Thursday, August 30, 2007

Toes and New Shoes

What is it about new shoes and toes that just don't go together? I have finally had the opportunity to wear my new bright blue shoes for more than just a casual walk. I decided to try to pseudo-racewalk 3 miles today.

After about 20 mins the toes on my right foot started to feel a little funny. They weren't numb, but they didn't feel right. I assumed my shoes were tied too tight and kept going. They were feeling more and more odd until they finally started to hurt. With about 10 min left to walk I slowed down and quit all attempts to racewalk. The pain did not subside and I started getting shooting pains up my leg. Not good.

Got home, took my shoes off and my feet feel OK. My toes are a little sensitive, but nothing serious. I was hoping to wear the shoes this weekend for a long walk, but I'm rethinking it. I might just walk a few miles in my old shoes and few in the new ones and see how it goes.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Crim is Great!

The Crim truly is a walker friendly event! We had a good time while we were in Flint this weekend! Here's my synapses:

The expo was in a new location this year. It was a little bit tight, but was well organized. They were nice enough to squeeze me in between two walking clubs. The new venue was more than 2 miles from the start of the race. Historically, the expo is open race day, and people wander in and out from 6:30 a.m. to noon while waiting for their race to begin or for their friends and family to finish. I'm not sure how it went this year because I didn't go to the expo on Saturday.

Race day, we got into Flint nice and early to avoid the road closings. We went to the late packet pick up area to get safety pins which we both had forgotten the day before. The University of Michigan pavilion is a nice facility and there were plenty of people sitting at tables and relaxing before the race.

There were lots of port-a-johns at the start. They were just a little too close to the starting line, however. When we lined up at the sign for the competitive walkers, we were up against the people waiting for restrooms. There ended up being lots of people behind us, too. It was nice seeing a "pace" sign for competitive walkers!

It was hard to hear ANY announcements, but most races are that way when you are at the back. We didn't even realize the national anthem was being sung until about halfway through the song. It rained a little as we waited for the start, but not hard.

It took just a couple of minutes to reach the starting line. The crowds thinned out fairly quickly though our first mile was almost 15:30. It is nearly impossible to get lost at the Crim - just follow the blue line painted on the street. The blue line has been there so long, they didn't get to repaint it this year because of weather, and you could still see it. The mile markers were not only on big signs, they were painted on the street. Very cool!

The streets were lined with spectators. It had been raining and people still came out to cheer participants on! What really surprised me was the number of residents who voluntarily set up their own water stops. I skipped several regular water stops and there was STILL plenty of water every where. Several people also handed out ice which was appreciated.

One fraternity early on the course was handing out Krispy Kreme doughnuts. My walking partner, Chris, did take one. I don't think sugar and grease would have sat well in my stomach that early.

The big party (I can't remember exactly where it was) handed out beer and hot dogs. If they had been closer to the race finish, I might have taken them up on it. The party was pretty roaring and they were having a great time.

There were several bands along the course, though I mostly remember grade school and high school band students. There were a couple church groups that sang for us, one Christian rock band and several church groups that prayed for us. (When one woman said I was "special" I took it as a good thing.) There was a large group of people in one yard all playing makeshift drums that was pretty cool. They were all ages, and I'll never forget seeing the women who was older than my mom beating a plastic bucket with a wooden spoon.

When you are close to the finish line, you reach the famous bricks of Saginaw Street. The street is pretty cool, but it was difficult to walk fast at that point because some spots were a little uneven. We tried anyway.

We crossed the finish in a little over 2 hrs and 30 min., averaging about a 15-min mile. We moved past the chip removers, received our medals and had easy access to water, bananas and apples. There were tons of tubs filled with wet cloths to wipe the sweat. It had started raining again as we finished, so I really didn't need it.

After we went through the gauntlet, there was a huge community party. A big tent had barbecue and other food items for sale. We had the option of getting free pizza and beer with our bib (the line was too long for us), and Earth, Wind and Fire was getting ready to play on stage. If it had been sunny and dry, we would have stayed. As it was, we were soaking wet and both had long drives home.

The winning walker was a woman who finished about an hour before I did. I was just at the Crim web site and forgot to look up what prizes they offered.

Regardless, it is a fun weekend in Flint. There are plenty of races for those of all abilities and the after party is a lot of fun! If you need a race in August, head to Flint.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Have a Booth!

The people at the Crim have been phenomenal! They were able to squeeze me into a booth today. I wasn't able to get set up until almost 7:30 p.m., but that's OK.

I have just MY table, so I can't spread out, but I have a booth. I'm near where participants pick up their numbers and between two walking clubs.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Heading to Crim

OK, I found out I'm definitely heading to Flint, MI on Thursday. I will definitely have a booth Friday. Other than that, and the race starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, the rest is up in the air!

I hate having things be last minute like this, but I'm sure everything will work out fine!

Monday, August 20, 2007

I'm Soaked

OK, I went for my 3 miles. I wore my most water-resistant jacket, a baseball hat and shorts. At first it wasn't bad because the rain was light, but it rained harder the farther I went. About mile 2 I went to scratch my forehead and realized there was a puddle in my right sleeve that poured into my armpit! I have never had a puddle in a sleeve before.

