Monday, December 29, 2008

Surprisingly Dark Tonight

I finally got out for a short walk about 7 p.m. tonight. (It's been a few days.) I don't mind walking in my neighborhood at night for two reasons: It normally feels safe and most people keep their porch lights on.

Though there are houses in our neighborhood with holiday lights, there are fewer than in previous years. And today, there were a lot fewer houses with their porch lights on. It seemed dark!

Unfortunately, my headlamp is going dim, so I didn't feel well lit. I did wear a reflective vest, but I didn't feel as comfortable out there today.

Though I needed to walk longer, I cut it a little short due to dark.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

9 Tips to Help you Keep your Fitness Resolutions

Traditionally, the New Year is a time of self-evaluation, goal-setting and change. And after more than a month of overeating (Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day), most of us have gained a few pounds and are thinking about health and fitness. If you are like the average American, your last year’s resolutions were out the window by March! March!

To help all of us be successful beyond March, I’d like to offer a little advice for your 2009 Resolutions. These 9 tips are in no particular order, but needless to say, they have a "walking" focus.

1) Be realistic. Set goals you have a chance of meeting. If your goal is to enter and finish Last Chance for Boston in early February in record time, and you haven’t walked in a month -- not likely! But you could enter and train for the Cincinnati Flying Pig in May or the Columbus Marathon in October. Or you could enter some local 5Ks all year long.

2) Don’t overdo it. Don’t set so many goals that you become burned out quickly. If you add spin classes and weightlifting along with walking all on the same days and changing your entire diet, within two weeks you won’t be doing anything.

3) Don’t beat yourself up if you have a minor setback. Pick a day and start over. When “restarting” my resolutions, I usually pick a Monday or the first day of a month. There is something about a fresh week or month that is helpful.

4) Start a new resolution each month throughout the year. Maybe in January you resolve to walk 4 to 5 days a week. February you eat one extra serving of fruit each day. In March you add push ups to your workout routine. In April you eat a healthy breakfast each day, in May you give up caffeine (Just kidding. I love caffeine.) In June you stretch after each workout …. You’ll have something new to focus on each month that can spark your enthusiasm. Studies show it takes 21 to 30 days for a new behavior to become a habit, so if these new behaviors build on each other, you’ll have achieved a lot by the end of the year.

5) Write it down. Many of us use mileage logs to keep our walking in check. Make your mileage log a health and fitness log, keeping track of all your fitness goals. Seeing what you have accomplished can help keep you going.

6) Seek out a support group. Whether it is a walking club or Weight Watchers, it is helpful to have others who are working toward a similar goal. Online groups like the WALK! Magazine Walking Team or a Yahoo discussion group will also help. Plus, if you know a group is dependent on you, you are much more likely to show up. (Insert Deb’s hysterical laughter here.)

7) If your goal is to enter a race or walking event, pay your entry fee early. Once you put money toward the entry fee, hotel or airfare, you are less likely to back out. In addition, tell people you are going to do it. Tell your walking buddies, post on discussion groups and they will be your support group. Tell your other friends and family. The more people who know, the more embarrassing it will be if you back out and fear of embarrassment is a great motivator!

8) The opposite of number 1 -- Do something bold! Pick something you have always wanted to do, but accomplishing it will be a BIG deal -- something that will keep you excited and working hard for a long time. Maybe instead of doing a local race, you do the Disney Marathon, or an event in Hawaii or Barbados! Would you like to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail or the Grand Canyon? A walking vacation in Europe would be fun! You don't even have to accomplish it this year, but start planning for something that will be exciting or life-altering for you.

9) Reward yourself. When you have accomplished a goal, you deserve a reward. After you have walked 5 days a week for a month, buy a great pair of new socks. When you complete your first 20-mile walk, maybe you deserve a cute new technical shirt. When you finish a great race, buy a charm or race shirt to commemorate it! (What would I have to do to earn a Garmin?)

