Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dark Park

As a rule, I try to avoid walking in parks in the dark. But tonight, after running errands and having a visitor in the early evening, it was 7:50, and I still had not left. I planned to do 4 miles tonight.

Knowing it would get dark before I was done, and not wanting to try to do that many miles in my neighborhood, I decided to head up a fairly busy road to the park at the library, do one lap while it was still light, then head home.

It worked out perfectly! I got to the park just as dusk was starting to fall. I planned my lap to do the section with the most trees while it was still light out. I finished the lap just as it was starting to feel dark in the park. I was amazed at the number of people I saw. It felt very safe.

Then I walked back along a well lit, busy, road and was in my neighborhood. Though I really needed to do 4 miles, I feel good that I was able to squeeze in a little over 3 that late in the evening. Tomorrow I'll try to make it up by doing 5 miles.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


How many years have I worked on computers?
Over 23.

When did I first learn that you need to save your work?
Oh, about 23 years ago.

When did I learn that you need to backup files?
Oh, about 23 years ago.

Have I ever lost parts of a project because I hadn't saved it?
Unfortunately, LOTS of times!

When was the last time the power flickered and I lost all of my work because I had not saved it?
Earlier today!


7 miles

Today was the Columbus Half Marathon. (Not to be confused with the half marathon option during the Columbus Marathon in October.) Though not trained for it, I went anyway. I told the race director I would help promote it, which I did, and he gave me the chance to speak at the beginning and lead the walkers. About 5 this morning it was raining so hard, it woke me. I thought, I'm not going and rolled over. Of course, I had called the RD the night before and said I would be there, so I had to go. Luckily it had stopped raining by the time I had to get out of bed.

Before the race, I said something inane about the weather (sounds like a CEO I know), wished everyone a good race and went to the back of the 30-50 walkers. Most of the walkers there had heard about WALK! Magazine, so it is probably just as good that I didn't see anywhere to set out magazines and flyers. If I had been thinking, I would have left them at the running store where people registered and got their goody bags.

This weekend was supposed to be a 7-mile day. So I walked out 3.5 miles with the walkers, then turned around and went back. I assumed (wrongly) that the course was a straight there and back. It wasn't. Once it entered the bike trail, it went out and back, then back out to a different park entrance. I ended up walking along a busy street by myself to get back to the high school.

Regardless, it was fun. I met two really nice women who I talked to for the first 3.5 miles and I hung around to see some of my walking buddies finish. A bunch of them were between 2.5 and 3 hours!

I feel pretty good. I think I might still do the Air Force half Sept. 16, and use it as a long training day. I'm not sure I can do the New Albany 10K on the 17th. I'll have a booth, and I don't think I can do both.

In the meantime I'll keep training for the other Columbus Half.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Foods I cannot live without:
1) Trader Joe's "A Fig Walked into a Bar" breakfast bars.
2) Chips and salsa - any salsa.
3) Cheese.
4) Peanut butter. (Especially on mornings before a long training walk.)
5) Good dark chocolate.
6) Coffee.
7) Hot dogs - but only during baseball season.
8) Any pasta.
9) Diet Coke with lots of ice.
10) Corona with lime.

Foods I would not miss if I never had them again (I don't hate them I'm just lukewarm):
1) Cottage cheese.
2) Applesauce.
3) Jello.
4) Apples.
5) Saltine crackers.
6) Ginger ale.
7) Sushi.
8) Any food establishment's combo platter of deep-fried appetizers.
9) White bread.
10) Breakfast cereals.

Foods I would eat non-stop if they were healthy:
1) Potato chips with dip.
2) French fries.
3) Good trail mix.
4) Cheeseburgers.
5) Good dark chocolate.
6) All cheese.
7) Schmidt's Bahama Mama's.
8) French fries. (I really like French fries!)
9) Corona with lime. (La cervesa mas fina!)
10) Fried fish sandwiches.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Commercial for Apple

This is totally unrelated to walking, but I have to say something.

My daughter wanted an Apple Powerbook. Through her school she could get a great deal online, but I was not sure what she would need. We took a trip to the local Apple store to talk to a sales person. The person we found was so great, he even helped us order the computer through the web site instead of buying it through the store!

The laptop showed up a few days later. She tried to play a CD and immediately discovered the computer wasn't working correctly. A trip back to the Apple Store and the "Genius" (the name for their repair people) highly recommended that the computer be replaced. It could not be replaced through the store because we bought it online.

Anyway, she called Apple today to follow up on the service call and arrange to return it. They have already begun building her new computer. Arrangements have been made for this one to be returned and the new one to be shipped.

Sure, it is truly disappointing that her laptop doesn't work. I know from experience this is extremely rare for Apple computers.

The good news is, everyone we have talked to, from the sales person to the repair person, to the phone support have been fantastic! Every single person was intelligent and helpful. So, despite the fact the computer is not working correctly, everyone has agreed to the same solution. It's likely she will receive the new computer in just a few days.

Anyway, when one company has such great employees, it's important to tell people.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fitting Walking In

Trying to fit walking in can be tough. I'm training for the Columbus Marathon Half using the training program put together by the Buckeye Striders. (Actually, the members took a couple training programs and revised them to the club's needs.) I've been doing the best I can, but I just cannot fit in all of the miles I need. I have not asked any of my columnists what the best thing to do is, but here is how I'm handling it.

