Thursday, December 31, 2009

Walking at Year's End

When I got up this morning there was about an inch of snow on the ground and the thermometer on the front window said it was about 39 degrees. I knew my racewalking shoes just would not work. Not only would I slip, but it looked slushy.

I threw on some hiking shoes, a thick winter coat and went out into the neighborhood.

At first I walked on the sidewalks just because I usually do. But believe it or not, the shoveled sidewalks were a little more treacherous than the ones that had not been shoveled. I tried walking in the street, but when cars went by I got splashed.

So I stayed on the sidewalk, did a route similar to what I normally racewalk and was home 40 min. later. The funny thing is, I walk that same route in about 25 min. when racewalking. Kinda explains why my heartrate didn't go up too much.

Walking in the snow when the temps were that warm was a really nice way to prepare for the new year.

Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Stay Away From Extremes

While searching the internet for some information for my walking club newsletter earlier today, I found a good blog post about extreme dieting at Dan does not post often, but the few posts he makes are informative.

In September Dan commented about extreme dieting. His attitudes are very similar to mine, so I thought I would share some highlights with you.

Stay away from the Extremes in Diet and Exercise
... of all the comments I receive, those that leave comments in support of low-carb eating are the most mean-spirited. I never have understood why the people who leave these comments seem to want to start a fight over why their way of eating is the best way to eat. Then it dawned on me - with all the extreme ideas in fitness, low-carb eating is just one of them. 

My feeling is ... extreme fitness concepts never work. Sure, they may bring quick results, but I've never seen lasting results. Why is that? I think it's because extreme concepts are not easy to live by. It's easy to pump yourself up for a few months of following an extreme dieting and workout plan, but the majority of us will start to fizzle out. That's not necessarily a bad thing. If the body is overtrained, it's defense mechanism is to fizzle out before serious damage results. Same with the other extreme fitness and diet approaches. The mind and body have a hard time staying in an extreme state, and as a result, you start to lose accountability and drive to continue.

My conclusions ... just stay consistent and balanced. Instead of working out until you pass out, try consistently performing moderate-level workouts your body and mind can handle. Instead of trying to eat no carbs, no fat, or no sugar, make smarter choices in what you do eat and try for a balanced approach instead of an extreme approach. Not only is a balanced approach a more natural way of living, it will also lead to a mind and body that is more consistent and accountable, and it will help prevent you from stressing out so much about trying to live on the extreme side of some concept in diet and exercise. I'm sure I'll still get heated comments/feedback from the extreme wellness individuals, but oh well.
Though I know there are tons of health and fitness people who agree with me, sometimes it's just nice for me to share their exact words. [NOTE: The first two ellipses are my edits. The last was part of the original text.]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Using my Heart Rate Monitor

I got a heart rate monitor for my birthday this year, but have not used it enough yet to know what to do with it. I went through the book that came with it and set the maximum heart rate, etc. (Yes, I determined my maximum heart rate through exercise, not by substrating my age from 220.)

Today the sidewalks were pretty clear, so I was able to walk faster than I could yesterday and my heart rate did get up into the 140s. I'll have to do more reading to determine what that means and how to set goals.

I'm sure in no time I will be using it regularly in both training and race situations.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Walking in Snow

Today, I awoke to more snow. It wasn't big, beautiful, heavy flakes like you see in Christmas movies that make you want to run outside and play -- it was tiny flakes that are hard and frozen, and kind of bounce off your water-resistant jacket

My first thought was, "Wow, it's up to 37 degrees! I definitely have no excuse to walk today."

The last time I walked it was 37 degrees and I was WAY overdressed, so today I convinced myself to wear one less layer and it felt perfect! I was slightly cold as I walked outside, but there was no wind -- just lightly pelting snow. After about 10 min I was totally warmed up and felt great.

The walk lasted about 30 min. and I didn't push as hard as I would have liked, but I was a little nervous about the possibility of slipping and falling.

Still I'm thrilled I was out walking. Next time I'll be sure to go out longer and walk harder.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I am Such a Hypocrite!

Last night it was snowing as I went to bed, but it wasn't cold. I was excited and even looked forward to walking this morning.

However, I got stuck on a blog posting I really wanted to finish (different blog) and was up much later than I had wanted to be. Then I started reading the next chapter of Dickens' The Christmas Carol, which I had never read before, and before I knew it, it was way too late to walk with my walking club.

My alarm went off in plenty of time, but I just could not get out of bed. After my friend Deb called to see if I would be there, I got dressed and showed up in time to meet everyone for our club breakfast board meeting.

The temps were in the mid-30s, the snow had melted off the streets and it looked to be a great morning for walking!

So, here I am, an outspoken person who brags about walking year-round, and the first time it snows this winter, I end up sleeping in. Today, I am a hypocrite.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Officially a Slug

Yesterday was beautiful! I was ready to go walking, got distracted and before I knew it, it was after 9! Yes, I do walk year round. Yes, I do walk when it is cold. Yes, I do walk in the dark. Just not within the last two weeks.

To make up for it, today I ate about half of a bag of peanut brittle that was given to me this afternoon. It was delicious, homemade peanut brittle which is the best I've ever had. This print rep has brought me some every year for the past 8 years. Usually I share it so I'm not tempted to eat so much. This year, I was tempted to share.

It was delicious, but I ended up with a sugar headache about 5 p.m. which lasted until about 9. I tried to counteract it by drinking Diet Coke and then water, but you all know that did NOT help.

