Run Like a Girl Review

IMG_20141004_114322_148-1

After the race, from left to right, Nancy, Pat, Deb, me, Barbara and RuthAnn.

The skies were overcast, the wind was blowing and the temperature was only 44 degrees when we arrived at the Columbus Commons downtown to enter the Run Like a Girl half marathon October 4. It was so cold, the vast majority participants were huddled in parked cars or inside parking garages. We were in a parking garage.

About 8:00, the 5K and 10K participants started. After they started, and the half marathoners lined up, it started to sprinkle — luckily it stopped quickly. It was a little different lining up for a race with just women, but the start did not seem to be anything special other than that.

Nancy and I had planned to do the first mile in about 14 min, then go at a 13-13:30 min per mile pace. Pat’s plan was to hang with us as long as she could. We started out a little too fast at about 13:30, but it felt good. We then picked up the pace to 13:00 and tried to stay close to that the rest of the race.

We were on streets for about the first mile or so, then were on bike trails. From here, the course did a lot of out-and-backs on bike trails. The trails were a little too narrow when the leaders were heading back. The trails were also somewhat boring.

There were plenty of water stops, but not enough volunteers to out hand cups. We had to slow in order for many of these volunteers to be able to grab cups. There were plenty of people throughout the course directing us and making sure we stayed on course.

Though the trails were crowded, there were not a lot of walkers, so the crowds really thinned out around us as we went. I did not like the out and back on trails, but it was nice to be able to see the leaders and to see where the friends who were behind us were.

Throughout the race the weather was weird. The wind blew, it sprinkled on and off, and we were pelted with sleet. The sun even popped out on occasion. The trees on the trails blocked the wind and some of the rain, which was nice.

The last couple of miles were on streets downtown. At mile 12 Nancy and I tried to pick up the pace, but we had to climb what felt like a steep incline, affecting our pace. We decided to wait till we reached the top of the incline and then walked as fast as we could. According to my Garmin, we did that mile in 12:23 — our fastest mile!

We crossed the finish line, received our medals, looked for water and looked around. Because of the weather, almost all of the finishers were gone, the tables for sponsors that were set up in the Commons were gone. We walked across the park to find a tent with some picked over food — lots of cookies and candy, a couple bananas, grapes, and raisin bread.

Another tent had several men wearing tuxedos who were handing out wine! They were very charming! We collected our wine and waited for our friends. The last few participants were few and far between!

The race cost about $10 more than a typical local co-ed race. The shirts are women’s sizes, technical and in a nice color, but it is a low level brand. The medals are super cheap. The food was picked over and I have not tried the wine yet. The course was boring with no entertainment. Other than men in tuxedos handing out wine, there was nothing special about this race to justify the extra cost.

If you need a small local race in October, and want to race with just women, this race would be OK. If those things are not important, I would suggest skipping this one. (119)

Posted in exercise, half marathons, races, racewalking, walking | Leave a comment

Episode 8 Podcast — Race Day Strategies with Dave McGovern

Just in time for fall marathon season!

In Episode 8 of the WALK Podcast, internationally known race walking coach Dave McGovern talks about race day strategies for walking marathons and half marathons.

Topics include:

  • Scoping out the course in advance,
  • When to eat before the race,
  • Where to line up,
  • Pace groups,
  • How to use tangents,
  • Port-a-johns,
  • Fueling and hydration,
  • Psychology,
  • Recovery,
  • Using training logs.

Before being joined by Dave, I start the episode with a quick review of the recent Run Like a Girl half marathon held in Columbus. (I end the podcast by reciting my own quote wrong — hey, it happens.)

Check out Dave’s  website, World Class Racewalking, for more information about clinics, books and everything walking.

If you do listen to the WALK Magazine Podcast on iTunes, please leave a review.

  (296)

Posted in exercise, half marathons, hydration, podcast, races, racewalking, training, walking | 5 Comments

And Then We Were Lost

IMG_20140914_075343_370

Me and Pat at the One Lucky Buckeye race.

When you are doing a race, it is always a good idea to know a little about the course. It would have been especially nice to know the course today at the One Lucky Buckeye 8-mile race.

Because there are only about 700 women in this race — and one man — the participants can get really spread out. After making a turn between mile 4 and 5, we saw an arrow we thought was pointing left, so Pat and I turned left at the next corner. It didn’t seem right, but we didn’t see any other participants, and kept going. When we got to the end of the block, we discovered we were not supposed to take that turn and went back, adding about 0.7 of a mile to our race.

We maintained a good pace. Our slowest mile was 14:07 when we were lost, and our fastest pace was 12:10 in the last mile. I’m happy with that!

Overall, this was a good race. I love the fact that it was a race for women that raises awareness of women’s heart disease! It was a nice course, there was plenty of water, and Karl did a great job announcing, welcoming each participant as she crossed the finish line. In addition, the shirts and medals are great. There wasn’t much food at the end, but nothing is perfect. (193)

Posted in exercise, races, racewalking, walking | Leave a comment

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

Those of you who know me know that I can be opinionated.

