Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Not Quite as Scheduled

Monday I planned to do my regular speed workout. I didn't sleep well the night before and I did an intense 12 miles Saturday, so I was a little more tired on Monday than usual. So, I altered my plan from the scheduled eight laps of 3 min. fast alternating with 2 min. of rest to six laps. After I started walking, I discovered I was much more tired than I realized. After four laps I was done.

Though I feel somewhat bad about ending my speed workout early, I've heard from several people I respect that sometimes it is best to do that. As Bonnie Stein always says, if you don't feel like walking, walk for 10 min. If after 10 min. you don't feel like continuing, then it is OK to stop. So, after 20+ min. I just could not continue -- it was time to stop.

Today I was scheduled for 45 min. easy. I knew it was going to rain and was trying to get out of the house before it hit. By the time I got out, it was cloudy and was just starting to sprinkle. The more I walked, the harder it rained. On my way back home, about a block away, it was raining harder and I was getting soaked. Those who know me know -- I do not do rain when it is cold! Rain in September is something I hate.

I finally decided to just run.

Yeah, I hate running. But my dislike of getting rained on was just a little bit stronger.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Last Long Walk Before Half Marathon

Yesterday was our longest walk before the Columbus Marathon (Half) in October. Deb and I wanted to do 12 miles, so our plan was to walk straight out on the Alum Creek Trail for 90 min. and turn around for a total of 3 hours. We estimated that even if we walked slowly, we would walk at least 12.

We started out with a few other walkers planning to do just 8 miles. (Don't you love it when I say "just" 8?)

Our first detour was a small group of deer. The doe and fawn crossed the trail in front of us, but the buck waited and watched. The closer we got to where the two deer crossed, the more upset the buck got. He even ran at us a little. (I suggested we NOT make eye contact and walk faster.)

When we got to one part of the trail that goes under a busy road, the trail was closed due to construction. We had to go up to the street and cross. Luckily at a little after 7:00, there were few cars.

After the others left us, Deb and I walked farther than we have gone on this trail -- almost all the way to Easton! After trying to map the trail on Map My Walk, I think we walked about 6.28 miles out then  turned around.

After we turned around, the trail looked very different. We also forgot how many times the trail veered off. At one point we were totally lost, it just was not obvious which way kept us on the main trail.

When we hit the one intersection with a traffic light and then had to cross the busy street, the traffic was heavier and it was harder to cross. We ended up back at our cars after 3:04, so we definitely took longer to get back.

So, it was a beautiful morning, and despite a few obstacles we walked for more than 12 miles. It was a good beginning to the day!

9/30/11 Edited to add: I forgot to mention that two huge apples or hedge apples dropped from a really tall tree and landed inches from our feet! We both jumped (and yelped) and laughed so hard, we had to stop walking for a minute. If we had been a second faster, we both would have been hit in the head by the falling fruit.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Walking Division Prizes at Columbus Marathon

The Columbus Marathon just announced that there will be prizes for walkers who sign up to be in the competitive walker division!

From the Columbus Marathon website
Competitive Walker Division Rules
All participants in the Competitive Walker Division must wear a special sticker on the front of their shirt and a special bib on the back of their shirt on Race Day. Judges will be located on the course. Any participant in the Competitive Walker Division seen running will be ineligible for Competitive Walking Division Awards.
The Competitive Walking Division stickers & bibs can be picked up at the Competiive Walking Division table at the Expo. This table will be located next to Number Pick-up. ONLY those walkers interested in competing for awards must wear the sticker & bib; walkers taking part in the marathon and 1/2 marathon who are not competing in the Competitive Walking Division do NOT need a sticker or bib.
Following the Race, all participants in the Competitive Walker Division will be required to write their name and race number on their back bib, and turn it in to the information table in Celebration Village for verification. Those participants who fail to turn in their bib will be ineligible for awards.
I'm excited!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A 10-Mile Saturday

I'll admit it -- today a lot of the Buckeye Striders were going to be out of town, so Deb and I went to a different location for the Saturday morning walk. (I know, it was divisive.)

We were scheduled to do 8 miles, but because we didn't get up to 10 miles last week, we left 10 as an option.

We went to Sharon Woods at 7 a.m. and it was still dark and it was cold! I hate dark and cold mornings! This park has a 3.8-mile loop and large mile markers. It always takes me a while to get warmed up enough that I can walk fast comfortably. Our first mile I thought Deb had set too fast of a pace, but it took us just 14:09, not too fast at all. We tried to hover around that pace, and even got down to 13:58 for mile 3.

