Thursday, December 30, 2010

Walk Outside? Go to Gym?

Though it was sunny and beautiful outside today, I ended up going to the gym rather than walk outside. Since the membership is good for only 30 days, I feel I have to use use it whenever I have the time.

And, because membership is only for a month, I decided to work too many machines today. I know you should work only one set of major muscles at a time and alternate days. Today I worked ALL of them!

I'm a little achy and I'm pretty tired. Tomorrow will be walking only as I get ready for New Year's Eve and the New Year's Day race I'm entered in. I wonder how fast I'll be able to go?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Breaking Speed Records -- Treadmill Sprints

After warming up for 10 min on a treadmill today, I did 1-min long sprints at a 12-min per mile pace followed by 3 mins at a 15-min per mile pace! And I did this about six times. As far as I know, this is the fastest I have ever walked!

Throughout the workout, I tried to maintain proper racewalking form, working very hard to be smooth and avoid bouncing and pounding. When I got distracted, I did tend to lose the "smooth" feeling and thud too much.

My original plan was to do as many sprints as possible, then walk at a reasonable pace for an entire hour. After 30-min, I really thought I would go mad if I kept at it. Still, I decided to do my best to stick it out for 45 min. Even watching TV, listening to a book on my iPod and changing the pace did not help much. Those last few minutes were pretty tough mentally.

After a few minutes of rest, I decided to see what my absolute fastest pace is. I maintained an 11-min mile for about 15 secs and then got down below 11! I was pumping my arms and legs so fast, I'm not sure what the actual pace was, but it was faster than 11! Woo hoo!

So, being that I was on a treadmill where the "ground" was moving and all I had to do was pick up my feet, I'm not sure how that will translate to walking outside. Still, I think having the opportunity to do this type of intense sprint workout in the winter should help my race pace.

I can't wait to find out!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Becoming a Gym Rat?

My sister gave me a one-month membership to her gym for Christmas. Though I belonged to a gym many years ago, I cancelled that membership because I didn't use it -- well, that and the fact it was a crappy gym. I know she really likes this place, so I was excited to give it a try.

Today I met her there so she could show me around and we could work out. Wow, was this place nice!

First it was clean and did not have a weird odor like the previous gym I went to. Second it is huge! There was plenty of everything so there was very little waiting for machines.

We did several machines for shoulders and abs and then went on the treadmills for a while. TONS of treadmills! I started out racewalking at 15-min miles, then got progressively faster. I got down to racewalking a 12-min mile, but for just 5 min. Still, I was excited. That is the fastest I have ever walked! Woo hoo!

Because we are planning to run a warrior race in June, I am going to have to run 3 miles. So I tried running, too. I was able to run for about 5 min., two times. Boy, is running easier on a treadmill than it is outside. Sunday when I ran half a block, I felt as heavy as an elephant and when I hit the ground, I thudded. On the treadmill, I felt much lighter and wasn't thudding at all.

So, the gym is pretty cool and has some great amentities. The equipment is great, in good condition and there are plenty of machines. Racewalking and running on the treadmill was so much easier than outside.

My knees are a little sore from running yesterday and I can tell my shoulders and and abs will be sore tomorrow. Still, other than the knees, it's a good sore. And if I play it right, maybe I'll be able to actually work on speed this winter instead of just hoping to not to lose any ground I've gained throughout the year.

So, in the meantime, ice and ibuprofen are my friends as I work on strengthening my knees.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gift Ideas for Walkers -- Part II

No bad photography with this half of the list as it continues:

6) Books about Walking, Health and Fitness or Healthy Eating -- There are lots of books about walking, but if the person you are buying for is trying marathon walking or racewalking, you need to check out the books written by Dave McGovern. He is smart and a very good writer. For books on nutrition, try any of Nancy Clark's books. I just purchased her book on sports nutrition for my son (who does not read my blog) and her book on nutrition for marathoners for me. The Dr. Oz books titled "You" are also good. Though not about walking, I loved the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.

7) Heart Rate Monitor -- Heart rate monitors are great! They give you a much better idea of the amount of effort you are putting forth. I have PR'd twice this year by basing my race pace on my heart rate. I have a low-end Timex that is very easy to use, but does not store information. It is enough for me. Friends of mine have really high-end models that store results for a month and can download workouts to their computer or special web sites. Those are also great, but are much more expensive.

8) Water Bottle -- I'm not talking about one of those cheap plastic water bottles that cause dangerous chemicals to enter your drinking water. I have a great Nathan brand stainless steel water bottle that I love! It doesn't work in the water bottle carrier I use for distance workouts, but I use it for hiking, when driving around the city, baseball games, or just about any situation other than carrying it in my water bottle carrier.

9) Race Registration -- If you know your walker would love to do a race, pay the registration fee. It's a great way to inspire your walker and give him or her a reason to train all year. FYI -- for anyone planning to buy me a gift, I'd love to enter a race in Hawaii.:-) Can you include airfare, too?

10) SPI Belt -- SPI Belt was the original, but there are other brands of small bags that go around the waist for carrying essentials during a race. What I love is that the belt is elastic, so it can get tight enough that it won't bounce. The bag stretches to carry everything from a cell phone or camera, your keys and a gel or Clif Shot Bloks. The SPI Belt brand also has clips to attach your race number, so you don't have to put safety pin holes in your favorite shirt or jacket. I use mine for training walks in the summer when I don't have pockets and for races.

11) Wind-proof Jacket -- I can walk all year round if I can just stop the wind. I have a great jacket by asics that is both wind-proof and water resistant! With the right amount of layers, it is great for most of the winter. In the spring and fall it helps protect me from the rain and wind. Mine has plenty of vents I can open when needed to prevent overheating. I might be unusual, but I prefer a light jacket I can add layers under to a heavy jacket.

12) New Shoes -- No, you probably cannot go out and buy new shoes for your favorite walker. But, you can purchase a gift card to their favorite running and walking store. And if your favorite walker is not buying his or her shoes from a good running/walking store, now is the time to get them started. It is very important to have a professional fit shoes to your feet based on the type of walking you do. A good pair of walking shoes can range from $80 to over $100.

So, without dropping too many brand names, and without enough photos, I hope these two blog postings will help you to shop (even at the last minute) for your favorite walker!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Gift Ideas for Walkers -- Part I

When WALK! Magazine was still around, every winter I would come up with a gift-giving guide. Back then, I would get ideas from readers and I would get samples to try ... it was really fun trying and selecting items. I don't have the same input I used to have from other sources, so this year's Gift Ideas for Walkers includes either items I've received or would like to receive. Here goes:

1) Wicking sport socks. There are tons of options for wicking socks: double layer, padded, seamless, wool, thick and cushioned, thin and tight, even "toe socks". My favorites are double-layered socks (Wright Socks) because they help prevent blisters, but are not so thick they make my shoes too tight. I also like wool socks, by Smart Wool, when it is cold out. (I can't wear wool socks when it is hot.) The good thing is, even if your walker already wears wicking socks, buying the same brand he or she currently wears is still a good idea. People often forget their socks wear out!

My fleece flap mittens buttoned open.
2) Mittens with a flap. These are perfect for fast walkers who don't want to stuff mittens in their pockets after they warm up. Wear them as regular mittens when you start out, then when your hands are too hot, flip them open. The pair I have is fleece and have a button at the tip of the fingers to keep them open. They were purchased at Target a couple of years back. (I also have a great wool pair from Argentina.) You can find a variety of styles at J Crew, Land's End, K-Mart, and some heavy pairs at LL Bean.
3) Neck gaiter. Scarves are a pain in the neck. (I couldn't resist.) They are bulky, get tangled, come untied, the ends get in the way... Because I hate having a cold neck, I LOVE my gaiter! It's fleece and made by Polartec. I bought it a couple years ago, but I forget where. There are lots of style and fabric options for neck gaiters and they can be purchased at outdoor sports stores, running stores and even LL Bean and other websites. Once you have used one, you won't want to do any winter walking without it.

Headlamp attached to brim of hat.
4) Headlamp. In the winter I often do not get the chance to walk outside until after it is dark. I feel a whole lot safer walking at night wearing a headlamp. Lighting up my path is not nearly as important as being seen. When wearing a lamp, I know any cars can see me as qucikly as I can see them. I have a couple different types: one clips to the brim of a baseball-style hat and is a lot brighter than the others; another has an elastic band to go around my head and hold the light to my forehead; the third hooks over an ear. My favorite is the one with the elastic band since I can use it whether I'm wearing a hat or not.

