It’s Time for a Streak!

IMG_20150117_084339_216This time of year it is hard to be motivated to keep walking. It is cold, it gets dark early and typically, we don’t have races scheduled that require training miles. Holiday races are fun, but 4 miles once in a while is not enough.

That is why I’m challenging all of you to a streak — walking at least one mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

The rules are simple — just walk at least one mile every single day. It doesn’t have to be a fast mile or even a “training” pace. Just walk one mile. Though you are welcome to walk farther or faster any time you want, it doesn’t count if you walk two miles one day and skip the next. The challenge is to walk every day.

Post your progress either here or on the Walk Newsletter Facebook page to help keep others motivated.

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Posted in exercise, health, racewalking, training, walking | 3 Comments

Haunted Halloween Half — Provo, Utah


The mountains were beautiful!

Sometimes when I travel for work I get to combine the trip with a race. Recently I was in Salt Lake City for meetings, and while in Utah was able to stay long enough to do the Haunted Halloween Half in Provo. (There are also Haunted Half Marathons in Salt Lake City and Phoenix.)

What really excited me about this race — besides being in Utah — is that it is all downhill! The start is about 1,000 feet up the mountain and the course descends through the South Fork Canyon to finish at a mall parking lot in Provo. After all of the races I’ve done this year that were hilly, I was looking forward to one that was downhill.

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Race Strategy — Planning a Pace

Like other competitive walkers, I have goals.

RTB_finishSometimes it is as simple as finishing a race with friends. Sometimes I plan to beat one specific person. (Sorry Pat.)

Sometimes, I have planned and trained for an entire year just to PR in the same half marathon that I didn’t PR in last year — by 12 seconds.

This is the year with the bold, aggressive plan for a big PR at the Columbus Marathon half tomorrow.

Typically, I am confident with my training. I follow my schedule and I’m ready. This year is a little bit different. I have finished a lot of half marathons in a very short amount of time. This Columbus Marathon will be my 6th half marathon this year and my third in five weeks.

I need a race plan if I’m going to accomplish this goal. I can’t just line up at the start and wing it.

So for the last couple of hours, I have been studying my half marathon history. (Thank goodness for Garmin Connect!) Do I typically speed up at the end? Do I usually start races slow? What is my fastest mile? Can I be fast in the last mile?

My goal is a 2:51 half marathon. And that pace scares me. Why? I was at that pace last year — only a second per mile slower. I can be a second per mile faster, I know I can. But when you look at what it mean per mile — wow. I never thought I could get that fast.

So, now I really need to make a plan. It’s getting late, I need to go to bed, and I need a plan.

Why am I stressing? I got this!


Posted in half marathons, races, racewalking, training, walking | Tagged | 2 Comments

Episode 13 Podcast — Every Body Walk with Dr. Bob Sallis

R Sallis PhotoIn Episode 13 of the WALK! Magazine Podcast, I talk to Dr. Bob Sallis, the physician spokesperson for Every Body Walk! and a physician with Kaiser Permanente. Every Body Walk! (EBW) is The Movement to Get America Walking, created by Kaiser Permanente.

Dr. Sallis discusses questions that all physicians should be asking every patient about their physical activity. He explains the health benefits of walking just 30 min. a day, our country’s over-reliance on pharmaceuticals and his practice of prescribing exercise as medicine.

He discusses obesity and other ailments that decline dramatically when people walk every day. We also talked about the Surgeon General recommending walking, and just October 1, the Surgeon General again promoted a campaign to get more Americans walking.

Dr. Sallis also practices what he preaches. His Walking Travel Blogs show how easy it is to fit walking into a healthy lifestyle, even when traveling.

Though most readers of this blog and listeners to this podcast already walk regularly, this is a great podcast to share with less active loved ones.

Links to topics covered in this podcast:
Every Body Walk! website: Body Walk! app:
The Walking Revolution Documentary:
Surgeon General’s Rx for Health: Walk:

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Posted in diet, Every Body Walk, exercise, health, interview, nutrition, podcast, walking | 6 Comments

The Shawshank Hustle Review

The front of the prison.

The front of the prison.

