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: