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.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Humid 8 Miles

I wasn't able to walk with the Buckeye Striders on Saturday, so I had to do 8 miles by myself today. I decided to go to Sharon Woods because it is difficult to quit when you are halfway around the 4-mile loop.

Though it was only 76 degrees, sprinkling and overcast when I started, it did not take long for the humidity to have an affect on me. I felt my stamina begin to drain within the first couple of miles.

I had a little bit of a brain fade and had forgotten to clear my heart rate monitor before I started. After walking about 12 min I looked down and saw I was on lap 6, realized my error and cleared it to start timing the rest of this walk. Because of the humidity, my pace was slow. Even when I felt I was pushing pretty hard, I was not faster than a 15-min mile! And I'm positive I was pushing, my heart rate was in the zone I was shooting for.

We are in the midst of marathon training season. (It's my favorite thing about this time of year!) So I'm trying harder to keep to our schedule for long slow days.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Clif Crunch -- Delicious!

Because I don't like to eat breakfast, I have become a granola bar connoisseur. Don't get me wrong -- I don't eat candy bars that pretend to be granola bars. I'm pretty picky about the quality of the bars I eat.

With this love of healthy granola bars, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to try the Clif Crunch -- a new granola bar by Clif Bar and Company.

The honey oat bar I received from Clif is 70% organic and features whole grains. Instead of high fructose corn syrup, it is sweetened with evaporated cane juice. (I thought this was just a fancy way to say "sugar" but apparently I was wrong. There are health benefits to ECJ.)

I'm not a dietitian, but from looking at the label I'm impressed! All of the ingredients look great! And when I compared the Nutrition Facts with the Kashi Crunchy Honey Toasted 7 Grain bars I usually eat, they are pretty similar.
                      Clif               Kashi
Calories          180               170
Total Fat          7 g                 5 g
Trans Fat         0 g                0 g
Total Carbs    27 g              26 g 
Protein             4 g                6 g   
Fiber                5 g                4 g               

The biggest difference is the Clif product is 70% organic and this particular Kashi product is not. Other than that, the Clif bar is extremely light and a crispy crunchy whereas the Kashi bar is a heavier crunchy. (I'm not sure I am explaining that well.)

At my local store, the Kashi bars are under $3.00 for a box of six. Online, the Clif bars are $3.49 for a box of five. I have not found them locally yet.

So, I'm excited that Clif is now making a great-tasting healthy granola bar! It's a great addition to an already great product line!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

New Walking Location

The Buckeye Striders walked at a new location today -- the Olentangy Trail beginning at the northern end near Worthing Hills. Normally, I don't like too much change -- if a park we plan to walk at is too far away or unknown to me, I tend to face it with a negative attitude. I'm embarrassed to say that I went to today's walk expecting not to like this location.

There was plenty of parking when we started at 7:30.

This end of the trail is beautiful! There are lots of trees, it seems somewhat secluded (though the trail goes behind office buildings), and it follows the Olentangy River. Before you get as far south as 161, there are houses a little ways off with beautiful back yards and some high school athletic fields lining the trail. It was interesting reaching parts of the trail we have previously passed coming from the other direction!

You can tell it is marathon season -- the trail was packed with thundering herds of marathon training groups! Today, the vast majority of the runners we encountered were very nice. I loved hearing the many voices saying "Good morning, walkers," and they ran past us. It was also funny hearing just bits and pieces of conversation as they went by."The next time you have an injury..." "And then she told him..." "Aren't those the cutest shorts?"

So the temps were mild, there was plenty of shade, the trail was beautiful and the others using the trail were friendly! So, I give two thumbs up to the Olentangy Trail at the Worthington Hills entrance. I'd definitely come back!