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.

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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.

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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. (140)

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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? (183)

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8 Miles

sign_green8 miles.

I remember the first time I ever walked 8 miles. It was a major milestone.

I was training for my first half marathon in 1999 with Team in Training. Walking that 8 miles was SO hard! I was exhausted – both mentally and physically. It was physically the hardest thing I had ever done. I might have even needed a nap that day. I didn’t know a lot of people who could walk that far, so I was very excited to say I walked 8 whole miles!

As I continued to train, the longest days on my training schedule increased up to 10 or 11 miles, and then we tapered to 8 miles again. That second time doing 8 miles was relatively easy. I was surprised that I would ever consider walking 8 miles to be easy.

Over the years, training for a couple of full marathons and more than 30 half marathons, 8 miles has been my fitness barometer.
Continue reading (312)

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Be the Best!

For most of the Cap city Half Marathon, I walked with Pat and Elaine.

Though I know I will not ever be the fastest woman in a half marathon, I continue to enter them. Challenging myself to beat my previous finish times — or finishing faster than my friends — is enough.

Recently I was listening to a podcast (yes, I listen to lots of podcasts) when the host said something that struck me.

Don’t worry about being the very best, just be YOUR best.

At first I thought it was a cop out. Why shouldn’t I try to be the very best? I’m sure every Olympic athlete or CEO of a major company tried to be the very best and they succeeded.

Then the host went on to explain that she used to get upset and depressed when she saw others who had more success than she did. If someone had a blog post that attracted a lot of attention, she would feel bad about her inability to attract that same amount of attention. It had a negative affect on everything she did.

Once she quit comparing herself to everyone else, and just started to focus on herself, she was happier, more productive and the quality of everything she did improved.

I thought about this in relation to all of the races I’ve entered over the past 14 years — two marathons and tons of 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons. How many of those races did I win? In how many did I even place?

Here is where I am such a hypocrite. I have avoided entering a judged race walk because there are so many fast women in my age group and there is no way I could win. On top of that, I have been afraid of embarrassing myself.

I know I am never going to win a half marathon, but each race is entered with a personal goal and I base my success on whether I meet that goal or not. Why can’t I enter a judged race walk with the same goals?

So my goal this year is to enter a judged race walk. No matter what my finish time, as long as I’m not disqualified, I will have a PR.

And my challenge to all of you is to try something you have avoided because you will never be THE best and just enjoy being YOUR best.

 

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Cap City Half and Athens Half Reviews — Podcast

In this episode, I’m joined by my friend Deb Chenault to review two half marathons we walked this spring: the Athens Marathon Half and the Cap City Half Marathon.

Deb, Steve and me at the start of the race.

Deb, Steve and me at the start of the Athens Half Marathon.

We start by talking about the Athens Half held in Athens, Ohio on April 13.

We also talk about the Cap City Half Marathon held in Columbus, OH on May 3.

We discuss everything about the races from registration to the finish line, medals, and after-race events. (312)

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Final Preparations for Your First Marathon or Half Marathon

The starting line at the Columbus Marathon.

Line up in the right spot for your pace. Line up behind faster athletes.

Spring is a great time to do a marathon or half marathon. And this last weekend in April is a big one for races: Big Sur International, Oklahoma City, St. Jude Country Music…

If you are doing your first long-distance race, I’m assuming you completed your training, you’ve been tapering this past week, and you know what you are going to wear. But what should you do the night before and the morning of the race?

Based on an article by Bonnie Stein that appeared in the Summer 2006 issue of WALK! Magazine, the following are things to do to get ready for your first long race. [My additions are in brackets.]

The Night Before the Race
1. Eat a healthy, low-fat, moderate-protein dinner. Carbohydrates are easy to digest. [Do not eat foods that are unfamiliar.] Hydrate all week.
2. Plan what you are going to wear. Do not wear anything new during the race. Shoes, socks, sports bra, shorts… everything should be worn during training to make sure there are no friction spots. [Do not wear your race shirt. Gather everything in one spot so it is easy to find in the morning.]

Wear your number on the front of your shirt.

Wear your number on the front of your shirt.

3. Pin your race number to the FRONT of your shirt. Use all four pins to keep it from flapping in the wind.
4. Try to get a good night’s sleep, though it is more important to sleep well two nights before the race. [Nerves may prevent you from sleeping.]

