Thursday, May 29, 2008

Shocking Facts about Pop

I heard a shocking statistic earlier this week on the Oprah show. (I know, I said I'm boycotting Oprah, but Dr. Oz was on, and I like him.)

Dr. Oz stated that if everyone stopped drinking soft drinks (that's "pop" for those of you in the Midwest) childhood obesity and our nation's obesity problem would go away!

He pointed out that reducing our caloric intake by just about 100 calories a day would prevent the gain of about 15 lbs. a year, and the average can of pop has more than 100 calories. He also said it isn't just the pop that is the problem, it is the meals that accompany the pop. Studies show that when people drink pop with a meal, they tend to consume a lot higher calorie foods than when eating meals without pop. I'm leaping to a conclusion here, but it felt as if he was targeting fast food meals.

I thought about that for a minute. The only time I allow my kids to have pop with meals is if we are dining out or we are ordering pizza. In both situations, we all consume more calories than when we eat a home-cooked meal. It all makes sense!

He said he doesn't like diet soft drinks either, but said he would save that discussion for a different day. (Darn!)

I knew pop was bad, but I had no clue that eliminating it could make this big of an impact on our nation's health!

Disclaimer: Though I am trying to be factual here, all of this is from memory. I apologize if I have mis-stated any of Dr. Oz's comments or if I have reported anything incorrectly.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Four Cookies

That is the number of cookies I ate last night for no reason. Truth be told, I ate 5 cookies - the first one was on purpose because I really wanted it. It was the last chocolate mocha carmel cookie in the house, and I really wanted it. (Yum!)

The remaining four cookies were a mistake.

Normally we do not have cookies in our house. I'm the one who eats most of them, so I don't buy cookies, except from Girl Scouts. We had a cookout on Sunday and one of our friends brought some cookies - the previous mentioned mochas and some mint chocolate cookies. The leftovers were in clear plastic containers, sitting on my kitchen table looking all delicious. (The photo is of the remaining two mint cookies.)

One cookie in an evening is not a big deal. However, after that first one, I created reasons to walk into the kitchen just to have an excuse to sneak more cookies. Come on - I'm over 40 and a Mom - do I really need to "sneak" cookies? The sad part is, I didn't really like the chocolate mint cookies! (I liked the mochas.)

OK, this is exactly why it is recommended that you keep a bowl of healthy fruit on your kitchen table - not cookies.

In the meantime, I had a healthy breakfast, healthy lunch, and a big spinach, red onion and mandarin orange salad for dinner. I also did my regular Wednesday speed workout with my friends.

I learned my lesson. No permanent damage done. And, the cookies are safely hidden away.

Today's speed workout: 1/4-mile sprints AFAP. We did 6 sprints averaging 3:30 per quarter mile. Our fastest was 3:26, the slowest was 3:32. We then walked at a little more relaxed pace for an additional mile.

Monday, May 26, 2008

New PR!

Today's UA Memorial Day Race was great! I've never entered this 5-mile event before, but it is well supported by members of the Buckeye Striders and other local walking clubs.

Though slightly hilly, I had a great race! We started out slowly, as planned, with our first mile 14:36. We picked up our pace to do the second mile in 14:08. We wondered if the mile markers might have been a little bit off because we aren't usually that fast. Mile 3 was 14:23, but it was a little hillier and I could feel us slowing. With 2 miles left, we decided to try to pass people. Mile 4 was 13:54! We felt like we were pushing a little harder, but I knew I could push more. Our final mile was in 13:42! Woo Hoo!

I have my unofficial finish time as 1:10 - Deb was about 3 seconds behind me.

I have forgotten how much fun it is to do local races. Yes, the Big Surs and Indy Minis are a lot of fun, but so are local races with your walking friends. We hung around afterward and talked, and it was just fun. Plus it was close to home and very affordable.

So, thanks to Doug Grout for being a great race director and keeping the course open for us walkers. And thanks to the walkers in Central Ohio who make walking fun!

Note about subject line: Since this is the first 5-mile race I've entered, any finish time would have been a PR. And technically, I have walked one mile as fast as 13:26, so I haven't broken an records there. But it was been so long since I have improved my speed, every accomplishment seems like a brand new PR. And walking one mile in 13:42 is so much better than I expected to do today, it feels like the fastest mile I have ever walked.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day is one of those holidays I didn't understand as a kid. It was always May 30, my Grandma's and my sister's birthday. (For a number of years I think my sister thought the parade was for her.) And somehow it signaled the start of summer.

We would always go to visit my Mom's and Dad's families in Port Clinton and Marblehead, OH up along Lake Erie. In my earliest memories, we would go to the parade (standing up each time an American flag went by) then cook out and play all day with our cousins. If we stayed with my Dad's parents for the weekend, we would be fishing the rest of the time.