Crash Wear reflective vest.
5) Reflective vest. This goes with the headlamp and helps cars to see you when it is dark. I have two. One is just a generic orange reflective vest. The other, made by Crashwear, is really cute! The body of mine is bright yellow and the reflective patches are in the shape of flowers. They also come in orange, pink or black. If you don't like flowers, they have a more manly version with a circle design. It has Velco-close pockets on the inside (to protect my MP3 player) and outside. Because they were originally designed for scooter riders, they offer some wind and rain protection. The newest designs include a faux fur lining! I don't feel silly wearing it. It doesn't do any good to have protective gear if it isn't worn.

That is all for now. Part II will be posted in a couple of days.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Stomp the Grapes Shirt

I almost forgot to post a photo of the Stomp the Grapes shirt, hat and socks! The shirt is a great purple and the design is pretty. (Hard to tell from the photo I took.) Both the hat and the socks are wicking. It's a shame the shirt doesn't fit.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Walking Before the Snow

This time of year the decision to walk (or not) is more affected by the weather than other times of the year. Snow, ice, freezing temps and strong winds can keep even the most hardy of us inside. That is why we end up glued to the Weather Channel and talk about our walking plans up to the very last minute.

Deb is usually right when it comes to weather. (Well, she is often right about other things, too, but when it comes to weather I take her opinion as gospel.) She assured us that yesterday's snow would not arrive until after we were done walking, and that most likely it would hit south of Columbus.

It was about 27 degrees when we started at 8 a.m. at Sharon Woods park. Lucky for us, there was no wind. We had about 14 members of our club walking -- it was great!

I ended up with the fast group. (I know. Funny, huh?) I told them upfront that if they wanted to go faster it was fine with me. Lucky for me they did not. (I was with Elaine, Nancy, Catherine and our new member Vince.)

The good part about being with the fast group is they pushed me! Our first mile was 13:45. That is often my race pace. Then the two women in front slowed a little and we did 1 mile at about 14 and the last miles were faster.

We did nearly 4 miles in 55 minutes! I'm pretty happy! (The 4-mile mark we use is not really accurate, but I don't have GPS. If it had been 4 miles, that would have been a 13:45 pace for each mile. I know that didn't happen.)

The really good news is, the snow did not even start until we left the restaurant after breakfast. We ended up with just a light dusting though it seemed to fall for several hours. Deb was right again! It waited until after we walked and most of the precipitation was south of us.

For 27 degrees I wore two long-sleeved shirts, thermal pants, windproof jacket, ear muffs and gloves. Because there was no wind, I ended up being overdressed. Last week wearing this few layers at the same temp, I froze! Either I'm getting used to it or the lack of wind made all of the difference.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Because I froze Friday when it was 27 degrees, I decided I needed an extra layer of fleece for this morning's walk in 22 degrees. What I had not anticipated was that I was walking in the neighborhood, not at the windy lake.

In my defense, I had planned to just add a fleece vest under my windproof jacket, but I couldn't find it. I ended up adding a fleece long-sleeved jacket, which was way too much!

My plan was to do four laps around the big block at the end of our street or an hour -- whichever came first. After the first lap, I was roasting! I had my jacket mostly unzipped and the vents in the front of the jacket open. During the second lap, the flaps on my gloves were open. In the third lap my fleece jacket was also unzipped. The fourth lap, I just hurried and roasted.

I was a little faster than usual around that block finishing in just 48 minutes -- not bad! And considering how hard I was pushing, I know I went farther than 3 miles.

I have just about burned off all of the extra calories from Thanksgiving and the OSU vs Michigan potluck!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cold This Morning!

Since I bailed on my plans to walk at Antrim Park Thanksgiving morning, I decided to head out there today and do the 3 miles I had planned.

First, my car door would not open. I ended up climbing in from the passenger side. I felt pretty silly at the gas station climbing over the passenger seat to get out and then get back in my car. While pumping the gas, I realized it was a LOT colder than I thought it was. The wind was blowing and I was freezing!

I ended up going back home and picking up gloves, ear muffs and my gaiter to wear around my neck. (I hate when my neck is cold.) Again I climbed over the passenger seat to get out and get back in the car, then went off to Antrim.

I parked the car with the driver side door in the sun, hoping it would thaw by the time I finished walking. By the time I got to the start of the bike trail, I was frozen. Though it was 27 degrees, it felt colder. I knew if I walked for at least 10 minutes I would start to warm up and be fine. Let me rephrase that -- I THOUGHT if I walked for 10 minutes I would warm up.

The first thing I noticed was there were fewer than 10 people walking and running on the trail. (I thought that was odd.) At the same time there were about 20 fisherman scattered around the lake. Though it was pretty chilly I turned to my right for the first lap.

As is usual in this park and around this lake, in the shade I froze, in the sun I warmed up, and in the areas where there is no tree coverage the wind made me even colder. I thought I would be warmer than I was after the first lap. There was no way I could justify quitting after only one lap! So, despite being uncomfortable I did the second lap. OK, I was still cold and I was uncomfortable enough to justify going home. So, I walked back to my car -- the door had thawed -- and I went home.

What I don't like about this time of year is, when it is cold, it is shockingly cold. There is no real chance to get acclimated -- the temps vary too much. Because of this, I never know how to dress. Today I was obviously under-dressed.

Thanksgiving Walk

My son and I had made plans to head to Antrim Park Thanksgiving morning to get in some miles before we pigged out for the day. My only stipulation was, if it was raining, I wasn't going. I woke up to rain and decided I was off the hook!

My son, being a little more dedicated than I am right now, decided to go for a run anyway. He was gone more than an hour, and when he is just jogging like that, I think he averages about an 8-min mile. Needless to say, he made me feel like a sloth! (And it stopped raining right before he went.)

When he returned I thought, OK, if he can go running, I can go out walking. So I got changed into my walking clothes, walked out the front door, into a like sprinkle. Yuck. At least it wasn't full-blown rain. I went inside to get a hat, then did two laps in the neighborhood. Just as I was a few driveways from home, it started raining for real.

Though it was cold and wet, I'm glad I burned off a few calories before spending the rest of the day eating.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Missing WALK

Recently, I was asked for a writing sample. I don't get to write as often as I used to and my most recent stories have been for WALK! Magazine. WALK! has been "gone" long enough that I don't remember what's in every single issue, so I ended up having to read back issues.

I found myself smiling as I read about The Fatman Walking, Subway's Jared and my coverage of Dr. Sabgir and Walk With a Doc. I remember how much I enjoyed talking with and meeting these interesting people and others I had the opportunity to interview. I also remember how much I enjoyed publishing the magazine and how excited I was when it started to take off.

It also made me feel sad that I couldn't figure out how to make the magazine work financially. If only it had generated money (any money) so that I could quit my full-time job... Working 80 hours a week and not sleeping was catching up with me. Oh, well.

No matter what the future holds for me, I will always be happy I tried to make a go with WALK. I'm glad I took the chance. And though I miss the writing and interviewing, I'm glad I now have time to sleep.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Walking Tour of Houston

Monument au Fantome.
NOTE: Photos were added several days after the original blog posting.

One of the things I was most looking forward to while visiting Houston this week for business was taking one of the audio tours I downloaded to my MP3 player from the Houston Tourism website. There are three tours: one is only 0.6 miles and takes 30 mins; the other two are about 2 miles each and take about 2 hrs each. I opted for the Ultimate Downtown Tour, narrated by Dan Workman, owner of Sugar Hill Studios.

The tour starts at a giant multi-piece fiberglass sculpture on the edge of Discovery Green, a new park downtown. The sculpture, called Monument au Fantome, is across from the Convention Center.

Though there were a few instructions I did not follow, like walking into a bar to look at the ceiling, overall I enjoyed the tour.

The tour took me to Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. There I learned the history of the park as the city's original Union Station for train travel to the city. I loved looking in the window from Crawford Street to see left field of the stadium. I wish there had been a home game!