I am going to walk 4 days a week since I just cannot fit in 5. And I will never skimp on a distance day. I have not yet done my distance on a Saturday yet, but I still get in the long mileage.

Half marathons are more forgiving than full marathons. Because I have completed many of them, they don't scare me. Unfortunately, that also makes me less likely to follow a training program closely enough. Sometimes I get a little cocky and assume I have built up muscle I haven't. I'm hoping to be smarter this time. I want to be able to finish faster and feeling good.

So far, my training is going great!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fighting Depression

Fall always causes minor depression for me. It starts when I first notice the mornings getting a little darker and school starting, then any minor frustration or stress adds to it. For many reasons, this year it started a little earlier than usual.

Knowing that exercise can help, this evening I went out to Antrim Lake to walk 3 laps - about 3.5 miles. It's beautiful, I can people watch and I love the water. At the end of the third lap, I was still feeling a little down, so did a fourth lap.

As I turned that last corner I looked up, and running straight toward me was a group of about 7 good-looking, shirtless, men in tiny shorts.

Yeah, exercise improves my mood.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fatman Article Update

Since I first posted regarding Steve Vaught and the negative responses some people had to the article and photos, I have been receiving many unsolicited positive comments. Several people said it was the best article I had written. I was also pleasantly surprised at how much detail of his life they had remembered and the desire to discuss his personal journey and growth. (None of those people read this blog, so it really was unsolicited.)

The difference in response was directly related to the type of walker. The people who liked the article were fitness walkers and hikers. The people who did not care for the article were competitive or racewalkers.

What is so surprising is the strength of the feelings. People either really liked it or really disliked it.

It's been said you can't please everyone. (I'm a parent, I have firsthand experience with this.) I'm still going to try. I'm confident that over time, we will provide a balance of articles so that everyone will find something they like.

Unintentional Hill Work

I just got back from two days in Athens, OH for my daughter's college orientation. Enough said.

Monday, August 07, 2006

What Goes Around...

I had forgotten to include this bit of info with my posting about walking with relatives. Many of you have already heard this story.

Back before I was 40 (it seems so long ago!), on one of our family vacations, I was hiking with my sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law and other members of the family. Though I am younger than all of the other adults, and I had always been thin, I could not keep up with the group. I became massively depressed and decided I had to do something to improve my health. That was the pivotal point in my life that got me started walking for health and fitness.

During this past week my sister-in-law and I were deciding between 3 laps around the lake or 4. I wanted 4 - Colleen chose 3. Gotcha!

6 Miles

I finally got my 6-mile walk in today - two days after it was scheduled. Unfortunately, I overslept this morning, so I got out much later than I had expected. I drove 30 min to get to the park with the 4-mile loop and about half shade. It also has a couple good-sized hills - I've been doing too many flat training routes lately.

It was a little tougher than I had expected. I had not walked 6 miles in a few months, it's hot out and there are hills. I have to remind myself that as you build distance, the long walks are always a little tougher the first time. I know after I've done 8 or 10 miles, 6 will be a piece of cake again.

Regardless, it feels good to be working on building distance again. I can feel my body getting stronger and healthier. This is why I do it and this is exactly why I miss it so much when I don't get to walk. This really was a good workout.

PS: I have been actively trying to maintain some sort of racewalking form for all of my workouts. As soon as I feel myself "plodding", I focus on placing my feet correctly and rolling them. I'm still waiting for it to always be natural.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Walking with Relatives

Over the last few years, my sister-in-law and I have bonded over early morning walks during our annual family vacations. Colleen is an avid walker and talked me into joining her long before I enjoyed walking. Whether our families were camping in tents or cabins, hanging out at hotels, or just staying at each others' houses, we would leave while most of the clan was still in bed or barely moving. We don't always go alone and we don't always have a specific distance in mind - we might just walk for 30 min., head to a specific landmark on a trail and back, or loop the neighborhood a few times.

When the entire family gets together just once a year, most of the days are pretty chaotic. These walks are an opportunity to get away from the crowd, burn off some calories, and to talk. Most of the conversation is not particularly important. We update each other on the other sides of our families, talk about our jobs, discuss how fast the various kids are growing, recap the previous night's card game, or hit really important topics like what is for dinner. Even the kids that occasionally join us will talk a little more.

It's not like any other type of walking I do. Marathon training is focused and goal oriented. Joining the members of my walking club is fun, and we chat, but it is still goal oriented.

Walking with relatives is probably more important than any other type of walking I do - we aren't trying to prove anything - it is about getting away and bonding.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Unintentional Crosstraining

The Leeman side of our family spent the entire day at a local water park yesterday. A bunch of us climbed the steps to the top of the highest water slides over and over and over and over... Half the time, I climbed those stairs carrying a huge inner tube. As soon as we got to the bottom, we would jump out of the water and climb to the top again. What a great workout!

As the day wore on, my legs would start to burn as I got partway up the stairs. When the line was short, I'd push as hard as I could as long as I could. When the line was long I was able to climb at a slow pace, resting every few steps.

Since my sister-in-law and I had walked 3.5 miles earlier that morning, I expected to feel sore and tired today. I was pleasantly surprised to be pain free though my legs are feeling more tired as the day goes on.

A 6-mile training walk is scheduled for this weekend, and I had originally planned to do it today. After all of those stairs, today has become a much needed day of rest.

The morning will determine whether that 6-miles happens tomorrow or not.