Sunday, February 28, 2010

Challenging Snowy Walk

I prefer to have Sundays be my rest days. Unfortunately, I've had to get my mileage in on Sundays the last few weeks. Today was no exception, though I didn't walk as far as scheduled.

I finally had some free time this afternoon, it was sunny and the temps were in the mid-30s. So I went off to Antrim Park to get in a few miles. I didn't know for sure how clear the trails would be, so I wore my boots and a heavy winter coat.

It was definitely the right choice! The paved portion around one edge of the lake was clear, but the gravel trail the rest of the way around the lake was not clear at all. The snow was pretty thick and difficult to walk in. I had a completely different workout than I had expected. With each step my feet slipped and slid working my legs in all different ways. It felt fantastic.

It also took a lot longer to complete each lap -- nearly 24 minutes each. When the weather is good, I make it around a good 7 minutes per lap faster.

So, though I didn't get in the mileage I had intended, it was still a good workout!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Snow Finally Taking its Toll

Friday night my husband and I went out for a little while. It had started to snow and the roads were horrible! Based on the slickness of the local streets, I decided to not even attempt to meet the Buckeye Striders for our Saturday morning walk. After I woke up way too late to meet them, I discovered the group arranged to be inside at a local mall.

I probably would not have made it to the mall regardless (I don't do malls), I did feel guilty about not walking. I'm scheduled to do 9 miles this week and there is no way I could have made it 9 miles in a mall. And lately, if I can't get my miles in on scheduled days, I end up unable to catch up.

The weather is definitely making it tough to walk right now. We have had record snows in Central Ohio and I am just now starting to have trouble maintaining my motivation.

So, I sit here on my couch, in my nice warm house, drinking coffee from my US Air Force Marathon mug. Hmmm. Maybe drinking coffee from my favorite (and only) marathon with help keep me motivated. It's worth a shot!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More Heart Rate Monitor Questions

I recently purchased the book Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot by John L. Parker, Jr.

By following the instructions in the book, I have determined that my maximum heart rate is 188 bpm. While walking, I have been able to get my heart rate up in the high 170s and low 180s, so it made sense.

Today, while not walking especially hard, my average heart rate was 184 and my peak heart rate was 217. Though we threw in a hill, and I was a little tired, I was far from exhausted. I barely even felt my heart beating.

So my concern now is: Is there really something wrong with my heart rate monitor? And if not, why would my heart rate suddenly go up over 200 today, but not on previous days?

It might be a good time to take it back to the running store and have someone check it out for me.

A Sunny Walk Helps Keep Winter Blues Away

Deb, Elaine and I had a great walk along Griggs Reservoir today. The sun was shining, the streets were clear, the river was frozen over and it was beautiful! The sunshine and brisk air helped to push away some of the blues that result from all of the snow and gray skies we've had in Central Ohio this winter.

Because Deb and Elaine are going to Tampa this weekend for the Gasparilla Half Marathon, we were technically tapering. However, the weather prevented them from training as hard as they normally would for a race, so tapering seemed to be a somewhat inappropriate term.

We walked for about 50 min when we got back to our cars and Deb went on home. Elaine and I continued down the rest of the river for half a mile and one hill. We ended up walking a little over 4 miles in about 1:08.

It was definitely a great mood enhancer!

By the time I took my camera out the sun was already going down and this photo doesn't really show how beautiful it was today.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Short Walk Today -- Starting to Lose Weight

Funny how though it was relatively warm today, I actually felt pretty chilly walking tonight. I think part of the reason it was feeling cold is that it is really damp out there! It was a little warmer today and rained a little, so most of the sidewalks were pretty clean. Unfortunately, the one sidewalk that had a ton of snow also hid the fact that there was a huge puddle I ended up stepping in. (I survived.)

In addition to training for the half marathon in Tucson, I am trying to burn extra calories every single day. When I'm in full-blown training mode it isn't difficult. With this weather, I'm having a little bit harder time getting in the weekday miles I'd like to get in. So I've been riding the exercise bike and getting in some casual walking miles just to keep moving.

It's working (in addition to paying more attention to what I eat). I've lost about a pound and a half so far. I probably should clarify. Before I agreed to Larry's challenge, I kept gaining and losing the same 2 lbs. I lost it and was down to 130 when I accepted the challenge. So, for the challenge I've lost about 1.5, which is the first time I've been below 130 in a while. But over the last 3 weeks I've actually lost 3.5. My goal weight is 120.

Push Up Update

Yesterday we did the "exhaustion test," which simply involves doing as many push ups as you can until you are exhausted. This helps to determine which training schedule to be used over the next few weeks.