So, with these tips in mind, let’s all have the best and healthiest year possible in 2009! And I’ll see you at the starting line of the Cincinnati Flying Pig (Half) Marathon in May.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays!

My family had a very nice, low-key Christmas celebration yesterday. Tomorrow we will have a chaotic, crazy, young-kid filled holiday with nieces and nephews like I remember from being a kid. Both options are great and lots of fun!

I hope that all of you have had the opportunity to do what you wanted this holiday season!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Views on Twitter

The main reason I got on Twitter was so I could communicate with readers of WALK! Magazine and they could reach me fairly easily. I thought it would be fun to have short 140-character chats with other walkers and fitness fanatics. I could post things that happen throughout the day. It would be fun.

I've been on Twitter for a little while and I have a couple of observations:

1) Most people using Twitter are PR people. I don't have anything against PR people -- I used to be one. It just seems to be a really high percentage.

2) There are not many walkers. @bethwatkins, @BigManWalking, @LarryWalksFast, @TimSeaman and a couple of others are about all I've found. @hiwendee runs and walks, but that's OK, I still talk to her.

3) You follow people and people follow you. But not everyone you follow has to follow you and vice versa.

4) Related to number 3 -- sometimes I feel like I did in high school. All of the cool kids are having a conversation and I'm not included. It could just be that I follow people who don't follow me, so they don't even "hear" me. Regardless it feels weird.

5) Some people tweet too often! Maybe when the novelty wears off it will slow down. I've quit following some people because there are way TOO many messages from them and it makes it hard to see what other people are saying. Sometimes enough is enough!

6) You can waste a LOT of time on Twitter. It is fun! I like getting breaking news stories. It's interesting hearing that Lance Armstrong rode for 6 hours yesterday. Wendee is either cooking or stuck in traffic and Larry posts about his training or going to see AC/DC. Some of the local news anchors tweet during newscasts! It's like a private joke people not on Twitter never know about.

7) I don't know how to use Twitter effectively. I started out just posting about the magazine, but that seemed a little uninteresting. I added posts about training and races I've entered. Sometimes the posts are more personal than professional. Not quite sure how to handle that. There have also been some general complaints about people who use corporate names as opposed to personal ones. I picked @WALK_Magazine so readers could find me easily, but people who don't know that I am WALK! Magazine might be turned off by that.

In conclusion, I really like Twitter. At the same time, I think it wastes time. I don't have a lot of free time as it is, do I really need to spend a couple hours watching people chat? Still, I know it has the potential to be a great marketing and PR tool (hence all of the PR people on there), I'm not sure how it will help me yet.

In the meantime, follow me @WALK_Magazine. You'll find out all kinds of things like when the next issue will be out, what I had for breakfast and how many miles I walked. :-)OK, I just posted a notice promoting the WALK! Magazine Walking Team. Maybe I will get the hang of using it!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Only 2 More Days!

Only 2 more days until the shortest day of the year. That means that starting Tuesday, each day gets a little bit brighter!

Many of you know my moods are affected by the amount of sunshine and daylight I get to see. The longer the day, the more likely I am to actually see daylight!

I'm happier just thinking about it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No Excuses

Most walkers I know have had at least one training day or race where they get so discouraged they just want to quit. I had a couple moments like that during an especially hilly long-distance race earlier this year.

Today I came across this photo from a posting on Twitter. (Click the link to see it larger.) These three athletes were near the finish line of the 2008 White Rock Marathon in Dallas earlier this month. (This photo is from

I think I'll be complaining less.

Follow me on Twitter @WALK_Magazine.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Going Green in 2009!

I've been hinting about changes coming to WALK! Magazine, but I haven't gone into much detail. Here are some of the exciting things going on.

WALK! Magazine is going green! We will begin publishing only electronically beginning with the next issue. There are many benefits to publishing electronically. Not only will we be saving trees, but delivery will no longer be delayed due to printers and the postal service! We have a lot of exciting ideas to take advantage of this new format and we will share those with you as they develop.

