Tag Archives: novel coronavirus

Checking In 9/24/2021

After quite a bit of productive running and cross training through Wednesday, I made sure not to run Thursday and won’t run today either.

No, I’m fine. No pain, no injuries, and sure I’m a bit tired from short sleep. The real issue is that Vegas is getting more wildfire smoke, this time from the Sequoias, and the haze is supposed to stick around through today. It’s probably best not to go outside and breathe that in while running. Walking, probably okay, but not running.

I took it easy in the gym last night because of the short sleep, only going about 20 minutes and going out to eat instead. Today I’ll probably go longer in the gym, more like my usual workload, with a scheduled rest day tomorrow. Since I plan to run a 10K trial on Sunday, I’m making a point to take it easy Saturday. I might go ride the spin bike easy tomorrow afternoon if I’m bored or antsy.


My birthday is next month on a Saturday, and coincides perfectly with the end of peak training for Indy. I weighed this for a little while and have decided to take a long weekend trip to Vancouver on that weekend. Everything is booked, flight, hotel. I’d fly in midday that Friday, have two full days there, and fly out midday that Monday.

Stanley Park in Vancouver BC

Canada has re-opened to US visitors that are vaccinated for Covid (and yes: I’m vaccinated). I haven’t been to Vancouver, one of my favorite cities in the world, in over two years. And I didn’t want to wait until next May for a Vancouver Marathon that we’re still not totally sure is going to happen, nor until 2023.

This is a good time to go as well. The city won’t be crazy busy since summer is over. With Canada still partially restricted to visitors, it’s not going to be as busy and crowded. It’s also cool but not yet cold enough for BC snow, so misty rain is probably the only adverse weather I might see that weekend.

Also, relevant to my training, Vancouver’s marine climate provides a lot of humidity, which makes a long run there great training stimulus for Indy since Indy will likely be cool and humid on race day.

I’ve wanted to do a long run on the Vancouver Seawall, around Stanley Park and all the way around False Creek to Granville Island. One way it’s about 11-12 miles, and if inclined I could turn around and double back to make it longer. I’ve ridden this route on a rental bike before, but I want to run it.

Since I’ve only gone to run the Vancouver Marathon, doing a long Seawall run like this for fun right before or after the marathon was highly impractical. The only way I was ever going to do it (aside from the highly unlikely scenario of moving there) is if I made a separate trip with no racing plans. While that’s not the reason I’m making this trip, it’s certainly a contributing factor. And it helps it’s the end of my peak week, where I need to take my longest run and have a use for it.

Now, there are obvious caveats to this trip. You have to pass Covid testing within 72 hours of any travel into or out of Canada regardless of vax status (though with vax no quarantine is required). If either test comes back positive then there’s a problem. And of course, a sudden development in the Corona situation for either the US or Canada prior to the trip could nix any travel there.

I’ve paid for and insured the trip, so I’m not worried about the cost. If a bad test before the trip derails it, I just stay home and do something different. The only significant worry is if I test [+] IN Canada, and now I’m stuck in Canada and can’t fly back. (The insurance apparently covers lodging and per diem if I have to stay in Canada for that, though my situation at work would be the biggest issue)

Still, I’m in good health, have been vaccinated, and the dim possibility of a [+] test trapping me in Canada for at least a couple weeks (which probably would likely be more of a funny story than a bad experience) is a risk I’m willing to take for a trip that’s probably been a long time coming.

There are other things I want to do while I’m there. Vancouver’s sushi choices are excellent, and I will probably eat a lot of sushi. I haven’t been to a BC Lions CFL game in forever, and they are playing that weekend so I may go. And as mentioned, it’s been a while since I’ve been there for a reason other than running the Marathon, so it’ll be great to relax without having to plan around that.

More to come as it gets closer, but I’m looking forward to the trip.