I was very excited that I did 14 push ups! Unfortunately, it turns out I didn't do as well as I thought I did. In order to progress to week 3, I needed to do at least 16.

Still, I'm am thrilled that I can do more than 10 push ups non-stop! And I'm OK with repeating week 2. It was almost too difficult for me, and I was getting worried about doing week 3.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

8 Miles Today!

It was 34 degrees and drizzling about 8 this morning when I arrived at Sharon Woods park to walk 8 miles. Because of my son's wrestling schedule, I was unable to walk with the Buckeye Striders yesterday and ended up walking the 8 miles alone. It's funny how you can really get used to walking your long distances with people. It does make it a little harder to walk alone.

The light rain stopped shortly after I started walking, thank goodness! (I hate rain in February.) It took about one lap until I was totally warmed up -- after that, I was way too warm. I ended up opening the vents in my jacket to cool down.

The trail was mostly clear except for right by the sledding hill (you can't have sleds hit dry asphalt), and a few small patches of ice. It was very easy to navigate around the ice. But it was a little surprising how difficult it was to reach a decent pace. My legs felt heavy and I had a hard time even going 15 minutes per mile.

Later today when talking to walking friends, one pointed out that riding my exercise bike hard could be affecting my walking speed. My legs are working pretty hard and may not be resting enough to walk fast. My theory is that I've been sitting on high school bleachers a lot because of my son's sports, and my legs and rear end have atrophy!

So, though it was a slow 8 miles, it felt great. It had warmed up to about 37 degrees by the time I had finished. I just wish I had had the opportunity to walk in the beautiful winter sun yesterday.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Too Much Snow to Walk

There was way too much snow over the last few days for me to walk. Because the Arizona Distance Classic is more for fun than for time, I'm not too terribly worried. I know I can finish -- I just won't be fast.

In the meantime I am continuing to ride my exercise bike for 30 min at a time and I am in the second week of the 100 Push Up Challenge. I did a total of 28 push ups today with a final set of 9. (Only 7 were required, but I did 9!) The push ups don't burn a lot of calories while I'm doing them, but I know that eventually building more muscle will help me to burn more calories every day. (Then I can eat more!)

I am watching what I eat, which is pretty hard for me. I should clarify here -- I have been good at making healthy food choices 85% of the time for years, but I love foods that are bad for me! I'm feeling hungry, but I'm not starving. It is probably psychosomatic. I'm going to have to find a wider range of fruits and veggies to eat or I will get bored pretty quick.

It was a little warmer today -- I think it reached 32 degrees. And knowing how typical Ohio goes, the snow could melt tomorrow or in April. We might be done with snow for the season, or it might snow again next week. I'll just hope for the best and go with the flow.

(Side note here: I know almonds are good for me and will help to control appetite. I also know I'm not good at portion control. So, I bought a jar of almonds, cashews and dried cranberries and measured out 1/4 cup portions. I put the nuts in individual-serving plastic containers. Now I can take some with me and I'm not tempted to eat half the jar. Each 1/4 cup is about 130 calories.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Taking Larry Up on His Bet

OK, I decided to take LarryWalksFast up on his bet. I'm betting that I can lose 10 lbs by June 1 and keep it off for a year.

As many people know, I've been wanting to get down to 120 for a couple of years. The last time I was at 120, I was training for a full marathon and not really paying attention to what I ate. The truth is, I eat better automatically when I'm in training, I just don't count calories well. And when you are walking a lot of miles every week, the junk doesn't do much damage. (I eat a lot more veggies, too, I just don't stop eating foods I like.)

So, why do I want to lose weight? There are couple of reasons. I don't like the way I look in photos -- especially photos of me sitting. I have a layer of fat that very few people have ever seen -- or will see. I recently found the results of my last physical which said that my cholesterol was slightly high and losing weight would help. (How did I forget that.) And I want to racewalk faster. I am positive that the 10 lbs will help me be faster. In addition, in order to burn extra calories, I will be walking more, so that too will help me be a faster walker.

I'm not good at being told what to do or being nagged. I tend to rebel when forced into something. However, a bet makes this a challenge. If someone thinks I can't do something, well, I will do whatever it takes to prove that person wrong.

So, you are on Larry! I will lose 10 lbs (it might be 12 lbs by now) and get down to 120 by June 1 and I will keep it off for an entire year. (You do realize that is less than a pound a week, right?) Have your money waiting.