Outside Minute Maid Park.
Buffalo Bayou is reached about halfway through the tour. In the middle of Houston, it is a beautiful “wilderness” area with walking paths and sculptures along the river. At the top of one section is a larger-than-life statue of the first President Bush. I enjoyed being an “insider” for a few minutes on the bridge over the bayou and near the Seven Wonders. I was told to push the unmarked red button which causes the “art” called the Bayou Bubble to be activated – letting loose a large bubble of air in the middle of the river, making the pedestrians on the bridge look and wonder what it was.

The tour even included a short ride on the light rail train. Though I went just a couple of blocks, it was a pretty nice transportation option. The kiosk I used to buy a ticket did not work properly, and the person I asked wasn't helpful, but otherwise, it was a relatively easy thing to figure out.

The two biggest things I learned about the city:

1) There are parks all over the city, several with fenced in dog runs. One small park about halfway through the tour was a park just for dogs. The parks are attractive, well maintained and well landscaped. Several also had creative fountains.

A fountain in the park across the street from my hotel.
2) There is art everywhere – in every park, on the street, fountains on buildings, modern sculptures in courtyards – it is wonderful!

Dan did a great job as narrator, describing everything on the tour. The tour was very well organized. It was nice how in some areas, everything on one side of the street was described, then we would cross the street and go back. My only complaint was the fact it ended so far away from the start. Luckily I had a map of the city with me to find my way back.

Safety was also addressed well. Every time crossing a street was required, I was instructed to pause the audio and be careful. The narration would pick back up on the other side of the intersection. He also did a great job of warning about busy driveways to parking garages and shops.

One other thing I thought was pretty neat about this tour – it was set up for someone walking at my pace! Each time Dan would say something like walk to the corner or the bridge, etc., as soon as I arrived at that location, he would give the next instruction. Well, done!

So, if you are planning a trip to Houston and want to walk around the city, I recommend trying one of these audio tours. It was a lot of fun and it guaranteed that I got to see some of the best parts of the city. Left to my own devices, who knows where I would end up.

PS: I hope other cities offer similar audio tours! Photos to come.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Maize Valley Farm on Facebook

The winery where the Stomp the Grapes Half Marathon started and ended is on Facebook and has posted photos of the race. (I never even saw a photographer!) The winery is Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery.

Check out the winery's page at!/MaizeValley. I like the fact the winery uses Facebook to promote its activities. I had no idea it was such an active place with so many fun events.

It also looks as if it paid off for Deb and I to be last at the start. There's a pretty clear photo of us.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ignorance is Bliss -- or Do I want to Know What is in the McD's McRib?

Let me start this blog post with a true confession -- I have eaten a McRib. In my defense, it was many years ago and long before I made the decision to give up Big Macs.

Though it was never my favorite fast-food sandwich, I was more offended by the pickle on a rib sandwich than anything real. And though I didn't think it was bad, I never understood the obsession some people have with a McRib.

Even back then, I wondered how the meat got the weird "bone in rib" look without having bones. Still, it never, EVER occurred to me that they could be made in such a horribly gross way.

Margaret Badore from said in part:
It starts at an enormous factory farm. There's a giant shed with a floor covered in feces, where tens of thousands of pigs will be born without ever having enough space to turn around and most will never see the light of day.
Oh, yeah, I read a novel recently that had several scenes just like that. Ugh!
After a description of what happens to the meat, Badore clarifies:
Translation: mechanically separated meat. Remember the pink goo chicken nuggets are made from? This is the pork version. Just check out this photo of the grayish meat inside the "rib patty" snapped by the team at The texture looks like something that's been chewed up and spit out.

Even without the photo, it does NOT sound appetizing. Be sure to go to this page of the Shine from Yahoo website for the entire story and to see the photo:

OK, I know fast food is garbage. But seriously, what kind of a sick mind would come up with such a complicated process to make a rib sandwich? I have to wonder, do the people who came up with this "recipe" let their family members eat this stuff? Should we spread the word? Do we let people know?

Kind of reminds me of a scene from a shocking 1973 movie:
  • Det. Thorn: “It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They're making our food out of people. Next thing they'll be breeding us like cattle for food. You've gotta tell them. You've gotta tell them!"
  • Hatcher: “I promise, Tiger. I promise. I'll tell the exchange."
  • Det. Thorn: “You tell everybody. Listen to me, Hatcher. You've gotta tell them! Soylent Green is people! We've gotta stop them somehow!"
Photo from www.foodfactsinfo/mcrib

PS: Makes KFC's Double Down look pretty good, doesn't it?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Working Through Stiffness

Did a pretty easy walk around the neighborhood this evening to help work through the stiffness.

The good news is, I was less stiff and sore today than I was yesterday. Usually the muscle soreness the second day is a little worse than the day immediately after the race.

Today was also my first evening walk since the time change. It felt strange having it get so dark so early! I don't adjust well to time changes and the lack of daylight in the winter depresses me. It will be even more important for me to walk outside as the days get darker!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Stomp the Grapes

Warning: This is a long review.

The Stomp the Grapes Half Marathon was a challenging event held in Hartville, OH near North Canton and Alliance. It starts at Maize Valley Winery and ends in Quail Hollow State Park. In previous years, the race averaged about 300 to 400 finishers between the half marathon and the relay. This year, there were 703 finishers in the half and 110 relay teams of three people each, meaning there were 1,036 finishers!

Deb, Elaine, Laura and me warming
up at a fire before the race.
We left at 7 a.m. to reach the winery. It was a fairly easy and direct drive.

The farther north we drove, the colder it got, and in and around Hartville there were light patches of snow on the ground. Snow! Already! The temps were in the low 30s.

The pre-race atmosphere was like a party. Tons of people roaming around the grounds. And there were huge fires everywhere to keep people warm. It was very nice!

The race started at noon with the firing of a pumpkin cannon which was loud, but we couldn't see it from where we stood. (I wanted to see a pumpkin fly!) As everyone took off, Deb and I were the very last people in the race. Elaine and Laura were up ahead of us and we didn't expect to see them until the end.

The course is on country roads with a couple of miles in Quail Hollow State Park at about the halfway point and the finish. For the first few miles we had the road to ourselves and it was great. The scenery was pretty, the roads were wide and we passed a couple of people. The wind was intermittent, depending on whether the corn fields had been plowed under or there were trees near the side of the road. There were lots of hills, but only a couple of big ones. Because it was cold, it was hard to climb the bigger hills.

After a couple of miles, the roads were open to traffic and that was a pain. Though most of the roads had very little traffic, some were pretty busy and the cars were way too fast and cutting it way too close. Deb and I met another Deb along the way and the three of us would go single file on the berm to get out of the way of the cars. Being country roads, they were uneven with some pretty rough patches, but I expected that. It did make my ankles and legs a little tired, but it was a public road.

Spectators lined sections of the race.
There were a couple of spots where you could tell the race directors had not anticipated problems caused by this many people. Entering Quail Hollow there is one road. There were pylons on the side and a big space in the middle -- we were not sure if we were supposed to be in the middle section or off to the side. There were tons of spectators walking and standing in the "short section" so we couldn't really walk there. There were occasional cars in the middle section, so we couldn't really walk there.

We did one loop in the park, then came around behind the finish line and ended up walking head-on toward the runners finishing. They were cutting it close to us, trying to use tangents at the end of the race, and we were trying to stay to the side to be out of their way, but still be on the course. Spectators were everywhere. It was a mess!

The course was scenic. The uncut
corn helped break the wind.
We left the park at about mile 7 and continued on country roads. For a while we could see the faster people coming toward us and it was fun to see Laura walking with a group of runners.

This last part of the course felt hillier. And as we walked it felt as if the temps were dropping. My core was warm throughout the race and when the wind stopped blowing, I was too hot! But as we went along, my hands were freezing and my legs were getting stiff. Yep, a sure sign the temps were dropping. Oh, and before I forget -- it snowed. During the race we encountered tiny pelting snowflakes.

We got to the finish in Quail Hollow uneventfully. It was fun that they announced our names as we came across the finish line. Though we knew we needed to catch a bus back to the winery, not one person said, "Go this way to catch a bus." We had to find a volunteer and ask.

Yea! We are getting on a bus!
The line for buses to the winery was HUGE! We could see Laura and Elaine ahead of us and they finished much earlier than we did. Laura later reported she waited in line for more than an hour! We waited for more than half an hour and ended up on the same bus with Elaine. Luckily they crammed the buses full of people and I was thankful I was out of the cold and did not mind that only one cheek actually touched the seat. The bus ride back to the winery was not long.