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Checking In 8/6/2021

I’m a littler sorer than yesterday, I’m still moving better than 2-3 days ago pre-compression-shorts. It’s worth noting I did a tougher (upper body) strength workout last night than in previous days, plus it included my first set of goblet squats since the problem began. Those were done without any problems, though I can understand feeling a little sore in the legs!

The key difference is that it’s soreness rather than the pain of an injury. I can certainly tell the difference. If I take a couple days of no training, at least one day where I’m off my feet for most of it, both days with aggressive recovery nutrition (protein, antioxidants, etc)I imagine I’d feel markedly better.

I think by that point I can clearly tell that, if I’m not markedly better, I have a more serious issue and need to shut down even further. However, I feel like there’s been some improvement, even if the aches and pains seem to be moving around the affected area.

I’m open to just not training on the elliptical tonight, with tomorrow a scheduled day off, if I’m still feeling sore after work. But if I’m feeling fine this evening, I’ll train tonight. As mentioned before, I have no pain on the elliptical. I also probably won’t do a hard strength workout tonight, which will help some.


I had a thought on the side effects of Coronavirus vaccines, as people’s reasonable concerns (there are obviously a lot of popular, unreasonable ones) center largely around the long-term health risks and ramifications of the mRNA vaccines’ side effect on your body.

How Coronavirus itself infects and affects individuals largely comes down to the person’s existing health and conditions. If they have poor health and one or more comorbities, they’re typically more likely to suffer serious illness and death from any form of the Coronavirus than someone who is in better health. And people who have serious gaps in their health habits and immune system are generally more susceptible to serious problems regardless of how healthy they generally are.

As for side effects from the vaccine itself, I think it might be a similar situation. If you have serious gaps in your immune system and health habits, if your health is generally poor, then a vaccine’s probably going to cause you more side effects and problems than it will for someone with a more robust immune system. There’s a (pun not intended) sick irony to that, as the people who need the vaccine the most are likely the same people who are more likely to suffer its worst side effects and risks.

Whether you choose to take the Coronavirus vaccine or not, it’s important to eat a complete diet and supplement as necessary to make sure you have built up a robust immune system, not just to combat any illness but to best handle any vaccinations you choose to get.

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Enough of that training plan already

So a week before Saturday, with a 10 miler looming on the schedule, 12 weeks into an automated Garmin half marathon training plan… I decided to pull the plug on the plan.

I wasn’t struggling. Save for one or two runs where I couldn’t nail pace (one was a nightmare session where I was running uphill into a 30 mph headwind), and a couple of workouts here and there that I circumstantially had to delete, I had done every workout and had hit the prescribed training paces on all of the other runs. This was 5 runs a week, four in a row with a long run buffered by days off. I had started with a lot of cross training and then backed the cross training off as the volume and demands at work went up. I was doing okay and I noticed I had decent general energy at work.

However, the scheduled runs completely took away my flexibility with workout scheduling. I had to do X workout on X day, X miles, X pace. Often I had to plan my day around the workouts rather than vice versa. With a tough work assignment, a cross town commute, and a resulting long work day with few gaps… at this point I need to be able to decide how long midweek workouts need to be, and have the luxury of scheduling them either before or after work. At this point I was doing all my workouts after work because they required about an hour. If I could knock it out in 30-40 minutes, I could do it in the morning, but few of them were that short at this point.

It turns out there was another external complicating factor to go with it. Rising Coronavirus concerns at the time were likely to wipe out the planned half marathon in January, and I had no real personal need to independently run 13.1 miles outside of an organized race. Now we know a 2nd wave of restrictions are taking hold, not to mention a looming risk of increasing cases for the winter, and in all likelihood everything’s going to be cancelled for a while once again.

Plus, and yes I realized I had accepted this up front, but 18 weeks is fairly long for a sub-marathon training plan. The 12 weeks I had trained is a more typical training plan length for a half marathon anyway. That seemed like a good time to call it off, if I was going to call it off early. At least I spent the time doing focused, quality training.

