Sunday, April 24, 2011

Picking up Speed!

Yesterday, when walking with the Buckeye Striders, I again ended up out front with the faster people. I was a little worried about keeping up with Catherine this week because I just have not been walking enough. (Rain.)

The pace picked up as we walked, which is usual. Imagine my surprise, though, when Catherine reported that according to her GPS we were walking at an 11:58 per mile pace! I've done that on a treadmill before, but never outside.

I was breathing hard (though I could still talk) and my legs were moving as fast as they could go. I kept it up as long as I could, but when Catherine said she was going to go faster, I told her to go ahead without me. I know I did not keep up the pace for a mile, but I'm not sure how far I went. Shortly after Catherine took off, I had to slow a little.

From my estimate, when Catherine went on ahead we were 2 miles from the end. When I finished, I was just 2 minutes behind her! We walked 4.3 to 4.4 miles and I finished in under 59 minutes. That averages to somewhere around 13:20 to 13:35 per mile!

I wonder if I'm picking up speed because I'm not working on distance. I don't have any races scheduled right now, so my training walks have all been shorter.

Now matter what the reason, I'm happy with the result!

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Officially Spring!

Today I tried to fit in a quick walk between a few important things I had to do.

This time of year, you never know what the weather will be like, especially in Ohio. (If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes, it will change.) We have had snow this late in the year before, so I tend to be cautious when it comes to predicting spring. To tell the truth, the appearance of crocus or daffodils means nothing!

But today as I walked around the block, I noticed forsythia! I LOVE forsythia! The yellow of these flowers makes me smile. And what I really like is, it rarely snows after forsythia bloom.

Yep, this is a sure sign spring is here to stay! Woo hoo!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bad Timing

It was supposed to rain this morning, so I opted not to walk with the Buckeye Striders at 8. I didn't set my alarm clock and when I rolled out of bed at 7:30, the sun was shining and it looked great! Hmmm, maybe I made the wrong decision.

As the morning progressed the skies got gray, the sun shined, the skies got gray, the sun shined ... Then there was a huge line of deep black clouds moving in. If I was going to get outside, I was going to have to get out quick.

Because the black clouds were moving fast, and partly because my friend Curtis has been running more than I have, I decided to try to run today. (I'm still training for the Warrior Dash.) I walked quickly to the "big block" and began running. I did a run/walk and was excited that I was able to run farther between walking breaks  than I did the last time I ran.

About three-quarters of the way around the block, the rain started so I tried to run harder. Just as I was about finished with my first lap, the hail started! Hail! I began to run home, but realized that by the time I got there the hail would stop and I would be less inclined to go back out.

It's spring and there are no leaves on the trees in my neighborhood. Still, I stood with my back up against a big tree and tried to use the trunk to block the wind. After just a few minutes the hail stopped and the rain slowed.

At this point I just wanted to finish my two laps as quickly as possible. I started running again, trying to pick up the pace and maybe run a little farther between walking breaks. It didn't work.

My legs were not tired -- in fact, based on how my legs felt, I could have easily run a mile non-stop today. The problem was my lungs! They burned, I gasped for air and just could not catch my breath. My heart pounded pretty hard, too. I hate this feeling! (The only other times I have felt this way have been at the end of long-distance races when I am racewalking as hard as possible, or when I am trying to keep up with some of the fastest Buckeye Striders.)

Just a couple of minutes after I made it back home, the rain stopped and the sun came out again. 

Here is what I learned today:
  1. I am the last person who should pick when to workout outside. Many times I choose the worst weather of the day. (If my friend Deb is out, it is almost guaranteed to be the best weather of the day.)
  2. I probably do not walk hard enough when I racewalk. I'm definitely not getting my heart rate up as high as  I do when running. 
  3. I really need to practice running more if I'm going to be able to run 3 miles for the Warrior Dash.
  4. Though I still do not enjoy running, I don't hate it anymore. Though it is hard, and I don't like the pounding, I really like going faster than when I racewalk. It's nice to finish just a little faster, too.
  5. When I run, I can tell that I have regained 3 lbs. -- I can feel my stomach jiggle each time a foot hits the ground. That definitely does NOT happen when I racewalk. Maybe if I run more, I'll be disturbed enough by this I'll eat healthy more consistently again.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Changing my Mind for the Better

Earlier today I was feeling so lethargic, all I wanted to do was to go home, sit in a comfortable chair and eat potato chips. I even have potato chips at home.

But a weird thing happened. While driving in the sunshine, I gained some energy! The more I was in the sun, the more I wanted to be outside. Gradually potato chips were not sounding all that great -- I wanted to go for a walk.

By the time I arrived home and changed my clothes I was excited. My plan was to walk to the library, do one lap around the park and head home. Though this route is only 3.2 miles, because of the traffic lights it usually takes more than 55 minutes. Today I was able to do the 1 mile to the library in just over 16 minutes! I must have hit the lights right for a change.

The park was beautiful and there were tons of people there either playing sports, watching sports, or walking around the park -- just like me!

I was testing a new heart rate monitor and had not read the instructions all the way through so I didn't get the chronograph working quite right. Despite that, I'm pretty sure I did the entire route in just under 50 minutes. It felt great!

And a side benefit -- when I got home, the craving for chips was entirely gone.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

No Wonder Runners Don't Smile

Running is hard! I have no clue why anyone would voluntarily run.

