Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chilly 8+ Miles Saturday

I'm not sure how far we walked today, but our plan was for 8 miles. We were walking at Griggs Reservoir, but there was a crew regatta, so the parking lot was very crowded, there were tons of people, and it wasn't really possible to adequately keep track of the mile markers.

That said, a few members of the Buckeye Striders were able to find parking spots. Because we kept walking the same section over and over, we were able to walk with a variety of different people and at different paces.

It was a beautiful morning for walking with mist coming off the river as the crew teams flew by. I really enjoyed watching them warm up and race while we were walking.

We ended up walking for 2 hours and 6 minutes. Our pace varied from about a 14-minute mile to 15:30, depending on who we walked with. If we averaged a 15-minute mile (and I'm sure we were faster than that) we would have walked 8.4 miles. That's pretty good for a between races walk.

When we arrived it was about 32 degrees and when we finished it had warmed up to 45. What a good morning!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Walk

Elaine and I met at Griggs Reservior for our usual mid-week walk. Deb was on the other side of town and Sharon Woods was closer to her.

We walked for more than an hour and went farther than 4 miles.

Though the wind was blowing, the sun was shining and we warmed up VERY quickly. Knowing that Fall will be here in full force before we know it, it's important for me to be out walking in the sun before it gets nearly impossible.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Sure Sign Marathon Training Season is Over

I went to Antrim Park the Thursday after the Columbus Marathon to do a quick two laps for about 2.4 miles.

As I walked to the starting point, I noticed there were very few cars and almost no one at the park.

Yep -- fall marathon training season is over!

(The good news is a lot of them will be back before the Capital City Half in the Spring.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Columbus Marathon Shirt and Medal

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I just love it when a race gives out shirts in women's sizes! And the Columbus Marathon did a great job this year. The shirt is a different color -- hot pink -- the lettering on the front is nice and it fits!

Among the five or so women I talked to after the race, only one did not like it. (She hates the color and the scoop neck.) If the number of people who wore their race shirts the day of the race is an indication of how much the shirt is liked, I think my one dissenter is probably greatly in the minority.

Though pink is not my favorite color, I'm thrilled the shirt is not white or black. And to me the big thing is, it is not some off-brand shirt made in China for 25 cents. It is made by Nike, it's a technical shirt and it fits.

Offering women's sizes is the newest trend and definitely affects the races I chose to enter. I wish a few other race directors whose races attract more than 75% women would follow suit.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Columbus Marathon (Half) Recap

Me and Deb after the race. Thanks for taking it Laura!
Today's Columbus Marathon started at 7:30 with temps in the high 40s. Several of the Buckeye Striders were entered, and I started the race with Deb, Pat, Nancy and Jack.

This year's race introduced corrals for the first time. We were in the last corral -- number 4. Not only were there tons of walkers in this corral it included anyone who planned to finish slower than 2:45 for the half or 5:30 for the full. Because proof of a faster finish in a previous event was required to move out of corral 4, this ended up being a catchall. There were tons of faster runners in this corral. Though we tried to get to the back, and though we were near the pacer for a 3:45 half, we were way too close to the front of the corral and were in the way of many runners. Sorry about that.

Because we were pretty far from the starting line, we could not hear any announcements or the national anthem.

Fireworks were set off at the start, which was very cool! As we walked toward the starting line, we passed some speakers and we could finally hear a band playing way up at the front. Again, very cool for those who were up close enough to hear the band! There was also a big screen TV so we could see ourselves crossing the starting line.

The race course has not changed, but the amount of entertainment on the course has definitely increased! It was fun seeing such a wide variety of music -- rock bands, folk singers, drum groups, OSU alumni band and more. Though it was really good, the marathon staff said there were 80 groups on the course and I don't think there were 40 bands in the first half.
We tried the same plan we used at Air Force, using my HR monitor to set our pace. After a couple of miles my monitor lost contact and it didn't work again the entire event. We ended up basing our pace on how we felt and trying to maintain a 14-min mile or less. We actually did pretty well!

The course is nice, going through Bexley, German Village and around Franklin Park. We even saw the governor outside his mansion!

It's a pretty flat course with just a few inclines (no real hills), including a long one heading north on High Street the last 2 miles. The closer we got to the finish line, the more exciting it was! With less than a mile to go, I was able to pick up my pace and went ahead of Deb. The crowds got bigger and louder, and I could feel the excitement. When I turned the corner to the finish line, the crowds were crazy! Of course, part of the reason the crowd was so loud is the runners finishing the full marathon in 3 hrs were coming down the stretch beside me.

I crossed the line in 3:04:55 according to my watch. Though I'm happy with my finish, I thought I was faster than that. After getting a silver blanket I didn't need and picking up my medal, I waited about a min for Deb.

We were handed bottles of water and immediately went to the food section, which was a little bit different from anything I've seen before. First there were freshly made hot pretzel bites, then warm chicken broth. (It tasted surprisingly good!) We then walked by tables with Krispy Kreme doughnuts, chocolate milk, bananas, a selection of generic chips and finally bagels. Unfortunately I ate one of the delicious doughnuts and then felt guilty. The bagels and chips were not that exciting, but there was a lot of food except doughnuts. Shortly after we went through, the doughnuts were gone. It might have been because of people like the guy behind me who took 6! (I actually confronted him and suggested there might be people still on the course who would like to have a doughnut.)

We met back up with Pat and Nancy in the food section and Steve and Sharon outside the food area. We also met up with two other Striders who didn't enter the race (Elaine and Laura) but were there for support. It was great having friends cheering us on near the end!

Overall, it was a good race and I think the new race director is on the right track!