So I nuked the plan, and after taking a couple days off, plus some very busy subsequent days at work, I ended up taking the whole week+ off, my only subsequent exercise being some 20-30 minute walks during the day. Again, I’m a big proponent of extended training breaks during the year to let the body recharge, and this for me is a good chance to take one.

Even if I take the rest of this week off and let two weeks pass before running again, I still have built up a suitable amount of fitness to run long 12+ miles and run 3-6 times per week for up to 30-35 total miles. I also have substantially improved the pace and work in my regular easy runs, which is a boost going forward.

If I want to roll the dice on a May marathon happening, I can begin serious training for that at the end of December. At this point, needless to say, the chances of gyms being open are pretty small, and I shouldn’t count on being able to lift weights or cross train on cardio machines. It’s running and calisthenics, or bust.

But this time around I’ll go back to building my own training plan, and giving myself the option to run shorter on most weekdays so I can get those runs in during the morning. The if I need a quality or longer workout outside of the weekend I can get one in during a weeknight as needed.

Meanwhile, Happy Thanksgiving.

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It’s Not a Burden: The Benefits of Wearing A Mask During Gym Training

The author in his mask at the gym

Okay, so most of us live somewhere where a mask is required in any indoor public place. Assuming your state hasn’t closed all gyms (hello, California!), many see this as a huge bummer while working out at the gym.

In fact, gyms have been the most difficult offenders regarding enforcement of indoor mask policies. People just don’t want to wear them while doing intense exercise (though many local governments have permitted mask removal when performing cardio exercise on a machine).

Instead of seeing the required use of a mask as a burden or shackles holding you prisoner to The Man… recognize the two key training benefits wearing a mask is providing you.

  1. Constricted breathing trains your breathing

The biggest complaint about masks in gyms is that you need to breathe harder to exercise, and the mask interferes with breathing. I’m not going to pull punches: Yes, masks by design constrict your breathing. The intent is to keep any germs you have out of the public airspace, but the flip side is that it makes taking air in more difficult. Your lungs themselves don’t have muscles, so the associated core muscles that keep them going have to do more work.

However, because your associated lung muscles are working harder per breath, this is actually a workout for those muscles. You are effectively making your breathing stronger, and once you can train and compete without a mask you will improve your overall oxygen intake.

Many people don’t breathe, take in oxygen during exercise, as effectively as they could. Wearing a mask will force your body to adapt your breathing patterns and muscle usage to maximize oxygen intake.

Even though it wasn’t the intent of the law, this policy is actually helping you get stronger and better.

  1. The mask is to some degree an air filter

So while the mask obviously won’t stop most viruses from getting into your windpipe, they do however filter out dust, allergen and dirt particles you otherwise would have breathed in.

Recall that people in heavily polluted Chinese and Indonesian cities walk around in public wearing these masks. The masks do filter out most if not all of the pollutants in your immediate airspace.

Most don’t realize that indoor air is generally far more polluted and dirty than outdoor air. The air is enclosed and very few people and businesses employ ground-level air filtration systems. Most don’t clean or replace their HVAC air filters more than once every few years, if ever. The air you breathe indoors is often rather unhealthy.

In fact, if you don’t own one already, I recommend you buy a cheap electric air filter for your home, at least for your bedroom if not other rooms you frequently use. Also, if you can keep them alive, get some house plants: They also help a bit with air quality. But I digress….

Your mask is actually cleaning the gym air you’re breathing in. By being forced to wear one, you have improved the quality of the air you breathe during gym workouts (and of course you breathe more heavily during these workouts, needing more oxygen) by a lot. Again, this was not an intent of the mask policy, but it is a useful and healthy side effect.


So instead of getting mad about having to wear a mask, recognize the unintended ways that it’s actually helping you train healthier and get better.

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Ten Things You Should Do To Survive the 2nd Wave of Coronavirus

This is not necessarily a post about running, but more of a general health post. To some extent it definitely applies to everybody.