I don’t do a particular race that raises money for “awareness” of a disease for a variety of reasons. It’s a long story, but I started to become jaded when I got a press release asking me to promote special colored extension cords for disease awareness. Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong supporter of research and cures (and fundraising), but how is buying an extension cord going to do anything?

IMG_20140912_191657_583-1-1

The shirt for the race is great — and in women’s sizes, of course.

My other issue is that more women die of heart disease than anything else. And heart disease can be prevented by simple life changes involving diet and exercise. I see morbidly obese Americans everywhere. What are we doing to make people aware of this very preventable disease? And on top of that, less research dollars go to studying women than men. Is that fair?

Well I had to a chance to put my money where my mouth is this week. This Sunday Ohio State’s Ross Heart Hospital is hosting a race called One Lucky Buckeye. The proceeds of this race go to fighting heart disease in women! The race supports the American Heart Association, Go Red for Women, and Women Heart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. How can I NOT enter this race!

And the race is just for women, with the exception of one man — the one lucky Buckeye.

There are three distances available: 2 miles, 4 miles and 8 miles.

When registering, I asked if there is a walking division. The woman helping me said, “Yes, there is a 2-mile walk.” I laughed and said I meant is there a walking division for the 8 miles. There isn’t, but that’s OK.

I’m excited about entering a race that supports a cause I believe in and encourage all of you to do the same.

The sad thing is, when I registered Thursday, I was assigned bib number 611. I wish this race would draw the kind of crowds so many other fundraising races do.

 

  (219)

Posted in races, walking | Leave a comment

Emerald City Half — Review

Deb, me, Pat at Nancy at the start of the Emerald City Half Marathon.

Deb, me, Pat and Nancy at the start of the Emerald City Half Marathon.

The Emerald City Half Marathon — August 24 in Dublin, OH — was a good race!

The temperatures were a little bit warm at the start. The funny thing is, if this had been a normal August, it would have felt cooler than typical. However, since we had a very mild August, we didn’t have the chance to acclimate and it felt much warmer than it was.

Jack and Steve

Steve, right, also did the half marathon. Jack did the quarter marathon.

Between the quarter marathon and half marathon, there were about 3,000 people at the start. It’s a nice sized crowd for the course.

The start was in waves, which helped to spread everyone out a little bit. I really like a wave start. I’m not positive, but I think it took about 10 minutes from the first wave for us to cross the start line. I was with Deb, Pat and Nancy and our plan was to hover around a 14-min mile.

Continue reading (235)

Posted in half marathons, races, racewalking, walking, weather | Leave a comment

A Strange Guy at the Park

More than a week ago I was walking in one of my favorite parks when I started to feel “uncomfortable”.

I like this park because it is along a river and it is on my way home from work. What I don’t like is that pedestrians walk on the street through the park and sometimes there are cars parked on the gravel along the edge of the road. This is only a problem when people sit in their cars.

On this particular day, as I walked past a small white pick up truck, I just had a weird feeling. When I got to the end of the road and turned around, I walked on the opposite side of the road. As I passed it, I noticed the driver’s side window was open and I could see the driver smiling at me. On the surface this is harmless, but something about him made me feel uncomfortable. In fact, the feeling was strong enough that I turned around more than once to be sure I wasn’t being followed. Continue reading (398)

Posted in exercise, safety, training, walking | Leave a comment

Episode 7 Podcast — Hydration and Biggest Loser Half Review

Welcome to the 7th episode of the WALK Podcast!

This episode features a couple of firsts:
1) I discovered my microphone was broken as I was starting to record a segment and we had to use the built-in mic in the laptop, and
2) I did my first phone interview!

My friends Pat and Deb participated in The Biggest Loser Half Marathon in Pennsylvania earlier this summer and agreed to talk to me about it — we ended up outside immediately following a 5K race! (These are pretty good friends!)

They talked about everything from seeing several  Biggest Loser contestants, exercise sessions offered at the expo, the incredible number of hills on the course, and the great race shirt. It sounds as if the show is making some strong efforts to offer well-run events.

In the second segment, I talk to Wendy Bumgardner (walking.about.com) about hydration. Wendy inspired me to become a walker in the late 1990s. She is a volksmarcher, marathon walker, a Certified marathon coach (RRCA) and has a Leki Nordic Walking Instructor Certificate. She knows walking! And she also knows hydration.

I thought I knew how to hydrate properly, and I learned quite a bit from Wendy. If you are a long-distance walker in training this summer, you need to listen to this segment!

I hope you enjoy the episode.

Links:
walking.about.com
Biggest Loser Half Marathon

Follow me on Facebook at The WALK Newsletter and on
Twitter @WALK_Magazine.

If you listen to this podcast on iTunes, please give it a rating! Thanks!

  (685)

Posted in exercise, half marathons, hydration, marathons, podcast, races, walking, weather | 5 Comments

A July 4th Race

july 4th

Me, Pat and Deb at the Westerville July 4th 5K race.

