A Cautionary Tale: Pineapple and Smoothies


by Darren Lewis

Recently, a doctor recommended I eat half of a pineapple every day because of the natural anti-inflammatory properties of the fruit. No problem, I thought. I love pineapple.

When I actually tried to eat that much pineapple several days in a row, it was rough! My mouth burned and I ended up with acid-based stomachaches.

Eventually it dawned on me that if I put the fruit in a smoothie, I could drink it and avoid the mouth pain.

I am not a smoothie person. I think it is better to eat a piece of fruit than to puree it with high-calorie ingredients. But at this point I was willing to try anything, and was convinced I could make healthy smoothies. Continue reading


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4 Convenient Ways to Carry Your Essentials

pocketsDuring training walks and races I need to carry things with me, and that can be difficult when my workout clothes don’t have pockets.

Luckily, there are many inventive people who have come up with creative ways to carry essentials. Over the last couple years, I have acquired several different carriers, and I like all of them for different reasons.

Four of my favorites, in alphabetical order, are the BANDI Pocket Belt, RooSport Pocket, SPIbelt and Walkapocket. (Note: I bought all of these except the BANDI, which was a gift from a family member.) The SPIbelt I have is older and a little outdated. There have been improvements since I purchased mine. Continue reading


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Podcast 16 — Bountiful Gifts Walkers Only Half Marathon

June 4 was the inaugural Bountiful Gifts Half Marathon in Massillon, Ohio. This walkers only race also features a 5K and 10K.

The night before this year’s race, I had dinner with race director Jackie Prosise and interviewed her for this episode. It was great hearing how she came up with the idea, her planning and how the funds raised will be used to help the community.

In the second half of the podcast I give my recap of the half marathon from the view of a participant.

In this episode:

  • What is Bountiful Gifts?
  • Sponsors and why there are no logos on the back of the shirt.
  • Dave McGovern gave a walking clinic earlier this year to help people prepare.
  • Judges on the course to prevent “sloggers” or shufflers.
  • How many are registered? How big will it get?
  • Water stations, volunteers and GU.
  • After-race food.
  • Why the start time?
  • What the colors on the medal mean.
  • The course.
  • Time limits and predicted winner finish times.

I talk about:

  • The start.
  • Fast walkers.
  • The course.
  • The weather.
  • Water stops.
  • Not following my race plan.
  • My finish time.

I’ll blog about more details, including my suggested improvements and things to know for next year, in a day or two.

Don’t forget you can listen to episodes of the WALK Magazine Podcast either here or on iTunes.


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Episode 15 — Half Marathons: Air Force & Run with the Amish

Maybe I should title this episode The Missing Files. Or maybe A Couple of Nice Races. (We use the word nice a lot!)

Last fall I recorded a race recap of both the Air Force Half Marathon and the Adams County Half Marathon Run with the Amish with my friend Deb. Since then I somehow forgot about the recording and never posted the podcast.

That said, registration for both of the 2016 races is now open, and if you are looking for a good (nice) September race, listen to the podcast.

Here’s what’s in this episode:
Air Force Half Marathon — Dayton, OH — Wright Patterson Air Force Base

  • Pasta dinner — usually good, this year not so much
  • Start of the race
  • Mile 8
  • Other race participants
  • Rain
  • The finish line
  • After race food
  • The best hotel

Adams County Half Marathon Run with the Amish — County, OH

  • The huge goody bag
  • Dinner with the Amish
  • Hilly — understatement, it is HILLY
  • Beautiful course
  • Amish children
  • Cars on the course
  • Mile markers — handmade baskets
  • Medals are handmade baskets
  • Walking division with awards — handmade baskets




Posted in half marathons, marathon walking, podcast, races, walking | 2 Comments

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.


Posted in diet, exercise, health, interview, podcast, racewalking, training, walking, weight loss | 3 Comments

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?


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.

Continue reading


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