The winery was more than ready for us! The fires were still burning, there were tents set up with tons of picnic tables and there was lots of food. They had hot dogs, Subway turkey sandwiches, bananas, apples, chips, cookies ... And there was a lot of everything. There was also coffee and hot chocolate -- I would have loved another bottle of water, but could not find any. In addition, anyone over the age of 21 could get two glasses of wine! We grabbed our food, (I also grabbed two glasses of wine), and we went inside the winery in their restaurant section that was nice and warm. It was crowded with happy race finishers and was a fun atmosphere.

When I went outside about 4:30, there was still plenty of food left! There were still tons of Subway sandwiches, cookies and chips left.

The race packet included a really nice wicking hat, socks embroidered with the word "Stomp," and a technical shirt in a great purple with a really pretty logo. This year they opted to give away the hat and socks instead of medals. Unfortunately, my sized-small shirt is so absolutely huge, it looks like a men's XL. When we went to exchange them, we were told that someone gave women men's sized shirts and they were out of women's smalls. Crud! It's a shame, too, because this is one of the best-looking shirts I have received in a long time! Regardless, the hat and socks are cool.

I have mixed feelings on this race. The atmosphere was very fun! The fires outside were great. The participants were all excited. There were plenty of pre-race restrooms. The pumpkin cannon was fun. The course was difficult because of the hills and the rough streets, but I have done hillier courses. It was made tougher because of the weather and the fact the streets were not closed causing us to be on the edge of the road a lot. The loop in the park with the fast finishers and tail end people at the same time was just a mess. And doing this race alone would be hard. The long wait many had for a bus back to the winery was horrible.

The after race party was fantastic! It was one of the best I have ever seen! Tasting wines was fun and I'm sure inspired more purchases. The hat and socks are great!

So the good things were very, very good. The bad things were bad. I do think the good out-number the bad.

Would I do it again? I think so. It has lots of potential. My recommendation is to let the race directors figure out how to handle a crowd this big for a year or two, then try it again.

Finish time: about 3:11. Considering how cold it was, with rough roads, not bad.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Copyright Infringement is not a Death Penalty Crime

My life is dependent on others respecting copyrights and copyright laws. I'm an editor, a writer, a publisher and blogger.

Because it is my livelihood, I was incensed when I heard about the Cooks Source magazine copyright infringement situation. (For those who need the Clif's Notes update, the editor of the magazine printed an article that she picked up from a blog without the permission of the author. When the author confronted the editor, the editor was snarky, claimed everything on the internet is in the public domain and was unrepentant.)

Of course, when you tick off a blogger -- they blog about it. This story has taken on a life of its own.

Initially, I was all about the public humiliation of the editor of the regional magazine. I logged onto the magazine's Facebook page and got a kick out of the comments. It was amazing to watch the number of people who "liked" the page just so they could comment grow from fewer than 300 to more than 2,000 today. The support of the author was fantastic!

Partway through the day the comments started to turn. They were no longer talking about copyright infringement and plagiarism. The comments turned to her looks, her weight, her lack of intelligence and included vulgarities and death threats. People are making fake websites in her name and the magazine's name.

Seriously, does copyright infringement warrant death threats!

The more I look at the comments on Facebook, the more I wonder why so many people who are not involved in this incident continue to write truly nasty things about the editor.

Which has led me to start feeling sorry for her! I know what she did is wrong. I know her response to the article's author was totally inappropriate and unprofessional. But the level of outrage, the personal insults, the vulgarities and death threats are overkill.

Enough people. Give it a rest.

One of the FB commenters actually sent a private message to me using vulgarities! A little extreme for copyright infringement.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chilly 8+ Miles Saturday

I'm not sure how far we walked today, but our plan was for 8 miles. We were walking at Griggs Reservoir, but there was a crew regatta, so the parking lot was very crowded, there were tons of people, and it wasn't really possible to adequately keep track of the mile markers.

That said, a few members of the Buckeye Striders were able to find parking spots. Because we kept walking the same section over and over, we were able to walk with a variety of different people and at different paces.

It was a beautiful morning for walking with mist coming off the river as the crew teams flew by. I really enjoyed watching them warm up and race while we were walking.

We ended up walking for 2 hours and 6 minutes. Our pace varied from about a 14-minute mile to 15:30, depending on who we walked with. If we averaged a 15-minute mile (and I'm sure we were faster than that) we would have walked 8.4 miles. That's pretty good for a between races walk.

When we arrived it was about 32 degrees and when we finished it had warmed up to 45. What a good morning!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Walk

Elaine and I met at Griggs Reservior for our usual mid-week walk. Deb was on the other side of town and Sharon Woods was closer to her.

We walked for more than an hour and went farther than 4 miles.

Though the wind was blowing, the sun was shining and we warmed up VERY quickly. Knowing that Fall will be here in full force before we know it, it's important for me to be out walking in the sun before it gets nearly impossible.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Sure Sign Marathon Training Season is Over

I went to Antrim Park the Thursday after the Columbus Marathon to do a quick two laps for about 2.4 miles.

As I walked to the starting point, I noticed there were very few cars and almost no one at the park.

Yep -- fall marathon training season is over!

(The good news is a lot of them will be back before the Capital City Half in the Spring.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Columbus Marathon Shirt and Medal

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I just love it when a race gives out shirts in women's sizes! And the Columbus Marathon did a great job this year. The shirt is a different color -- hot pink -- the lettering on the front is nice and it fits!

Among the five or so women I talked to after the race, only one did not like it. (She hates the color and the scoop neck.) If the number of people who wore their race shirts the day of the race is an indication of how much the shirt is liked, I think my one dissenter is probably greatly in the minority.

Though pink is not my favorite color, I'm thrilled the shirt is not white or black. And to me the big thing is, it is not some off-brand shirt made in China for 25 cents. It is made by Nike, it's a technical shirt and it fits.

Offering women's sizes is the newest trend and definitely affects the races I chose to enter. I wish a few other race directors whose races attract more than 75% women would follow suit.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Columbus Marathon (Half) Recap

Me and Deb after the race. Thanks for taking it Laura!
Today's Columbus Marathon started at 7:30 with temps in the high 40s. Several of the Buckeye Striders were entered, and I started the race with Deb, Pat, Nancy and Jack.

This year's race introduced corrals for the first time. We were in the last corral -- number 4. Not only were there tons of walkers in this corral it included anyone who planned to finish slower than 2:45 for the half or 5:30 for the full. Because proof of a faster finish in a previous event was required to move out of corral 4, this ended up being a catchall. There were tons of faster runners in this corral. Though we tried to get to the back, and though we were near the pacer for a 3:45 half, we were way too close to the front of the corral and were in the way of many runners. Sorry about that.

Because we were pretty far from the starting line, we could not hear any announcements or the national anthem.

Fireworks were set off at the start, which was very cool! As we walked toward the starting line, we passed some speakers and we could finally hear a band playing way up at the front. Again, very cool for those who were up close enough to hear the band! There was also a big screen TV so we could see ourselves crossing the starting line.

The race course has not changed, but the amount of entertainment on the course has definitely increased! It was fun seeing such a wide variety of music -- rock bands, folk singers, drum groups, OSU alumni band and more. Though it was really good, the marathon staff said there were 80 groups on the course and I don't think there were 40 bands in the first half.
We tried the same plan we used at Air Force, using my HR monitor to set our pace. After a couple of miles my monitor lost contact and it didn't work again the entire event. We ended up basing our pace on how we felt and trying to maintain a 14-min mile or less. We actually did pretty well!

The course is nice, going through Bexley, German Village and around Franklin Park. We even saw the governor outside his mansion!

It's a pretty flat course with just a few inclines (no real hills), including a long one heading north on High Street the last 2 miles. The closer we got to the finish line, the more exciting it was! With less than a mile to go, I was able to pick up my pace and went ahead of Deb. The crowds got bigger and louder, and I could feel the excitement. When I turned the corner to the finish line, the crowds were crazy! Of course, part of the reason the crowd was so loud is the runners finishing the full marathon in 3 hrs were coming down the stretch beside me.