I don’t typically enter “theme” races. Despite that, I was very excited about the inaugural Shawshank Hustle held in Mansfield, OH July 25 at the prison where the movie Shawshank Redemption was filmed.

The 4.6-mile race started and ended at the old Ohio State Reformatory. The course winds through Mansfield and includes several sites that appear in the movie including Brooks’ bench. There was a generous 2-hour time limit. I believe the funds raised go toward preservation of the prison.

There was limited parking at the race start with maybe 2,700 of the 3,000 entrants required to rely on shuttles. My friends and I have an aversion to races that require shuttles, so we arrived close to 6:00 a.m. to have the best chance of parking in that closest lot. Turns out that lot filled up within 30 min of our arrival.


We arrived 3 hours before the eventual start of the race, so we took pictures.

There was a party atmosphere before the race! Great music played while athletes walked around taking pictures of the prison. A costume contest showed how creative some people can be. And an announcer kept us entertained by leading us in a group dance as well as keeping everyone informed.

Shortly after 8:00 a.m., he announced the race would start 15 min late because of issues with the shuttles. Within a couple of minutes we were told the delay would actually be half an hour, making the start time 9:00. This was disappointing, but if the problem was the race’s fault (I don’t know), it was probably the right decision.

After a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, the race started and one huge mass of people crowded together to cross the start line. It was slow going with fast runners mixed in with people pushing strollers and very slow walkers holding hands blocking faster people. But this is very common for “races” that are really more “events”.

As we crossed the starting line, buses were still arriving with athletes.

Because of the start delay, and the fact the race was in July, the temperatures rose quickly. The sun was bright and it got hot. Being Mansfield, OH, there were also a couple hills that added to the challenge.

Hanging out with Andy in the Warden's office.

Hanging out with Andy in the Warden’s office.

Luckily most of my group had decided to do this race for fun, not speed. After all, how many 4.6-mile races are there? No matter how I finished, it would be a PR.

As we walked the course which follows part of the Shawshank Trail, there were signs indicating sites that appeared in the movie. Many people stopped to take pictures. It was fun.

The first water station was about 2 miles into the race. The people working it were having a very hard time keeping up! I was somewhat in the middle of the pack, and there were still a good thousand people behind me.

The second water station was only 0.6 miles after the first. I almost skipped it because it was so close, but at the last minute didn’t. Thank goodness I took that water! Those were the only two water stations on the course. So as the the temperatures rose, and we lost what little shade there was, there was no water for more than 2 miles. If I had really read the pre-race information I would have known where the water was and would have opted to carry some with me.

As we approached the prison to the finish, we could hear the music playing from pretty far away and the announcer called off the names of finishers as they crossed. Deb and I were just a couple minutes behind the rest of our friends, and we could hear their names as we approached.

The race shirts are gender specific and glow in the dark.

The race shirts are gender specific and glow in the dark.

We received our medals, and there was plenty of water and food: bananas, apples, chips, nut mix, protein drinks and more.

The race swag included a tour of the prison and a ride on the historic Richland Carrousel. Seeing the prison is the whole reason to do the race, right? So, after a short rest, we took the tour. There were signs throughout indicating what the rooms were used for both in real prison life and in the movie. We then drove to ride the carrousel. They were both great!

The race shirts are a black technical fabric available in gender-specific sizes, the design features the front of the prison, and both the shirt and medal glow in the dark.

Though there were glitches, this was a pretty good inaugural event. People enjoyed the costume contest and the tour of the prison was awesome. And if you are a fan of the movie, you will probably love the race regardless.


The sports management company that put on the Shawshank Hustle is Rocketship Sports, a not for profit corporation dedicated to promoting high quality athletic events and group fitness activities.

What sets them apart is that this is a hobby for all of the directors. Rocketship Sports does not pay a salary to anyone — they are all volunteers. The company is a true 501c3 not for profit corporation. Any income earned from the events is put back into the organization to purchase additional equipment. The volunteer crew includes everyone from an ex-professional cyclist to sports agents, runners to triathletes, engineers to bankers, marketing specialist to artists, all with years of experience in sport and business.

