Saturday, January 30, 2010

Walked Inside Today

I don't belong to any type of fitness club. So my access to weights, exercise equipment and an indoor track are severely limited.

On days like today, when the temps were in the teens, it was nice to take advantage of the fact that other members of the Buckeye Striders do have access to indoor tracks. Today we were at the Capital University in Bexley.

The track is about an eighth of a mile and the track surface is somewhat soft. It's a really nice switch on a day like today.

The other thing I like is that it is much easier to walk with a variety of different members of the club when we are on a track. People will speed up or slow down to walk a couple of laps with someone. When we are outside on a trail, we all tend to walk with the same people every week -- we naturally break up based on pace.

I tried to walk harder than I usually do, but didn't even attempt to figure out how far I went. I was not planning to walk in the same lane every lap, so I didn't count them. When I was with people who are faster than I am, I'd walk closer to the inside lane. When with people who are a little slower than I am, I took a lane more toward the outside.

As we got close to when we had to leave, I sprinted as hard as I could for the last lap. Though my heart rate was hovering around 144 throughout most of the workout, I was able to get it up to 177 during the sprint. I'm thinking that might be closer to my maximum heart rate.

It was a good morning for walking and I really appreciated that in January we could walk and be warm!

Photo by Yali Shi.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fitness Challenge -- 100 Pushups

As I've noted here before, I have NO upper body strength. I've just about given up on doing even one pull up (I can still do only half of one). I've tried to lift light weights and do other exercises, but it's just not enough to keep me going.

I'm hoping that signing up to do the 100 Push Ups Training Program will give me a reason to follow through. (It might work. Signing up for half marathons is the only thing that keeps me walking.) If that doesn't work, my 16-year-old son has bet me $20 that I won't be able to do it -- now that is incentive!

The program on the website is pretty straight forward and seems doable.

So, this weekend, my son and husband and I will do the initial test and we will start the program on Monday. I'll keep you posted on our results!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Inspiration

Deb, Elaine and I are getting back into our weekly walk routine. I always feel better when I walk with them.

Today we went to Griggs Reservoir and instead of doing hills, we went the opposite direction for a little more than 3 miles in about 43 mins. The temps were in the mid-30s, but it did not take long for us to warm up. I probably did not need to wear two tech shirts under my great new jacket.

I did try to get the others to walk a little faster, but I was only moderately successful. Toward the end Elaine and I decided to sprint and though I had a pretty good lead when we started we finished at just about the same time.

I missed a couple of mile markers, so I don't know for sure how fast we were per mile. My heart rate did average about 136 with a peak of 168.

The "new inspiration" part of this blog posting is trying to find something fun and exciting to train for this year. I'm thinking I might like to do another full marathon after all. But as those of us who have done a marathon know, the race is the easy part -- it's the training that is hard. It would have to be the right race, at the right time of year and the right price.

I'd also love to hike the Grand Canyon, but I'm not sure it will work this year.

If I don't do a full this year, I might do 6 halves instead. That could really be fun!

I'm also feeling a little more inspired to lose the 10 lbs. I've wanted to lose for the last couple of years. (In the last week, that has increased to 12 lbs.) I also recently learned that losing that small amount of weight could affect my speed. So, if I'm successful, it could help me walk faster.

And this last inspiration is going to sound a little weird. I recently read about a website called 100 pushups. It is a training program to help people build up to doing 100 nonstop pushups. I'm thinking I might try that.

Looks like I may have to write some walking resolutions this year!

Calories consumed 1360. Calories burned 440.(According to heart rate monitor.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You Have it Within You to Be Amazing

My friend Larry has a great blog called Walking the Talk with LarryWalksFast at Though he claims that writing is hard for him, you'd never know it. His information is good and presented well. You'll love it!

His wife Andrea is also a very talented writer. She recently did a guest blog posting, "You Have It Within You to Be Amazing." After reading that blog post, I am starting to feel inspired to do another marathon this year for my 50th birthday. (You may recall that I previously had decided against doing one.) And I'm feeling inspired to try a few other things I've been putting off. I can't wait to get home and DO something!

If you ever need your own personal cheerleader to encourage you to get out and walk, enter a race, set big goals or even to skip the Wendy's Bacon Blue Cheeseburger you are dying for (am I revealing too much here?) this blog post will help. I'm planning to print it out and keep it where I can read it often.

Thank you Larry and Andrea!