I say this as a fairly fit person who racewalked nearly 4.5 miles yesterday at a good pace. I say this as a person who has racewalked two full marathons and about 25 half marathons -- six halves last year.

But I need to be able to run 3 miles in June. My family, friends and I have entered a race called the Warrior Dash. Because of the nature of this obstacle course race, I feel I should run it as opposed to racewalking it. (Seriously, I think racewalking to a climbing wall would look a little bit silly -- and I'm used to looking silly.) We have 8 weeks to get ready.

So, when I got up this morning, I put on my cushiest running shoes and went out the door. I walked the 2 min it takes to get to the "big block," hit my stopwatch and started jogging. The plan was to go as far as I could, walk for 1 min, then repeat.

When I was huffing and puffing and I thought my heart would burst, I hit my stopwatch and stopped running. -- 2 min and 51 sec. That was it? I ran for only 2 min and 51 sec? If I had been running as fast as my son, that would have been half a mile. Unfortunately, it wasn't even half a block!

After a minute of walking I wasn't ready to start up again, so I walked another minute. This time I ran for only 1:14 before I had to stop. Slap of reality here -- I had been overly ambitious. I was not going to be running for several minutes and resting for only one. I was going to have to start from scratch just like any other non-runner and run for 1 min and walk for more. (I think this officially makes me a Galloweenie*!)

I continued with something close to running 1 min, walking 2 min until I had gone around the block twice. I ran/jogged for a total of only 8 min and walked for 18 min.

What I like about running is that I cover more ground. Even jogging at this slow pace, I'm faster than when I racewalk outside. (On a treadmill, I was able to racewalk as fast as this jog.) Maybe I can eventually walk faster than I can jog. That would be great!

What I don't like about running is the pounding. I feel like a several ton elephant every time my foot hits the ground -- huge, heavy and not very graceful. Does that ever go away?

*Galloway is a running guru who trains people to run/walk long-distance events. When you are near them during a marathon or half marathon they are extremely annoying! It never fails, a group of them will jog past you then suddenly stop running inches in front of you and walk very slowly. At that point you are moving must faster than they are, and you either run into them or have to go around. After a minute or so, they pass you again, get slightly ahead of you and stop -- again! This leap frogging will continue until someone gets far enough ahead of the other to stop it.

Dave McGovern calls them Galloweenies.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Get Faster by Walking with Fast People

Dave McGovern says something similar to: in order to walk faster, practice walking faster. A corollary to that is: walk with people who are faster than you are. I did exactly that today.

Catherine is one of the faster members of the Buckeye Striders. What makes me laugh is: 1) She doesn't realize how fast she is, 2) Her stride is so smooth and her attitude so casual, it seems effortless. I walked with Catherine today.

We started out at a faster pace than what I usually do. I didn't get to warm up and was feeling slightly stiff. Still, I let Catherine set the pace and I kept up with her. After about 5 min I made a comment about how I couldn't go any faster and if she wanted to go ahead, that was fine. She laughed and said she didn't normally start that fast and was thinking that my pace had really improved.

Though we decided to slow slightly, it didn't work. I'm sure she didn't realize that she immediately picked up the pace. I continued to keep up with her and though I was working hard, we were able to hold to conversation. (On long slow days, I don't like to go so fast, I can't have a conversation.)

When we walk on the Olentangy Trail, we start near the Park of Roses, walk straight out for 30 min, then turn around. Because of where we start, we weren't near a mile marker and walked for 11 min before we reached one. Now here is the exciting news to me -- we walked that measurable mile in 13:52! After we turned around, we walked that same measurable mile in 13:29! According to the Cool Running Pace Calculator, if we averaged 13:52 per mile, we walked 4:397 miles. (If I were editing a textbook, I'd round that up to 4.4 miles.)

Though I try to walk fast when alone, I think this shows how I can work harder and faster when I'm with someone who pushes me. (Or did she "pull" me.)

Thanks, Catherine!

The weather was good! Temps in the mid-50s and partly cloudy.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Slug is Gone!

It might have been the lack of rain today. It might have been the fact I could see the sun! It might also be that I have not exercised much recently, and my body knows it needs it.

Whatever the reason, I am thrilled to say I did three laps (about 1.2 miles each) at Antrim Park today!

The first two laps I was racewalking -- the last lap I did the dreaded run/walk. (I hate being behind people in a race who do the run/walk.) My first lap was in 17:28 for a pace of 14:33. Considering how long it has been since I have walked hard, I can't believe I was that fast. The second lap was in 17:10 for a 14:18 pace. Wow!

Believe it or not, my run/walk lap was 2 min faster! I'll explain about that later.

So, after doing 3.6 miles in 50 min, my legs were throbbing and I felt great! And the side benefit of healthy exercise in sunshine, I was craving a giant healthy salad. I did not have salad ingredients at home, but at least I was again craving healthy foods. That is half the battle afterall.

So I can safely say, the slug is gone! Woo hoo!

Some friends and family members have signed up to run a 3-mile Warrior Dash in June. (Warrior Dash is an obstacle course race.) I'm starting to train to be able to run 3 miles by then. So today, I ran until I needed to stop, walked until I recovered, then ran some more. I'm pretty sure I ran 75% of the 1.2 mile loop. I can't wait until I can run a mile nonstop. And just to clarify, no I am not giving up racewalking.