile. I have been mixing up walks of .25, .55 and up to .79 miles so far. One day this week I should cross the mile marker in a workout.  This will also be the walk of longest duration. Future plans include daily walks alternating 30-40 minutes with workouts of 50-70 minutes. As I get more fit, lose the weight and strengthen my knees I hope to add miles and once a week go,for a personal best distance and eventually…..RUNNING. 

Break out new runners and get going…Of course I am walking in these and will run in them as well.

I have also felt and increase in strength for my legs as I have been doing a few sets of squats . I will add step ups, and lunges. 

I recorded a video during a recent workout….​

Now to,get back to work and have a good eating day.
@martyroddy

 

Training Takes Effort..Sometime Effort “Hurts” April 24, 2017

My mileage is still limited to fractions of a mile but my lungs and heart are getting stronger and my body is trying to keep up. I should cross the 1 mile mark shortly and ….THE MARATHON DISTANCE IS SOON IN SIGHT…. Current complaints are coming from (in order of severity):

  • left knee
  • right shoulder
  • right knee
  • both ankles
  • low back

Now I am planning to strengthen the legs and back and increase the flexibility of the joints involved with a 2-3 stage program . Starting with easy sets of exercises, with low reps and advancing to some heavier work and eventually High Intensity sets and Intervals.

The first 100 pounds came off with help of the medicine to drain the excess fluids, now the next 100 will have to be earned with sweat and discipline. I am still walking but hope to mix in some easy running intervals in 2-3 months.

I have read a few books and a lot  web-based information on the training but one book I have is one of the famous IDIOTS guides…..

I am also relying on several books and sites for the walking/run training but my favorite is ChiWalking / ChiRunning information, videos and books by Danny Dreyer and Katherine Dreyer. Their website http://www.chirunning.com/ is loaded with great information and can send us on a great journey of information gathering and fitness adventure. The central focus of the running and walking programs is doing so injury free. This has great appeal to me as I come back to walking and running with a bucket of injuries.

I will keep a clear record of my progress and maybe even some photos but some of the potential “selfies” are still too gruesome to contemplate, even after a 100 pound loss.(how bad was I?)

NOW TO THE TITLE…

Yesterday I went for a medium distance walk and felt good and walked a little faster than I had in recent efforts. While doing the walk I felt a bit of strain in my lungs but I was breathing OK so I kept going. Ever since the diagnosis any question in my breathing /cardio-pulmonary system gives me pause. When I finished and checked my phone app…I had completed the workout at a level 20% faster than any previous walk. It certainly wasn’t a No Pain No Gain effort but there was some discomfort and i am glad for that. Time to try that a little bit more…maybe every 3rd workout.

now to figure a way to measure this and keep it both safe and effective for improvement

 

 

@martyroddy

 

Make this a Training Log or Keep Writing About Workouts or ?? April 16, 2017

I continue to walk and do the workouts on my journey back to health and then fitness. I have comfortable crossed the half mile distance and should be beyond a mile soon. Some basic goals for the immediate future :

  • Adding distance
  • Increasing speed
  • Improving flexibility and softness/ suppleness in my joints( knees)
  • Adding strength throughout entire body

The first is a simple proposition…keep walking and everyday go a little bit longer. The biggest challenge I face with this (many of us face it) is repeating the daily mileage without hurting legs and knees that have already been stressed and damaged on the gridiron and basketball court.

This concern is being addressed with the 3rd and 4th bullets in this list. Increased flexibility and improved suppleness will allow me to move “over ” the ground rather than on and through the ground with the related pounding. Strength will also improve the ability of my muscles to “catch and release”each footstrike with negligible pounding.

When I start working on speed I will pick a few workout routes or section of routes to time and then later to ” time trial”. A section that took me 10 minutes might have an ultimate goal of 6 minutes 30 seconds but intermediate goals of 9 and 7 minutes. Successfully increasing speed will ultimately rely on common sense and patience….not always strengths of mine .

I hav been joking with a high school friend about getting ready for a Fall half marathon …when I wrote that to her on Facebook I had just walked a half mile for th first time since my heart diagnosis.

I am still looking into creating some sort or running/ walking / fitness club or group for folks recovering from or living with some sort of heart health diagnosis. 

martysmarch@yahoo.com for information or interest in the club.

@martyroddy

 

My Knees …Hey they feel Better April 12, 2015

As a football player…in my questionable youth… I did some damage to my knees { shoulder, head, ankle, elbow….} but I have been fortunate to keep them useful and supple by remaining active for the 30 years since I last strapped on knee braces and gold helmet.

I am constantly asked , “you run?” Then invariably the next question is isn’t it bad for the knees?    I ALWAYS chuckle and then tell them of my pre-running knee history but I quickly follow that running for fun and fitness from the time I finished playing football has kept my knees in useful condition.

A recent conversation with a friend led to this posting and hopefully will help her and maybe some others.

One thing I learned ass that injured body parts need to be used as soon as possible, even if in a light REHAB mode.  I found that keeping the knees supple was a matter of :

A. Smart exercise – regular but easy walking and running ( I have run many races ,including marathons BUT I do it easily and have fun) almost all NO 99.9% of running injuries are caused by running and training at limits without proper rest, recovery and balance.

Many people talk of overtraining but I see much more UNDER-RESTING.

More on this later….

Some other info to share.

The following is a few exercise s that are helpful for a many people. They are especially helpful if you are active or wish to be active again.

http://kneestrengtheningexercise.com/knee-pain-relief-exercises/

** A specific and useful exercise for knee pain and stability. It has the added benefit of increasing positive between hips,low back and knees. This all important triad can lead to long term comfort.

http://www.prevention.com/video/penguin-walk-knee-pain?cid=socFit_20140705_27208296

https://twitter.com/martyroddy