Thursday, April 29, 2010

4 for Wednesday

Yesterday was a beautiful day for walking! We were by the river, the sun was shining, there was a nice breeze and I had the chance to walk with Catherine and Elaine. We walked a little farther than 4 miles at a medium pace. Let me clarify -- it was brisk for me, it was slow for Catherine and Elaine.

We could only measure 2 miles accurately because of where we started compared to the quarter mile markers. We were at about 14:25 and 14:10.

The good news is, I felt great from the first step. Lately, I've had very little energy for the first couple miles I walk. Yesterday, I felt fantastic! I have no idea what was different, but I felt great!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


It was sunny and beautiful today, so I decided to head out to Antrim Park to walk. It was a little bit breezy at home, so I wore a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. I stepped out of my car and just about died -- it was chilly! And that wind blew right through my sleeves!

It was so chilly, I almost went back home. Then I thought about the advice I give other people -- walk for 10 min and if you still want to quit, then you can quit. I park at the top parking lot and it took a minute or two to get to the walking trail. It was cold and again I almost turned around.

I took a pebble out of my shoe and started walking. The wind was even stronger in those first few minutes. I would have turned around, but that would have meant the wind would be in my face instead of at my back, so I kept going. Because the trail is around the lake, the wind can feel especially brutal at times as it blows across the water. At the point of no return, I was out of the wind -- for a little while.

The good news is, I was so cold I tried to walk fast. (It wasn't super speedy, but it is faster than I have been for a while.) Once I was out of the wind, I was a little too hot, but that did not last long. I alternated between being too hot and too cold for two laps and decided it was time to quit.

So, glad I went, but disappointed I dressed inappropriately and had to cut it short.

I've written about how the first couple miles of each walk can be difficult. Today I didn't experience that. I'm wondering if my recent difficulties have been weather related or mental?

Monday, April 26, 2010

The First Speedoman Sightings of the Season

I almost forgot to mention that I have already seen Speedoman this season -- twice!

Both times that I've seen him it has been past noon. He must be getting to the park later than he used to.

Though he is still pretty active (I've seen him twice) he wasn't running either time -- he was walking. In fact, he was walking pretty slowly. He seems to be carrying a little more weight than he used to.

But he is still out there and he is still wearing a Speedo. This year's color is grey.

I know spring is finally here when I've had my first Speedoman sighting!

I have been tempted to take a picture of Speedoman for this blog, but it just seems wrong to do without his permission. And wouldn't it be weird if I asked him if I could, and I found out he's been posting on his blog about how I'm stalking him?

Anyway, the picture is not really the suit he wears -- his is larger and a little baggier, however this is a Speedo. Now imagine something similar on an older man who is running/walking in the park...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Walking this Weekend

Yesterday the Buckeye Striders were scheduled to do 8 miles. When I went to bed Friday night, it was raining. I made the instant decision not to do the group walk and walk today instead.

Today I had planned to get up at 7, leave the house at 7:30 and start walking by 8 at Sharon Woods. (A great place to do 8 miles.) I don't know how, but I turned off the alarm and didn't wake until 8:30! Argh! I wasn't able to start walking until 9:30. Oh well.

Lately, I've had a little trouble with the first 2 miles of each long-distance training walk. They are the hardest miles of the walk! I'm tired, it is hard to pick up the pace and I just want to quit. Once I get past the 2-mile mark, I've been fine. By mile 6 I'm warmed up and can hardly walk slow. I'm usually ready to go go go.

Today I did the 8 miles alone. The first 2 miles were hard like usual. Then mile 3 was still hard and mile 4 was still difficult! Suddenly after mile 4 I had more energy, had no trouble picking up the pace and felt great! I finished very strong.

Throughout the walk, the sky alternated between bright sun and heavy dark clouds ready to pour on me. I was a little worried about getting soaked. At about mile 7 a very light sprinkle started, but stopped pretty quickly. I picked up the pace and got to the car in time. About 5 minutes after getting in the car the sky opened and it started pouring pretty hard! Lucky me! Even after oversleeping, I was still able to finish walking before the rain!

So, it ended up being a good walk despite feeling tired through half of it. Feeling tired through so much of the walk also had me wondering why. I had plenty of sleep last night, so it wasn't staying out too late.

So what could be happening? I know I'm not training too hard and I'm getting plenty of rest days. I'm now so used to walking with people that it is a little harder to walk alone. But I wonder, am I eating too little food? Could I be anemic? Is it a phase? Could there be something else going on that could be easy to solve?

