The Rising 5k – The Risening

Last year I ran this same race and you can read about it here. Basically, it is a run through a section of downtown Oviedo organized by the Oviedo Preservation Project who do a bunch of events around this weekend and this time of year. On my walk to the gathering of runners I was treated to a pre-dawn vista.

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Again I had planned on doing the interval of 2 minutes of running with a recovery of 2 minutes of walking. After stretching and attempting to mental prepare myself it was time to run. I started out strong although I had to dodge a lot of walkers, slow runners and strollers. It was amazing how many kids and strollers there were this year. Anyway, I started to lose my steam and will power about halfway into the race. I stopped sticking to my intervals and I started walking more. It was quite a bit warmer this year and I’m a bit more out of shape. My unofficial time was 39:41 which isn’t my worst but definitely isn’t my best. I didn’t stick around long enough to get my official time. I just got a water and said hi to a friend who was helping to organize some aspects of the event and then I went to breakfast before the crowd migrated over. Here’s my obligatory shirt and bib:

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UPDATE: Official time is 39:43.8

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Two races in one week

It’s been a long time since I have written on this blog so let’s get back to it with a small post.

EA Sports Riverside Dash 5k

I last ran a 5k in mid-November of last year and did so so. Actually, I was in pain for much of the run but I finished it. I then get sick and didn’t return to running until February. I registered for the EA Sports Riverside Dash 5k. This past Sunday in the very early morning I trekked up to Sanford and joined the throng of people milling around prior to the race. Now the Riverside Dash has both a 5k and 15k race but I’m not even quite up to the task of the 5k yet so the 15k is right out.

Photo Apr 12, 6 55 20 AM


I did alright in this race and finished with a time of 38:46.8. My tracking put this run at 3.17 miles and although the time isn’t my personal best I did complete the race and felt good about it. Here is the bling.


Photo Apr 14, 1 08 58 PM

IOA Corporate 5k

For my second race this week I did the IOA Corporate 5k. I have done this race 4 times so far and back in 2012 it was the first 5k I had ever participated in. Looking at my previous times I have improved nicely over the last three years but I’m still unable to jog a mile straight. Well, it rained quite a bit and there were approximately 18,000 people crowding the streets so I’m using that as the excuse for why I was slower on a Thursday evening than I was on the previous Sunday morning. There was no official timing but my self timing put me at 39:17. Here is the IBM runners.

The IBM Running team


Here is where I started in the racer’s starting queue.

Runners take your mark

And here’s the swag.


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The Rising 5k – Run through the past

So on Saturday 10/25/2014, I got up before the sunrise and dragged myself to downtown Oviedo to run a 5k. My car’s temperature gauge said it was 64F and I felt it. The runners gathered and about one quarter of them were wearing some sort of costume. Here’s a horrible pre-dawn selfie.

Photo Oct 25, 7 07 55 AM

After some stretching and announcements we were off.

My plan was to run 2 minutes and then recover (euphemism for walk) for 2 minutes but I only use this as a guide when running a race. After the first running interval I felt pretty good and I really wasn’t out of breath so I decided to push myself and run through my first recovery segment. At the end of that recovery segment I re-evaluated myself again and I was doing great so I ran my second running interval. So for the first 6 minutes of the race I ran which gave me a lot of confidence.

Fast forward to about 30 minutes into the race and I was struggling a little with my breathing but other than that I felt strong. I wanted to run for the last 4-5 minutes but my will power wasn’t there. when I was about a minute out (I saw the turn that led to the finish line) I kicked it into high gear and strode through the finish line.

My time is officially 35:00 and that is my personal best beating out my last record of 38:28 on 5/5/2012.

Here is the unofficial times that were posted.

Photo Oct 25, 8 22 15 AM

My obligatory shirt with bib photo.

Photo Oct 25, 9 28 18 AM

And these signs were all along the race route with little sayings taped on like “You like great!” and “You’re doing awesome!”

Photo Oct 25, 8 45 27 AM

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England Summer Trip 2013 – London (part 1)

This is the continuation of my summer 2013 trip to England that I started writing about in this post. Here are all of the posts. [update: I started writing this post months ago but I keep procrastinating. My goal is to complete this series of posts before the anniversary of the trip.]


When we last saw our intrepid traveler is was relaxing comfortably in the Park Lane hotel in London while a summer rainstorm thundered outside. OK, enough attempting to make this post novelized this. I am sincerely sorry that it has taken my lazy butt this long to get back to writing about my trip last August.

The first night

After my afternoon nap during the rainstorm I decided to chill in my hotel room for a while. There was no air conditioner in the suite which I thought was odd but maybe that is common in English hotels. The room was a bit stuff so I started to open the  windows hoping to get a nice breeze and fresh air. I then took some time to reorganize my luggage and photography gear. I also relaxed and surfed through the TV channels. I believe there were about 100 channels where the majority of them represented individual countries around the world. Around eight or so I started to get hungry and I figured I would just try the restaurant attached to the hotel named Citrus. I took a quick shower in the enormous bathroom (I should have taken a picture) and got dressed. When I arrived at what I thought was the entrance to Citrus it looked fairly busy but I was ignored for a good five minutes as I stood there. I caught the waitress’ attention and asked to be seated outside as the weather had cleared up and there looked to be prime people watching from the outdoor seating. The rain had cleared out but the temperature had dropped but I really wanted to enjoy the night air. I was again left alone for a while which I found quite odd. When the waitress finally addressed me I ordered an appetizer and dinner and enjoyed watching all of the people walking along the side-walk. The people seemed to come from all walks of life and culture. Many clusters of people who were probably heading out to a club or pub in the area. I would smile at anyone that made eye contact and most would smile back. I finally got my entrée around 9:30pm and it was good. After I finished eating I again had to wait quite a while for the waitress to bring my check. The temperature had either dropped more or the breeze had become more brisk as I started to get chilled and wanted to go inside. But as I waited a couple of women, I think of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern descent stopped and chatted with me. I had seen them earlier and smiled getting a smile in return. They asked if I wanted to go to a pub with them. I thought for a second and declined as I was tired. I failed to represent the WWGCD (What Would George Clooney Do?) philosophy. I should have taken them up on the offer and seen what the night had in store but I chickened out.

After paying I went back up to my room and was a bit stir crazy and a bit kicking myself for declining the offer to go out. I threw on a fleece and went for a walk along Park Lane. Not that I hadn’t done a ton of walking that day already. Anyway, I made my way all of the way to Piccadilly Circus at which point it was getting pretty late and I decided that the week was going to be long enough and I needed to get some rest. So back to the hotel I went and right to bed just after midnight.

Day #1

I woke up the next morning, after sleeping in a bit, and got my stuff together for a long day of sightseeing. My first stop was a chain named Pret A Manger which to me seems like a cross between Starbucks and Panera Bread. I had a Diet Coke and a chocolate croissant. The Breakfast of Champions! I had researched ahead of time but I consulted my handy-dandy guide-book and determined at least my first stop of the day which was the changing of the cavalry guards at the Horse Guards Parade. It was very difficult to get any “clean” shots of the guards without other tourists and their cameras getting in the way. It was amazing to watch the ceremony that happens twice daily and even more amazing how many people show up to watch the ceremony.

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I then started to meander through St. James Park. An asian girl who seemed very frantic was going to various people asking for help but it was apparent that she didn’t know English and had somehow lost her group. When she came to me I did my good deed for the day and I helped her to the best of my ability. She needed to go to Buckingham Palace and although it was very close I didn’t know exactly how to explain it to her so I pulled out my phone and showed her where we were and where the palace was on the map. She then frantically ran in the general direction of Buckingham Palace. I continued in that general direction taking my time to enjoy this amazing park with its abundance of birds and flowers.

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Buckingham Palace is a rather austere building on its own but with the large sculptures and the famous guards it stands out. There were a ton of tourists loitering around the statues and near the fence keeping the commoners away from the palace. As I was arriving so was the Calvary Guards on their horses. I didn’t realize that I would beat them to the palace but here’s the proof.

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And here are some other photos from the palace.

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After watching the guards march and stomp my stomach told me it was time to leave and grab lunch. I lucked upon a neat little pub that was set below street level called The Old Monk Exchange. I thought it was named The Old Monk but either the name changed or more likely I’m mis-remembering. Anyway, I sat in this small vaulted area which had skylights and it was pretty neat. The food was ok.

After lunch I considered hitting Churchill’s War Room but there was a long line. I then just decided to explore the area. Here’s Westminster Cathedral which is not the same as the Westminster Abbey, the former being Catholic while the latter being Anglican.

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I continued to explore and passed through many little parks such as Grosvenor Gardens where there were many interesting statues including “Alien” by David Breuer-Weil.

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I made my way back to the hotel and cleaned up a little and went to dinner at an Italian place called Spaghetti House which I couldn’t tell if it was a chain restaurant or not but seemed to be staffed by Italians. The food was good but a little expensive. After dinner I walked around a bit more but my feet were killing me so I made my way back to the hotel and to sleep.

day #2

I woke up refreshed and knew that today I was going to hit more sights. First stop was a little convenience store across from the British Museum where I bought a pastry and some water for the day. I ate my breakfast on the lawn in front of the British Museum and then I proceeded inside. All of my humanities classes came flooding back to me as I walked through history.

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This bird caught my attention as it’s the same type of bird that I saw in Kathmandu in 2011.

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Game of Thrones has nothing on this iron throne!

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I think I could easily spend days at this museum. If I was a London resident I would definitely have a membership. It is an amazing museum and I spent way too long in it including lunch which I purchased from the cafe in the atrium.

After a couple of more hours in this wonderful museum I struck out to hit the National Gallery. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. When I got to the National Gallery I had very little time (I think less than an hour) so I flew through the halls trying to absorb as many works as I could. My body was fighting me as my legs and feet were done walking for the day so I had to stop often to rest. Luckily, in galleries there are typically places to sit. I was gently urged to move on as they closed each gallery hall. This is definitely worth another visit. Here are some photos I took after exiting the gallery.

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My feet and legs were killing me so I decided that I might as well get dinner before continuing back to the hotel. I saw a neat Thai place that seemed to be set up with seating meant for people watching which seemed very cool to me. Once I entered Busaba Eathai I realized that I was probably under-dressed for this trendy place but at that point I didn’t care. The food was really good and I found a plug to charge my phone :-) while I ate.

After dinner I choose to walk back to the hotel so that I could explore more but that was probably a bad choice because my feet and legs were already on fire. I had to stop in many squares and parks including Leichester Square, Chinatown, Soho Square, Golden Square, and Neal’s Yard (my mom asked me to visit this one). Finally, I made a hurried dash through Green Park after dark which was a little bit scary as I didn’t know if I was going to be mugged or not (it reminds me of Central Park in Manhattan). It seems like this park is used by couples to have some “time alone” in the big city.

And that ends my second whole day in London. Watch out for part 2 (hopefully sooner than later).

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Diving on the Cayman Aggressor IV

This is the most amazing dive experience I have ever had on the Cayman Aggressor IV. I could write up the whole adventure but the captain of the boat, Captain Alan Roberts, has already done that here. So I will just add my photos and videos here along with commentary.


A nice trip over some Caribbean islands

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And here’s my welcoming committee

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My home for the next week

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Leaving the port and enjoying sunset

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Dive Day #1

I didn’t take my camera on the first dive which was the Doc Poulson. It was a little tugboat that was sunk in honor of a dive celebrity of the Caymans.

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The second dive was at Stingray City where we all fed and played with the stingrays.





Kathy and Mike celebrated their anniversary on the boat.


The last dive for the day was at Babylon. It was very beautiful although most of my photos didn’t come out.

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The amazing fans shoot out in all directions at Babylon


Spearing a lion fish.





After that dive we made the eight hour crossing from Grand Cayman to Little Cayman. We had some visitors during the crossing that were awesome.


Dive Day #2

The first two dives were at Randy’s Gazebo in Bloody Bay.