You can contact Roger Bowersock at 937 417 5772 or email (1562)

Posted in races, racewalking, walking | 3 Comments

Episode 12 Podcast — Are You Dopey?

The Dopey Challenge has become the Holy Grail for Disney race fans. The four-race series held in January includes a 5K, 10K, half marathon and finishes with the Disney Marathon for a total of 48.6 miles! And to commemorate the achievement of finishing, participants earn six medals and six race shirts.

Dopey and Goofy medals

The bonus medals — The Goofy Challenge on the left and the Dopey Challenge on the right.

When I first heard about both the Goofy and Dopey challenges, my first thought was, “Why would anyone do that?”

In January of this year, a group of 5 women from Ohio entered the Dopey Challenge — with one friend who did the Goofy. Recently I  talked to two of them — Karen Edwards and Stephanie Waterman — to find out what the attraction to this race series is. Highlights include:

  • Registration is about a year in advance.
  • The Dopey Challenge sells out quickly, the Goofy Challenge takes a little more time to sell out.
  • The Dopey Challenge registration fee is over $500 — not including travel expenses.
  • You have to be in the corrals by 5:00 a.m. race morning.
  • The courses don’t change from day to day, and neither does the after race food.
  • There are always long lines for port-a-johns in every race.
  • It’s a great challenge.
  • Participants enter Disney races for the Disney experience.
  • After the Dopey participants finish the marathon, they receive the marathon medal, Goofy medal and the Dopey medal — a lot of weight!
  • Finishers of the Dopey have walked 48.6 miles over 4 days.
  • The 2016 Dopey and Goofy challenges have already sold out.
the women who entered the Dopey Challenge and the Goofy Challenge, from left to right: Diane Burris, Karen Edwards, Stephanie Waterman, Darla Kaikis, Vicki Brunetto and Shelly Thompson.

The women who entered the Dopey Challenge and the Goofy Challenge, from left to right: Diane Burris, Karen Edwards, Stephanie Waterman, Darla Kaikis, Vicki Brunetto and Shelly Thompson. Shelly did the Goofy.


The ultimate bling! From left to right, medals for the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge.

The ultimate bling! From left to right, medals for the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge.

Dopey shirts

The race shirts in the order of the events: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, Goofy and Dopey.


Posted in 5K, half marathons, marathons, podcast, races, training, walking | 4 Comments

Learning to Love the 5K Race Again

Me at the far left pushing hard to PR in the New Albany Independence 5K.

Me on the far left pushing hard to PR in the New Albany Independence Day 5K and trying to catch the walker in front of me (wearing the blue bib). Photo courtesy of the New Albany Independence Day 5K.

The half marathon has been my favorite race distance for years. I love the training, the planning, the sense of accomplishment at finishing that long of a race. It is not so long that the recovery takes days — like the marathon — and it is not so short that you wonder why you bother entering.

That said, I am gaining a new appreciation for shorter races, specifically the 5K.

At the New Albany Independence Day 5K yesterday, I was able to push myself pretty hard for the entire distance. In fact, I pushed myself harder than I have in any race in a long time. And the best part was, I had to do it for only 3.1 miles!

I finished the 5K in 37:24 for a PR 2:20 faster than my previous fastest 5K. According to Cool Running’s pace calculator, I had to average 12:02 per mile to finish a 3.1 mile race in 37:24. (Assuming the course was measured accurately.) Continue reading (404)

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Mio FUSE Heart Rate and Activity Tracker Review

IMG_20150531_193900_169I  recently received a Mio FUSE Heart Rate Training + Fitness Tracker to review. Mio sent the device to me because I didn’t believe a strapless heart rate monitor would work. Over the years I have tried a couple of different strapless monitors, and none of them worked. So I was both excited and skeptical.

This is a pretty long review. If you just want to see my final conclusions, scroll to the end.

Though my main focus was to test the strapless heart rate (HR) monitor, I tried all of the features to be thorough. I’m not going to cover every single feature on the app.

The Mio FUSE wristband comes in a small box with just a small charger. The device needs to be charged before use and requires a smart phone app. The charger has a USB end to be plugged into a computer or wall charger. The instructions say it will need to be charged once a week. The battery in the wristband can be charged 300 times, which concerned me until I realized that 300 charges is more than 5 years. (The battery drains faster when using the HR monitor feature.)

