Sunday, November 30, 2008

What About Larry?

Earlier this week, I received an e-mail from a reader who has the goal to walk a marathon in under 5 hours. He followed Larry Smith's training for the Columbus Marathon in the Fall issue and couldn't wait to find out how Larry did.

Of course I'm not going to give it away -- you need to read the next issue to find out!

Another Cold Rain

About 10 a.m. I head out the door for a walk. The original plan was to leave around 9, focus on form and walk for 45 min, but I kept finding a reason to delay.

As I left, it started to sprinkle. Argh! At least it was just a sprinkle, my jacket is water resistant and I wore a baseball hat. The farther I walked the rain got just a little harder. I was pretty close to the house but had walked barely 30 min., so I decided to do a loop around a cul de sac to add a little more distance. My luck, I got to the farthest end when it started to rain pretty hard. At that point I quit working on form and walked as fast as possible to the house. (I still didn't run.)

I made it home after only 36 min. Though my jacket is water "resistant," the seams are not. My arms and legs were pretty much soaked.

Though I hate cold temps and rain together, it was really my own fault. If I had walked with my club yesterday or earlier this morning before the rain, I would have been dry!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Rookie Mistakes

Am I a rookie or what? You would think that the way I approached yesterday's Flying Feather, I had never entered a race before!

Mistake #1: My race clothes were not ready in advance. I only air dry my technical fabric clothes. Tuesday evening I put my race clothes in the washer, but completely forgot to get them out to dry. So, Wednesday night (late) it dawned on me that everything I planned to wear was wet - really wet. I put the clothes on hangers and set up a fan. Because they are wicking fabrics, everything was dry. Whew!

Mistake #2: I arrived at the race without my number or my chip! OK, I know you pin your number to your clothes and put your chip on your shoes the night before the race. Because my clothes were still wet, I forgot. Luckily for me, the race staff gave me a new number.

Mistake #3: I left my gym bag at home. Usually, my gym bag is in the car for all local races. I keep Clif Shots, granola bars, an extra shirt, pins, hats and gloves, etc., in my bag at all times. Because my bag was at home, my Spibelt was at home. I LOVE my Spibelt, but especially for cold-weather races. Because it has hooks to hold the race number, you don't have to put pin holes in your cold-weather jackets. I now have pin holes in my water- and wind-resistant jacket.

Mistake #4: I didn't go far enough to the back of the starting line. Because of the way the start was set up, people were really spread out and it felt as if we were farther back than we were. We did move up at the last minute to get ahead of a couple families we thought would be slower than us. There ended up being tons of runners behind us! I felt bad. We tried to get over to the side and even walked single file, but it just didn't help much. We were in the way. (Sorry runners!)

Mistake #5: Tied to number 3, because my gym bag was at home, I had no food in my car for after the race. A granola bar would have been great and the trip to Tim Horton's on the way home would not have been necessary.

The good news is, I wasn't wearing a WALK! Magazine jacket (we don't have them), so no one could tell that rookie was me!

My First Thanksgiving Day Race

Yesterday's Flying Feather 4-mile race in Westerville, OH was a lot of fun! There were nearly 2,000 people entered in the event. With two other turkey day races in the Central Ohio area, I can't believe this one attracted that many entrants!

But then again, the shirts are great (though too big), the medals are very nice, and I got a bottle of white wine. I think that beats out a grey sweatshirt and pumpkin pie for the first 200 finishers. (Even fast walkers never end up with a pie.)

The race started in an exclusive neighborhood with beautiful homes, then wound through one of the prettiest metro parks in the area. It was designed well so that we were on wide streets when we were packed together, and didn't get into the park and the narrower bike path until everyone had spread out.

There was only one ding for this event -- no food at the end! I know, I know -- it is a problem for many race directors. But I saw people walking around with bunches of bananas (almost hoarding them), and the bagels and bananas were sitting out before the race. Anyone could have walked over and grabbed food before the race.

Still, this event had a very nice family atmosphere. Many of my walking friends were there with kids, spouses and siblings. Despite no food, it was fun.