With regard to the Coronavirus and our continued lockdowns, I think re-opening society now is the right decision, even though I am certain a new dangerous wave of COVID-19 will hit the world in the fall or winter. And I don’t think it will make much difference how much we’re outside our homes during summer. Though instituting lockdowns was probably a smart decision, staying locked down now isn’t benefitting us.

We are actually a lot safer mingling in hotter conditions, especially given most will want to do so outdoors. As with most illnesses, the public exposure risk of Coronavirus is largely tied to people being confined together in close quarters for extended periods of time.

While the virus is continuously mutating and other strains of the virus are spreading now, these current mutations are not as substantially dangerous as the wave that forced our lockdowns in March. Our immune systems are equipped to handle it. However, I do believe a new wave will come later this year that probably will be dangerous and kill many.

Your health is the key

I also realize that the vast majority of the people who have died from the Coronavirus carried a variety of other health problems:

  • Many were of elderly age
  • Many are overweight or obese
  • Many have other contributing health problems that led to COVID-19 killing them

Some health problems aren’t necessarily curable or preventable. Obviously, you can’t avoid getting old. Of course, some chronic health conditions are not preventable. Immuno-compromising conditions make getting any illness or health issue a potential grave danger.

However, a lot of health conditions stem from obesity, poor diet and poor lifestyle habits. All of the above are avoidable and (at least over a long period of time) curable.

Anyone significantly concerned about the Coronavirus, whether they feel personally at substantial risk or believe that loved ones are at substantial risk, needs to approach this summer as their one opportunity to safeguard themselves against a likely 2nd wave of Coronavirus this winter.

If you’re out of shape… if you’re overweight… if your diet is poor… if you have health conditions stemming from any of the above… now is the time to tackle your personal health and improve these issues as best you can now, before the next seriously dangerous wave of the virus strikes later this year.

The 10 Things That Can Help You Survive A 2nd Coronavirus Wave

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Avoid the Novel Coronavirus (and other illnesses)

Coronaviruses are in general quite common. You may actually get one once every year or two. However, we’re experiencing mass panic over the current novel coronavirus strain, which has killed a few thousand people in China among the many thousands infected, and sent entire nations into a panic.

There are a handful of truths regarding this novel coronavirus:

  • Most of the people who contract the worst form of the novel coronavirus will make a full recovery without any required medical intervention, just like most people who get a common cold or the flu.
  • The death rate of the novel coronavirus is actually quite low. About 1-2% of people who have reportedly tested positive for it have died from it, and almost all of the deaths have been in China and Italy, where tens of thousands (again, nearly all known cases) have been diagnosed. Virtually all of the people who have died from the novel coronavirus either have seriously compromised immune systems or live in abjectly unsanitary conditions (and that’s assuming all stats are accurate, which is highly questionable). Sure, I’d be worried about the health of either population, but the vast majority of those reading this are in a much better situation.
  • Regardless of anything anyone does, there’s little people can do to prevent its overall spread, quarantines or not. It’s an airborne virus, and a common type of virus at that. It’s like trying to eradicate or quarantine the flu or common cold. Good luck.
  • The current quarantines are more a product of systemic panic than necessity.
  • Other governments are semi-thoughtlessly following in kind with their own over-reaching quarantines, not realizing they’re parroting a needless overreaction from a totalitarian government. This never minds major events that have elected to cancel said events in response to the hysteria. In most cases, they’re making a panic-driven mistake.

All of this said, this novel coronavirus strain is worth concern, the same way any major flu strain or flu season is worth concern.

As always, there are things you can and should do to safeguard yourself from illness and give your body the best chance to flush and resist that illness should it find its way into your system.

However, I have useful advice beyond the standard “wash your hands, take your vitamin C, avoid crowds, etc”. Here are some tips for you to help your body and immune system withstand any potential exposure to any illness, not to mention the novel coronavirus.

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