I crossed the line in 3:04:55 according to my watch. Though I'm happy with my finish, I thought I was faster than that. After getting a silver blanket I didn't need and picking up my medal, I waited about a min for Deb.

We were handed bottles of water and immediately went to the food section, which was a little bit different from anything I've seen before. First there were freshly made hot pretzel bites, then warm chicken broth. (It tasted surprisingly good!) We then walked by tables with Krispy Kreme doughnuts, chocolate milk, bananas, a selection of generic chips and finally bagels. Unfortunately I ate one of the delicious doughnuts and then felt guilty. The bagels and chips were not that exciting, but there was a lot of food except doughnuts. Shortly after we went through, the doughnuts were gone. It might have been because of people like the guy behind me who took 6! (I actually confronted him and suggested there might be people still on the course who would like to have a doughnut.)

We met back up with Pat and Nancy in the food section and Steve and Sharon outside the food area. We also met up with two other Striders who didn't enter the race (Elaine and Laura) but were there for support. It was great having friends cheering us on near the end!

Overall, it was a good race and I think the new race director is on the right track!

  • The pre-race e-mails were great! Made me even more excited to do the race. Nice Job!
  • The women's shirts are a bright pink and fit perfectly!
  • The corrals didn't seem to work as designed. Too many fast people in the last corral. Reports from others closer to the start say there were people from corrals 3 and 4 in corral 2. So, what was the purpose?
  • Though there were speakers set up halfway to the back, we still could not hear a thing except the fireworks at the start. I know you were trying, but loud speakers are needed farther back.
  • The aisles at the expo are too wide. It is really easy to walk down the middle and totally skip every booth. That is great for the people who don't want to stop at any booths, but I can't imagine it is good for exhibitors.
  • The medal was nice and large and the ribbon was cool.
  • There were lots of photographers at the start of the race taking photos. Nice touch!
  • The finish results web page is very cool! It looks nice, it's easy to read and it has lots of stats. Nicer than a simple listing in Courier.
  • There were a lot more bands. Though I don't think we saw 40, there were still a lot more than in previous years. Nice!
  • I received a congratulatory e-mail from the race director the day of the race. And the e-mail included a note from the marathon doctor explaining what to do after the race to aid recovery.
  • The weather was perfect! And I still over-dressed. Thank goodness Deb talked me into wearing shorts. Still, I could not ditch my jacket before the start.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Taper to Columbus Marathon (Half)

It's taper week! The Columbus Marathon Half is this upcoming Sunday,

I have a love/hate relationship with taper week. I love the fact that I can take it easy and I have a lot more free time. The part I hate is my legs tend to get antsy and heavy with less walking and I worry about the fact that I'm not burning nearly as many calories.

So Saturday we did a not difficult 8 miles, (after last week's 10-mile race, this week's 8 was very easy), and now we should take it easy until Sunday's race. Tonight I started out doing an easy couple loops around the block  -- the first lap was easy, the second I picked up the pace and almost walked too hard. OK, like I said, taper week isn't easy.

Still, I wouldn't trade taper week for anything.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Day After

Yesterday I was a little wiped out after the race and surprisingly sore. I guess it was more stiffness than soreness. Regardless, I fell asleep on the couch in the early afternoon and that is unusual for me. Then today it wasn't until I got home from work and climbed the stairs that I realized I was still a little stiff today.

This stiffness was a little surprising because 1) the race was only 10 miles, and 2) we were approaching it as a training walk. The cold and wind must have taken a larger toll on us than we thought.

As a result, I took a very easy walk in the neighborhood. It ended up being just two laps around the bigger block down the street. It felt good and helped to work out some of the stiffness.

Now if only I had a job that wasn't so tied to a desk so I could do this on an everyday basis.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

10-mile Race Today

There is a local organization called Step and Stride that has the goal to help people get fit by walking. Their events are not necessarily races, though some of them are.

Today Step and Stride hosted its first 10-mile race that was the featured event at the end of a 10-week walking training program. (Other walkers were invited to enter the race, too.) I entered this race along with 5 other members of the Buckeye Striders. The race went through Glacier Ridge Metro Park, which is just north and outside of Columbus.

It was pretty chilly this morning with no indication it would warm up before the end of the race. It was 47 degrees at the start with cloudy skies, strong winds and a threat of rain. I was pretty cold, and not quite sure how to dress, assuming that at some point I would probably warm up. Thursday there were about 450 people registered, but we decided the weather must have kept some away. It looked as if no more than 300 people showed up.

Before the race, I thought I might have a chance to win my age group. After the start of the race (once we got free of the bottleneck), I was surprised at how many really fast walkers there were! There was no way I was winning anything in this crowd!

Deb and I had originally planned for today to be just a training walk. Still, we got caught up in the excitement of the race, and at times tried to go faster than our original plan. In fact, on our way out we even walked a 12-min mile! Considering that we were barely breathing hard and had not broken a sweat, we knew immediately that the mile markers were off. (On the way back from the turnaround we had a 10-min mile, so they were wrong in both directions.)

Glacier Ridge is a pretty park. It has lots of trees, lots of "plains," wetlands and no real hills. At the same time, it can feel desolate -- especially in the fall. I also find it VERY confusing and if a race is not marked well (this one was marked very well), it would be very easy to get lost. When we were in the midst of the trees, the wind was nothing, but once we hit the "plains," the wind was brutal! So with no wind, I was overdressed. With wind I was under-dressed. This is why fall races can sometimes be frustrating.

On the way back to the start after the turnaround at the 5-mile mark, the unceasing wind was blowing in our faces. Wow! We were pushing, but we were barely moving. It really wiped us out! It was when the wind eased a little that several walkers who started out behind us began passing us. Oh, well -- this was supposed to be a training walk for us.

We finished strong somewhere around 2:23. I had a watch malfunction -- somehow I had over 10 laps for only a 10-mile race. I must have hit the watch a few too many times, or maybe my coat sleeve caught on it (that has happened before). That might also be why I had so many unrealistically fast miles.

As we crossed the finish line, we received a very nice Victoria's Secret canvas tote! There were only 75, and I was thrilled to be in the group that got them. The after race food included delicious bagels, bananas, trail mix, Nutri-Grain bars and plenty of water. There were also leftover training program T-shirts and Dick's Sporting Goods reusable shopping bags available. (The Dick's bags were used as the goody bags. Nice!)

So, overall it was a pretty good race. The weather was miserable, which race directors cannot control. The venue is a little boring the second time you do a race there. But it was well-marked and flat and there were enough water stops. The other walkers were very nice and the finish line food was good.

The race T-shirts are cotton, long-sleeved gray shirts. The logo on the front is nice. The size small is a little bit large on me, but I can shrink it. It has been a long time since I received a nice, long-sleeved cotton shirt and I was thrilled! I would rather get a really nice cotton shirt than a cheap, ugly technical shirt that doesn't fit and that I will never wear. Race directors -- please take note.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Weird Couple of Days

Weird couple of days has affected my ability to get in some walking.

Because we took a group of kids to an indoor water park on Saturday, I didn't walk. I figured that climbing stairs to ride water slides would more than make up for the miles I didn't get in. My legs were exhausted! I know I got a good workout.

Sunday I rested because I was SO exhausted from Saturday.

Monday and Tuesday I was sick.

So, today I walked not too hard for about 3 miles. And yes, my legs were still affected by the stairs at the indoor water park!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Thought I was Fit ...

Doing two half marathons in the same month -- PRing in the second one -- might indicate a level of fitness. But sometimes I forget that just because I can walk pretty far, and I'm getting faster, that I'm not necessarily fit.

On Saturday for example, we took our niece and nephews to an indoor water park for the day. The cooler water slides required climbing several flights of stairs. Because the park was not crowded, there was almost no wait -- we could go down almost as quickly as we climbed.

The first time up I felt OK. The second time up, I started to feel it. The third time up, I had to rest halfway up. After that I really slowed down. After a while, I just could not go up those stairs one more time. I was exhausted! I ended up heading to our table to rest. Though I ended up going up several more times throughout the day, I had to take breaks.

When we got home that night, I was in a tremendous amount of pain! My legs ached! In fact, I could barely sleep I was so sore. The next day, I avoided the stairs at home as much as possible. Geez!