So after this race, I drank some water, grabbed my wine and head off to the Tim Horton's drive thru with a ton of other entrants. (The 12-grain bagel with cream cheese and a steaming hot cup of coffee really hit the spot!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cold or Rain - But Not Both

I know! I know! I am ocassionally a hypocrite.

I am a big proponent of walking outside in all types of weather. If you walk outside regularly, you get acclimated and then it doesn't feel so cold or hot. Then you can be out walking year round.

I draw the line when it comes to rain.

Rain in July or August is great! It can be refreshing to walk in the rain when you are used to heat and humidity.

Rain when the temps are below 40 stops me from walking outside. So, while it is about 33 degrees out there, and has been raining all day, I'm nice and cozy in my warm living room looking out the window at the cold.

If you need to, feel free to call me a hypocrite -- a warm, dry hypocrite.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's COLD Out There!

At 8 this morning I was out in my neighborhood walking at a brisk pace. It was about 16 degrees, much colder than typical this time of year. I have not had a chance to get acclimated because the cold snap was sudden and I haven't been out as much as I'd like.

Wearing thick walking pants, a long-sleeved shirt, fleece vest, gator and windproof jacket, I went out in the bright sun. It was cold! I anticipated that I would warm up as I picked up speed. For the most part, I was fine, but my arms just would not get warm.

I walked up and down the cul de sacs and in and out of every little side street. Finally, I just walked on the sunniest side of the street, which helped a little.

I arrived home after 55 min. feeling fantastic! The brisk cold air, sunshine and the exercise did a great job of putting me in a great mood!

Despite the cold it was a good walk and it has already been a really good morning.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Afternoon Walk Cut Short

I knew time would be short today, and it was sunny and beautiful about noon. So I decided to take a walk at lunch to get in some movement and improve my mood.

Granted, I was not dressed for walking outside. The temps were in the low 30s and I wore dress clothes and low-heeled shoes. I didn't think it would be a problem though because the sun was so bright.

Once outside I realized the wind was blowing harder than anticipated. I walked for a couple of minutes and decided I just could not take it. By the time I got back inside I had been out for only about 15 min.

The good news is the brisk air was refreshing, I felt energized for the rest of the day and the sunshine did help my mood. I just wish I had thought to bring a hat and scarf so I could have been outside longer.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Hate the Postal Service!

OK, that statement is probably a little bit extreme. The truth is, I have had more than my fair share of bad luck with the United States and Canadian postal services. With every issue of WALK! Magazine we mail, there are a certain number of subscribers who do not receive their issue. It averages to be about the same number each issue, but there are a few subscribers who have a problem receiving every single issue. I just cannot figure out why.

The Fall issue was the worst! Not only did we have problems getting the magazine in the mail to begin with, but there seem to be a higher number of subscribers than normal who didn't get the issue.

I don't know why this issue is worse, but my thought is that the extreme amount of political mail that caused the initial delay somehow contributed to everything else.

So, as we find out about people who have not received the Fall issue, we're mailing out individual copies.

Please be patient, we are doing the best we can to get caught up!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Great Dinner in Charleston

While in Charleston, I had dinner with Julien Smith, race director of the popular Cooper River Bridge Run. He does a million other things, but I met him through the Bridge Run, the biggest race he directs.

It was really nice to be able to talk to a race director when he actually has time to talk. Most of the time, we're in the middle of race week or the race expo, and we are all ridiculously busy.

After a great dinner at Fleet Landing, he acted as tour guide and showed me the highlights of Charleston. What a great city! I miss so much when I'm visiting a city for a race.

It was a lot of fun and I'm glad I decided to contact Julien. I think I'll try to meet other race directors when I have the chance. If they are half as friendly as Julien it could be a lot of fun!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Uninspired Walk

I had intended to get up early and walk. It didn't work. I had a few minor things to get done, but the amount of time needed filled the amount of time I had. Funny how that works.

All of my meetings were finished by 3:30 this afternoon, and I immediately put on comfy clothes and went outside. Granted, I didn't do any serious walking like I had intended, but I did walk all the way to the Walmart! It was probably no more than 1.5 miles round trip, but it felt great to be outside and away from a hotel.

