Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Today I did three laps around Antrim Lake averaging 14:30 per mile for 3.6 miles. The pace was not too easy -- not too fast.

Afterward, while stretching on the deck, I noticed a couple running groups getting ready to start. When I stood up from an IT band stretch, my eyes met those of a young, thin runner who quickly averted her eyes. She was with a group of runners and was standing near another woman whose back was to me.

After more stretching, I stood up and saw that both of the young women were looking at me in that way that makes you assume they are not saying anything nice.

I continued doing my thing, ignoring them, but I couldn't help wondering what they were saying. Was I stretching wrong? Were they looking at my clothes or my shoes? Did they know I am a walker? For a few seconds, I was paranoid and worried about the opinions of these two women.

Then I nearly laughed aloud. Why did I care what they thought? (In hindsight I realize I did not know what they thought.) I'm twice their ages, I'm fit and healthy, I've finished two full marathons and more than 30 half marathons. I'm healthier and more active than the majority of women my age.

I picked up my water bottle, lifted my head and walked past them.

While writing this, I thought of a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Marathon Deaths Rare

The start of the 2011 Columbus Marathon from a
walker's perspective.
The headline in today's paper -- Marathon Deaths Rare -- caught my eye.

Even though I knew it was true, people died in two different races I was in. And the year after I did the Detroit Marathon half, three people died running that full marathon. I'd like to know the facts.

According to the article in The Columbus Dispatch, a Johns Hopkins study published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine reported that a runner's risk of dying is slim. The actual number of people dying during or soon after a marathon is 0.75 per 100,000 runners. And men are more likely to die than women -- twice as likely.

The researchers looked at 300 marathons a year from 2000 to 2009. They found that 28 people died during races or within 24 hours of completing them during that time. Over half the people who died were over 45 and all but one of those over 45 died of heart disease. The younger runners died from other things, such as hyponatremia or cardiac arrhythmia.

During these same years, the number of people finishing marathons increased from 299,018 to 473, 355 annually!

After reading this article, I was thrilled to be reassured that the risk of death from "running" a marathon is extremely low. Though the number of people finishing marathons is increasing dramatically, I am a little concerned that this study does not indicate the number who walk or racewalk marathons as opposed to running them. I don't have hard statistics, but from experience I know there are an increasing number of marathoners who are walkers. Are the number of walkers increasing faster than runners? I doubt it. But since it does not appear that any of the athletes who died were marathon walkers, I do wonder if maybe the statistics for dying while "running" a marathon might be higher if you eliminate walkers from the base number.

Despite these concerns, I still believe that the benefits of running far outweigh the risks.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Body Image

For a variety of reasons, many women in the United States have warped body images. Though it ranges from thinking you are healthy when you are heavy or obese to seeing yourself as obese when you are healthy or too thin, I personally have experience with the latter. For the majority of my life, my sister and I both thought we were fat when no one else ever did. In fact, when I look back at photographs from before I was married more than 25 years ago, I was the classic skinny-fat -- way too thin, but with no muscle tone.

This is to explain why I really like a website about body image I found recently. It's call My Body Gallery -- What Real Women Look Like. http://www.mybodygallery.com/

The "Read this" section says:
This site is here as an accurate reflection of what real women look like. All women.

A recent study found that 95% of non-eating disordered women overestimate the size of their hips by 16% and their waists by 25%, yet the same women were able to correctly estimate the width of a box.
On the home page, to the left, is Gallery Search. There you can enter your height, weight (in 10 lb increments), pant size and shirt size. You can also select the size photos you'd like to see. Up pops a screen of photos of women who fit those criteria. 

Because my weight fluctuates between 122 and 125, I entered both 120 lb and 130 lb. My first thought was. "Wow, these women look great!" I also found it funny that the women who weighed a little bit more looked better to me. I also found some of the women to be too thin. This was such a shock to me -- someone my size could be too thin! (Can you tell I still have issues?)

Some people posted thoughts about feeling unattractive, but for me, that was not the most important thing. It was seeing what other women who are my size look like.

After visiting the site a couple of times, I began to wonder why someone would post photos on this website. Even with my face blocked out, I'm not sure I would do it. But whatever their motivation, I am thankful they did! When I have those days when I start to feel fat, I'll be sure to go back and get a reality check.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ed Redux

In December, I wrote about my good friend Ed who encourages me to keep going and to "do it better".

A little while ago my husband told Ed about that blog post. I was embarrassed. I never expected Ed to see what I wrote about him. Needless to say, Ed was excited and wanted to read it. After several unsuccessful attempts to get him to the blog online (I never remember this exact URL), I finally printed out the page and carried it in my purse for a week until we could see him again.

This past Friday, I was finally able to give it to him. Just like a little kid, I slipped the folded paper to him and quickly walked away.

As I tried to pretend not to watch for his reaction, I thought about his encouraging words again. Yes, I am getting things moving behind the scenes, but could I do it any slower? Geez!

There are a couple of good reasons why the big things are not happening, and I am making progress on some of the little things, but that does not mean I cannot be moving a little bit faster to get stuff done.

OK, Ed, thank you for inspiring me -- again!

PS: Ed said he was flattered! Whew!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Jealous of this Weekend's Races

Me with Elvis during the
2006 Cincinnati Flying Pig
There are a ton of great races being held this weekend! The Indy Mini Marathon is tomorrow. The Cap City Half Marathon is tomorrow. The Flying Pig is Sunday. And this is the weekend for the Jack Mortland racewalks!

Unfortunately, I'm not entered in a single one.

It's not because I don't want to be in Indianapolis or Cincinnati this weekend -- I do! These are two of my favorite half marathons. And I almost registered for Cap City. I even have friends entered in each one of these events. However, the increasing cost of races has caught up with me.

I probably would have entered the Cap City Half since it is a local race. With no travel expenses or hotel costs, I thought it would be a good deal. However, at more than $50 for registration, it was too expensive for me right now. The perks of this race really don't warrant more than $50.

So, because of the cost of entry fees, I am entering fewer races, focusing on local races and choosing more small, less expensive races.

And though I am somewhat jealous of my friends who are entered in events this weekend, I am enjoying these smaller, less expensive events. There is something nice about being in a race that notices if you show up. And I like not having to weave in and out of slow runners to get to my pace.

And maybe, in a couple of years when my race budget is a little bit larger, I hope I will still be supporting and enjoying local, small races.

PS: The reason I am not entered in the Jack Mortland judged racewalk has nothing to do with money. I'm just not confident about my racewalking form -- yet.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Watch What You Eat

Over the weekend, I ended up eating something that did NOT agree with me. I was sick all day Sunday and totally drained with headaches all day Monday. (I think it was food poisoning. Entirely my fault.) I spent two whole days on the couch or in bed.

Though today I felt much better and was able to get back to my life, I didn't expect there to be lasting consequences. I was a little tired when I got home from work, but after getting dinner started I still went out for a short walk around the neighborhood. The sun was shining, but showers were on their way -- it was now or never. Less than halfway around our "big" block, I was exhausted! I barely made it back before the rains began.

I wasn't able to do my normal mileage Saturday morning and I was wiped out Sunday and Monday. But I did not expect to still be recovering Tuesday.

In a few days I'll be fine, but in the meantime I'll take it easy and act as if I am starting from scratch. I haven't been working out as hard as normal recently, so maybe this is a sign I need ramp it up a bit.