Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stupid Blister

Today I went back to the Griggs Reservoir Frisbee Golf course to take a picture of the log that was cut to look like a toilet. I never noticed before that cars are not allowed down there, so I had to walk the one-quarter mile on the uneven, pot-holed asphalt -- in heels. Though I was worried about scuffing my shoes, I didn't think anything of it because I wear those heels all of the time.

When I got home early this evening, I rushed to put on walking clothes so I could get in a couple miles. (It was beautiful outside!) As soon as I put on my shoes, I knew something wasn't right. But I was in a hurry to get out before the sun started to set, so I ignored the weird rubbing on my right heel.

My plan was to walk to the library, do one lap around the park and return for a little over 3 miles round trip. About half a block from my house, my heel was rubbing enough that I stopped to play with my shoe to make it stop. It didn't stop.

After a mile, I stopped again to try to get the rubbing to stop and it didn't stop. I was not about to turn around, so I kept going and eventually, my heel stopped hurting. Yea!

My new blister.
After arriving home, I took off my shoes and discovered why my heel wasn't hurting. The blood from the broken blister stopped the sock and shoe from rubbing my heel.

It's a little early in the training season for this! I'm going to have to be a little more careful.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Toilet on the Trail

Photos added 2-28-12.
A toilet on the trail.

Saturday, the Buckeye Striders did our 8 miles at Griggs Reservoir. It was cold and windy along the river, but not so bad in the area down by the "Frisbee" Golf Course. (I know Frisbee is a brand name and would not normally use it here, but the City of Columbus has signs saying this is a "Frisbee" course.)

In this area, there were a few trees that had been cut down. A creative person used a chain saw to cut some of the logs into shapes. Two logs were cut into a chair and footstool. Another log was cut into the shape of a ... toilet. Yes, a toilet!

The other carved "seat."
We laughed pretty hard, but I didn't have a camera or iPod with me. I went back to the park today to take a picture for this blog, but there were workers back there chipping limbs. I couldn't tell if the toilet was still there -- it was a little ways away and regular traffic was not permitted down that road. Darn!

I appreciated the comic relief in the middle of our chilly, long-distance day. If I have the opportunity to add photos, I will.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Faked out by the Sun

Last week, this section of the trail was covered
with snow, making the hills beyond the
curve treacherous.
This morning the sun was shining, the temps felt mild and there was no wind. It was beautiful! I could not believe it could be this beautiful in Ohio in February.

Because it was so beautiful, I assumed it was warm out. I left the house wearing one long-sleeved shirt, a wind-resistant jacket, winter-weight walking tights, light gloves and a hat. I almost didn't wear the hat but my hair was a mess, so I covered it up. (Thank goodness!)

Walking to the start of the Sharon Woods trail, I was a little bit cold, but you are supposed to be a little cold. At least, the people who tell me I over-dress all of the time say I should be a little bit cold.

In the first one-quarter mile, I was very cold. My hands were freezing, my face was freezing and I was cold all over. I really just did not want to turn around and go back to the car, so I talked myself into believing I would warm up. Well, I didn't. (Even seeing a fawn the size of a Golden Retriever didn't distract me from being cold.)

The sun was so bright,
I wore sunglasses.

When I finished the first loop, I went back to my car to get my gaiter and switch to a warmer pair of gloves. I am so glad I did! After that, when the sun was on my back, I started to feel too hot, but as soon as I was in shade I got cold again. In the area of the park we call The Plains, there was a little wind and it was pretty cold.

I have to be honest. I have not been getting in enough mid-week mileage. So today's 10 miles was more difficult than it should have been. After 8, I was moving slower! I was moving slow enough that I didn't even do a complete 10 miles -- it was only 9.6. (Each loop is really only 3.8 miles. I didn't go the extra 0.4 after two laps.) Sometimes it takes a "bad" distance day to remind you how important it is to get in the mid-week miles.
It is hard to tell, but this
fawn is very small.

Despite it being a slightly rough long-distance day between the cold and not being ready for the miles, I feel fortunate to have had such a beautiful sunny day in February!

Deer and turkey live in Sharon Woods. Today I saw an adult deer and a fawn about the size of a Golden Retriever! I heard the turkeys calling, but I didn't see any.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sometimes You Just Have to Go Slow

The Sharon Woods trail approaching the first hill. The odd thing is,
from here the trail goes downhill first, right after the above turn.
Sunday morning there was a little bit of snow on the ground and the temperature was only 17 degrees (4 with the windchill) as I planned to get in my 8 miles. Again I felt the need to trick myself into doing the mileage alone, so I went back to Sharon Woods.

In less than 1/4 mile, I slipped two times and was not sure I should even be there. I turned around to head back to my car. While slinking back, I passed a couple other people heading out to run on the same slick trail I decided was too slick. If they can run in this, I can at least try walking a little farther than 1/4 mile!