The wristband is made of a soft rubber and is comfortable. It comes in a couple of different colors — mine is black and teal. Because heart rate is measured through the skin with light, the wristband needs to be worn sIMG_20150531_192739_800lightly higher on the wrist than you would normally wear a watch. It takes some getting used to, but I adjusted quickly. You can set the wristband for left- or right-hand wearing using the menus on your smart phone. It’s a fairly wide band, and thick at the display.

The instructions for use are pretty specific. The arm must be in a horizontal position in order for the “buttons” on the wristband to work.  This is to prevent the accidental touching or bumping of the buttons from causing the display to light up.

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Posted in heart rate monitors, product review, walking | 9 Comments

Memorial Day 5 Miler


Buckeye Striders who entered the UACA Memorial Day 5 Miler are Nancy, Pat, Jack, Deb and me.

There were five Buckeye Striders entered in today’s UACA Memorial Day 5 Miler. For several years, this race has been a tradition with the Striders.

I walked the nearly 2 miles from my house to the start of the race. My thought was that it would be a good warm up, but in reality it was too far to walk to the start of a 5-mile race.

This is a small, nice, community race. There are several hundred people who enter. It starts and finishes at the fire station and the American flag hangs from a fire truck when the National Anthem is sung. Winding through the streets of Upper Arlington, there are families out in their yards cheering on the participants! It is very fun!

Pat, Nancy and I started out together, but it didn’t take long for Nancy to take off. Pat and I walked most of the course together. It’s all on neighborhood streets with a few small hills throughout.

Jack won his age group!

Jack won his age group!

Nancy finished a little ahead of me in 1:02:49 for a 12:34 pace. (So nice to see Nancy fast again!) My finish time was 1:05:59 for a 13:12 per mile pace! Pat was right behind me with 1:06:28 for a 13:18 pace. Deb was very happy with her 1:08:58 finish with a 13:46 average. Jack won the 80+ age category with his 1:22:01 finish for a 16:25 min/mile finish. Jack also raced at the Jack Mortland Race Walk in Yellow Springs on Sunday. He entered the 5K.

So we were all pleased with our finish times and were happy to participate in the great community event again.


Posted in races, racewalking, walking | 1 Comment

Episode 11 Podcast — Review of RunTheBluegrass Half Marathon

In this episode of the WALK! Magazine Podcast, I talk with my friends Deb and Pat about the RunTheBluegrass Half Marathon, March 28 in Lexington, KY. Because we were going to be in the car for several hours while driving home from the race, we decided to record the conversation in the car.


  • The expo was small and tight, but nice. Pat and Bob bought Woodford Bourbon.
  • Pat did not like her race shirt/hoodie at first, so traded it for the unisex version. We all agreed that something different from a standard technical shirt was nice. (I love my hoodie!)
  • There was an issue regarding the timely delivery of the medals and shirts, and the race director did a phenomenal job of making sure the medals arrived, and making an alternate plan for shirts.
  • It was cold for this time of year.
  • The pre-race dinner was an all-you-can-eat buffet at one of the horse farms. One of the featured speakers was Scott Menzies, the husband of the last Meg Cross Menzies who was killed by a drunk driver in January 2014. Pat was so cold, she did not stay for all of the speakers.
  • At the start of the race, the corrals were roomy. The singing of the National Anthem and playing of My Old Kentucky Home were both beautiful.
  • The corrals moved quickly. Once our corral was released, the streets were not overly crowded.
  • The course is hilly! The course is beautiful!
  • Mile 9 — the most memorable mile — was dedicated to Meg, and a shoe tower was built there in her honor. We had our picture taken there.
  • At mile 12.1 there was beer on the course. (Yes, I had a sip.)
  • There was plenty of food at the finish. Everyone could also get one beer. (Yes, I had a beer.)
  • The race staff were great! The race is very well organized.

A special thanks to Bob who drove both to and from Lexington and dropped us off at the start line race morning! (1051)

Posted in half marathons, health, interview, podcast, races, racewalking, walking | 4 Comments