The Morning of the Race
5. Pack dry clothes to put on after the race. [Keep them in your car or a gear check bag to take to the start of the race.]
6. If chafing is a problem, use Body Glide, or another lubing product. [Make sure you use lube during practice walks to be sure it will work.]
peanutbuttertoast7. Eat at least 2 hours before the race — something high in complex carbohydrates, moderate protein, minimal fat. Good choices include bagels, bananas, and toast with peanut butter. Eat what you usually eat before your long slow training days. Whether you drink coffee on race morning will depend on whether you typically drink coffee on training days. Be sure to drink water before you leave for the race.

Before the Race
8. Arrive at the race early.  One hour early is typically recommended. [Large races may require an earlier arrival time to allow for traffic and parking.] Make sure you have plenty of time to use the port-o-johns and get to your corral.
9. [If you plan to use gear check, allow time to drop off your bag. Because of the Boston bombing, many races now have strict rules on the types of bags allowed.]
10. Warm up by walking at least half a mile. The shorter the race or faster the pace, the longer you should warm up.
11. Line up at the starting line by predicted finish time. [Line up behind faster athletes. Most races are chip timed -- the clock does not start for you until you cross the starting line. Many large races have pacers. Consider lining up with a pace group.]

Don’t start out too fast — walk at the pace you trained for. Drink water when you are thirsty. Have a good race!

After you finish, be sure to let me know how it went! Post a comment on this blog, or leave a comment on the Walk! Facebook page.

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Athens Half Marathon — April 12

While a student at Ohio University in Athens, I vaguely remembered a marathon being held in the spring. Some of my fellow PR/Journalism student friends volunteered to help promote the event and to work on race day.

At that point in my life, I could not understand why anyone would run 26.2 miles let alone volunteer to work at an event held that early on a weekend morning! Now that I have actually completed more than one marathon and more than 35 halves, I get it.

So on April 12 Deb, Steve and I entered the Athens Half Marathon.

Deb, Steve and me at the start of the race.

Deb, Steve and me at the start of the race.

Packet pickup featured a new assignment procedure called “dynamic” registration. Your number was assigned when you arrived to pick up your packet. It was cool and quicker than digging through a pile of preassigned bibs, but I’m not sure how it would work for a larger race. We received a long-sleeved bright green technical shirt. Though men’s sizes, I might be able to wear it. It’s not horribly huge.

This is a small race. There were 171 entered in the full marathon and 588 in the half. Continue reading (488)

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How to Buy Shoes — Podcast

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Who better to talk to about how to buy shoes for walking than the owner of a running and walking store? In this episode, I talk to George Roulett, a co-owner of FrontRunner. This local store was the first store in Central Ohio to understand the needs of walkers and treat us as athletes.

In a second segment with George, we talk about training with heart rate monitors. (Because of a scheduling conflict, there was a huge hole in this episode, and George was willing to help me out.)

The episode begins with me and my friend Deb Chenault talking about training for the Athens Half Marathon despite this extra cold and snowy winter.

In this episode:

  • Size, shape and stability are the keys to finding the correct shoes.
  • The speed of the walker and the number miles walked also affect the shoe choice.
  • Wear good socks.
  •  One of the new trends in shoes is thicker soles with lots of cushioning. They are quite a bit lighter than older versions (but are not flexible).

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    New Altra with a thicker sole.

  • The number of miles walked in a pair of shoes is more important than the length of time you own them.
  • George does not recommend walking more than one marathon in the same pair of shoes.

Also in this episode:

  • Every training day should have a purpose.
  • Heart rate monitors can help athletes keep “easy” days easy.
  • Be patient when beginning to train with a heart rate monitor.
  • It is important to find your max heart rate to determine training zones.
  • Age formulas to determine max heart rate are not accurate.
  • Give yourself three weeks to start benefiting from the use of a heart rate monitor.

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Disappointing Scioto Miles 15K Race

NOTE: Let me qualify this race review by saying I am somewhat picky about races and my race dollars are limited. If I am paying $45 for a race, certain amenities are expected. Smaller, less expensive races put on by running clubs always get more leeway.
The Buckeye Striders who entered today's race: Jim, Steve, Deb, Pat, Me and Elaine.

The Buckeye Striders who entered today’s race: Jim, Steve, Deb, Pat, Me and Elaine.

Today I walked the Scioto Miles 15K race held in Downtown Columbus with five other Buckeye Striders. I was hesitant to enter (which is why I just registered this week) because this series has not impressed me in the past.

There are three distance options in each of these races: 5K, 10K or 15K at $45 each. I think $45 is a little high for a 5K or 10K, but that might just be me. My goal was to complete the race at an easy pace feeling good. Continue reading (512)

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