So, though I am making great strides as a half marathoner, I obviously need to do a little bit of cross training. There is a dam nearby with tons of stairs people run. Maybe I should try hitting the stairs once in a while.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Obesity can Cost Women More than Men

Just saw in today's paper that there are additional costs to being obese. The average person would assume that there are health care costs and everyday living costs that would be higher. What I found surprising is that it is more expensive to be an obese women than to be an obese men. The annual cost of being obese is $4,879 for women and $2,646 for men. The researchers included lots of data including sick days, loss of productivity and even cost of additional gasoline!

So, why is the gap so high between men and women? Because thinner women make more money than heavier women; whereas there is no difference in earning potential between obese men and thinner men. So heavy women are treated differently, but heavy men are not? Wow!

Just another reason why we should all pay more attention to our health and specifically our weight.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, Tuesday, September 21.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Random Thoughts about the Air Force Half Marathon

  • You can't help but finish this race feeling patriotic! 
  • Expo is nice, but always tight. Good to get there at off-peak hours. Thursdays are good.
  • Though I didn't do it this year, it is a good idea to go to the pasta dinner. There are tons of people in town, and it is hard to get into a restaurant otherwise. They usually have great speakers.
  • If you talk on the phone for more than a mile during the race about family matters, expect the people around you to make fun of you.
  • We encountered a women we like to call "Toilet Seat Girl." She talked so loudly about her encounter with the Port-a-John seat, we couldn't help but give her a nickname.
  • Lots of walkers (us included this year) line up too close to the front and it can be hard to get around them. In our defense, we thought we were farther back than we were. Regardless, there were plenty of much slower walkers ahead of us.
  • Shirts are great! Technical shirts in women's sizes and the women's small fits me. Woo hoo! (BTW: I also loved the old long-sleeved cotton tees. Still wear mine.)
  • Parking can be hard. We left our hotel 2 hours before the race started just to be sure we got there in time. Needless to say, we were too early, but at least we were there in time.
  • Ranking Air Force officers hand out the finish medals. How cool is that!
  • The sweat towels handed out at the finish are wonderful.
  • LaRosa's pizza has been in the after-race food tent for the last couple of years, delicious!
  • There are a couple of hills, but the course is a whole lot more flat than it used to be. (I've seen worse hills in other halves.)
  • The volunteers at the Hydration Stations are great!
  • There is a point mid-race where the full marathoners and half marathoners share the same road and it is important for the half marathoners to be alert and stay to one side of the road. It is awkward, but I'm not sure it can be avoided.
  • Overall, this is a really good race!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New PR at Air Force Half Marathon!

The Air Force Marathon Half today was fantastic! The weather was perfect, the water stops were fun, the B52 flyovers were exciting and the finish line was well organized!

The half marathon started at 8:30 this year, about one hour and 15 min after the full marathon. The temp was about 58 degrees and it was a tough decision for me to leave my jacket behind -- Deb convinced me. Deb and I both wanted to use the Port-a-johns before the start, and were starting to get a little nervous about the lines. Then it turned out there were tons of units fairly close to the start and the lines went quickly.
The starting line was a little confusing. We thought we were in the right place, but it seemed as if there were a lot of people who were not in the race milling around with racers. We also thought we were near the 3-hour half marathon sign. Because there were so many people milling around we just could not be sure. Also, last year I went too far back and Barbara and I had a very hard time getting around slower walkers who were up near the front.

I love the fact that they have the same starting line events for the full and the half. However, we could not hear any announcements and barely heard the end of the National Anthem. It is always so moving hearing the National Anthem with a group of military athletes, and I felt a little let down that we missed it. Parasails were dropped from a plane: one carrying the American Flag and the other a POW/MIA flag. A B52 did several flyovers! Very cool! Then we heard what sounded like a cannon fire and we were off!

Deb and I had lined up too close to the front as tons of medium fast runners zoomed past us. Luckily we got to the edge so we were easier to get around. Runners were still passing us past the first mile marker! In the meantime, we were trying to get around lots walkers who were slower than us.

Our game plan was to do the first mile in about 14:30 to warm up, then to use my heart rate monitor to determine our pace. My long-distance race rate works best at about 140. It's pushing, but not so hard that I cannot maintain it for a long distance.

The first water stop was before mile 1. We had that one large hill early in the course, and the rest of the race was mostly flat with slight inclines and declines.

We did mile 1 in 14:04. Oops! Maybe all of the walking we did before the race trying to find a Port-a-john warmed us up sufficiently.

This course is surprisingly pretty considering that a lot of it is on a military base. At one point we were heading down a totally shaded lane with just wetlands and open fields beyond the trees lining the road. It was beautiful!

Unfortunately, on this narrow road is where the elite marathoners, wheelchair athletes and half marathoners converge for a short distance. It was about mile 19 for them and I think mile 5 for us. It is amazing to me how many people can't hear someone come up behind them yelling at them to move. The first runner and wheelchair had bike escorts, but the second wheelchair athlete did not.

Around mile 5 the water stop played oldies rock and roll and featured Fat Elvis -- on oxygen. Elvis had a microphone and encouraged all of the participants. I remembered him from last year and he really lifts the spirits of participants.

Deb and I passed one military person (Army?) running the half with a 90-lb pack! I know it was 90 lbs because I asked him. He was amazing and very cute! Lots of people thanked him for his service as they passed. There were others carrying lighter packs, so this guy really stood out.
Many of the course "volunteers" were military. So friendly and a credit to our country!

Other water stops went above and beyond. One had a Nerds theme! Everyone had on thick black-framed glasses and really dressed the part with pocket protectors, rolled up pants, beanie caps... So fun! Deb said she felt right at home with these people.

It was around mile 8 that we had to make a pit stop. I was worried about maintaining our pace, but it added only 1 min. to our time. Not bad! This is where Pat and Nancy caught up with and passed us. They were at the very back of the starting line which is why we didn't find them before the race. This was the only mile we had near 15 min.

The full marathoners joined us again around our mile 11. It was nice having so many athletes around us!

We kept Pat and Nancy in our sights and finally at mile 12 I decided to try to catch them -- and I did! I have never caught them in a race before! (In their defense, Pat was fighting a minor injury and was not at her usual pace.) I walked with them for just a couple of minutes when Nancy said we should really push it and try to break 3 hours. Oh boy! I was already pushing it! We walked off without Pat, and Nancy kept saying "Push Cindi" but I already was! She finally broke ahead of me. At this point my heart rate was at 160 and I tried not to let it drop till the finish. I just did not have anything left to push harder.

At the very end I think they had the mile markers switched. We hit the 13-mile mark before we hit the 26-mile mark -- no way I did that last mile in under 10 minutes.

One thing I hate about this race is the last half mile. You can see the finish line, you can hear the crowds, but you still have to make those last three turns to get to there. It can mess with your mind if you aren't ready for it. But the finish line is the absolute best in the world! As you turn that final corner, you walk through the lined up antique fighter planes. It is so cool! People several deep line the fence and cheer for everyone! It kept me pushing and trying very hard to look like a racewalker. (Yes, Larry, I was pushing my arms.)

I finished in 3:03:17! A new personal record! (Last year I PRd at this race too with 3:05:37.) I know I have a sub-three minute half in my future!

So, Nancy finished first in 3:01. Though I crossed the finish line ahead of Pat, I got to the start line before her and our finish times were close. Her time was 3:03:16. Deb was right behind with 3:04:58. Though it was a slow finish for Pat and Nancy, Deb and I both PRd!

The finish is so well organized! I went through a little corral to get my medal. Many high-ranking officers hand out the medals! (I know nothing about military ranks, so I can't tell you how high ranking they were.) Then I was ushered to the silver blanket area (not needed), was handed a great sweat towel, then it was off to the food tent!

There are lines for food and only race finishers can enter. (What a concept?) There were bananas, bottles of water, bottles of Gatorade, bags of pretzels, Myoplex (didn't take any) and La Rosa's pizza. It looked as if there were Chick-Fil-A sandwiches earlier, but there weren't any left. We stayed in the fenced-in finish area to eat our pizza and it was great! I ate the pizza a little too fast and it ended up upsetting my stomach, but boy did it taste good!

Overall, this is a very well-run, almost flat, fun event. It is run with military precision and I always feel proud to be an American when I'm done. I have PRd here two years in a row. I will definitely be back!

