Saturday, February 25, 2006

Life Happens

It's funny how some weeks you experience more "life" than others.

Early this week, one of our kids became sick. A trip to the doctor confirmed an ear infection. Not so bad. A few antibiotics and he will be fine. The next day this same child was running and smashed into the back of another child's head. The school was pretty sure the collision resulted in a broken nose. A trip to the emergency room and several X-rays indicated that the nose was not broken, but the crookedness might just be from swelling and should go away in a few days. Again not so bad.

Finally, just a couple days later, our daughter seemed to come down with a severe case of the flu. Another visit to the doctor indicated it might be more. Another visit to the emergency room confirmed that her appendix would have to be removed. Of course, I had just arrived in Detroit for Heat the Streets when I heard this news. I returned to town about 30 min after the surgery had begun. I am relieved to say the surgery was uneventful and she will be fine. Regardless, I've spent so much time at the hospital, little else has been accomplished.

What a week! You can go a whole year with your entire family healthy and happy - enjoy watching your kids play sports or perform in plays, plan regular training walks, travel to races to promote your magazine and do everyday mundane things. And then suddenly, in just a matter of days, life happens!

It's nice to be able to walk regularly to be ready for an April 1 race. It's nice to have the flexibility to travel or spend late nights finishing up the layouts for the next issue of WALK! But sometimes, life just gets in the way of our plans and we need to make some alterations. Luckily, I will be able to wake early on Sunday and get a 6-mile walk in. Between visits to the hospital, I'll do more work on the Spring 06 issue of the magazine to get it to the printer ASAP. And with any luck, life will cooperate and the Spring issue won't be "too" late.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Speed Makes a Difference

I've been really worried about how cold I've been the last couple times I walked with the Fleet Feet group. Shoot, I was so cold this past Saturday, I quit early.

Today it was 19 degrees when I went out for a walk, 2 degrees warmer than Saturday. I forgot to wear my fleece vest, but did have on two shirts, a jacket, my "gator" around my neck, a headband for my ears and the same gloves that caused my hands to freeze -- twice. My goal today was to walk the first two miles at a good pace, then the second two miles faster.

The first mile was at about 15:20, the second was a little over 15:00. The third mile I picked up the pace and was slightly under 15 min. The last mile I did intervals of walking as fast as I could and finished in 14:19! I was sweating up a storm, my hands were WAY too hot and I even took off my gloves.

The good news is my knees feel great and the iliotibial band in my left leg is fine! Woo hoo!

So, from this great training walk I learned that I am now recovered enough that I can work on speed! When I walk with the Fleet Feet people, and I'm not doing my own pace, I need to wear more clothes. And when I'm deciding how many layers to wear, I really need to think about the pace.

PS: I have a goal of finishing 6 half marathons this year. Maybe I can also get back to my almost 13-min mile pace!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I'm Getting Paranoid

I know everyone is tired of reading about my thoughts on Ohio weather. I've lived in this state most of my life and I'm used to its idiosyncrasies. The nice thing about Ohio is if you don't like the weather, wait a day and it will change.

But now I'm beginning to feel paranoid. Over the last few weeks, we have had an unusually mild winter. We've had sunny days in the 50s and 60s during the week. My mid-week walks have been fantastic! I've barely encountered any of the winter depression I can be prone to.

However, Saturday morning weather has been awful! A couple of weeks ago we had record lows. Two weeks ago we had rain while temps were in the low 30s. (I hate rain in February!) This week, the temps were in the high 50s on Friday. Saturday morning the news predicted mid-20s. I wore what I normally would wear when acclimated. In reality, the temps were in the mid-teens and the wind was brutal! I was walking toward the back of our group, so not working as hard as usual and never got warm. The wind was whipping, making it feel even colder. Luckily, we mostly walked through a more residential area, so that broke some of the wind, but that one stretch on Schrock Road was miserable!