Well, I kept going and now, after a nice hot shower, I am glad I went. (Well, it was only 3 miles after all and it is rain in August.)

Rain and Lack of Motivation

OK, I'm supposed to walk 3 miles today and it is raining like crazy! Yuck! I just do NOT feel like walking in rain tonight. I feel like I'm catching a cold. But, the 10-mile race is this weekend, and I really don't have the time to make up mileage this week. I think I'm going to have to just suck it up and go for a walk -- in the rain.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

New Shoes

When I find shoes I like, I try to stay with the same brand and style for as long as possible. It makes new shoe buying so much easier. The last few times I've purchased new shoes, I've had to change brands and styles for a variety of reasons.

I've been wearing a bright yellow pair of Brooks racing flats. I think they are called Racer ST, but it's hard to tell what the name is from looking at the shoe. (If you were at the Nashville Marathon, I was the walker with the yellow shoes.)

Yesterday I went to FrontRunner to buy a new pair. I took my Brooks with me to ease the replacement process. Well, the store doesn't carry this particular shoe. (Darn!) But the great sales person had some ideas for other shoes I might try.

I ended up going back to New Balance for the 902. They have a little more control than the Brooks shoe. (Isn't it amazing how they can tell by your shoe that you need more control?) They are not as light, but I do half marathons so I will probably be happier wearing these for long distances. Oh, and they are NOT bright yellow. They are bright blue!

It's a good thing I don't coordinate my walking clothes with my shoes!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Crim is Coming Fast!

One week from today and I will have finished my first Crim Festival of Races 10-mile Race. I'm VERY excited! (I'm also tapering, which is great. Only 5 easy miles today!)

First, this race was voted WALK! Magazine's 2007 Walker Friendly Race. Second, the people of Flint are very friendly, and I'm looking forward to going back up there.

The only bad news is, I'm not going to get up there on Thursday as originally planned, and I'm pretty certain I won't be able to have a booth. I'm pretty bummed. I had ordered extra shirts just for this race.

Regardless, I'm sure I'll have fun. And maybe this time I can actually try both types of coneys so I can decide if the Flint version is better than the Detroit version.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

6 miles Tonight

I'm supposed to do 6 miles tomorrow, but I won't have the time. So I did it tonight. What a beautiful night it was! I know I'll be ready for the Crim next week!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

New Blister

I walked an easy 8 miles today. My recent vacation and the extreme heat truly messed with my Crim training!

I'm not sure how far I was supposed to go today, 8 or 10, but I decided to take it easy since I'm a little bit off. And the Crim race is only 10 miles, so even if I don't go farther than 8 miles in training, I know I'll be fine.

After 2 miles, I felt a poking at the edge of my left heel. I stopped, thinking I had a small stone in my shoe. Nope! I have a small blister on my foot! It looks as if I now have a wrinkle in my insole. I have to assume it is new, it's the first blister from these shoes. Luckily, it is pretty tiny and i had already planned to buy a new pair this weekend.

After the extreme heat of the week, it was really nice having the temps just in the 80s!

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Fat March - Did You Watch?

Did anyone watch Fat March on TV last night?

If not, here is the premise: A bunch of morbidly obese people must walk over 500 miles to Washington, D.C. in a set amount of time in order to receive $100,000 a piece. For each person who quits, each remaining person's prize total is reduced by $10,000.

These are not just heavy people, one of these guys is over 500 lbs!

I watched because, well I had to. Not only because I also gawk at car wrecks, but because it is about walking. I wanted to see what they would do to these people.

Part of my opinion comes from remembering how hard it was for me to work up to 8 miles when training for my first marathon. And I'm only about 5 lbs too heavy!

OK, these people started at the actual Boston Marathon and walked 5 miles. The second day, they were walking 8 miles! These are hugely unfit people! Granted, it looked as if they had a long time to do it in, but 8 miles is 8 miles. Third day - 8 miles again.

Some former rap diva barely made it two days. I think she was there for drama. One guy was sent to the ER for labored breathing - he ended up being OK. Another guy had horrible blisters and thought he might have stress fractures. He was voted off the show.

At the end of the first show everyone was weighed, though it did not look like they were wearing the same clothes. Several of the women lost fewer than 10 lbs, and were disappointed. I didn't think it was unreasonable. They are building muscle while burning fat - plus not the same clothes.

So, did anyone else watch the show? What did you think?

Monday, August 06, 2007

What Goes Around Comes Around

Part of what got me started walking back in the late 90s was not being able to keep up when hiking on a family vacation. I was depressed and felt old and out of shape. Walking for health and fitness changed everything.

Last week, while on another family vacation with many of the same family members, a couple of us went on a hike. My brother-in-law is one of the people I could not keep up with way back then.

Well, I still could not keep up, but not because I'm not fit, but because I'm short! For every one of BIL's steps, I had to take at least 2 to match him. If we were on a flat surface where I could use my pseudo-racewalking form, I could have easily beat him. But those rocky, uneven trails meant I had to watch every step. Well, I SHOULD have watched every step.