Also tonight I made plans to have dinner in Charleston. (The hotel I'm at is pretty far from town.) Dinner was at 6:30 and I had not seen any of the city yet, so I took the hotel shuttle at 5 and arrived right outside the restaurant by about 5:20. Before it got too dark, I walked along Market Street and some of the cross streets with really cute shops. So, I probably got another mile in then.

When I travel I really do need to make a better effort to get in some walking.

Heading home tomorrow. I need to get up early, so I really should have been in bed over an hour ago! (If I didn't have Internet access tonight, I would have been in bed by now!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday's Walk and Blisters

Yesterday, shortly after checking into the hotel, a friend and I went for a short walk. We were waiting for someone else to join us and were just killing time. There is a sidewalk in front of the hotel and I was wearing my comfortable flat dress shoes that are already broken in.

We walked down one side until the sidewalk ended then turned around and went past the hotel in the other direction.

Compared to the distances I normally walk, it was not far. However, I don't normally walk that far in dress shoes. Needless to say, I ended up with blisters on the back of both heels and one of them burst! Ouch! Luckily I had a pair of backless shoes with me, but they had a 2-inch heel. So, what is my choice? Aggravate my blisters or my throbbing toes? I opted for the higher heels and aggravated my toes.

I'm glad I was able to get outside and walk after being stuck on a plane for a couple of hours. Despite the blisters, it was great to be in Charleston with the milder temperatures and the palm trees! (Palm trees always make me smile.) Next time I'll be sure to change my shoes first.

I'm sure the rest of you have had encounters like this.

I asked the concierge if there were restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. She said that it depends and asked how far can I walk. I came "this close" to giving a smart-aleck response, but decided it would be rude. (She was very nice.) Oh, pretty far, I said, how far is the restaurant? She said about half a mile!

I almost laughed, but again, she was nice and I didn't want to be rude. "No problem," I said.

A couple of reactions: 1) Isn't it sad that for many people half a mile is a long way to walk? 2) Your perception of what is a long distance changes after you have walked a real "long distance" -- like 26.2 miles, for example.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Heading to Charleston

I have an opportunity to visit Charleston, SC this week! I'm pretty excited -- I haven't been there since the Cooper River Bridge Run over a year ago.

Unfortunately, I'll be in meetings most of the time. But I'm hoping I'll get the chance to get some walking in. It's supposed to be in the high 60s low 70s, so that should be good. Rain when I return on Thursday shouldn't be a problem.

Though it won't be much different from Ohio weather-wise, sometimes just being someplace different is all that is necessary to inspire walking.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Fighting Temptation (OK, NOT Fighting Temptation)

I knew it was a mistake. I wasn't even hungry. But there is something about seeing chocolate cake looking all delicious under that clear plastic lid that made it irresistible. In my defense, it wasn't just plain old chocolate cake. It was a Buckeye cake with peanut butter frosting in between the chocolate layers and chocolate chips embedded into the frosting on the sides. The top had 8 chocolate-fudge Buckeyes as decoration.

The slice was HUGE -- way too big for one person, but I ate the entire thing anyway.

Immediately after the last bite, I regretted my decision to eat it. It was just so tasty, I couldn't stop.

For the rest of the afternoon I had what can best be described as a sugar hangover! I had the queasy stomach, headache and overall yucky feeling. I definitely need a healthy dinner to counteract the sugar.

OK, I learned my lesson (again). Don't keep tempting foods in plain sight. And just because cake is cut into huge slices doesn't mean you need to eat the entire thing.

I had planned to skip walking tonight, but I may have to take one because of the cake.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I have my new low-heeled dress shoes that I have been wearing for over a week. (OK, on Halloween I wore high heels all evening, but they went with my costume.) And I've been wearing low-heeled shoes over 50% of the time for several weeks.

Yet today, after walking about 2.5 miles and trying to use proper racewalking form, I'm getting throbbing pain in the big toe of my right foot again.

It hasn't been very long -- I probably just need to keep wearing low-heeled shoes for a few weeks more before deciding if I need to see my doctor.