What else makes me happy? The race shirts! The long-sleeved cotton shirts of previous years were great (I still wear mine.) but the technical shirts in women's sizes are even better! They fit! I love the fact that a race like this makes the effort to have women's sizes. Thanks Molly!

Mile 1 - 14:04
Mile 2 - 13:54
Mile 3 - 14:24 (I missed the mile marker.)
Mile 4 - 13:25 (This was a little short due to missing previous mile marker.)
Mile 5 - 13:40
Mile 6 - 13:55
Mile 7 - 14:03
Mile 8 - 15:04 (1-min pit stop.)
Mile 9 - 14:05
Mile 10 - 13:57
Mile 11 - 14:05
Mile 12 - 13:41 (Caught up with Pat and Nancy.)
Last 1.1 - 14:52

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Two Days Off

I took two days off after Sunday's half marathon. Though I had no intention of walking Monday, I did end up doing a little "casual" walking in a park setting. Though it was slightly tiring, it still qualifies as a day off. Yesterday, I had planned to get in a few easy miles, but an appointment with a plumber caused me to postpone.

So today I went back to doing hills with Deb and Elaine. I was pretty excited because I barely felt the first couple of hills. By the time we did the fourth and last set, I was just starting to feel the inclines. Here's where I wimped out -- I could have done at least one more lap, but I quit when Deb and Elaine were ready.

So I felt great and could have worked harder, but I didn't. Besides, I have an excuse. I just did a half marathon on Sunday. No one would expect me to go all out just a couple of days after a long-distance race.

We did a half mile warm-up, four "laps" of hills and a half mile cool-down. All this in 59:56.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Emerald City Half Marathon -- Nice!

I finished the inaugural Emerald City Half Marathon (Dublin, OH) today. Overall, it was a nice race.

The event started and ended at the Dublin Methodist Hospital which allowed plenty of parking. It was an out-and-back course on main roads as well as bike trails.

Temps were in the low 50s as we waited for the 7 a.m. start. Because we were in the back, we did not hear much. In fact, many people around us did not hear the National Anthem being played and talked right through it.

Because there were about 1,200 people in the event, it took only about 2 minutes for us to get to the starting line. (I'm guessing since we didn't hear the start.) The first couple of miles were on main roads and about mile 3 we moved on to the trails through Glacier Ridge Park. This is where I finally warmed up and tossed my sweatshirt. Though I thought the course was mostly flat, Deb and I did notice that we seemed to be on a slight incline for the entire race. (I know, I know.)

Glacier Ridge is a beautiful park! I never go there to walk because it is fairly confusing and I'm afraid of getting lost. There are lots of prairie-like areas and then a very pretty wooded area. The shade was chilly and the sun felt great. This early in the morning it was even more beautiful.

At about mile 6.5, we turned around and went back the way we came. About mile 8 I could no longer ignore the pebbles in my left shoe and had to stop and get them out. That had to add at least 45 seconds to our finish time.

Most of the water stops were "manned" by groups of student athletes. They did a great job but the Gahanna Cross Country team was the best because they made a tunnel with their arms for us to walk through.

At mile 12 I left Deb and tried to zoom ahead. Actually, I just wanted to pass the woman in purple ahead of us. We tried to catch her the entire race! I caught and passed before mile 13.

The announcer was still at the finish when we got there.There was still plenty of water and bagels, though the fruit was gone. The report from Elaine, who finished about 20 minutes earlier, was that the bananas were rotten and the oranges were going fast.

Here are the couple "dings" for this race: 1) Though the shirts are cut for woman and mine fit, the design on the front is kinda ugly. (Deb gave hers away already.) 2) The web site said there would be on-course entertainment. There was none. 3) If you did this race alone, it would be lonely. 4) No fruit at the end, they would could have gone to the tavern for a free Bloody Mary. 5) The web site said water every mile and it was actually about every 2 miles. Still, because the temps were mild, this was enough water -- it just isn't what the web site said.

So the weather was beautiful, the water stops were well manned and fun, the course was easy to follow and very pretty, the course was flat, parking was easy and the shirt fits. Despite the few dings, overall it was a good event! I'll do it again.

Sorry -- no photos. I decided against carrying my camera today.

29:34 (I missed the 5-mile sign.)
15:33 (Removed pebbles from shoe.)
Total 3:13 for an average of 14:46.

Considering I was scheduled for a long slow distance today, this isn't bad. I'm planning to be much faster in Dayton at the Air Force Half in two weeks.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Second Friday Off

Today was my second Friday off in a row. I have tons of vacation days saved up and don't have any real travel plans, so I decided to take a few long weekends. Taking a day off like this makes me feel like I'm playing hooky. I love it!

Taking advantage of having nothing to do and nowhere to go, I decided to get in a 3-mile training walk. Because I had not walked to the library in a while -- and haven't even had a chance to try out the new sidewalks -- that's where I decided to go. The sky was a little dark and looked as if rain would come soon as I walked out the door.

It's exactly 1 mile from my front door to the library. As I turned on to Lane Road, I was excited to be able to walk on those brand new sidewalks and out of the streets. I always felt nervous on the street here, even though there is a "bike" lane marked. (I wasn't fond of walking in the front yards of the people who live on this road, either.) As I started the 1.2-mile loop around the park, I was just happy to have a day off and have the opportunity to be out walking in the morning. In fact, I felt so good that at the end of the lap, I decided to walk a second lap before heading back home.

I made it home in just a little more than an hour, a long time before the rains hit. I was very happy with the time considering I walked farther than 4 miles and I had to stop at three traffic lights.

Yes, it was another good Friday morning. I think I could get used to this.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Impulse Race Registration

Today I registered for the Emerald City Half Marathon to be held in Dublin this Sunday. Yeah, it was an impulse.

I don't normally register for half marathons on a whim. In fact, I almost registered for this one a couple of weeks ago. There were a bunch of lame reasons for why I didn't register -- including the fact that this race director's shirts do not normally fit me and I'm tired of getting shirts that don't fit. Then today I received an e-mail from race director David Babner and I changed my mind. I had forgotten that this is the inaugural year for this race. In addition, there will be bloody Marys at the after-race party and this race is providing women's shirt sizes! The other good thing is, the race is local and does not require a stay in a hotel.

Part of the reason I decided to do this race after all is that I need to do 12 miles this weekend in preparation for the Air Force Half Marathon later this month. It will be a whole lot more fun to do this race with my friends than to do 12 miles alone.

After I registered for the event this morning, I was impressed. When I stopped by Fleet Feet to pick up my packet this evening, my name was on the list! Woo hoo! I didn't even need to print out the receipt I was carrying with me just in case. I went early to pick up my stuff to be sure there would still be shirts in my size available. (The funny thing is, though I was very excited that the shirt was a women's sizes, I didn't even try it on until a couple of minutes ago. It fits!)

Check out the race website at:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Do I Like my New Shoes?

I haven't decided yet. The shoes are a little heavier than I like for short distances, but tonight I was feeling as if I was racewalking while wearing them. I need the extra support for longer distances, I just can't tell if these shoes are the right weight or too heavy. While walking slowly, I can feel the support in the center of the right sole. While walking at a quicker pace, I couldn't feel it.

So, I'm still up in the air about the Scott shoes.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Viewing a Water Stop from the Other Side

The members of the Buckeye Striders volunteered to work a water stop at the Spirit of Columbus Half Marathon yesterday. The experience was a whole lot better than last year's race -- both for the volunteers and the race participants.

Still, there were a couple of bumps that made it a little challenging. With planning we were able to get beyond most of those glitches. From the little experience I have working water stops, here are some things to think about.
  1. Large pieces of lightweight cardboard can be used to stack more than one layer of cups filled with water. We were able to stack three layers. This is especially helpful when you do not have a lot of people to help pass out water.
  2. If your water stop will also pass out an electrolyte beverage, it is important to have at least two tables: one for water, one for electrolytes.
  3. Water pitchers make it a whole lot easier to fill cups. Those giant, orange Gatorade beverage coolers are great, but the spout is way too slow to fill cups when there is a crowd. If you can take the lid off the cooler and fill cups by dipping and filling a pitcher, it will go much faster. We had one person line up empty cups and another filled the cups.
  4. We found out too late that the water and Gatorade tables were too close together. Make sure there is enough space between them that it is easy for the racers to tell who has what.
So, we had a successful water stop this year! We had plenty of water, we had plenty of cups filled in time, we had two tables and for the most part the race participants had a good race. And a small portion of that good race was because of us.