I have already promised myself that I would schedule a physical soon, I should just do it and get it over with.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why I Decided Not to do a Full Marathon

Earlier this year, I was pretty excited about the prospect of doing a full marathon for my birthday. I remember how exciting it was when I crossed the starting line for my first full marathon 10 years ago! I was nervous about finishing, I was worried about walking it alone and I was a little worried about how much water to drink.

At the finish I felt fantastic! I felt stronger than I have ever felt in my entire life! I was thinner than I had been in years. All of those months of training were worth it. I felt totally invincible. After that, it was so easy to turn 40!

Those positive feelings also helped me to completely forget how hard it was to finish those 15-, 18- and 20-mile training walks.

Last week Deb and I did a 10-mile walk in preparation for the Indy Mini half marathon coming up in May. It was a little tough to do the 10. I really could not understand why it was hard, I've walked farther and the half in Arizona in April was great! The thought of doing more than 10 miles is overwhelming.

The last time I did 8 miles alone, it was pretty rough mentally. Even with a great audio book, I could not imagine walking twice as far.

The other night I said to my husband that I was not sure I wanted to do another full marathon. "I don't want walking to take over my life," I said. He laughed at me. "It's a little too late for that, don't you think?"

OK, walking has not really taken over my life, though it is a really important part of my life. I walk several days a week with long walks on Saturdays. If I were to train to walk another full marathon, and I was doing 20-mile training walks, THAT would take over my life! (Again!)

Instead, maybe I can plan a couple more "half" marathons. It won't be the same feeling of major accomplishment, but for the most part, I'm feeling pretty good right now. I've lost weight, I'm walking regularly, I eat healthier -- I don't "need" a marathon to feel I've accomplished something special.

So, my final decision for 2010 is no full marathon this year. I reserve the right to change my mind in 2011.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Searching for Cindi

Every once in a while, I check the stats to see how many people are visiting my blog and how they find me.

The obvious searches start with my name, WALK! Magazine or some type of walking search. "Cindi Leeman blog" is the most common. Today I discovered that two different people found this blog by searching for "antsy legs"! Really?

Before I wrote my blog posting about antsy legs, I actually did a very similar online search. It's nice to know I'm not the only one.

BTW: The more I exercise, the less I get antsy legs. It seems to happen most often when I walk a little farther or when I have not walked in a long time and I'm trying to catch up.

So, for all of you who found me by some odd online search -- Welcome! I hope you come back often.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An Hour

Tonight I walked for an hour in our neighborhood. It can be hard to walk for that long in a neighborhood as small as ours without heading out onto some busy roads. I wasn't in the mood for that.

So, I passed the kids with the broken bike three times (in my defense, I stopped to help them once and another neighbor did the same), went by the elementary school three times and went up and down a couple of other streets a few times to break up the monotony.

The first 30 minutes were rough because I was tired from the day. The middle 15 minutes wasn't bad! I felt strong and my form was good. The last 15 minutes were rough as I tried to keep going. I was bored. It is hard to keep going when you are close to home AND you are bored.

When I stopped my watch in the driveway it was 59:56. Oh well, I was close.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I Have my Limits

I try to encourage people to walk for exercise. I get excited when I see fairly new walkers just starting an exercise program. I know how hard it is to get started and stick with it. Good for them!

It is especially cool when you see someone pushing a stroller or even a whole family out for a walk. If the kids get used to it when they need to ride, they will love it once they can walk.

However, I have limits.

Today I was out for an easy 2+ mile recovery walk around Antrim Lake. In that second lap I came up behind a woman with a stroller. I was thinking: good for you being out here walking with your kid!

As I got closer I noticed she had something in her hand and it dawned on me -- she was smoking. Really? You are out for a walk in the fresh air, and you are smoking? With your kid? It's not something you see a lot of on an exercise trail!

People who know me know I have serious issues with smoking. Three of my grandparents died of emphysema, my mom died of complications from COPD and emphysema. I have no patience for it -- especially around kids!

Though I had that first intense anger at this woman, I do have to remember she was out walking. She was getting exercise. The more she moves, the more likely it is that she will get healthier and she will find the strength to quit smoking.

I can only hope. And if I see her again, I will try to say something encouraging to her.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

10 Miles Saturday

Saturday the Buckeye Striders did a 10-13 mile walk on a great rails to trails route in West Jefferson, Ohio. The original plan was to do an out and back walk of 13.1 miles with everyone finishing around 10:50 a.m. to gather for our monthly meeting lunch.