The biggest difference I noticed was, I couldn't go faster this year because of safety and short legs. (I could have gone quite a bit farther.) The last time I was gasping for breath, my legs were killing me and I rested a lot! I definitely could not have gone farther.

None of the others from that infamous hike over 7 years ago were with us. I wonder if I would have still been last if they were.

You Know it is Hot When...

* When the thermostat in the house says it is 80 degrees, yet it is still cooler inside than out! (Our air conditioner broke, and it is rigged to produce slightly cool air for about the next 48 hours, until the replacement can be installed.)
* Even your wicking fabrics cannot keep up with the amount you are sweating.
* The ice in your water bottle melts within the first 5 mins of being outside.
* I wore shorts and a tank top to walk in, even though it looks like I've been through a recent car wreck with all of my scrapes and bruises. (From the fall when hiking last week.)
* My Mom's dog doesn't want to sit in anyone's lap.
* A person like me, who rarely uses AC, is dying to drive somewhere just to cool off.
* The dog that normally charges me when I walk by his house, just strolled to the edge of the sidewalk and barked only three times.

NOTE: I know I should have waited until dark to walk today, but I knew if I waited I probably would not go. My schedule is off from vacation, and I need to get back on track. So I walked when the motivation hit me.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Few New Things I Don't Like about Walking in Summer

1) Ticks.
2) Bikes. (I haven't been hit yet, but they have come close!)
3) Humidity.
4) Days when the air does NOT move.
5) Did I say ticks? I really, really hate ticks.
6) Swarms of gnats that gather around your face.
7) Mosquitoes.
8) I still really hate ticks.
9) Having my favorite hat lost in the lake.
10) Sweat in my eyes because a couple of kids lost my hat in the lake. (The kids who played keep-away with it eventually found it again.)

More Things I Like About Walking in Summer

1) Wildflowers.
2) The ocassional rain that cools you off at just the right moment.
3) Ice cold watermelon when I get home.
4) Wildlife. We saw about 4 deer crash through the woods last week. They are prettier and more interesting in the woods than at the side of a highway. We also saw some amazingly beautiful birds.
5) The smell of freshly mowed grass.
6) The days are long enough I can walk pretty late in the day if I have to.
7) Not needing to wear several layers.
8) Breezes feel great.
9) Hearing kids cheer while playing baseball or softball nearby.
10) Wicking fabrics.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Jet Lag?

Can a person get jet lag if he/she was driving? I am so lethargic today it is ridiculous! It feels exactly like jet lag.

We were in a different time zone for a week, and we stayed up much later than usual, but I'm still surprised I can feel so "blah." The kids appear to be fine, but even my husband seems lethargic.

I need to get back into my regular walking schedule, tomorrow. The Crim is just a couple of weeks away!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Heading Home

On our way home from Land Between the Lakes we stopped at Mammoth Cave. We did one of the longer hikes - over 2 miles and about 2 hours. The more than 160-stair climb at the end was a nice workout.

It has been so hot and humid all week, it was really great being in the cool dark cave. It's a shame our group was so large! I think our guide was cutting a few things short because it took so long to get people gathered.

Regardless it was fun! I'm a little less stiff though my neck still hurts. My "mosquito" bites are obviously NOT from mosquitoes now. I think they are chiggers. (Yuck!) Anti-itch creams have saved my life, that and Ibuprofen, air conditioning and a little bit of Merlot. (For the antioxidants, of course.)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hiking Mishap

I love hiking. Earlier this week I went with my daughter and brother-in-law on a trail here at Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky. It was hot and humid, and VERY hilly! The trail was well marked and we had planned to turn around and head in the opposite direction after about 1.3 miles so we could see what was north of where we started. (There just happened to be a sign that said we had gone 1.3 miles, so we turned around.)

My BIL has VERY long legs. My daughter is very nimble and really more of a runner. As we were walking I realized that she just kind of skipped along barely touching the ground. My BIL was taking one step for every 2-3 of mine. Though on a flat surface I can racewalk faster than they can walk, keeping your feet low to the ground and not bending knees doesn't work on a trail. I decided to just walk a little behind them and not stress. On a hairpin curve down a hill, I cheated, cut through and caught up with them. I was a little cocky and laughing, not watching the trail. My right foot caught on a big immovable rock, and before I knew it, I was in mid-air, thinking "This is going to hurt." I hit the ground on my right arm, hip and shin. I laid there a minute wondering if I was hurt, and when my BIL looked all worried I got worried. I was scraped up pretty good, but nothing was broken. We cut the hike short when we got to the point we entered (About 2.6 miles total.) and went back to the cabin. The middle of my upper arm is a pretty purple, my hip has another pretty purple spot, and my leg is scraped with a little more purple underneath. I feel achy all over, and my neck and back are especially throbby.

I'm very lucky I wasn't hurt worse. Unfortunately, it really cut down on my desire to get in more walking. I probably will do a little later today when it cools off, but not necessarily on a trail.

I'm amazed how yucky I can feel after an impact with the ground. It does make me wonder how football players do it.

Anyway, we are still on vacation, and expect to be back over the weekend. If I can get to the library again to get Internet access before we return, I will.