Check out Larry's blog at:
You can also follow him on Twitter at @LarryWalksFast.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love/Hate Chipotle

I took a couple kids to Chipotle the other day. (They are athletes and had burned a ton of calories that day.) We all ordered our burrito bols and burritos and went back to our house to eat. We got home and all I kept thinking is, this is the smallest Chipotle burrito I have ever seen! All of the burritos seemed smaller than usual.

One of my biggest complaints about Chipotle is that the burritos are too big. They are so large, the calorie count is really more than enough for two meals. You can check the calories on the Chipotle Fan web site:

So, I find it funny that the first time I get a more reasonably sized burrito -- I was disappointed. After I thought about it a minute, I was happy. Chipotle burritos are a weakness for me. The last time I ordered one, I was able to split it and eat it for two meals. I don't often have that kind of self control, so it was nice having the decision taken out of my hands.

So, again, I feel like a hypocrite. I love Chipotle -- but the burritos are just too much!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

8 Miles

It was 27 degrees when I ended up at Sharon Woods for an 8-mile walk this afternoon. I ended up being a little overdressed. Two technical shirts, thermal walking pants, wind resistant jacket, gloves, hat and gaiter. At first I was pretty cold, but after about a mile I was a little too hot. As I went around the 3.8 mile loop, I was chilly in the shade and too hot in the sun.

Parts of the trail were snow covered and others were slick, but the majority was clear. Regardless, I was moving pretty slowly. I think part of the problem is that I didn't get out to do a long distance last weekend.

Despite the snow it was a beautiful day! Oh, and I saw a deer!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wiped Out ... But Still Did Push Ups

We were at the City Wrestling meet from 5 p.m. to about 10 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to about 7 p.m. today. It is amazing how draining it can be to watch other athletes all day. The adrenaline rush as each wrestler from our school was up. The highs and lows as kids we have watched all season won and loss. Whew! I am totally and completely wiped out!

Yet, I did my push ups for the 100 Push Up program about 10:30 tonight. The sets were 4, 5, 4, 4, and as many as possible with a minimum of 5. The first 4 were amazingly easy! And I was thrilled to do 7 in my last set.

I have had problems with self sabotage for many goals. I'm not going to start out the first week of push ups by skipping a day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


After re-reading my posts about sabotage and skipping walking this past weekend, I decided I needed to be more vigilant. I originally planned to try walking at one of the local parks, but didn't want to drive out there only to find there was too much snow. So, I put on my boots and winter coat and walked in the neighborhood instead.

At a steady pace, it took about an hour to walk the same distance I normally do in 35-40 minutes. I couldn't go very fast, but I did try to stay consistent. Many of the sidewalks were very clear and some had not been shoveled at all even after last week's snow fall. If it wasn't too deep, I walked right through, otherwise I temporarily walked in the street.

My heart rate did not get up very high, but I could definitely feel my legs. This type of walking is quite a bit different from racewalking! 

So, I rode the antique exercise bike yesterday, I ate healthy all day, and I did push ups and walked this evening. I'm working on overcoming the saboteurs.

Push Up Update -- Feeling Stronger Already

This was day 2 of the 100 Push Ups training program and I'm pretty excited! On Monday the second and last sets were 3 and I could barely do it -- especially the last 3.

Today the first set was 3 and they were almost easy! The other sets were 4, 2 and 3 with the final set was as many as possible, but a minimum of 4. I was able to do 6! Today's total was 18 and it was definitely easier than the 12 total of the first day.

My husband is working through a tougher level than I am. His sets were 10, 12, 8, 8 and a min of 12. His last set he did 14!

We both had muscle pain today, but it wasn't too bad. (I was more sore yesterday.) I am even more confident that I'll be able to do 100 at the end of this program.

Our son has temporarily dropped out of the training program. He has a big wrestling meet this weekend.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Some people just have great self control and self discipline. I've mentioned before that my dad had the most self discipline of anyone I have ever known.

I do not.

Though I am very goal-oriented, I need measurable benchmarks, and I really enjoy success -- but sometimes I sabotage myself. For example, I've wanted to lose 10 lbs. for a couple of years. Sometimes I gain weight, sometimes I lose weight, but I still have not lost that 10 lbs. A few weeks ago I decided I really want to lose that weight and again started tracking what I eat. Tracking calories is supposed to help people to make smart health decisions and to eat better. I gained 2 lbs.

Well, the next week I lost the 2 lbs. and eventually lost an additional pound. I immediately could not control my urge to eat a bacon blue cheeseburger, didn't exercise all weekend and gained it right back. (Yes, I did write it down. The calorie count that day was outrageous!)