After about 4.5 miles, Tim found us and brought us some drinks. I suggested we stop at 6 miles and head back, and he indicated many people were doing that. (We were supposed to walk 8 miles.) I was a little surprised to see we were the only walkers who cut it short. When I took off my gloves, my hands were red and I had no feeling in them. OK, maybe I really do need to break down and get new gloves. (In my defense, I've walked in the winter for 5 years with cheap $1 gloves from K-Mart, and never had the problems I am this winter. I really think it is from my lack of speed and not building up heat while walking.)

Anyway, this Sunday morning, it is again beautiful. The temps are milder and the sun is shining. I'll be making up the 2 miles I didn't do yesterday. I just can't figure out why we never have mornings like this on Saturdays.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I planned to take a nice casual walk to the library to return a missing MP3 disc. I have a habit of returning the cases without the CD, MP3 disc or tapes. The temps were mild so I was able to wear just a light jacket with a sweater and jeans for the 2-mile walk. It was even light out which is a nice change. I got to the library, returned the disc, and then decided to do 1/2 loop around the park to add 1/2 mile to my walk. I reached the turnaround point and was enjoying the walk so much, I just kept going for a full loop around the park.

So my casual 2-mile walk was extended to a 3-mile walk. How often does that happen? There are plenty of times when I've had to force myself to complete any distance in a training schedule, yet today, I just kept going. I wish I could bottle that feeling for when I seriously need it.

In the meantime, I'm just enjoying the fact that I can take a casual walk in February wearing a light jacket.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Missing Feb 4 Entry

I am so bummed! I swear I posted an entry Feb. 4 talking about how much I hate walking in rain in February, but it isn't on my blog. I don't know if it was never posted correctly, or if it was accidentally deleted. I had spent that morning walking 7 miles in ice cold rain. It was supposed to be 40 degrees out there, but it felt more like -2. (Of course, I know that's impossible or the rain would have been snow.) The whole distance I kept thinking that the members of my regular walking club were nice and warm walking on an indoor track. My mistake was, I dressed for 40 degree weather. When you are wet, it feels much colder. I did bring dry shirts, a new jacket, shoes and socks, but I didn't think to bring pants. I joined the other walkers and runners for a clinic following the walk, and shivered during the entire thing. I used my heated car seats, bought coffee for the ride home and used every drop of hot water in the shower, and I was still cold the rest of the day.

It's too bad the posting is missing. I was a lot more creative and descriptive. This past Saturday the weather was beautiful and sunny and crisp... I almost forgot how miserable I was just 7 days earlier.

Regardless, no matter what we face April 1, we will be ready!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

How to Make it Work

The concept for WALK! Magazine is well received. After one year, we are still hanging in there!

I'm amazed at the great letters I receive from readers, the renewal rate is well above what we expected, the response to our readership survey floored me and we are starting to get some interest from some new advertisers! We are this close (note: my index finger and thumb are 1/4 inch apart) to making this a huge success.

At this point, I really think public relations and self promotion are the key. I've worked with a couple of races to help them become more walker friendly. (That's what got me started with the idea for this magazine.) The links to the WALK! Web site help, being seen at race expos is very good for me, but I need more.

That 1/4 inch is so small and yet so large. What do I do to make that leap?

Our core of consultants and writers is phenomenal. I have great walking buddies - especially the Buckeye Striders - who are fantastic cheerleaders and whose ideas have fueled lots of articles. I have met some very helpful race directors. I have also met thousands of walkers, several who have gone above and beyond to help me get this thing going. (Yes, Chris and Jeeyum, you are in this group.)

So, what do I do to get to the next step?

We are going to try some new things in the next few months. We have some ideas for promoting to libraries. I've had some suggestions to promote to health and fitness professionals, which is a little out of our league cost-wise right now. There are a couple of races I'll continue attending, including Heat the Streets in Detroit. I'd like to get into some of those big companies that encourage their staff to walk. That could be huge!

If any of you have ideas for what we should try next, or any ties to get us on the Oprah show, please let me know.

In the meantime, I'll be contemplating that 1/4 inch...