Monday, March 31, 2008

Can't Walk a Straight Line

Many know that I have no experience walking on a treadmill. Today I got up at 5 a.m. to try it out while I'm traveling.

It took a few tries to figure out how to set it for what I wanted, but once I got going, it was nice. I set the speed for a little slower than my usual speed until I felt comfortable with walking on it. I was doing really well until I turned my head to look at something - then I would start to lean funny or get too close to the edge. I could not walk a straight line unless I was looking straight ahead!

After about 20 min., I slowly increased the speed to see how fast I could go. I got down to a 14 min per mile when I chickened out.

There are two things I decided about treadmills: First, even with an audio book to listen too, it was boring. I kept looking to see how much time I had left. Second, if I had to train on one all of the time, I'd never go more than 2-3 miles. It wasn't just boring, it was mind-numbingly boring. If I didn't feel like training on a specific day, I think it would be too easy to just quit. At least when I'm outside if I walk straight out 2 miles, I can't quit - I still have to walk 2 miles to get home.

Still, it was nice to set a speed I wanted to achieve (and be able to keep at that speed) and to see what my heart rate was. If I had access to one, I'd probably use it once in a while.

Regardless, at 5 a.m. it is dark here in Anaheim. If I want to get in my miles, I have to use a treadmill. I'll give it another try tomorrow. This time, though, I think I'll try watching CNN to see if the time goes by a little bit faster and I'll keep my eyes forward so I don't fall over.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cure for Achy Legs

Usually when I travel alone, I try to make time for a nightly bubble bath. To me this feels like something special. I hate scrubbing my own tub at home, especially after a 14-year-old boy has used the shower, so I don't take bubble baths very often.

After dinner tonight, I was thinking about how tired and achy my legs are from yesterday's 12 miles, and how great the hot tub would feel. I looked outside and no one was in the hot tub or the pool!

I hesitated about 2 seconds before I quickly threw on my suit, threw jeans and a T-shirt over and ran outside. There was no one in the entire pool area, let alone in the hot tub!

So, I sat out there, in the dark, by myself in that fantastically relaxing hot tub for about 20 min. Heaven! After a while, a couple different men came out to check out the facilities and I felt like I was in a scene from a bad horror movie. (So why was I sitting with my back to the door?) Though I felt safe enough, and the men totally ignored me, the atmosphere was gone and I reluctantly got out and went back to my room. Still, 20 min was enough. My previously achy legs feel fantastic!

Blisters - And I Know Better!

We walked 12 miles Saturday. I love step down days when training for a long-distance event! After 16 miles last week, I really needed a shorter walk this weekend.

I started to panic about whether I will be able to wear either pair of new shoes in Big Sur. Looking at what training distances I have left, I'm not sure I'll have walked enough miles on either pair. So, against my better judgment, I wore my NB768s when we started out yesterday. It's funny how, when you are wearing new shoes you obsess about your feet! Every step I was wondering "is my foot landing OK?" "are my toes aching?" "why is my heel slipping?", "are these shoes too heavy and stiff?" etc., etc.... After about 6 miles, I felt a "hot spot" on my right heel. We were 2 miles from the parking lot and my old shoes. By the time I got to the car, I knew I had a blister. ARGH!

I put on my old 902s, and boy did they feel odd after wearing the cushier and stiffer 768s. I now know they are DEFINITELY too worn out to wear for more than a mile or two at a time. Geez!

OK, I normally do NOT wear my "active" walking shoes unless I am doing a training walk or I'm in an event. I don't want to waste the shoes on zoo or mall mileage.

Today I'm in Anaheim for a business trip unrelated to the magazine. A small group of us decided to go to Huntington Beach, and I wore the 768s. We probably walked about 2miles tops, but the shoes felt great! They didn't bother my developing blisters, I didn't obsess about my feet and I just walked comfortably in them.

Tomorrow I plan to try the hotel treadmill for about 4 miles. (Never really used one before.) I'm not sure if I'll wear the 768s or the 903s. Regardless, I'm feeling a little better about wearing this heavy, stiff shoe.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Shoes

I just got two new pairs of shoes: One pair is very light, flexible and great for walking really fast; The other pair is heavier, well padded and great for walking long distance. Both are by New Balance.

I noticed after doing 16 miles last weekend that my NB 902s are too light for going farther than about 12 miles (13.1 tops). My feet were sore and tired the rest of the day. Though I recently picked up a pair of the 903s (bottom pair in photo), which are very similar, I definitely needed a more stable pair.

Last night I went to FrontRunner in Columbus to buy a sturdier pair of shoes and picked out the NB 768 (top pair in photo). I wore them today for about 45 min of walking and I like them. They are not very flexible, but they are pretty cushy and very comfortable. I think they'll be great for the 21 miles of Big Sur.