I often start very well. I don't like breakfast, so I make myself eat whole wheat toast with peanut butter or a healthy granola bar (Kashi brand). Mid-morning I eat fruit. I've had some really healthy lunches and felt great. But if I let myself get hungry in the afternoon, or after dinner -- everything falls apart. Even with no change in my purse, I find a way to buy a bag of Doritos from the vending machine. Once I get home I think I'll have one cracker with a little cheese while I'm cooking something nice and healthy, and before I know it I'm no longer hungry and half the box of crackers is gone.

I sometimes do it with exercise, too. Saturday I didn't walk because of the snow. Understandable. Sunday, I didn't even attempt to go outside and found out too late that the trail at Sharon Woods was clear and others had a great walk. (I needed 8-10 miles to stay on my training schedule.)

So, I have to wonder -- why do I sabotage my success? What am I afraid of? The next thing I need to figure out is how to stop it.

There are two things I know for sure.

If I make a race into a big event, I am always prepared. I'm confident I will finish the Arizona Distance Classic, though the weather has not been conducive to the type of training that would help me PR. (This one will be for fun.) If I do choose a full marathon for later this year, I will PR.

Second, if my son bets me that I cannot do something -- I won't fail! This goes toward the push up challenge. He bet $20 that I won't be able to do it. I will.

So, if I could get someone to care about how much I weigh other than just me, or if I could make it some type of challenge or big event, I know I'd be successful.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Started the Push Ups!

My family and I started the 100 Push Up training program today.

Last week we did the initial test to see where we should each start, but couldn't start the training for real until today. I did 2, my husband did 20 and our son did 26. (Our son did so many, he gets to start at week 3 in the advanced column!) The training schedule includes 5 sets of push ups 3 days a week. We plan to do ours on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and I will be doing the modified version or "girl" push ups.

Needless to say, the 49-year-old woman with no upper body strength is starting at the lowest point possible. The schedule called for us to take 60-second breaks between sets. My sets were 2, 3, 2, 2 and then as many as I could, but no fewer than 3.

Boy, that last 3 was hard! It sounds so silly, and I hope I look back at this entry in a few weeks and laugh. (I'm comparing this to the first time I ever walked more than 4 miles and thought it was hard. Now 4 miles is nothing.) I had to try that last push up 4 times, and just could not push back off the ground. I finally did a cheater push up -- I didn't go all the way down to the ground, but at least I could get back up.

Lenny's first week schedule was 10, 12, 7, 7 and as many as he could, but no fewer than 9. The first few sets did not look too difficult and he was able to do 10 for the final set.

Our son's schedule was 14, 18, 14, 14 and no fewer than 20. He did the first few sets really fast! He did get worn out for the final and stopped short of 20. I'm not worried about his ability to work up to 100.

So, my arms are tired, but I'm pretty confident that I can work up to 100. Hey, it wasn't easy to walk 26.2 miles, but I was able to train to do that!

(No photos today. Everyone is in bed already!)

I plan to start the 200 sit up training program soon. I'm having some issues with lower back pain, so it isn't the best time to start doing sit ups. (Technically, they are crunches, which is less stressful on the back than full sit ups, but I'm having a lot of trouble sleeping because of the pain. I don't need to aggravate it.) Back strengthening exercises maybe?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

What to do After Record Snows? Plan for the Year

Columbus had record snows Friday and Saturday. It's beautiful outside and the main roads have all been plowed, but in our neighborhood the snow is still pretty deep. I can only imagine what the bike trails are like.

So, what does a person who needs to walk 8-10 miles this weekend do on a day like this? Well, she sits on the couch, drinking coffee from her US Air Force Marathon mug and tries to figure out which races she will be entering this year.

I am still considering entering a full marathon. A couple of years ago I had decided that if I did do a full marathon again, it would have to be a big event. Unfortunately, our family finances may not allow that. I have a couple of friends doing Portland in October, which sounds wonderful! It is the most walker friendly event ever! However, it is an expensive race ($100 entry fee), and by the time you add airfare and hotels, well, it adds up quickly. I have not totally ruled it out yet.

Other races I've considered have pretty strict pace limits I'm not sure I could maintain for 26.2 miles. Though I'm much faster than I used to be, and I am working on speed, I don't know if I could be faster than 15 min per mile for that long. (Marine Corp requires 14 min per mile. That is definitely out!) I finished my last two half marathons averaging about 14:30 per mile, but a full marathon is a little different.

The Columbus Marathon would be easy to get to, is fairly inexpensive (compared to Chicago at least), but I'm not so sure it is a good race for walkers who go farther than the half marathon distance. The half last year was great!

There are other full marathons within driving distance, but I worry about what it is like for walkers. I don't want to me out in the middle of downtown Cleveland by myself with no people anywhere. (Yeah, I saw it. I won't do Cleveland.)