  • The pre-race e-mails were great! Made me even more excited to do the race. Nice Job!
  • The women's shirts are a bright pink and fit perfectly!
  • The corrals didn't seem to work as designed. Too many fast people in the last corral. Reports from others closer to the start say there were people from corrals 3 and 4 in corral 2. So, what was the purpose?
  • Though there were speakers set up halfway to the back, we still could not hear a thing except the fireworks at the start. I know you were trying, but loud speakers are needed farther back.
  • The aisles at the expo are too wide. It is really easy to walk down the middle and totally skip every booth. That is great for the people who don't want to stop at any booths, but I can't imagine it is good for exhibitors.
  • The medal was nice and large and the ribbon was cool.
  • There were lots of photographers at the start of the race taking photos. Nice touch!
  • The finish results web page is very cool! It looks nice, it's easy to read and it has lots of stats. Nicer than a simple listing in Courier.
  • There were a lot more bands. Though I don't think we saw 40, there were still a lot more than in previous years. Nice!
  • I received a congratulatory e-mail from the race director the day of the race. And the e-mail included a note from the marathon doctor explaining what to do after the race to aid recovery.
  • The weather was perfect! And I still over-dressed. Thank goodness Deb talked me into wearing shorts. Still, I could not ditch my jacket before the start.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Taper to Columbus Marathon (Half)

It's taper week! The Columbus Marathon Half is this upcoming Sunday,

I have a love/hate relationship with taper week. I love the fact that I can take it easy and I have a lot more free time. The part I hate is my legs tend to get antsy and heavy with less walking and I worry about the fact that I'm not burning nearly as many calories.

So Saturday we did a not difficult 8 miles, (after last week's 10-mile race, this week's 8 was very easy), and now we should take it easy until Sunday's race. Tonight I started out doing an easy couple loops around the block  -- the first lap was easy, the second I picked up the pace and almost walked too hard. OK, like I said, taper week isn't easy.

Still, I wouldn't trade taper week for anything.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Day After

Yesterday I was a little wiped out after the race and surprisingly sore. I guess it was more stiffness than soreness. Regardless, I fell asleep on the couch in the early afternoon and that is unusual for me. Then today it wasn't until I got home from work and climbed the stairs that I realized I was still a little stiff today.

This stiffness was a little surprising because 1) the race was only 10 miles, and 2) we were approaching it as a training walk. The cold and wind must have taken a larger toll on us than we thought.

As a result, I took a very easy walk in the neighborhood. It ended up being just two laps around the bigger block down the street. It felt good and helped to work out some of the stiffness.

Now if only I had a job that wasn't so tied to a desk so I could do this on an everyday basis.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

10-mile Race Today

There is a local organization called Step and Stride that has the goal to help people get fit by walking. Their events are not necessarily races, though some of them are.

Today Step and Stride hosted its first 10-mile race that was the featured event at the end of a 10-week walking training program. (Other walkers were invited to enter the race, too.) I entered this race along with 5 other members of the Buckeye Striders. The race went through Glacier Ridge Metro Park, which is just north and outside of Columbus.

It was pretty chilly this morning with no indication it would warm up before the end of the race. It was 47 degrees at the start with cloudy skies, strong winds and a threat of rain. I was pretty cold, and not quite sure how to dress, assuming that at some point I would probably warm up. Thursday there were about 450 people registered, but we decided the weather must have kept some away. It looked as if no more than 300 people showed up.

Before the race, I thought I might have a chance to win my age group. After the start of the race (once we got free of the bottleneck), I was surprised at how many really fast walkers there were! There was no way I was winning anything in this crowd!

Deb and I had originally planned for today to be just a training walk. Still, we got caught up in the excitement of the race, and at times tried to go faster than our original plan. In fact, on our way out we even walked a 12-min mile! Considering that we were barely breathing hard and had not broken a sweat, we knew immediately that the mile markers were off. (On the way back from the turnaround we had a 10-min mile, so they were wrong in both directions.)

Glacier Ridge is a pretty park. It has lots of trees, lots of "plains," wetlands and no real hills. At the same time, it can feel desolate -- especially in the fall. I also find it VERY confusing and if a race is not marked well (this one was marked very well), it would be very easy to get lost. When we were in the midst of the trees, the wind was nothing, but once we hit the "plains," the wind was brutal! So with no wind, I was overdressed. With wind I was under-dressed. This is why fall races can sometimes be frustrating.

On the way back to the start after the turnaround at the 5-mile mark, the unceasing wind was blowing in our faces. Wow! We were pushing, but we were barely moving. It really wiped us out! It was when the wind eased a little that several walkers who started out behind us began passing us. Oh, well -- this was supposed to be a training walk for us.

We finished strong somewhere around 2:23. I had a watch malfunction -- somehow I had over 10 laps for only a 10-mile race. I must have hit the watch a few too many times, or maybe my coat sleeve caught on it (that has happened before). That might also be why I had so many unrealistically fast miles.

As we crossed the finish line, we received a very nice Victoria's Secret canvas tote! There were only 75, and I was thrilled to be in the group that got them. The after race food included delicious bagels, bananas, trail mix, Nutri-Grain bars and plenty of water. There were also leftover training program T-shirts and Dick's Sporting Goods reusable shopping bags available. (The Dick's bags were used as the goody bags. Nice!)

So, overall it was a pretty good race. The weather was miserable, which race directors cannot control. The venue is a little boring the second time you do a race there. But it was well-marked and flat and there were enough water stops. The other walkers were very nice and the finish line food was good.

The race T-shirts are cotton, long-sleeved gray shirts. The logo on the front is nice. The size small is a little bit large on me, but I can shrink it. It has been a long time since I received a nice, long-sleeved cotton shirt and I was thrilled! I would rather get a really nice cotton shirt than a cheap, ugly technical shirt that doesn't fit and that I will never wear. Race directors -- please take note.