Deb and I were not up for 13, so we planned to do closer to 10. Arriving after everyone else had already started, we walked out for 75 min. then turned around. (Funny -- it took us only 74 min. to return!) I'm sure we were faster than a 15-min mile for most of the walk, so we definitely went farther than 10.

The day was beautiful though breezy and the trail was pretty. It heads out through farm land and without the trees that lined the trail as wind breaks for the farms, it would have been way too windy. In the sections without trees it was definitely windy! (And chilly!) Regardless, it was really nice to try a new walking location.

Thanks to Steve and Sharon for hosting us for lunch at their house! They really are fantastic hosts! (Sharon, I found the tea at Whole Foods.)

It was a fun way to spend an early Saturday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wait for the Cucumbers

I like to cook, and lately I've been trying some recipes that require a lot more fresh vegetables. Tonight I made what sounded like a delicious cucumber, mint and feta salad. It also had radishes and red onions!

The problem was the cucumbers and radishes. Both of them were totally and completely tasteless! I love cucumbers -- they smell like spring. And I like that little bite radishes give everything.

In tonight's salad, the cucumbers and radishes tasted almost identical -- like absolutely nothing.

So, I'll probably try the recipe again sometime. But in the future, I'll make sure I use locally grown and flavorful veggies.

Good Walk with Friends

I always enjoy my mid-week walks with Deb and Elaine. Not only are they fun to walk with, but Griggs Reservoir is usually pretty and it is nice to see the seasons change there. There is some construction going on there, but we aren't sure what it will do.

We started slow -- partly because I have troubles with the first two miles I walk lately, partly because they were both tired. I missed some mile markers, so I didn't even get to track our speed per mile adequately. I'm sure we walked more than 5 miles in 1:03.

Still, it was a pretty day, at a pretty park with good friends. I need more Wednesdays like this one!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Making Walking an Event

Tonight was beautiful! The sun was shining, flowers and trees are blooming and there was a nice gentle breeze. I couldn't wait to get somewhere to walk.

After I got home and changed my clothes, I was losing my momentum. I did not want to walk in the neighborhood or at Antrim. I've done the laps on those routes so many times, I knew I would do just one and quit. I would have walked to the library, but I noticed that sidewalks are being installed! Woo hoo! The section I walk along Lane Road is finally getting sidewalks! Though that is good news, I didn't want to walk near the wet cement.

So, I decided to make tonight's walk feel more like an event. I went all the way to Sharon Woods park. It is one of my favorite parks and it is beautiful year round.

Unfortunately, the traffic to the park was horrible. (There is a lot less traffic when I can leave earlier.) It took forever to get there, but it was worth it. It was as pretty as I expected and it smelled wonderful. I love flowering trees.

I definitely made the right decision. I walked 4 miles tonight and it felt great!

I am still struggling during the first 2 miles of most walks. If I had not planned to walk a 4-mile loop, I might have quit early. After those 2 miles, I was warmed up and felt great. Thank goodness my favorite distance is the half marathon!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

So, Why was I Drinking Diet Coke?

I have been addicted to Diet Coke for years. If I was thirsty, the ONLY thing that would quench it was a nice tall Diet Coke with lots of ice. Yum! Though I prefer this beverage from a fast food restaurant (less carbonation), I also prefer drinking it out of a glass. I don't know why glass makes it feel colder and taste better, but it does.

The last couple of years I have given up Diet Coke for Lent. The first few days are always so hard for me! It makes me feel as if I almost have an idea of what it is like to give up smoking. (Almost.) Partway through the 40+ days I usually start to feel better without it. Regardless, within a few days of Lent being over I am right back to drinking Diet Coke.

This season, I not only gave up DC, I also tried to limit all beverages with artificial sweeteners. I eliminated all pink packages from my hot tea and ended up drinking just a couple diet Arizona Peach Teas each week. (Not even one a day!)

So, Lent ended on Sunday, but I had no desire to drink a Coke until today. I was excited thinking about the nice cold beverage, lots of ice, the bubbles going down my throat! I poured the Coke over ice, took a nice big gulp and thought, "Huh." I waited a couple of minutes to be sure the Coke was really cold and took a small sip. Still I thought, "Huh." Where was the great taste? Where were the bubbles? Why do I drink this?

I didn't even finish the entire glass. I tried, but I just couldn't drink it. After dumping it out, I poured myself a tall cold glass of -- water. It tasted great!

Two things I've been thinking:
1) If I have to get used to drinking it again, why am I bothering?
2) If water quenches my thirst, it will be a whole lot cheaper to drink water. I should save lots of money!