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Hiding moray eel









The rest of the day we spent at the Meadows.

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Here is a sponge at depth covered in brittlestars.


Here’s the same sponge but with a better flash exposure.









This is a weird invertebrate named a tiger’s tail.






We also went on a night dive at this dive site but my photos just didn’t make the cut.

Dive Day #3

The first two dives on this day were at Leah Leah’s Lookout.

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This little gal is called a lettuce nudibranch.



Amazing camouflage by this very dangerous fish.


I loved these groupers that hung on to sponges or rocks with their pectoral fins.










The second dive site for the day was the 3 Fathoms Wall. I skipped the fourth dive as my ears were giving me some trouble.

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Then we took a short crossing over to Cayman Brac in order to do our second night dive on the Captain Keith Tibbetts (aka the Russian Destroyer 356)






Dive Day #4

The morning dive was also on the Russian Destroyer.


This is Oscar the Goliath Grouper. He’s probably about five feet long and 80 or so pounds.








We crossed back to Little Cayman and dove on The Great Wall in Bloody Bay. The wall was amazing as it was shear and dropped from about 20 feet below surface to what seemed like infinity (or at least further than light would penetrate). I accidentally slept through the second dive and I’m not blaming anyone in particular but SOMEONE should have woken me up :-)








This turtle is hugging a sponge. Also, this is a special type of turtle as the Caymans have a facility where they create a hybrid turtle that mixes a hawksbill with a green turtle.


The last two dives, including a dusk dive, were at the Bus Stop. And the sharks returned.




The elusive Sailfin Blenny did not want to show me his fin.












Those who were done diving for the day decided to watch us surface.


Or maybe they were watching this.


Dive Day #5

The first two dives of the day were at Nancy’s Cup of Tea including a very early morning (5:30am) dive. It was amazing to see the reef come to life as the sun’s light began to hit the reef.

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My little turtle buddy. He popped out from out of nowhere and came and swam a few circles around me within arm reach and then slowly swam off.




My dive buddy completely missed it but he found a friendly grouper.








Our next dive site was Sara’s Set.











Our final dive location for the day was Donna’s Delight which was the location of our 100 minute challenge. I failed the challenge and I also got myself stung by something growing on a buoy ball. But that’s what I get for being stupid.




The fish with the spots was brilliant and very active. The spots almost looked like LEDs. I tried many times to get a photo and I don’t think I saw a fish like this anywhere else.



Here are some of the other 100 minute challenge takers. They all passed but I was close. I think this is Sara.


This is Magic Mike.


This is definitely Rob.


This is Kathy.


We then made the crossing back to Grand Cayman from Little Cayman. A few of us watched Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World during the crossing which really helped pass the time. No dolphins this time. Here are some of the photos while people passed the time away.

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Here are the women on the boat.

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And the guys (minus Rodel who was driving the boat).

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This is the last dinner on the boat. I was so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of the main course which was just as awesome as the salad and the dessert.

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Dive Day #6

On our last dive day we got two dives, including another very early morning (5:30am) dive, on the Kittiwake wreck. The wreck is very new and so had very little encrustation.



Parrotfish always look happy to me.




Here’s four different types of crabs.





You can almost make out the boat’s name.


The sun’s rays finally poking into the deep.


A couple of pictures of me.



I’m not sure why the anchor is out as the boat isn’t going anywhere.



Our very last dive was at the Devil’s Grotto which was really cool and had tons of wildlife. There were a ton of tarpon here.


And another fish trying to blend in.








My dive buddy David and the tarpon just outside of the grotto.


We had a nice cocktail ceremony on the sun deck after the Aggressor was back in dock. Afterward we ventured out and ate at a decent Italian restaurant a few blocks away from the boat dock.


There really was not much going on during the last day in the Caymans. I got up early and said our final goodbyes to the crew. We piled into vans and headed to the airport. My flight wasn’t for something like six hours so I was going to settle into being bored for a day. Most of our group went to the airport restaurant where I had a pretty decent cuban sandwich and free wifi. As we broke up most of the group, because they were on the same flight, went through security. I went to check my bag and found out that I could get on an earlier flight home. I took it and the travel went easily and I got home with no issues about two hours earlier than I had estimated.