Friday, August 27, 2010

New Shoes

Makani II by Scott.
I arrived at FrontRunner today with the intention of buying another pair of Asics exactly like the pair I have been wearing since March. (I know, I put way too many miles on my shoes to have waited this long.) Though the Asics seem to be working just fine, I still asked Karl to bring a couple similar shoes out for me to try.

As soon as I put on a new pair of shoes, I knew my Asics were worn out! Everything felt great to my feet!

Initially I tried the right shoe of the Asics along with the left shoe from Scott. Though I have never heard of Scott before, Karl reported that the company had been around for years. I knew immediately that the Asics were not right for me. After walking just a few minutes in the parking lot, I could tell my ankle was wobbly and there was rubbing on the inside "corner" of my heel. "Oh yeah," I remembered. "These shoes used to give me blisters and I used to think my ankles wobbled in them."

The shoe from Scott felt a little bit stiff, but not bad. I kept it on, and tried a right shoe from a Pearl Izumi pair. I stood up, took three steps and knew I did not like them. They were way too stiff and heavy!

Karl then brought out a Nike pair that featured a new technology allowing a lower heel. Though they looked cool, and mostly felt OK, where the shoe bent jabbed into my toes in an odd way. Sorry.

The more I walked in them, the more I liked the Makani II by Scott. My ankles were stable and the shoes bend. They feel slightly stiff, but then again, I'm planning to wear them in a half marathon -- they need to be slightly stiff and heavier than shorter-distance shoes. (I don't like admitting I need heavier shoes for long distance, but I do.)

I bought the Makani IIs though I am not absolutely positive about them. I'll give them a few miles and see how it goes.

A Friday Morning Walk

Me on the deck in front of Antrim Lake. Happy Friday!

You are here!
The morning was so beautiful I took advantage of the time off from work to head to Antrim Park to get in a couple of laps. With the sun shining and temps in the mid-60s the morning was perfect!

The first lap was not very intense at 17 min. exactly. The second and third laps were a little bit faster at 16:46 and 16:41. Funny how I felt I was not working overly hard, yet that first lap was the equivalent of a 14:10 mile! My fastest lap was 13:54. When you can walk a 14 min. mile without working overly hard, that is a good thing!

Looking north up the trail from the deck.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Columbus Marathon Promotions

It's old news that the Columbus Marathon has a new race director, Darris Blackford. What is new is the pre-race activities promoting the marathon. I'm impressed!

Some of the activities include a group run on National Run Day, another group run on the first day of training, and Facebook and Twitter accounts. The Facebook posts and Tweets are interesting, too. There's a new logo and the website is attractive and useful.

In addition, I receive an electronic newsletter, professionally prepared and with good information in it. In the most recent issue, there was an announcement about pre-race posters available to anyone who wants to promote the race. Posters are available at local running stores or from the marathon offices. And the posters are nice! I want a couple!

OK, I'm already registered for the Columbus Marathon Half and I'm getting excited! I've been involved with or participated in the race for years. I have to admit, I haven't been this excited about the marathon in a long time! And I think a great deal of that excitement is because of the public relations activities.

So, if you have not thought about entering the Columbus Marathon this year -- check it out. I think you'll be impressed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Easy Laps

Because I walked hard yesterday, I did a couple of easy laps around the big block in my neighborhood. But, what started out as just three easy laps turned into four. Truthfully, the last two were not as easy as I had intended, but after the first two I felt so great, I had to pick up the pace and add a lap.

Lap 1 - 14:19
Lap 2 - 11:31
Lap 3 - 11:21
Lap 4 - 11:12

You have got to love it when you get progressively faster throughout a walk! Now I just need to go online and measure the distance of the block.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tonight's Surprises

  • When I got to Antrim Park it was almost too chilly for the sleeveless shirt I chose to wear. (I was freezing!)
  • I ran into my nephew David! The last time I ran into David at Antrim, we were both timing our laps and couldn't stop.
  • This time of year, if you walk hard enough to breathe through your mouth, you might swallow a bunch of gnats. (I did that tonight. Added protein?)
  • If you push your elbows back hard enough and it becomes second nature, you can walk faster!
  • Though I didn't feel I was pushing my hardest, I had a 13:32 mile!

The first lap was a bust because I ran into David about one-third of the way around the lake and we did stop to talk tonight. After that warm-up lap, lap two was 16:52 and lap three was 16:15 -- that equals a 14:03 min-mile and a 13:32! I was not walking my hardest, I was not breathing my hardest and my heart rate peak was only 145. Yea!!!

Making Stairs Fun

A friend recently sent an e-mail to me with this video embedded. What a great way to get people to exercise without their knowing it!

I searched the Internet for the source of this video and I could not find it. Of the many places I found the video, not one gives credit. If you know who I should give credit to, please let me know!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

10 Miles -- More or Less

Today the Buckeye Striders were at Sharon Woods, one of my favorite places to walk. Though we are all training for half marathons, we are at slightly different distances this week. I needed 10 miles, others needed 8 or 4. The nice thing about Sharon Woods is that it is a loop, so it is fairly easy to meet up with people about an hour after you start.

Deb set the pace a little too fast for me at the start. She had warmed up for a mile and I hadn't. Still I worked pretty hard and kept up with her. After about 2 miles I ended up in front of her and she suddenly accused me of being too fast!

After about 4 miles, we ended up back at the start and met the other Striders starting at 8. When the rest joined us, we ended up splitting up by pace more than usual. Shock of all shocks, I ended up in one of the fast groups! (Let me clarify. This was a long slow distance day. The people I walked with were walking slow for them -- it was fast for me.)

So doing slightly fewer than 10 miles (I'm not sure exact distance), I finished in about 2:26. Every mile was faster than 15 min with the fastest 14:11, most about 14:30 and the last two alone were about 14:40. (I needed to slow a little those last 2 miles.)

It was a fun morning, I feel great, I think I burned about 1300 calories! Great start to the weekend!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stress Reduction Through Walking

Because of a rough day at work, I decided that rather than just walk in the neighborhood, I needed a "destination." It always makes a walk better when I can go somewhere that feels special. Some of my favorite locations are Antrim Park around the lake, Sharon Woods and along the river at Griggs Reservoir. Today I needed the lake around Antrim Park.

The temps were mild (for August) and there was a lot less humidity, so walking was a little easier than it has been recently. The only problem was, I didn't sleep well last night, so my heart rate was in the zone with a lot less exertion. But then again, that is why I wear a heart rate monitor.

I did three laps around the lake for about 3.6 miles in 53:51 min for an average of about a 15-min mile. (I didn't sleep well, that makes sense.) My first lap was slower than a 15-min mile, I picked up the pace and the second lap was slightly under 15-min per mile, and the final lap was 17:37 for a 14:40 mile! Not bad considering I was tired!

So, I'm happy I was able to pick up the pace and walk harder than I have in a while, I generated some desperately needed endorphins, and I burned off my stress while walking in a beautiful location! This is now a much better day!

Monday, August 16, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes

It felt as if it really cooled down when I went for a walk after dinner this evening. Of course, it is the same trick in reverse when, after several days of sub-zero temps in the winter, temps in the high 20s feels warm.

My focus today was to push my arms back hard. Because I am always worried about my feet plodding instead of rolling while racewalking, I almost always forget to check my arms. After only a few minutes of pushing, I could tell I have not worked on my arms in a while -- they were tired!

I walked for only 36 minutes -- a slow warm up until I reached the large block down the street, two hard laps around the block, then a cool down back to the house and one lap around the cul de sac across from our house.

I did the first lap in 13:26 and the second in 12:36. It felt good to want to walk hard for a change! The humidity lately has very been draining. (I'm not sure how long a lap is.)

And I'm glad I was reminded to work my arms. For some reason, I always forget.

This is funny. Today I wore a pair of New Balance shoes I haven't worn in quite a while. The shoes are a little bit too light for me and the insoles bother my feet if I wear them too long. (I knew tonight's walk would be short.) What I had forgotten though, is that the insoles make the shoes squeak -- loudly! So as I zoomed around the neighborhood, encountering more neighbors than usual, my shoes were loud and obnoxious! No wonder I got so many weird looks.