Sunday, August 26, 2012

Getting Back on Track

Sharon Woods is always
beautiful. The shade really helped.
Today I went to Sharon Woods for an 8-mile long-distance training walk. As I've mentioned before, my training is a little bit off right now, so 8 miles is a pretty good stepping stone for getting back on track.

In addition, I have some serious concerns about the shoes I will wear for the Air Force Half Marathon next month, so decided to wear my new New Balance Ionix 3090s. These shoes are extremely light and I'm worried they might be too light for a half.

Leaves of three, let them be?
I think this is poison ivy.
It was a little warm today so my plan was to take it very easy. Despite this plan, I was very surprised that my first mile was 15:14 and my second mile was 15:18! Ugh! (Another sign I need to improve my training?) And those miles didn't feel easy, either.

Luckily, my pace did pick up. I was able to get down to 14:17 without working very hard -- my peak heart rate was only 138.

Though my pace was much slower than I expected, it felt great. Eight miles was not as difficult as I expected -- even though it was warm! I'm confident doing 10 miles next week will be OK and finishing the half marathon at a good pace will not be a problem.
After the 2-mile mark,
there is a water fountain.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What Does Goal Weight Mean?

Several years ago I weighed myself dozens of times a day.
About a year ago I decided to lose a couple of pounds to improve my racewalking speed. Losing about 5 12 lbs. and training better did help my speed quite a bit. The funny thing is, even with all of that healthy eating and regular workout schedule, I could not get down to my ultimate goal weight. I was perpetually 2 lbs. away. I wasn't "worried" about those 2 lbs., though it was annoying.

So imagine my surprise when I weighed myself yesterday and I am at my goal weight! (The whole truth is, I am 0.1 lbs. away, but that is close enough.) I have finally lost the pesky 2 lbs.!

I immediately ran to the bathroom mirror to see how great I look. I stood there for a moment looking over every inch of me. I didn't look any different. I didn't feel any different. My clothes did not fit much different.

That was disappointing. I have not been this light since I trained for and finished my first marathon in 2000.

The actual weight loss is a puzzle to me. I have not been exercising more. I have not been eating healthier. In fact, I've been over-worked, over-stressed, eating tons of junk and not getting in my weekly mileage. I didn't earn this.

Then a light bulb went off. I should have known this all along, but it was never as obvious as it was at that exact moment. Weight is JUST a NUMBER.

The reason I don't look healthier and stronger is because I'm not. I'm just 2 lbs. lighter and it's because I am NOT taking care of myself.

Those of you who have healthy body images and are not weight obsessive know this already. But to someone like me, who has suffered from body dysmorphic disorder (self diagnosed) most of my life and even had to get rid of our scale for a number of years because I weighed myself dozens of times a day -- this is a major breakthrough!

So last night I was talking to my husband about reaching my goal weight and not looking better, etc., and he said, "Your next goal should be to develop upper body strength."

Again he is right. Now that I am no longer obsessed about my weight (within reason), I should go back to thinking about just being healthier and stronger. I'll start working on that Monday.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Making the Best of a Bad Training Situation

Over the last couple of weeks, Ohio has had unbearable heat, I took a vacation to a place with even worse heat, I've been over-worked and then I started to feel sick.

Yesterday, the temps were mild, I felt great, I was home, it was light out ... I went to Antrim Park to do three laps around the lake. I even had the chance to finally wear my new minimalist New Balance shoes!

The U.S. Air Force Marathon is September 15 -- only 30 days away. The longest distance I've walked is 8 miles once and I should have done at least one 10-miler and two 8s by now. I have not trained well enough to do the 12 miles scheduled for this weekend. Sigh.

So what do you do when your training is so out of whack?

Well, you step back, take a look at where you are and try to make a realistic decision on where you CAN be by race day. With 30 days left, I can do one more 8-mile day and one 10-mile day before tapering. The weekly stuff I'll do my best with.

In the past I never went farther than 10 miles as my longest half-marathon training day. In the last year, I've increased my longest day to 12 miles. The increase in distance has really helped with how I feel finishing a half marathon and has helped with speed. That boat has sailed.

I have no doubt I will finish the half marathon. It will not be a record performance, but this time I will have to do the race just for fun. I can do that.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

I Thought it was Hot in Ohio!

We are in Oklahoma for a family reunion. Most of my husband's family lives west of the Mississippi with many of them in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Arkansas. (My in-laws were from Cherokee, OK.)

I knew it tends to be hotter out here in the plains states than it is in the midwest -- the reunion we attended in Kansas a few years back was toasty! But it has been averaging a high of about 110 degrees the last few days. I don't know if I have ever been outside in 110-degree heat before.

Though I am in the middle of half-marathon training, I knew I would not be able to do my long-slow mileage this weekend. I just could not see walking by myself for a few hours when we are here to visit family.

Yesterday, I decided to head out a little early. We have been up late visiting each night, so there was a limit to how early I could reasonably get up. So about 8:00 I was out on the trail with a water bottle strapped to my back with a plan to walk for at least 30 min straight out.

This hill felt like a mountain after 28 min
walking in the Oklahoma heat.
This park really is beautiful. The paved trail goes on forever through thick trees, beside the golf course and past the riding stables toward the main road. There are plenty of side loops around campgrounds, so you could easily do 20 miles here if needed.

It was a little warm, but I tolerate heat a bit better than many of my walking friends. I was not worried. As I approached the golf course, two different herds of deer ran across the trail in front of me. Beautiful!

But, there was no shade near the golf course and it started to feel hot quickly. My goal was 30 min before turning around. As I progressed, there was shade and no shade, little tiny hills that started to feel like mountains and almost no breeze. After only 20 min I wanted to quit! Let me just point out that it has been years since walking only 20 min could make me so exhausted. Even though I know it doesn't help, I kept looking at my watch every 30 seconds. With 2 min to go, I was at the bottom of a mountain (in reality a slight incline) and nearly stopped -- 2 min, I thought, I can go up this mountain for 2 min! I made it to the top!

So proud of myself, I turned around to head back. It was getting hotter by the minute. And as I walked it felt as if there was less and less shade! I started crossing back and forth on the trail to get even a couple of steps in shade. About 10 min from the turnaround, I could not even keep my arms bent anymore -- they just hung limply at my sides. There was no attempt to even fake racewalking form, I just needed to finish.

My water was nearly gone as I passed the golf course again and reached a section with tons of trees and lots of shade. By the time I rounded the tennis courts and walked toward the doors of the lodge, I was exhausted! It took 35 min to come back, but it felt as if it took a lot longer than that!

It was not nearly 110 degrees when I finished but it was in the upper 90s. From this trip I learned that Ohio heat is nothing compared to Oklahoma heat.

Note to self:  In the future, when traveling to Oklahoma, walk early -- VERY early!