Detroit is at a good time of year, and it was a very good half marathon. I'm just not sure I would want to do a full there.

I've done the US Air Force Marathon twice. I also entered the half about four times. I have loved this race every time I've done it. It might be cool to do the same marathon for my 50th birthday that I did for my 40th. I know I would finish faster and there are so many more walkers who enter this event, it would not be as lonely as it has in the past.

So, I have a lot to think about and will have to really examine my bank accounts before I make a decision. Regardless, the more I think about it, the more I am sure I will be doing a full marathon in 2010.

Scheduled events to date:
Arizona Distance Classic, Tucson, March 28
Indy Mini Marathon, Indianapolis, May 8

Possible events:
Portland Marathon, Portland, October 10
U.S Air Force Marathon, Dayton, September 28
Detroit Free Press Marathon, Detroit, October 17
Columbus Marathon (or half), Columbus, October 17
News and Sentinel Half Marathon, Parkersburg, August 21

Saturday, February 06, 2010

High School Prophesy?

Today, while cleaning out the basement, my husband located my yearbooks.

I  looked through them and was surprised at some of the things I had completely forgotten about including my senior class's Last Will and Testament. In it I willed my younger sister "my best walking shoes" since I would no longer be available to drive her to school.

Who would have thought? (If her feet were not a bigger size than mine, I would still be happy to leave her my walking shoes.)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Weird Things I do...

As the Buckeye Striders plan the 10-mile race this weekend, we had a lot of discussion about the course.

I wrote instructions that said, "Go clockwise until you reach the 1-mile mark." We've been there a lot, but there was some confusion. The instructions that were sent out said to go clockwise until you reach the 3-mile mark.

So, to be absolutely positive that the marker I think is there is actually there, I went out to Sharon Woods tonight to check about 5:40.

I walked clockwise around the trail, and as expected, at 0.8 miles I encountered the 3-mile marker from the other direction. It started getting a little dark, so I picked up the pace and was thrilled there is a 1-mile marker just where I want it to be! Yea!

I turned around to head back. It's funny how much darker it is at this park when you are in the midst of the pine tree section around dusk! Though the walk was uneventful, and I got the info I needed, I should be just a little more careful about what time of night I start walking in public parks.

The (Maybe) Buckeye Strider Race this Weekend.

The Buckeye Striders is planning its first ever race. The purpose of the race is to give our members an opportunity to do a long-distance race in the winter and to keep up our training. Though we originally planned it to be a half-marathon, we lost track of time for training, and settled for a 10-mile race.

The first scheduled date was last Sunday. It was so cold out, we canceled and re-scheduled for this upcoming Sunday. We have a prediction for heavy snow this weekend, so we may have to postpone again.

We were trying pretty hard to plan a race route that would be as close to 10 miles as possible without having to be USATF certified, or to avoid actually measuring it. Our solution is to use the trails at Sharon Woods. Not only is it a loop course, there is water available, there are shelters for after the race and there are mile markers!

The race will start at 9. Participants should be at Sharon Woods (first parking lot on left) no later than 8:45. We will have a main stop watch, numbers and food after the race. (With any luck, we will also have a fire.) You will need to carry your own water. The race is free.

If you are in Central Ohio and think you might be interested, please send an e-mail to me so we can keep you updated. Be sure to check your e-mail that morning to be sure the race is still on.

I hope we will see you Sunday - weather permitting!

The picture of the 1 mile marker was taken today about 6 p.m. at Sharon Woods. I just had to check that it was there.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Getting in an Extra Mile

Elaine, Deb and I met today for our mid-week walk. Though we usually do hills, the last couple of weeks, we've done a little distance instead.

Today, we started at the 0.5 mile mark on the road at Griggs Reservoir, and went north toward Lane Road. The mile markers go up to 2 miles, yet the road goes a little farther. (We go to the end.) We then turn around to go to the starting point. After reaching the 0.5-mile mark, I decided I really wanted to head to the 0 mark and back to add another mile. I was thrilled that Elaine decided to go, too.

I'm glad I added the extra mile -- I really needed it. And since it was a balmy 42 degrees outside today, it even felt spring like!

It was a good day for walking!

Note: I did not feel that I was working especially hard today. We were walking at a brisk pace and there were some slight hills, but nothing strenuous. When I got home and reviewed the results on my HR monitor, it said my peak HR reached 185 BPM! I'm not quite sure how that could happen considering I was working my hardest Saturday, and only reached a peak of 177. Tests also said my max HR is 185. Is that possible? I decided today that I really need to get a book about the best use of HR monitors.