6 Lessons from Walking Two Halves in 6 Days

Two half marathon in six days.

Two half marathons in six days.

Two half marathons in six days! Yes, I was crazy enough to do that this spring.

The first half marathon of the year is always a little bit tough, so it was unusual for me to plan two back-to-back early in the year. But I had good reasons for wanting to do both. The Owens Corning Half Marathon portion of the Glass City Marathon (April 24) was on my bucket list and it was an anniversary year race. Cap City Half Marathon (April 30) is one of my favorites and it was hosting the half marathon National Championships!

They were both fun, but I made some mistakes. Here are six things I learned.

1 – Adjust your training schedule.
Because you are doing two races with little rest in between, it might be a good idea to increase the mileage on your longest training day, or practice two long mileage days in a week during training to see how you feel. Continue reading


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Cap City Half Marathon — Race Recap


The women’s shirts are cut for women. This one fits great. The huge medal is the same design as the championship rings presented to the race winners.

The Capital City Half Marathon is one of my favorite races. Race director David Babner has done a good job supporting walkers over the years, and he has worked hard to make this race a world class event. (Walker awards would make it a “great job” of supporting us.)


Some of the Buckeye Striders before entering our race corrals. From left to right Deb, Ruth Ann, Laura, Linda and me.

The corrals are very well marked and easy to get to if you head there early. There are tons of port-a-johns near every corral, so no need to worry about that. There are ropes separating the corrals, and volunteers watching to be sure people stay in the correct corral.

The sound system was horrible for those of us in corrals I and J. We heard NOTHING! Suddenly everyone in front of us started to get quiet and then we heard the last few bars of the national anthem. I hate that!

Continue reading


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Glass City Half Marathon Race Recap — April 24


Me and Deb in front of the University of Toledo Bell Tower.

This year was the 40th anniversary of the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon. Because I’m from Toledo and my mom was a Mercy nurse, I’ve wanted to do the half marathon for a couple of years. The 40th anniversary seemed like a good reason to do it this year. I was glad Deb decided to go with me.

This race starts and ends at the University of Toledo. (My dad graduated from there!) There was a lot of road construction around the university, so it was a little bit difficult figuring out where to park for the expo. The expo was small, but nice. We were able to try on the race shirt and exchange it if we needed to.

Race morning, parking was also a little bit of a challenge. Despite that, we ended up in a lot with plenty of time to walk to the start. Walking to the start there were plenty of port-a-johns.

Continue reading


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Episode 14 Podcast — Tammy Stevenson Race Walker & How to Start a Walking Club

This episode of the WALK Magazine Podcast has two segments.

Tammy and Deb

From left to right: Deb and me with Tammy Stevenson in Utah.

The first segment features Tammy Stevenson, a race walker from Utah. I first “met” Tammy when she wrote an article for WALK! Magazine about losing more than 100 lbs through Weight Watchers and race walking. Since then, she has become a very competitive masters race walker. I am thrilled I finally got to meet Tammy in person in October.

The second segment is about how to start a walking club. Liz Plott and Larry Smith both started walking clubs/teams. The Gahanna Get Moving Team was started by Liz more than 10 years ago. Larry started the German Village Walking Club earlier this year. I tried to give input about the Buckeye Striders Walking and Race Walking Club. I’m a member, but I wasn’t involved in the start of it.

Highlights of this episode:

  • Tammy’s successful weight loss
  • How she became interested in race walking
  • Why judged race walks
  • Her coach
  • Fatigue issues
  • How she fuels
  • How she juggles training and a family
  • How to get started race walking
  • Tammy’s walking goals

Walking clubs

  • Why each club was started
  • Where and when they walk — which day of the week
  • Extra events — Wednesdays
  • Communicating with members
  • Keeping track of participants each walk
  • Financing — dues, sponsorships
  • Members on paper vs. those who show up
  • The recording stopped suddenly, so this segment ends oddly.

The book Tammy refers to is Walking: A Complete Guide to the Complete Exercise by Casey Meyers.


Larry’s Lessons Learned List

  • Walkers are not going to just show up because you established a Club.
  • Don’t start an outdoor walking club in February (the coldest February on record).
  • Don’t rush things.  Keep expectations realistic.
  • It is OK to get frustrated, but don’t give up.  Accept “rejection”.  It is not everyone’s “cup of tea”.
  • Talk about the Club to everyone, everywhere.
  • Tell people to just come out once to check it out.
  • And, let people know why they want to be a member.  Have your elevator speech ready at all times.


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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.

Who’s in?


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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.

Continue reading


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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!



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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: http://everybodywalk.org/Every Body Walk! app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.kp.everybodywalk.android
The Walking Revolution Documentary: http://everybodywalk.org/documentary/
Surgeon General’s Rx for Health: Walk: http://everybodywalk.org/surgeon-generals-rx-for-health-walk/



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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 info@rocketshipsports.com.


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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.
  • http://www.rundisney.com/disneyworld-marathon/#dopey-challenge
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.


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