You can also follow Larry and Andrea on Twitter: @LarryWalksFast and @AndreaApplegate.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I don't do Rain in the Winter

My friend Elaine and I had planned to walk today about 4:30 -- unless it rained. At a little after 4 I went to the office restroom to change into my walking clothes and on my way back to my office I happened to notice the sidewalks were wet. ARGH! It had not rained all day.

Because Elaine had warned me the night before that she would not walk in the rain, I was prepared. Since I had already changed my clothes I decided to walk at the park anyway.

I was driving that direction and it started raining harder and harder. Then I remembered: There is a reason I don't do rain in the winter -- it's cold and miserable!

I ended up driving past the park and heading straight home. Yeah, I'm a wimp.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Locked out of the House -- Sort Of

While out for one of my "cold weather" walks (winter coat and boots) my husband left the house to pick up our son. I arrived home while they were gone and, since I did not take my house keys with me, continued to walk in the neighborhood while I waited. After about 20 min. of waiting, I finally called to see when they would return.

Though they were only about 5 min. away, I was informed the front door was unlocked! I could have entered the house at any time!

The good news is, I walked for 20 min. longer than I had planned. The bad news -- I'm an idiot!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Trails were Thawed!

I met my friends at Sharon Woods park this morning at 7:30 to be sure to get 6 miles in. My car said the temperature was 34 degrees, but after the cold spell we had most of the month, it felt really warm!

Though most of the trail was clear of snow, we were there early enough that there was a very thin layer of ice in spots.

We walked straight out for 1 mile then turned around to the start to meet the rest of the walking club members. There were a ton of us there!

We did 6 miles in about 1:28.
Mile 1 - 14:44
Mile 2 - 15:06 (stood around for about 20 secs waiting for others)
Mile 3 - 14:36
Mile 4 - 14:36
Mile 5 - 14:19
Mile 6 - 14:30

My peak heart rate was 162 and the average was 134. I might not have the correct HR monitor for me. though it tells me the average HR for each mile, I can't tell how long I was in each "zone". I think would be helpful.

Regardless, today I'm happy because my new asics jacket worked great with only one technical shirt under it. I opened the side vents after just a short amount of time. It was a really good morning to walk.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Jacket is Great!

Yesterday I exchanged the jacket I got for Christmas. Though the Pearl Izumi jacket was VERY cute, fit perfectly and was designed for cold weather, the wind blew right through it. (I took my husband to FrontRunner, tried on jackets and showed him the one I wanted.) The sales clerk assured me it would be wind resistant -- it wasn't.

Anyway, yesterday I returned it and found the exact jacket I wanted! It's made by asics, is a great color I won't get tired of (plum), is wind resistant and water resistant, and there are zippered vents at the shoulders. The sales clerk who waited on me this time said they sell out of this one quickly and the current shipment just came in. Yea! (It's actually a weather-resistant shell that requires layers underneath, but that is my preference.)

I had the opportunity to try out my new jacket when Deb and I did our hill workout tonight. It was sunny, but probably only 30 degrees when we started at about 4:45. After just a couple of minutes we were warmed up, and after a couple hills, we were both very warm and sweating. As the temps dropped, the wet spots on the street at Griggs Reservoir started to freeze and it was tough to tell what was frozen and what was just wet. After we both slipped a couple times, we decided to call it a night. We ended up walking for about 47 min. and got back to our cars just as the sun was beginning to set behind the trees at 5:30.

Because one side of the hill still had snow and ice, we walked to the top of the hill, did a loop around the fountain at the top, and back to where we started. I lost track of the laps, but the uphills felt great! And we both had plenty of energy to go farther. It's a shame the weather did not cooperate.

Wore two technical shirts under jacket, which was a layer too much. It was great having vents at the shoulder. My MR peaked at 152, which is in the fourth zone. I still have to figure out how to determine how long I walked in each zone. Just saw that it is possible to add on something that will allow me to download info to my computer. I'm going to look into that.

Note: I hate jacket colors that can look too dated. A lot of what I saw at one store was teal and pink. I think after a year, teal will get old and I'm just not a pink person. I loved the red Pearl Izumi jacket and the plum color of the asics jacket is great!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Walking in the Dark ... I Mean in the Light

The best thing about walking at night in the winter is ... it's never really dark! There is so much snow right now it reflects what little light came from porch lights and headlights of cars.

I couldn't find either of my reflective vests and my winter coat is a very dark blue, so I was a little worried walking tonight. Once outside, I could not believe how light it was. I wore one of my headlamps, but it was totally unnecessary.