Second, WALK! will start publishing six times a year in 2009! I have wanted to take this step since our first year of publishing. To better accommodate this new bi-monthly production schedule, we are postponing the Winter issue, traditionally published in December, to January 2009 to make it the January/February issue. This change will cause a delay of only a couple of weeks, but will make the transition to a bi-monthly magazine much easier in the long run.

In this current economy, paper and postage costs are taking their toll on many publishers -- even long-established magazines with large readerships are hurting! (Check out news on PC Magazine.) We had a lot of difficult decisions to make and finally decided it is better for our readers to keep publishing, even if it is strictly electronically.

I have to admit -- I'm pretty old school when it comes to publishing. I like paper -- I like the feel of paper and I like the portability of taking a magazine or a book with me wherever I go.

But by going electronic, we are able to do some things we can't do otherwise -- like include links to other walking websites, build an online walking community or embed video into the magazine. Wouldn't it be great if, when Dave McGovern explains a new technique, we can see a video of him demonstrating that technique? Not all of those extras will take place immediately, but we are working on it. It will be a very exciting time for us!

For some people, going electronic will be a difficult transition. To make that transition a little easier, we are offering some great subscription deals. All current subscribers will be receiving that information soon. I sincerely hope you will give it a chance.

To see what an electronic edition is like, check out the Summer issue. Just click on the pdf cover to open it. The password is "walkingmag". (Future issues will have more features.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Run - 4 Miler

The Holiday Run has historically been one of my favorite local races -- partly because it has a festive feel and partly because it is usually a pretty race, especially in snow. It is held at Sharon Woods, which is scenic and one of my favorite places to walk.

About 10 members of the Buckeye Striders and my son had entered.

When we first arrived, the temp on my car said 38 degrees. It felt relatively warm and I was positive I had over-dressed. As we picked up our race chips and walked around, the temps dropped. By race start it felt A LOT colder and I was glad I left the layers on.

At about mile 1 it started to sprinkle. (You've heard it from me a million times -- I HATE rain when it is cold!) I didn't have a hood or any type of hat to keep my hair dry, either. When it stopped I was relieved, but it sprinkled on and off the rest of the race. Luckily it was never heavy enough to soak through my water-resistant jacket, but I did feel bad that my son had to stand in the rain and wait for me. (He ran.) As it turned out, he had to wait nearly 20 min.

Despite the rain, it was a fun race! The Buckeye Striders are always fun! It was fun having my son at the finish line cheering me on. And it was nice having hot chocolate and holiday cookies at the finish line.

My finish time was 56:38, averaging a 14:08 mile. I placed 162 out of 199 women total and about 26th out of 47 women walkers. Not bad. The first 300 finishers received coffee mugs, but I was number 303 overall. Darn!

My son had a good race. He was 59th overall and third in his age group with a time of 29:48. (He got a mug!)

If you are looking for a winter race, this is a good one! It will be my last race of 2008. I'm still deciding if I will enter the First on the First 5K.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Arnold Likes WALK!

I just had a chance to see the Arnold 5K Racewalk flyer for the first time. There is a huge picture of Arnold's face and to the left are pictures of people walking. (Most of them are racewalking.) Three of those people are wearing WALK Magazine shirts!

So, how cool is that?

OK, it is a little like looking for Waldo, so I'll help you out.

In the largest group near the bottom, George is wearing a green WALK! Magazine Walking Team shirt. In the center the gentleman in the red shorts is wearing our white short-sleeved man's T-shirt. In the group at the top, the man farthest left is Joe from Cincinnati wearing our man's tank.

Thanks everyone for wearing our shirts at races!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Yes, it is Metatarsalgia

I finally had my doctor check out a small nagging pain in the ball of my right foot. I've had it for months and I even quit wearing high heels to try to heal it. The switch in shoes has helped somewhat, but racewalking still aggravates the condition. At least now the pain doesn't commence until racewalking for more than 50 minutes.