There were several July 4th races in central Ohio this year.

Three Buckeye Striders and I entered the Westerville Rotary July 4th 5K.

The race is reasonably priced at $25. This year we received a technical shirt in men’s sizes and a Headsweats visor. Let me just say for the record that unisex sizing is just a nice way of saying, “We are only offering men’s sizes, but we are trying to be less obvious about it.” Unisex is a man’s size — the end.

That said, the shirts are HUGE! A small is VERY large and they are fluorescent yellow with a red, white and blue design. Eww. Headsweats is a great brand, but the visors just look weird on nearly everyone I saw wear them. My hair makes it pop off my head.

Shirt from this year's race.

The shirt from this year’s race is very large and very yellow.

This is a community event, and the people are all very nice. It has a small town feel to it that I really like.

The course runs down one large street, then when the crowds thin, it moves to bike trails. It’s nice, but also the exact same course as the Easter race.

There were two water stops that were woefully understaffed. Each had two people and they could not keep up. I skipped the first one as people were waiting in line. At the second one, I still had to wait for water, but it was not more than about 10 seconds.

In previous years, there would be maybe 10 Buckeye Striders in this race. This year we had only four. Another local race not only had gender-specific shirts, but also had a walking division! In the past, several of my friends in higher age groups have won their division as walkers in Westerville. This year the highest age group was only 50+. That is a very young and huge age group!

After the race, there was plenty of water, Cheryl’s cookies, Panera bagels and bananas and oranges.

Because of the new age divisions, we did not stick around for awards.

Nancy and I tied with a finish time of 43:58 (I won because my name is first alphabetically), Pat finished in 44:02 and Deb in 44:13. We placed 59th, 60th, 61st and 62nd in our age division.

Overall, it was not a bad race. However, if other races are willing to offer better shirts and a walking division, why would I come back here next year? In fact, we did agree that this is probably our last year doing this event. For just $5 more we could do a similar race, receive a shirt we can actually wear and possibly receive an award for walking.

  (529)

Posted in races, racewalking, walking | 4 Comments

The Rock that Says Ehh

The rock that says Ehh.

The rock.

A few weeks ago I did not feel like walking. I took walking clothes with me so I could stop at a park on the way home, but I still wasn’t feeling it. Regardless, I drove to the park.

As I got out of the car I thought I would just walk to the rock that says “Ehh.” Since I was feeling kinda ehh, it seemed appropriate.

By the time I got to the rock, about 1.5 miles from the start, I was feeling better! So, I took of picture of the rock to remind me that sometimes all you have to do is walk a mile to get rid of  that blah feeling that keeps us from even starting.

After I finished the 3 easy miles, I felt great! So glad I walked that day.

___________________________________

I’ve been feeling very unmotivated the last few weeks. Today I ended up at that same park and walked even though I did not feel like it. As I passed the infamous rock, I smiled. (378)

Posted in exercise, health, inspiration, training, walking, weather | Comments Off

Working on Motivation

Antrim Lake was beautiful this morning.

Antrim Lake was beautiful this morning. The brightly colored markers were for a triathlon held earlier in the morning.

Over the last few months I’ve been dealing with an overuse injury. My hip flexor is sore along with my sacroiliac and IT bands. The three are all related, aggravating each other and making my lower back ache.

I’ve been working with a physical therapist to figure out how to make things better. In addition to giving me a variety of exercises and stretches to do (which I do nearly every day), he has limited the number of miles I walk. His theory is, if I reduce my mileage, I will not continue to aggravate the overuse injury while we are working to make things better.

Unfortunately, I have taken the “reduced mileage” advice just a little bit too far. Instead of just reducing overall mileage and intensity, I have nearly stopped walking. I’ve done some really slow walks for fewer than 2 miles in the neighborhood and the occasional 4 miles with the Buckeye Striders, but that is about it. The bad thing is, I’m enjoying it! I don’t have much desire to walk very far or fast.

Today I got up early and walked at a local park for about 3.4 miles. The trail goes around a beautiful lake. It was tough. My legs felt heavy, my hips felt stiff and I could not get my legs to move any faster. On top of that, though the walking was difficult, I could not get my heart rate up very high. Eventually, I was able to get as fast as a 14-min mile pace (according to my Garmin), but it felt like a lot of effort.

So, a few things were running through my head today. First, is PT doing any good? I thought I was getting better and was becoming more flexible. I felt none of that today.

Second, I am walking so little, just walking 3 miles at a good clip is difficult. I cannot continue to lose my walking endurance without a fight.

Third, if I’m enjoying not exercising and allowing myself to gain weight and become depressed, I need to do something about it.

Today’s walk has inspired me. I have new motivation! Starting tomorrow I will go back to a regular training schedule. I won’t do speed training until I get the go ahead, but I can go back to walking regularly. It will do a world of good for my mental and physical health.

Anyone else struggling with motivation right now? What are you doing to work through it? (413)

Posted in exercise, health, heart rate monitors, inspiration, racewalking, training, walking, weight loss | Comments Off