Later, when Port Clinton added the Walleye Festival, the town had two parades. We only went to one, but I can never remember whether it was the Walleye Parade, or the Memorial Day Parade we watched. As young adults, we would camp out at my parents' old farm house (my grandparents' house) that was on the shore of the Sandusky Bay. We had three acres to hang out on and would invite as many friends as we could to go up for the weekend. We would swim, fish, have camp fires and just have a blast. Dad always had all of the inner tubes inflated before we got there. And he always found a way to get a TV with the Indy 500 close to our personal beach. (I only ever watched the last 5 minutes.) We would all go to the Walleye Festival at least one evening of the weekend.

Things have changed quite a bit now that my grandparents and parents are all gone. We still sometimes go up for the weekend, but we feel more like guests than we used to. The beach is no longer owned by my family, the old farm house is gone and the new house won't be ours much longer either. I haven't been fishing in probably 10 years.

But that is OK. Things change. Now we need to develop our own traditions and figure out our own way to celebrate this holiday here in Central Ohio.

This year we are having a big cookout for family and friends. What started out as just my brother-in-law's family coming over has grown to include about 11 more people. The more the merrier.

Tomorrow I will be entering my first ever Memorial Day race. I don't think I've ever entered a 5-mile race before, but I'm faster than I have been in a long time, and it should be fun.

I don't know what any of this has to do with recognizing the sacrifice that all of those men and women made, and keep making, to keep us safe. We live in a great country, one of the safest in the world, and I'm thankful I have the choice of going fishing, watching a parade or even entering a 5-mile race to celebrate the freedom we have.

So, this Memorial Day weekend, I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy yourself, your family and our country. And don't forget why we have the freedom to make these choices.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Morning Group Walk

Our group walk (Buckeye Striders) was at one of my favorite parks today - Sharon Woods. The big loop is 3.8 miles, but there is a mark for a full 4-miles.

We walked to the 4-mile mark in 57:28. That averages out to 14:22 per mile! The first mile was in 14:40, so we must have really picked up our pace. The mile markers can be hard to see, so I wasn't able to do splits for every mile.

The small group of us at this pace had all recently done hilly races, so the hills in this park seemed insignificant to all of us! What a nice switch!

So, for Monday's race, my initial goal is to go no slower than a 14:30 mile, and from there I want to see how fast I can do a 5-mile race.

What a great way to start out the summer racing season!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Speed Workouts Pay Off

Today we did three 1-mile laps at race pace. We have a 5-mile race Monday morning. I thought we should shoot for a 14:30 pace, but was out-voted.

Here's the cool thing: We walked at what felt like our normal pace, which has usually been about 15-min per mile. (We had planned to take the first mile easy.) That first mile was 14:23! The second mile we messed around a little and the distance was off. The third mile was even faster at about 14:18!

I'm pretty excited! This is the fastest I've been in years!

OK, my plan for Monday's race is to do the first mile in about 14:30, and to get progessively faster. With luck, I should be able to complete at least one mile in under 14 min.

I'm just another walker who is proof that Dave McGovern is right. In order to walk faster, you need to practice walking faster.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Life Gets in the Way

OK, I had planned to leave the office on time, rush home, walk, fix dinner and finish up some stuff.

I got caught up on some last minute things and left the office 30 min late. Not the end of the world - I still had plenty of time to walk when I got home.

Pulled in the driveway and my son met me at my car. Tonight I had promised to get him a new cell phone. (It's a gift.) So we went to the phone store, and of course they had to change our phone plan and update this and update that before they could add a phone number. We were there over an hour. Argh! And how could I ask my son to fix dinner when he had 300 teens to text.

By the time dinner was prepared and eaten it was late and I'm behind. It's cold and drizzly outside and I'm not in training for anything specific right now, so I don't HAVE to walk in the rain today.

I have an appointment for speed night tomorrow. We are doing a 5-mile race Monday, so we are doing three 1-mile laps at race pace. (I'm not a total slackard.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Great Training Walk

Saturday morning I met with the walking club I'm a member of, the Buckeye Striders, and we had a great walk. We went to a beautiful park I've never been to before.

The temps were mild, the sun was shining and it was a great way to start out the weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Internet Issues

The other night I suddenly lost my Internet connection. I followed all of the diagnostic instructions -- I was unplugging and rebooting my router like crazy. Very frustrated, I finally quit trying and logged off. OK, everyone would have to wait another day to read my scintillating thoughts.

About 30 min later I turned on the TV to find out that the cable was out. Duh! Cable modem -- no Internet! And now I even have something new to write about!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

First Speed Workout

I tried to get out of our first speed workout since Big Sur (2 weeks ago) because of the rain, but Deb insisted it had stopped in plenty of time. (Nice switch for us.) We lightened the workout a little. After about a 10-min warm up, we walked half-mile sprints, at a fast yet comfortable pace. We walked a total of 3 miles with a 3-min break between sprints.

We were pretty fast! Our first couple laps were at 7:10, the fastest were around 6:56. If we had been walking full miles we would be down to about 14 min per mile! That would be pretty fast for us.

What I liked is, we were still able to have a conversation while we were walking. So, we weren't walking our hardest and still ended up going our fastest.