So, why have I been drinking Diet Coke?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Speed Work

Today I went to Griggs Reservoir to do speed workouts. I like to do speed at this park because there are 1/4 mile marks and it has relatively flat areas. (Ironically, I also go there to do hills.)

I did a 1 mile warm up in 14:55 then started the 1/4 mile sprints. The sprints were harder than I had expected. My shins were sore and I felt extremely stiff! I tried to work on form, but it was very difficult to walk fast with form. I felt as if I was walking with Frankenstein legs. Obviously, I need more practice.

Because of the stiffness and pain in my shins, I did just four 1/4 mile sprints with 2 min breaks in between. My sprints were 3:08, 3:14, 3:20 and 3:09. Then I did a 1 mile somewhat cool down -- actually, I tried to keep my heart rate around 140 for the entire mile. It was pretty hard to keep the heart rate up and I wasn't nearly as fast as the other day.

Today was definitely a good workout! If I could walk a mile as fast as I can walk a 1/4 mile, I'd be flying!

OK, now the bad news. I have been experimenting with wearing insoles to keep my right ankle less floppy. Unfortunately, I do NOT need the insole for the left foot -- it actually causes pain in that foot. I assumed I would just have to get used to it, but apparently, that is not the case. After Monday's walk, there was a little pain in my left foot. Yesterday I wore a different pair of shoes and still had a little pain. Today my foot was still a little sore all day, but now after doing the speed workout, the bone on the outside edge of my foot aches! I've been icing, took ibuprofen and plan to wear really comfy shoes tomorrow. I probably will not be doing any serious walking, either.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Competing with Neighbors

I opted to do a casual walk around the neighborhood tonight. I was so casual, I wore jeans.

There were so many people out walking, I was amazed at not only the number, but also the number of them I have never seen out before. It was pretty cool seeing all of these walkers -- until the fast walking woman in the cute walking outfit came up behind me and passed me. Yep -- she passed me!

As she passed I was thinking, "She thinks she's so fast -- if I weren't taking it easy today, I'd be passing her." I almost picked up my pace, but as I said earlier, I was wearing blue jeans. Who can be fast in blue jeans?

I don't know why it mattered. I don't look down on the other neighborhood walkers, why would I assume she would look down on me? Besides, can't there be more than one fast walker in our neighborhood?

Despite the mature attitude I would love to have, I think I'll be out walking the neighborhood at the same time over the next few weeks. Yes, I'll be wearing my shorts, my fastest shoes and I'll be using my best form.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Fast Non-race Mile

I was planning to do about 3.6 miles at Antrim Park today -- three laps around the lake. As I was heading to the car, my husband came home and asked if he could join me. Of course I said yes! While he changed his shoes, I made the decision to do just two easy laps instead.

As we got near the end of the first lap, he admitted he had a stitch in his side and wanted to take a break. I took the opportunity to do my second lap fast. Using my heart rate monitor as a guide, I decided to try doing the entire lap with my heart rate between 140 and 150. About halfway through I realized my HR was down to 138, so I picked up my pace.

I finished the 1.2 mile lap in 16:20 -- about 13:37 per mile! It felt great, did not feel as if I was pushing "too" hard and though I could not have done another entire lap at that pace, I could have maintained it for maybe another 8 min or so. I think this may be one of the fastest non-race miles I've walked!

Throughout the fast lap, I also tried to focus on form. I could feel my arms pushing back hard, and I tried very hard to land on my heels and keep my knees straight. My husband said I looked fast and my form looked good! (Yeah!)

We did the third lap together and had a really nice chat about how much fun Easter was.

It was a good walk!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Do you Know your Neighborhood Walk Score?

Recently a friend did an Internet search on the housing market in Tucson just for the fun of it. She found it interesting that all of the houses listed with a particular real estate firm included a Walk Score(TM).

The Walk Score uses information gathered from the Internet to determine how easy it would be to live a "car lite" life from that location. The criteria includes the distance from a house to a variety of amenities including stores, schools, movie theaters, etc. Obviously, the more amenities closer than 1 mile, the better the score. In fact, amenities closer than 0.25 mile are even better.

The score ranges from 0 to 100 with 0 meaning the neighborhood is car dependent, 100 is a walker's paradise.

Though it was pretty cool to see how houses for sale are ranked, I was even more excited to see that my house scored a 72! Though I was not concerned about walkability when we moved here 22 years ago, it was nice to see that it wasn't such a bad decision. (I had a feeling it would be higher than average since I walk so often.) I would really like it if it were even higher, but not knowing I would eventually like walking, we did pretty well.

So, if you are interested in buying a house, or just checking out the walkability score of your current home, go to the Walk Score web site at