I turned around again deciding that I would do one loop, and if it was too slick, I would not do the second loop.

In the first 2 miles, there are a couple of hills that had me nervous. I walked cautiously trying to be aware of any ice patches. I have to admit, going down the hills was harder than climbing them -- I felt more in control climbing.

After passing the hills, life got easier. The trail was less slick and there were even patches that were totally clear! I picked up my pace a tiny bit.

When I reached the end of the loop, I knew I was not going to do the hills again. I opted to turn around and walk 2 miles out and back on the flat section of the loop. It was perfect! I was even able to pick up my pace a tiny bit more.

Before leaving my house, when I saw the temps and the snow on the ground, I was not thrilled about walking. But I knew it was my only opportunity to get in this week's miles. And even though there were a couple of slick spots, I am glad I did it.

What I wore: two long-sleeved technical shirts, windproof jacket, winter leggings with a looser fitting pair of walking pants over the leggings, gloves, hat and gaiter around my neck. I also used hand warmers in my gloves. If I could have worked up more speed, I would have been plenty warm enough. As it turned out, it took until the last 4 miles until I started to get a little too warm.

It took 2:03 to do 8 miles. The first couple were slower than 15:30, my fastest was 14:09. Racewalking was not really an option. Once I quit trying, I slipped a lot less.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mantras Part II

A few years ago some friends and I were walking in Cincinnati's Flying Pig Half Marathon. Not only is it a remarkably hilly course, but we were not really trained well enough for the race.

As we crossed a bridge over the Ohio River, we could see the Bengals' practice field and I told them about my son's favorite player -- T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Because my friends are not sports fans, they had not heard the name Houshmandzadeh before, and one friend had a lot of fun saying it -- over and over and over... (It is a fun name to say.)

Houshmandzadeh ended up taking on a life of its own. My friend started chanting it to help her keep pace. She started shouting it in celebration. She used it as a mantra to help her make it up the hills!

Did I mention we were in Cincinnati? And EVERYONE in the Flying Pig had heard of Houshmandzadeh, knew he was a football player and many had probably seen him around town. Well, everyone except my friend who was shouting his name.

Sometimes, there is a downside to mantras. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


For a very long time, I thought I did not believe in mantras. I've read the articles and heard people talking about mantras, but it just seemed weird to me.

I should probably clarify. The articles I read talked about "planning" your mantra and making sure you know what you are going to say when you need that extra boost.

In my mind, that was contrived and, frankly, sounded hokey. I need to sit down sometime and think about what I will say to myself when I am at mile 10 of a half marathon? Or in the middle of a big hill in Parkersburg? I don't think so.

I didn't give it much thought until recently when I was doing my speed workout. (You all know I hate speed workouts.) In the third "lap" I was pumping my arms, rolling my feet and trying so hard to go even faster. In my mind I kept repeating "You can do it! You can do it! You can do it!" over and over and over for the entire 3-minute lap.

During my 2-minute rest it dawned on me: I have a mantra!

The more I thought about it, I remember using that same chant in the last quarter mile of the Air Force Half when I was trying to pass a woman who wouldn't let me pass. And I remember thinking it while climbing the Eden Park hill in the Flying Pig Half Marathon.

I didn't have to plan it in advance -- when I needed a mantra one came to me. And it worked!

Do you use mantras? If so, how did you come up with it?

Tomorrow I'll post about my friend Deb's mantra during the Flying Pig.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Saturday's 8 MiIes

Saturday's long slow distance was great! The temps were mild, the route was flat and I had the opportunity to walk with some good friends. (You can't ask for more from a long walk!)

Though we didn't walk hard, we are quite a bit faster than we were just a year ago. Because of where we started, the mile markers do not make it convenient to time every mile or even to be confident we walked exactly 8 miles. However, one member of our group was wearing GPS and according to her, we walked 8 miles in 1:54 for an average of 14:17 per mile.

Not bad for a long slow day.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Sunny Sunday Miles

When my son plays sports, it is harder for me to get my long slow training days in on Saturday mornings. And with the rain and snow we have had already this month, it has been even harder to get my mileage in on other days.

Lucky for me I woke up Sunday morning to sunny skies and clear, dry streets. (It snowed on Saturday.) Though I was excited to be able to walk on a chilly, sunny morning, I needed to get in 6 miles and wasn't overly thrilled about that. I knew that I was going to have to trick myself into finishing.

After some thought, I decided to go to Sharon Woods Park. It has a 3.8-mile loop which makes it difficult to stop in the middle. If I had gone to Antrim Park, and had to walk five 1.2-mile loops, I would have been tempted to stop early.

I ended up walking for an estimated 6.15 miles for 1:23. My slowest mile was 13:46 and my fastest was 13:18. Not a bad pace for not getting all of my training miles in. And if I'm walking a 13:18 mile without pushing, imagine how fast I will be if I do push!