This was an awesome trip and I would do it again.

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Grab bag update and other random stuff

Ok, I haven’t written for a bit and there have been many events and what not in my life. Each of these are too small to warrant their own post (in my opinion) but I figured I would write anyway.

General Update

Over the past six months or so I have decided to get my life more organized and work on tasks to improve myself and my home. I have attempted to adopt the 43 folders method to organize my tasks and I’m using Evernote to store everything. Basically, Evernote has become my second brain and keeps everything I need to work on. This has been a slow process and I’m not exactly the best at keeping up with it as I get distracted too easily (more about that later). This has gotten me to the point of doing some stuff around my house like getting my roof replaced and other home improvement tasks. I have also been working on reducing my email and fixing my passwords. I have also been trying to scan all new documents that I might need so that I can toss the paper versions. I strive to keep using this process and getting better at it.


I’m getting back into scuba diving. I just went on a trip to Boyton Beach, FL with the Orlando Reef Divers for a weekend of diving. The weather was unpredictable and I didn’t end up going diving on Sunday but I got two dives in and had a great time. I got back into the water and I tried out some new gear. This is all in preparation for heading down to Grand Cayman for a week-long of diving which I hope to blog about as well. Here are some pictures from the Boyton Beach trip.











So I have made a couple of short posts of my previous 5K runs this year. Well here is the one I ran yesterday (5/10/2014) which was the Operation Giveback. Here are my results. But for those too lazy to hit that link I finished the 5K with a time of 39:22.293 with a pace of 12:42 minutes per mile. Yes I walked and ran it. Again I think I had more energy I could have put towards the run but I have a mental block that I need to break through. Anyway, here is the obligatory shirt, bib, and bling photo.

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All is good on that front but I was working on a certification package for the last few months. And by “working” I mean that I was procrastinating and working on it ever now and then. But I used that as an excuse for not getting other personal stuff done including updating this blog. Anyway, I submitted a workaround on the certificate package that’ll give me some more time to work on my full certification package. In other words, I figured out a way to procrastinate more.

Health, Exercise, and Diet

So I have been really good at getting in my 10,000 steps a day in with only a handful of exceptions. With that said I’m going to switch to averaging 70,000 steps a week so that I will do more steps on any particular day but it will allow me to have rest days or just some lee way when I miss my numbers on a particular day. I’ll make this switch at the beginning of June. Also, at the beginning of June I’ll start tracking my food intake. I’ve gained too much weight over the past few years and I need to start dropping pounds. My exercise regime has not accomplished this so I’m going to have to start watching what I eat and tracking it all.

What’s next?

Well, I need to finally write up my trip to England from last year. I’ve been procrastinating a bunch on that front but I will knock those out. I have a couple of projects that I want to complete around the house including a couple of ones that should pay off years down the line.

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20th Annual IOA Corporate 5K

This past Thursday (April 17th, 2014) evening I ran my third IOA Corporate 5K around Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. Again I was a member of Team IBM and we had about 35 people there. I did ok with my self timed time at 40:04 minutes. I tried to do intervals of three minutes running with two minutes of recovery. I pushed myself too hard at the beginning and then I just didn’t have the will to stick with it during the middle. I should have pushed myself more in the middle as I had plenty of energy to basically sprint for the last 50-100 yards. This is what I looked like afterward. Yes, I’m an awkward selfie taker. Yes, that is the Lake Eola fountain behind me and not an extraterrestrial landing craft.

Photo Apr 17 8 21 20 PM

And here is the obligatory shirt and bib shot.

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And just for a comparison here are all of my runs of the Corporate 5K:

2014: 40:04

2013: 43:10

2012: 43:33




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27th Annual Real Florida 5K & 10K Cross Country Run & Fun Walk

On February 22nd I ran my first cross-country 5k at the Real Florida 5K Cross Country Run. It was really interesting although I was concerned about roots and branches most of the time and didn’t really get to observe my surroundings. I felt ok at the end. Here is my official timing data:
1877   AARON MARTINA   00:42:50.000   13:49

And here is my bib, shirt and completion medal (my first runner’s bling).