Observation: Last year, I ended up with shoes in some pretty outrageous colors. The famous yellow shoes were just one great example. When the 903s arrived I was surprised they were a pretty muted color - salmon! The 768s are grey and an olive green.

At the store last night, there was not a single screaming yellow or bright orange pair of shoes on the entire wall! I'm not really sure what makes a shoe color cool and what doesn't, but once you get used to really bright, obnoxious colors, it's hard to get used to more sedate colors.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

16 miles

16 miles is the longest distance I have walked since I completed my last full marathon in 2002. When we started at 7:30, it was a beautiful Saturday morning. At the beginning of our last loop, it started to sleet. (We did 4, 3.8 mile laps at a park, then added a mile at the end.) Again we were pelted in the face, but for only about 30 min. Though it got progressively colder, we kept going. I also got slower in that last lap! I just could not walk any faster. It's funny how much larger those little hills get in that last loop.

Three things I learned: 1) I need different shoes for those longer distances (maybe Monday?). My NB 902s are just too light for more than 13 miles. 2) I definitely need to get more sleep before a long training days. I lacked energy, and I think part of it was not enough sleep. 3) I need a bigger breaksfast on these longer days. A granola bar was not enough.

4 3.8-mile loops
1) 59:31
2) 59:20
3) 58:54
4) 1:00:36
one additional mile for cool down

We were slower than usual at about 15:39 per mile.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Group vs Solo Walking

For the most part, I'm a little different from most of the other walkers I know. I like walking alone, I like listening to a great audio book and zoning out while I do my miles, I like walking when I feel like it, not when someone else arbitrarily chooses a time for me to walk. Though I have been a member of a great walking club for years, I have been hot and cold regarding group walks.

Over the last few months, while training for Big Sur, I have learned the real joy of walking with other people and a walking club!

I started out doing my base mileage on Saturday mornings with members of the Buckeye Striders. It was so nice getting to know different people a little better by walking with them each week.

On long distance days and for speed workouts, I've been walking with my friend Deb. Before this, I've done 90% of my long distance walks alone. I thought I liked it better alone, but now I've changed my mind.

When I've made plans to meet someone or our group, I no longer feel "nagged," I feel as if it is an appointment to walk. In fact, I'm even doing better following through with my training because I'm walking earlier in the day or earlier in the evening, and I don't have time to change my mind. The other great thing is 16 miles just fly when you have someone to chat with.

So, I've come around. I am now officially a big fan of walking with friends!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

8 X 400 in Sleet

It has been raining on and off for about two days. We were scheduled to do 8 X 400 sprints today. Knowing that Deb never walks in the rain, especially when it is cold outside, I anticipated not going to the park and figuring out where to do it on my own. I was pleasantly surprised that Deb was waiting for me.

The rain lightened as we started 8 one-quarter mile sprints, with 2 min. rests in between. (It was nice that the park had one-quarter mile markers.) The pavement was uneven and we even had a slight incline, which made the alternating laps a little tougher. (It felt like a mountain, but it wasn't even a hill.) Still, we felt pretty fast.

The rain turned to sleet, and we were thinking about cutting our training short, but once we were no longer being pelted in the face, we decided to do all 8 laps.

If the markers are accurate, we would have been walking faster than a 14-min mile!

Splits (Guess which way was uphill?)
1) 3.22
2) 3.29
3) 3.22
4) 3.28
5) 3.23
6) 3.28
7) 3.24
8) 3.31

Deb's luck with weather held out again! Though we had a little rain and sleet while we were walking, once we quit the sleet was pretty intense, and even stuck to the ground!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Walking in the Rain

It was pouring and I wanted to get in a couple of easy miles, so I walked to the library. The umbrella didn't make much difference. Though my hair was dry, I was soaked to above my knees. I'm hoping a couple of light miles will help me work out some of the muscle tiredness.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nearly 14 Miles

When Deb picks the day we do our long slow distance, it is always the one day of the weekend that the weather is great. Today was perfect - the rain stopped, the sun was shining, the snow melted.

We did 3.5 laps at a park with about 4 miles per lap. We figured we walked about 13.4miles in 3 hours and 27 minutes. The last mile we walked slowly and used as our cool down. Though I felt great when we finished, and our stretches felt great, I had a very difficult time with the first two miles. In fact, the first mile was so difficult, I was tempted to quit. Thank goodness Deb was with me.

We're only a couple weeks away from our longest Big Sur training walk of 18 miles. I'm looking forward to it!

3.8-mile laps

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Great Day for Walking

Yesterday I was wearing boots and trudging through "snow cone" style snow. Today, the snow is about 90 percent melted and the sun was very bright! With no jackets and too heavy of walking pants, we did 3 X 1 miles "sprints".