Oh, I felt OK while walking, but I'm a little bit stiff tonight. I'll have to be sure to add in daily walking so I can maintain my endurance.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kingsport News Conference on YouTube

If you are interested in watching the Kingsport news conference, it is now on YouTube:

Watch it often - make positive comments!

It's a little weird watching yourself on video for the first time. My voice sounds different from what I expected, my facial expressions (or lack of) make me laugh, and what is up with my hair? (Though it was really humid...)

Regardless, the presentation went well, Kingsport appreciated receiving it, and it is fun for me to see the presentation and to be able to share it with people I know.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Best City for Walkers Presentation

I visited Kingsport, TN today to present the Best City for Walkers Award. The presentation was at 12:30 p.m. at one of the many entrances to the famous Greenbelt multi-purpose trail. (What a beautiful trail!) There were several dignitaries from the area, several local walkers, and some media representatives. I presented the award to Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips. It was very nice!

Earlier in the day, Bobby Baker, a well-known local walker, took my friend Deb and I on a tour of the area. It is such a nice city! We had originally planned to walk on the Greenbelt first thing in the morning, but it was rainy and cold. We opted to stay inside and eat a nice breakfast from the hotel buffet. We made the right choice.

Luckily, the skies cleared up pretty well before the presentation. To see the front-page article from Sunday's paper, go here: There is also a nice little video about the trail that accompanies the print story.

In addition, the paper sent some video reporters to the news conference, and they interviewed me afterward. They said the video will also be posted on YouTube when it is ready. Wow! I've never been on YouTube!

Thank you to everyone who made our stay in Kingsport such a fun trip! Thanks to Deb for going with me so I wouldn't have to drive all that way alone and thanks for taking pictures.

Top Photo: Me in the middle with Heather Jones, left, of the Kingsport Visitors Bureau, and Bobby Baker, right. We were standing around waiting for Mayor Phillips to arrive.

Second Photo:
Bobby Baker and me at one of the entry points to the Greenbelt. It's a beautiful trail!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Heading to Kingsport

I'm heading to Kingsport, Tenn. Sunday to present the city with the Best City for Walkers Award on Monday. I'm really looking forward to the presentation. The news conference will be at 12:30 p.m. on the Greenbelt, the newly completed walking trail.

I'm hoping to get a chance to walk on the trail either Sunday evening or early Monday morning.

It sounds like a great city - I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Paper Route Walking

My son is out of town, so I had the opportunity to deliver his newspapers. It was a nice change of pace walking in a different neighborhood with a litle bit of extra weight. Still, I'm glad it is just a weekly route.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Postal Headache!

I took about 60 letters and packages to the post office yesterday evening. They were all items I had promised would be mailed yesterday. Well, I learned NOT to depend on those video postage machines. After about 20 items were mailed, the machine totally quit working. ARGH!

So, if you are waiting for something, please give me an extra day or two.

Friday, May 02, 2008

St. Jude Marathon - Is It Walker Friendly?

Some Walking Team members are planning to do the St. Jude Half Marathon in Memphis this December. I looked at the details of the Marathon on their web site, and it seems somewhat walker friendly.

The information is straight forward:
The course is open for six hours after the official start time. However, note that traffic control by the Memphis Police Department, the use of cones and the operation of Aid Stations will cease in stages along the course (some before 2 p.m) as the event progresses. Accordingly, it is important that runners and walkers maintain a minimum 14 minute per mile pace to take advantage of this support. Once normal vehicular traffic resumes, participants should proceed at their own risk and are asked to use sidewalks. Volunteers will continue to monitor participants’ progress along the course.

The Finish Line will operate until 3:30 p.m. Official times will be recorded, and medals will be distributed until this time.

But then I got to this paragraph:
Walkers will be positioned in the last Corral and will start at the same time as runners, following the prescribed course. For safety reasons, they must start behind the runners. Walkers who cannot maintain a pace of 14 minutes per mile may be asked to move to the sidewalk as portions of the course close and course support ceases.

Why on Earth should a walker who does a 12-min mile have to line up behind a runner who does a 14-min mile? So I asked. Here is the race's response:
We suggest you get in the corral that best matches your expected pace.
Thanks for your interest in our event. Hope to see you on 12/6.

Here is why I really like this race! They explain what is expected of participants up front - the pace, when to expect the course to close, what to do if regular traffic resumes, how long the finish line is open. I now have enough information to make an informed decision regarding whether I should enter this event. I also have the responsibility to NOT enter this event if I can't finish in their timeframe.

OK, I'm not fast enough for the full marathon - but I might consider the half ...

Check it out:

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Recovery Walk

I'm mostly pain-free and feeling pretty good. I don't feel like doing any serious walking, so I just went to the library, PO and grocery store. It's about 2 miles round trip and I didn't walk overly hard. It's quite a bit different shopping knowing that you have to carry everything home. I thought I did a pretty good job until the cashier took out the fourth gracery bag. I convinced him to try to fit everything in two. The bread got a little squshed, but it should spring back.

My legs feel a little heavy, but I feel good! (I'm glad I'm not entered in the Indy Mini Marathon this weekend like Deb and Laura! Good luck you guys!)