Running Shirt and Medal

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Running Shirts

So over the last couple of years I have been in a handful of events and all events give out shirts it seems. Anyway, here are my shirts with my results. A time with an asterisk(*) is an unofficial timing done by me as there probably wasn’t an official timekeeping for this event.

Corporate 5K – April 12th 2012

Photo Nov 25 12 16 16 PM

Time – 43:33*

Operation Giveback 5k – May 5th, 2012

Photo Nov 25 12 24 33 PM

Time – 38.27.6

Color Run – January 13th, 2013

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Time – 40:07* (2.95 miles)

Gr8 to Don8 5k – April 6th, 2013

Photo Nov 25 12 27 23 PM

Time – 42:57*

Corporate 5k – April 18th, 2013

Photo Nov 25 12 28 01 PM

Time – 43:10*

Operation Giveback 5k – May 11th, 2013

Photo Nov 25 12 22 20 PM

Time – 42:09.270

Secret Lake Runyak – August 24th, 2013

Photo Nov 25 12 19 23 PM

Time – 56:53 (dead last)

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Health Kick Reloaded – End of 2013 update and review

At the beginning of October I decided that I needed to get into a routine with my exercise and make a habit out of it. Here is the first post related to this followed by the update. The process that I wanted to follow was to set one goal and keep with it until it became a pattern. Then once I felt comfortable I would add another goal. The first goal I wanted to obtain and stick with was walking (or running) at least 10,000 steps a day. As of yesterday (12/28/2013) I have missed my target only 12 days out of 88. I totaled almost 932k steps over those same 88 days which gives an average of over 10k steps per day. I’m pretty happy with how well I stuck with this goal.

In November, I decided to add a secondary goal of restarting the Couch to 5k program in order to add running to my goals. I choose to start from the beginning of the program and take my time advancing through the weeks as opposed to forcing myself to advance through the weeks. I wanted to make sure that I felt comfortable with the effort and my health before moving to the next week. I moved through the first three weeks on the regular schedule and I felt pretty good. My first workout for the fourth week went horrible. I decided that I would create my own “week” to go between week three and four of the program. Shortly after that I fell off the wagon on my running program so I’ll have to start it back up in the new year.

So what’s next? Well, I’m going to get back into running. Once I get that into a pattern then I’m going to look at getting my diet under control. I have a few ideas in this regards but if you have any input or suggestions then throw them in the comments.

Year in Review

1/10/2013 – The Color Run – 2.95 miles in 40:07 minutes

2/23/2013 – I was supposed to do a trail run/kayaking event but sprained my left ankle while removing my kayak from my truck. This put me out of action for a while although I could walk on it almost immediately. I think I caused some permanent damage as now it’s ten months later and I still have some discomfort in that ankle.

3/5/2013 – I got back to running a bit and it actually felt better after running than it did when walking.

4/6/2013 – GR8toDon8 5k – 3.2 miles in 42:57 minutes – I did all right but my right calf muscles were extremely tight and painful for the whole race. This really made it difficult to keep any sort of pace.

4/18/2013 – Corporate 5k – 3.21 miles in 43:10 minutes – I didn’t feel injured but I definitely did not feel good throughout this run. I don’t know if it was the lack of energy or not being hydrated enough but I just had to drive on will power alone.

5/11/2013 – Operation Giveback 5k – 3.1 miles in 42:30 minutes

May – October 2013 – I’m not certain why I didn’t exercise in a consistent manner but this helped inspire the Health Kick Reboot. I then went to England for a week and spent a ton of time walking around London and I knew that my body could handle it.

8/24/2013 – Runyak – 2.5k run – 5k paddle – 2.5k run – I don’t think I got the mileage correctly calculated but my time was 55:42 minutes. I was the last one to get into my boat. I caught up to and passed 5 or 6 others. Then I was the dead last person to cross the finish line. But at least I finished. I enjoyed this race but it showed me just how out of shape I am.

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