Though most of the sidewalks were fairly clear, there was one whole block in front of rentals that had not been shoveled. It was OK because it made my workout more intense.

The route that normally takes 25 min. when I racewalk, and took 31 min. last week, took 37 min. tonight. It felt great! 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Finding a Healthy Lunch Salad

I have got to quit going to Panera. Why? Well, as I was preparing to write this post I noticed that for years I have been complaining on this blog about the company's salads. I went to Panera just this week and things have not really changed. Even the reduced fat balsamic vinaigrette dressing has 130 calories.

So I am planning to avoid Panera salads. If I forget, I will not complain here. (Promise.)

Where will I go instead? Noodles and Company.

At Noodles and Company all of the entree-sized salads without meat are under 500 calories. The only salads even remotely close to 500 calories are the Caesar and a peanut salad that is not available in Central Ohio. My favorite is the Med salad with a very tasty creamy tzatziki dressing. It has kalamata olives and feta and is still only 320 calories. The entree size really is entree size.

I keep wondering, how is it that some restaurants can offer delicious, low-calorie salad selections and others find it nearly impossible?

Obviously, there are tons of places that cannot do salads well. Can't even believe that McDonald's gave it a try. Still, I keep holding out hope for Panera. It's probably why I keep going back and why I keep sending e-mails saying they aren't there yet.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Above and Beyond

When I got home this evening, it had been snowing for quite a while and the white stuff in the driveway was deep. I knew I would not want to walk through that snow to get into my car in the morning, so I dragged out a snow shovel and cleared the driveway around my car and the sidewalk leading to the porch.

I could not believe how light the snow was! It was so easy to shovel, I decided to keep going until I felt tired. Well, I cleared the entire driveway and got partway down the sidewalk when I finally quit. It took less than 30 min.! Who needs a teenaged son!

After dinner I felt so energetic, I decided to go for a walk. It was still snowing and about a third of my neighbors did not shovel their sidewalks, so I wore my typical winter boots and heavy winter coat. I discovered a lot of my neighbors have snow blowers. I bet they were happy about the day's snow.

Though the clear sections were easy to walk on, I kind of enjoyed walking in the snow. It gave my legs a different type of workout. The walking was a little more difficult and I did not get nearly as far as I normally do in 30 min. It didn't feel very cold and there was no wind. And I really like the way snow muffles extraneous noise. It was a good workout both mentally and physically.

Note: I figured all of you have seen plenty of my photos of snow, so I didn't take any.
Calorie calculators online say I burned 180 calories shoveling snow, and my HR monitor says I burned 207 walking. I may have to make some hot chocolate!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Wow -- Out Walking Again in Frigid Temps!

Today marks my third day out walking in frigid temps. I'm not quite sure how cold it was -- but I believe it was in the 20s. It has been snowing lightly for a few days and some sidewalks were shoveled and others were not, so it just was not a good day to racewalk. Instead, I wore boots and a heavy winter coat.

I was out for only 35 min., but it felt good. I walked at least 2 miles and the workout was a of a medium intensity. I could feel it, but I didn't sweat and I wasn't working super hard. The temps were dropping while I was out and it was a lot colder when I finished than when I started.

It's supposed to be even colder this weekend. I think I'll be ready.

According to my heart rate monitor, I burned 277 calories in that walk. Hmmm.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Exercise Bikes Suck

Technically, today should have been a rest day since yesterday was my long mileage day. But long mileage was only 4 miles and I really need the exercise and to burn some calories.

Silly me, I thought an easy 30 min. on my antique Schwinn exercise bike would be great.

I dragged the thing out, adjusted the floppy seat, realized it needs batteries to see the speed on the old computer display, then began pedaling. It was NOT easy! Though I remember hating this bike because of the mind numbingness of it, today I remembered it isn't easy, either. I adjusted the difficulty, made it much easier, but it was still hard. After only 10 min., I was beat and had to quit. My legs felt as if they weighed a ton and I could barely climb the stairs to get out of the basement.

I bought the bike (for a good price) from a health club that was updating its equipment about 20 years ago. It does not get a lot of use, but it's nice to know it is there, just in case I forget why I hate it.

[Lovely color scheme in my basement, isn't it? The paneling and carpet came with the house (guess what year it was installed), the area rug was repurposed from upgrades of other rooms.]

Sunday, January 03, 2010

A Frigid Walk Today

Because I'm starting to train for the Arizona Distance Classic in March, I needed to get a 4-mile walk in this weekend. Because I walked for only 30 min. yesterday, I decided to go to Antrim Park today.