The good news is it is not a stress fracture. It's metatarsalgia! A few of the causes include wearing high heels, intense training, wearing shoes with little padding, and aging. Hmmm -- I wonder which of these apply to me?

Additional good news: treatment includes wearing metatarsal pads in my shoes to relieve pressure off those bones. I think I can do that.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Teaching Through Example

Subtitle: Parents - Get off the bleachers and move.
I had the opportunity to walk at an indoor track Saturday. While there, a couple soccer teams had practice in the area in the middle of the track. It was fun watching young girls (5 or 6?) and pre-teen boys being active and healthy while we walked!

Here comes the gripe. The ONLY people using the track were members of the Buckeye Striders walking club! There were 40 or so parents sitting in the bleachers watching their kids run around and be healthy.

I'm sure some of these parents are active in sports, too. Active parents tend to encourage their kids to be active. However, a LOT of the observers looked as if they could really use the exercise! What would have been the harm in walking or running around the track a few times while waiting?

I applaud these parents for taking their kids to sports practice early on a Saturday morning! But why not we go the extra step. Why not show your kids that it is just as important for adults to get exercise as it is kids.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Maybe I AM a Racewalker

My walking club met at the Capital University indoor track today. (It's cold outside!) I decided to take advantage of being on an indoor track and work strictly on racewalking form and not worry about speed. My focus was on planting my heels, rolling through to my toes, keeping my knees straight, etc.

For those who have never attempted to racewalk, it feels weird when you do it wrong. It feels stiff, unnatural, choppy and as if you are very slow. But suddenly you will get a smooth, "floaty" feeling and it is almost effortless. That's how you know you have it right!

After several laps of "thinking" about racewalking and waiting for my shins to warm up, I achieved that smooth, floaty feeling. It felt great! I kept the pace consistent and just worked on maintaining that smooth feeling. I'd get distracted when talking to other walkers and notice my steps felt choppy, but was easily able to get that smooth feeling back.

After 57 min I had no idea how many laps I did, but could feel the blood pumping through my legs (I love that feeling!) and was sweating. This suprised me because when I anticipated working on form, I expected to be slow.

Now here is the cool part. Other members of the Buckeye Striders said my form looked great! A couple mentioned that I was fast! Woo hoo!

Maybe I really AM a racewalker! I need to find some judged races to find out for sure. Later today I'll start looking for some local indoor races.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Advertising Rep Needed

WALK! Magazine is looking for an advertising representative. Anyone interested should contact me at

It's a great opportunity for the right person!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Late Night Walk

After getting a bunch of mail out (which took forever, by the way), I was finally able to head out for a walk after 9 this evening. Luckily it had warmed to 33 degrees. (Sarcasm intended.)

I really just needed to get out and walk. I didn't want to work on speed or form or anything -- I just needed to walk. Though I was cold, I did two laps around the big block of our neighborhood -- I could have quit after one, but I kept going.

The night was crisp, cold and beautiful. There were thin patches of snow on the sidewalks. There weren't many Christmas lights, but the houses that were decorated were pretty.

I'm glad I made the time to get out!

I discovered that carrying a flashlight has good points and bad points. It was carried more so cars could see me than any other reason. However, I found I kept staring at the beam, which affected my night vision, and actually caused me to trip a couple times. Regardless, I felt safer being seen!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Where Oh Where Did the Fall Issues Go?

The Fall issue of WALK! Magazine was mailed way back at the end of October. Despite the initial delays at the mailing house, every subscriber should have received that issue a long time ago. Unfortunately, I am still hearing from a few subscribers who have not yet received it.

I don't know why there are so many more people who did not receive this issue. It's a much larger number than for previous issues. As I've posted before, I'm assuming it has something to do with the massive quantity of political mailings from late October. Still, I can understand a delay, I cannot understand people simply not getting their issue.

So, if you have not received your Fall issue, please let us know. We will get one out to you as quickly as we can.