NOTE: Just noticed that I sit at my desk with my feet bent at the toes and pushed hard against the floor. Hmmm... Might nullify wearing flat shoes!

Had a great walk today! My friend Deb and I went to Antrim Park and were able to do two laps around the small lake. It was beautiful and the weather perfect!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Great Walk Tonight

Though I didn't get home until 5 tonight, I was able to get in a 3-mile walk before dark. I just could not walk in the neighborhood today -- I desperately needed a change of venue.

So, I changed as quickly as possible and head out the door. I walked the mile to the library at a quick pace and luckily it was still light enough I felt comfortable doing a loop around the park. Partway around the loop I ran into an old friend, but told her I couldn't slow to chat so I could start home before dark. I picked up the pace. There were enough street lights that I felt safe during the mile home, but it was good to have a headlight so cars could see me better.

The weather was perfect for a walk today! It felt great!

Best Thing About Time Change

OK, The best thing about this time change is I have no trouble getting up in the morning. It's lighter out and I just function better if I can wake later. Even setting my alarm extra early to make it to the polls wasn't a problem.

For my friend Deb, the best part of this time change is that her sports watch finally has the correct time!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Christmas -- Already?

This morning while out walking, enjoying the crisp fall air, the beautiful leaves and the remnants of Friday night's Halloween festivities, I was suprised to come across one neighbor putting up Christmas lights!

I couldn't decide if he was taking advantage of the great weather, or if he was a freak. (I hope he is not a freak!)

I Walked!

The first thing I did this morning was put on walking clothes and get ready to head outside. It was an absolutely beautiful morning! Because I've been lacking motivation lately, I opted to take it easy in the neighborhood.

One of the things I let slide when I'm training for distance is form. I've taken a couple of racewalking clinics, yet I still do not feel as if I racewalk. Today I was not going to worry about speed or distance, just focus on planting my heel and rolling my foot all the way through.

It's been a while since I've worked on form, and my left shin insisted on reminding me for about 20 of the 30 min. I was out. After the shin finally loosened I felt great!

I have had a lot of energy all day and I know it was from the morning walk. I will do my best to keep it up!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Walking Inspires Walking

If you have read WALK! Magazine or this blog for any length of time, you know that I firmly believe that the more you walk, the more you will want to walk.

The past two weeks I have officially proven the opposite premise. The less you walk, the less you will want to walk.

I decided to take a couple of days off after the Detroit Half Marathon for recovery. I wasn't really sore -- in fact, I felt great! But it was so nice not "having" to walk to maintain a training schedule, I decided to take a few more days off. I loved having all of that extra time! And that following weekend, I decided to find out what it was like to sleep in for a change.

Once I passed that first full week after the race, I began losing my desire and drive to walk. I had planned to walk every night this week and today, but something always got in the way. (Last night we went to a great Halloween party. I was not getting up early today for anything!)

Well, the day was beautiful, and I spent the entire day indoors! What is wrong with me!

No more excuses. I have promised myself that tomorrow will be my first official day back walking. I'll get up early and head out the door. I even have an extra hour tomorrow -- no excuses. So, what will you be doing with your extra hour?

Tons of Mail!

I was working on mail for most of the day today! It is one of my least favorite things to do, by the way. That and bookkeeping. It can be so tedious addressing and stuffing envelopes. Then going to the P.O. and standing in front of one of those new postage computers. (I got there after the staff left.)

Don't get me wrong, I love the fact the computers allow me to mail things any time of day. I hate the fact that I can buy only 5 stamps for $1.70 at a time. When you are sending out over 100 envelopes, it seems to take forever. It never fails, I start getting a rhythm going -- buying stamps, sticking them on packages, buying more stamps -- when a person will walk in with one little envelope and wait in line behind me. How can I make that person wait forever behind me?

The good thing is, a lot of people have been buying sample copies! And most of the people who sample WALK tend to subscribe. I'm very fortunate that last two races we attended were VERY good for us!

So, though I don't like how time-consuming and tedious handling mail can be, I love the fact that this many new people want the magazine!

So, if you have been waiting for your copy of the Fall issue, I think they are all officially in the mail! And if you get in line behind me at the PO, let me just apologize in advance.