The moment I got out of the car, I was happy with my decision. Though it was colder than yesterday, the lake was beautiful! The sun was shining, there was more of a breeze than I'd like, there was snow on the ground and tons of footprints! It seems that lots of other people had been there earlier in the day.

I wore two technical shirts, a fleece vest, winter coat (old and ugly), gaiter for my neck, knit hat, big thick suede mittens (very warm), hiking boots and jeans. Unfortunately, I wore only one layer on my legs and probably could have used a pair of long underwear or leggings under the jeans.

After my first loop around the lake I almost quit. To be honest, I was COLD! My face and legs were freezing! Though the rest of me was warm, I had to hold my mittens to my face to protect it from the breeze.

Then I thought about being in Tucson in March and knew I had to get in at least two more laps. I sucked it up and finished. And the longer I walked the warmer my legs felt. (Then again, doesn't the skin start to feel warm after frostbite has taken hold?)

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and I am thrilled that I was outside to enjoy it!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Monty Python

Even Monty Python knows the importance of walking. 
"Now, here's the meaning of life. Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations."

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

Walking When it's Cold

When I got up this morning, the news reported it was 11 degrees with a wind chill of 0. Because it was a beautiful sunny morning, I was hoping to go to Antrim Park. The wind blows a little harder at the park, so I opted to stay in the neighborhood, just in case I needed to add more layers.

I could not wear my new Pearl Izumi jacket with all of the layers I had planned. I wore my old Fleet Feet jacket with two shirts and a fleece vest underneath. I also wore my fleece gator, a knit hat, gloves and just one pair of thick walking pants. It was the perfect number of layers at the start, which probably indicated I was a little overdressed.

A thin layer of snow fell last night hiding the slick spots on the sidewalks. The streets were pretty clear, so I walked most of the way in the streets. I could see that a couple of my neighbors had made the same decision. It was obvious from the tracks that one neighbor even wore "yaktrax" to help prevent slipping. That person definitely left distinctive footprints.

The street was clear enough I even attempted racewalking form! It felt great!

I tried to pick up my pace and was breathing hard, but my heart rate never went above 140. That was my max a couple days ago when wearing hiking shoes and a heavy winter coat. I have got to read the heart rate monitor book so I can figure out what I need to do and what it all means.

So, today felt great. I do not think it was as cold as 11 near our house, though my window thermometer was obviously wrong stating it was 28. No way it was that warm!

I think I have decided to return the Pearl Izumi jacket for not being warm enough. I will probably return it for more of a wind-proof shell I can layer underneath.

The Buckeye Striders are starting our training for the Arizona Distance Classic in March, so I do need to get in 4 miles sometime this weekend. I decided I'd prefer to try to fit it in tomorrow. Maybe it will be warmer. (Ha!)

Friday, January 01, 2010

Last Year's Resolutions -- Success?

Last year I made some public and not-so-public New Year's resolutions. I decided to look them up and see how successful I was. Here are the results:

1) Walk five days a week most weeks of the year. -- Didn't make five as often as I wanted, but did make it four days most weeks.
2) Enter some judged racewalks. -- There were conflicts and the Buckeye Striders did not host the 1-hour racewalk we usually host.
3) Walk faster. -- YES!!! I reached my half marathon PR at Air Force half this year! Woo hoo!
4) Teach some old dogs new tricks. -- They all need to bark less, one needs to be outside more. -- Nope. Though let the little blind dog outside more, she still has issues with being "house broken." Can't get the barking to reduce either.
5) Eat more fruits and vegetables. -- Yes! discovered I really like honeycrisp apples and ate lots of them this year. Also found some delicious oranges early on. We put more veggies in our main dishes and had a lot more salads with dinner.
6) Reduce stress. -- Partially successful. I had a horrible deadline at the beginning of the year and lost weight due to the stress. After that book was finished, life was better.
7) Work less. -- Partially successful. After meeting that really tough deadline, I did work less.
8) Be more decisive. -- I'm not sure. I might have been more decisive -- I might not have.
9) Sleep more. -- Yes, I did sleep more, just not consistently enough.
10) Spend more time with friends. -- I did, but not some friends I specifically had in mind, like Tammy.
11) Manage my time better. (Less time on Twitter?) -- I was moderately successful with this one. And I did spend way too much time on Twitter, though I did try to cut back a little.

After I post this, I guess I better come with up resolutions for 2010!