The first lap was uneventful except the park was beautiful! The second lap we really slowed with our slowest mile 14:25 (Deb stopped to get a drink from the fountain, so I slowed to wait for her). After 8 miles we felt great, so we decided to do two more miles. I made the executive decision to pick up the pace for mile 9 to see how fast we could get. Though she was not entirely sold on the idea, Deb hung in there, and I would not let her slow down. We did that mile in 13:38! Because she was such a good sport, we used the last mile as our cool down and finished it in a very slow 15 min.

It was a beautiful morning! The temps were perfect, though I can't stand being cold first thing in the morning. And though we did not see any deer, we did see the flock of wild turkeys. (No, wild turkeys are NOT cute!)

I'm glad Deb talked me into leaving my jacket in the car, and she is glad I talked her into walking mile 9 fast -- and that is why we train so well together!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Speed Workouts with Motion Traxx

For years I have listened to audiobooks to keep me going on my long walks. Over the years I've been told music is better for maintaining a fast pace. I'm not really into current music, so it has been difficult for me to figure out which songs are good for what pace.

Recently I discovered a podcast called Motion Traxx. Deekron the Fitness DJ puts together play lists at a specific pace for set amounts of time. There are sets as short as about 30 minutes and as long as an hour or so. There are sets as slow as 120 beats per minute (BPM) and as fast as 180 BPM. Some are a steady pace and others increase gradually.

I downloaded a couple of podcasts to try for my speed workouts. Because I had never used anything like this before, I wasn't sure how fast I would need and guessed at 160 BPM.

The music is "techno" and most of the songs have an exaggerated beat. Most of the songs in the sets I downloaded do not have lyrics, however, the credits do list the artists.

At the beginning of one set, the beat was very heavy, and I found myself flinging back my right elbow with each beat. There was something about such a heavy beat that felt as if it needed more than just normal arm movement. And of course, pushing my right elbow back caused my left elbow to go back harder and made my feet keep the beat better.

What I discovered is that music with a consistent strong beat did keep me walking at a strong consistent pace. During my eight intervals or fartleks of 3 min. each, I ended at almost the exact same point for each interval. When walking with audiobooks, I am never this consistent.

I also found out that I hate techno music. Well, I knew this all along, but I really, really do not like techno music. But by using music with such a strong beat, I can keep the volume low and use just one ear of my earphones and still benefit.

When doing intervals, 160 BPM ended up being too slow. I found myself trying to go just a little faster than the music. For my next experiment I'll try something a little fast, like maybe 170.

There are several other options for pace music including more podcasts and applications such as Podrunner. (The few sections I listened to on Podrunner were less mechanical sounding.) I'm going to keep experimenting until I find music I like at a pace that will keep me going.

If you have tried programs such as Motions Traxx, let me know if it was helpful.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Back to Training

It was cold and wet Monday morning, so I postponed my training walk until nearly noon. I was scheduled to do 8 miles and just could not do that much mileage in my neighborhood. I finally went to Antrim Park which has a 1.2-mile loop and did six laps for a total of 7.2 miles. Because I had not walked hard since the Parkersburg Half Marathon, I felt comfortable with that distance.

I started slow, walking the first lap in 17:32 for a 14:36 per mile pace. Each lap was progressively faster ending with a 16:19 lap, or 13:35 per mile pace! I'm pretty excited about that. I averaged 14:09 per mile, which is not fast enough to break a 3-hour half marathon, but 13:35 is.

Considering that I finished feeling strong and I was not breathing overly hard, I think I should be able to maintain that pace to achieve my goal. And with any luck, I will be able to do it at the Columbus Marathon Half in October.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Fiber One 80 Calories Cereal

As a participant in the General Mills Pssst... program, I periodically receive samples of General Mills' products to try and to review. Recently I received a box of Fiber One 80 Calories cereal. It was the Honey Squares flavor.

The cereal had a nice flavor and texture. If I didn't know it was a high-fiber cereal, I would not have guessed based on the texture or taste. I also liked the fact it was not overly sweet like garbage cereals. Because I use skim milk, I have almost given up eating cereal -- most get way too soggy too quickly in skim milk. Though this cereal did start to get soggy near the bottom of the bowl, it stayed fairly crisp for a while.

I am not a nutritionist or dietitian, so I'm not going to give a full nutritional review of the cereal. That said, here are some things from the label: 3/4 cup provides 10 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. With 1/2 cup of skim milk, it provides 50% of the calcium needed in a day. It provides 25% of many other nutrients. Though the label says it has no trans fat, it does provide 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat. Because it also says it has 1 gram of total fat there has to be some somewhere else that doesn't get reported because it is below a certain level. (I don't remember the rules on that.)