OK, so tomorrow I'm scheduled to walk with my friends. I think I'll pack up the peanut brittle, give it away, and make sure I get outside with my friends -- regardless of the weather.

Photo from:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Glad I Did NOT Enter This Race!

Today there was a 4-mile race scheduled for Sharon Woods park here in central Ohio. I entered this winter race before and I had thought about entering this year. However, I heard that rain was predicted. I don't do rain in the winter if it is at all possible.

So, today when I got up and saw the pouring rain, I was thrilled I was warm and cozy in my house. If you entered today's race, I hope you PR'd. Anyone out in this weather definitely deserved it!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Heat Wave -- It was really 22 Degrees

Don't know why I was so worried about the weather this morning. It was only 3 degrees colder than last week, and last week I was fine with two wicking shirts and a jacket.

This week I added a fleece vest under my jacket and I was WAY TOO warm after about 10 minutes! I wasn't the only one over-dressed, but most had it just right.

Regardless, it was a great morning to be walking! The sun was shining, the air was crisp and there were 9 members of the Buckeye Striders.

It was good waking up early for this.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Predicted to be 16 in Morning

I'm a little bit odd that sometimes I look forward to walking in cold weather. When you are bundled up appropriately and there is no wind it can be fun!

So, though the cold, rain and wind prevented me from walking most of this week, I'm looking forward to a brisk morning of walking with friends! At least the temps are predicted to be in double digits.

Monday, December 07, 2009

New Shoes -- New Balance

Finally! I finally bought a new pair of shoes for walking -- New Balance 905s.

Because it's been awhile since I've had a pair of shoes I was really happy with, I took my last five pairs of shoes and told the shoe guy exactly what I liked and disliked about each pair. Now that I don't get sample shoes for reviews like I used to, I didn't even have any ideas for what I'd want.

I had a few pairs I liked, but they didn't really fit the type of walking I do. For example, the Brooks trainers that were light and flexible were too light for halves. The pair of Nikes that had lots of support were way too thick and heavy to even attempt to racewalk. (When my feet were sore, they were GREAT!)

My favorite recent pair was New Balance a few upgrades back. The first upgrade after that gave me blisters like crazy.

Anyway, I was told that this new upgrade -- New Balance 905 -- should have resolved the problems I had with the last pair. They felt great and I'm giving them a try!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Walking When Only 25 Degrees

It was about 25 degrees Saturday morning when the Buckeye Striders met at Sharon Woods park for our weekly walk. When the temperatures are this low, the major discussion is usually: How many layers are you wearing? (We all had some type of hat or ear muffs, gloves and long pants.)
  • I wore two long-sleeved wicking shirts, a water-resistant and wind resistant jacket along with a gator. I hate when my neck gets cold. 
  • Barbara wore a long-sleeved T-shirt, a sweatshirt and a jacket.
  • Deb had on a long underwear shirt, fleece shirt and fleece jacket.
  • Not sure how many layers Elaine had on, but she was wearing her "sleeves".
  • Nancy had a much thicker jacket and wore just one shirt.
Some of us ended up being too hot, but none of us under-dressed. Surprisingly, I had on the perfect number of layers. Ever since I was a walking coach for a spring half marathon group and ended up so cold I couldn't get warm for days that February, I have over-dressed. I'm happy to report that I did NOT over-dress.

There are a few things you can do to do a better job of preparing for all types of weather. First, keep a training log and be sure to track the temperatures, what you wore and whether it worked. Wear layers. This is especially important when you aren't sure if you are over-dressed -- it's nice to be able to take off a shirt or jacket if you are too hot. Wicking fabrics will help to keep the layer closest to your skin from being too wet and soggy. Also, try not to get too hot and sweaty -- if your shirts are wet, you'll get cold much faster. (The nice thing about having done so many races, I have TONS of wicking shirts than can be layered.)

My point is, with a little bit of planning, it really is not that hard to keep walking all winter long.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Biggest Losers run a Marathon?

I know I rant a little too much about the Biggest Loser. It is a TV show for goodness sake! But I often feel as if the show is irresponsible -- and having these obese (they still are) people train for a marathon in just 60 days, a little over 8 weeks, seems irresponsible to me.

Confession here -- though I do occasionally watch Biggest Loser, I did not last night. Last night I just flipped it on for a few minutes and did not see the actual marathon or the training, but I did read synopses.

For my first full marathon, I trained for about nine months -- I trained for a half marathon the year before and decided at the finish line to do a full marathon the next year. Most marathon training schedules I've seen start at about 12 weeks. Many schedules are even longer, depending on the marathoner's starting fitness level.

Though I entered only two full marathons, I never hit the wall in either race. In fact, if you train appropriately I don't think hitting the wall is a requirement. From the highlights of this show, these people were struggling and looked as if they should not have been out there. It seems as if more than one person hit the wall.

Everyone finished and the first of the four had a great time at around 5:30!

But as I said at the beginning of this post -- this is a TV show. The point is to put people in challenging situations and see how they respond. It really is no different from Survivor, Amazing Race or Real World. If they didn't make it really hard for these people to be successful, there would be no show.

If you are interested in training for your first marathon, send me an e-mail and I will help you find a training program that will work for you!

Feeling Good

I had a couple of blog readers concerned about me because of my lack of blogging. Sorry about that! My mystery virus did really wipe me out. I'm happy to let you know I'm feeling pretty good and if the weather would cooperate, I'd be out walking. I'm just not comfortable walking in cold rain when my immune system still feels a little compromised.

In no time at all I'll be posting about training for the Tucson Distance Classic in March!