Deb measured the miles in her car, so I'm not sure how accurate they are. In fact, the second mile took enough longer than the other two that I think it isn't quite right. Regardless, it was a great walk!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cindi's Adventure - or Walking to the Library When No One Shovels Their Sidewalks

It was 50 degrees and sunny today - plus it is now light an hour later due to daylight saving time. It seemed like the perfect day to try walking to the Library again.

The great thing about it being so warm today is that I wore a light fleece jacket with my jeans and winter boots, and I wasn't cold! It felt odd not wearing layers with several inches of snow on the ground.

The snow has been melting quickly, so in places the grass was saturated and squishy. I hopped over my share of mud puddles. Intersections were interesting to try to cross with the piles from the snow plows blocking crosswalks! Because of the melting, I sunk up to my knees in more than one spot. And the snow was actually more the consistency of a snow cone that real snow.

On the really covered sidewalks, I tried to put my feet in other people's footprints, but they were too far apart and it's harder to do when the other person was walking the opposite way. (Who would have thought?) The sidewalks in some parts were so bad, I ended up walking through yards instead. At least it was melting in the grass.

Regardless, I felt I had a good work out. Instead of attempting racewalking form (as usual), I was picking my feet up pretty high and working hard for every step. I could feel the muscles in my legs working differently.

Even though my boots leaked, the good news is I didn't slip and fall once!

In my neighborhood, most of the houses have cleared sidewalks, the apartments down the street do not (not unusual). What was really surprising to me, though, was that I left Columbus and entered Upper Arlington, and not ONE sidewalk was shoveled! It was horrible trying to walk in the half melted snow and slush. Now parts didn't seem to really be a home owner's responsibility, but other sections were right in front of houses and small businesses. I assumed the businesses would shovel.

Isn't it funny that every Columbus-area bike trail I have seen since Monday is completely clear of ice and snow, yet the sidewalks in front of homes are nearly impassible. I don't feel bad at all about walking through the middle of their front yards.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Make Up Miles

Daylight saving time worked to our benefit today! We started walking at a little after 5, which would have been 4:00 last week. We had plenty of time to get in several miles before it would be dark. We did two laps at Sharon Woods for about 8 miles.

It was about 40 degrees, and the snow melted enough that the bike trails were absolutely clear! The snow on the grass was still pretty deep and it was beautiful.

Toward the end of the last lap, we saw a small herd of deer.

I don't know if it will help make up for the mileage we missed over the weekend, but it was a great way to end a busy day.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Snow Emergency and Training?

Here in Central Ohio we have received about 16 inches of snow in the last 24 hours. I haven't been outside since I arrived home yesterday evening. The bank and post office are both closed, and those are the only two places I needed to go today.

However, I do need to fit in a 12-mile training walk this weekend - originally scheduled for today. Deb and I were smart enough to cancel today's walk. I'm thinking that if we get it in at all, we might have to do the entire distance in hiking boots and winter coats.

I'm not really sure what to do if we totally miss today's mileage.

The photo is of my 14-year-old son shoveling our sidewalk for the second time today. Note that the snow in the yard is up to his knees. (He's about 5' 8" tall.) Last Thursday it was so warm, every bit of old snow had melted away.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Every once in a while I hear from a reader who just makes my day. Usually its through e-mail or by letter - today I received a phone call.

The reader had just finished the Winter issue of WALK! Magazine, and called to comment about it. He has his own health problems, part of the reason he hadn't read the issue earlier. When he read about our cover people - Debbie Sokolov, Mike McBride, Steve Gaudet and Brandon Favela - he realized he doesn't have it so bad. In fact, he was inspired!

He went on to thank me for publishing the magazine and encouraged me to keep up the good work.

What was unusual about this reader is not only that he took the time to call, but that his timing was perfect! I had to cross a lot of hurdles to get the Spring issue to the printer, and I've been frustrated for a couple of days.

Today, thanks to this reader, I also feel inspired!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

10 Miles

We did 10 miles today. The park has a 1.25-mile loop and 8 loops was a little much for me (that means boring). The good thing is several members of our walking club joined us as we walked and helped make the time fly.

The temps were in the mid 30s, wind was blowing on just one side of the park, and the sun eventually peeked through the clouds. It was a great morning!

Fastest lap: 18:22 - 14:41 per mile
Slowest lap: 19:17 - 15:25 per mile
Average: 14:48 per mile

New Albany Walking Classic Registration Open

The online registration for the New Albany Walking Classic is now open. This year's event, scheduled for September 21, includes a half marathon as well as the regular 10K.

The web site is:

Be sure to indicate you heard about this event through WALK! Magazine. By the way, this is a WALK! Magazine Walking Team event. I'll have information on our web site about that soon.