Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sometimes you just HAVE to be crazy.

So, I did get a walk in today. On my lunch hour. In a strange town. Wow. It was really strange.

4.63 miles in 61:32. Pretty good pace. Problem was... I walk all the time. I have walked in different cities and smaller towns. I have never heard so much horn honking, whistling, hollering, HEY... HEY... People in this small town where I was walking must have been absolutely freaked out by the sight of me. They actually rolled up on me in their vehicles and lowered their windows to yell things at me.

My DH warned me about people in strange towns... I scoffed at him. Well, he was RIGHT. But, don't you think for one second I am going to tell him. I will just add... sometimes you HAVE to be crazy.

"It's better to be crazy than lazy!" Maryann

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Work gets in the way.

This blog is supposed to be about walking. It would be really nice to find the time to go for a walk this week.

When out for my walk on Saturday, I got some terribly large blood blisters on the balls of both of my feet. The blisters are drained and trimmed... so now the feet are ready to go for a walk, but I have just been too busy at work. We are doing a mandatory software upgrade, and I am the only one who can facilitate it.

Yesterday I worked from 7 am until midnight, with a little break to help my mom with setting up her new cell phone. Today I got started at 6:30 am and didn't get home until after 6pm. Thank goodness my friend wanted to go out for coffee when I got home from work. That gave me a chance to wind down a little. I have one more location to upgrade tomorrow. It is about an 80 mile drive each way, so I am taking along my workout gear and walking during my lunch hour, or else I will miss another walking day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

December 27, 2008 – Training walk

Today was supposed to be 12 miles at target marathon pace. Well, I put on the wrong pair of shoes (Asics Hyperspeed Gel 2) and went out when it was sprinkling. I was trying to get the miles in before the cold front made it this far south.

My sciatica was starting to act up on the right side, so, speed wasn't in the picture from the beginning. It turned out that I would be walking at trail race pace from the beginning.

I remember now why I said those shoes are only for speed work. I have two of the hugest blood blisters I have ever seen, one on the ball of each foot. The right foot started feeling strange at about 6 miles then at 9 miles I had to abort the walk and head home because the left one started to hurt.

9.32 miles in 2:21:06 average pace 15:08mpm average hr 125 (65%). This includes about a 10 minute stop for stretching and flexibility drills.

I stretched when I got home, then drained the blisters and taped my feet up. Then my DH and I put together the new entertainment center we got for Christmas. We put all the stuff away and now we are watching movies.

I'll try for the 12 miles tomorrow. I just need to remember to prep my feet with body glide and wear the right shoes.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Rocky Raccoon 100/50 mile trail race

Well, I just bit another bullet. There is no way I was going to miss out on my first try at 50 miles, even if it is just 1 week after the Desert Classic marathon (January 31) and World Class Racewalking clinic (Jan 30 - Feb 1). So, I registered online just a little while ago. Here is the link if anyone wants to check it out: Rocky Raccoon (February 7)

The RD gives the 50 mile entrants 29 hours to finish and the course is 3 - 16.67 mile loops in Huntsville State Park. I am going to try and finish in less than 15 hours, then volunteer until all the 100 mile entrants finish. I really want to watch and learn from everyone... so, no going home until it's over. I am going to buy a headlamp this weekend.

I am really stoked! I can't believe this is all just over a month away!

December 25 – workout

I slept in a little this morning because it was a holiday. I invited a couple of friends over for coffee, which we enjoyed immensely. I really love coffee and I bought this blend at the Sunmart 50k/50m race expo. It is called Ultra Q50 Coffee, Endurance, Medium Roast, Whole bean, 100% Nicaraguan Gavilan coffee. What a fantastic tasting smooth cup! Email or call 520.820.0598 for ordering information. I never buy coffee at the grocery store. I took a chance on this particular coffee without tasting it because the ladies reassured me it had just been roasted and packaged 3 days prior. I am telling you, they didn’t steer me wrong!

I decided to have a little lunch, and then go out for my 8 miles. I didn’t expect to encounter too much traffic, and I wasn’t disappointed. The first 7 miles, my average pace was 12:43mpm, then the last of 8 miles was 13:30mpm for cool down. I’ll stretch really well after I cool down a little more.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Training walk – December 23, 2008

I am sure glad that my boss understands my need to workout. I have a flexible schedule that allows me to leave for long lunches when it is necessary. Tuesday is my 6 mile day, and it just gets dark to early for me to walk that far after 5pm.

So, I hurried home to eat a peanut butter and homemade preserves sandwich, take my vitamins and drink a glass of water. I changed into my workout gear, wicking thermal top and bottoms, long sleeve UA shirt, long pants, gaiters, and trail shoes. The temp was in the high 50’s with south winds so I didn’t need a hat, jacket or gloves. The plan was to walk the 1 mile to the Little League park, walk 4 miles on the gravel path around the park, then walk the 1 mile home.

The first mile was a good brisk warm up in 13:13. I didn’t really want to make this a fast walk, because I missed my recovery walk on Sunday. Then, at mile 2, I started on the gravel path. The cell phone rang, and the wind must have been gusting up to 30 mph. Someone from work needed me to solve a crisis. They must think I have a photographic memory or something. I directed them to someone who could answer their questions, because we were having a tough time communicating in gale force winds. Mile 2 – 13:10. It is kind of difficult to try to racewalk in gravel, but I started to get a decent rhythm going and mile 3 was 12:50. I stopped the timer to have a stretch, and then started again. Mile 4 – 13:02. I didn’t have any gels or electrolyte with me because I had just eaten lunch, but I always carry water, Mile 5 – 12:26 and mile 6 – 12:49.

Total time for 6 miles was 1:17:33, at the end of 6 miles, I slowed down to a cool down pace until I got home. I did the usual stretching routine, then cleaned up, changed my clothes and went back to work. My average heart rate for the whole walk was just over 75%.

I think coming home at lunch and going for my walk immediately after eating is going to help me with my ultra distance walking. One thing that is very difficult is to teach yourself how to eat while maintaining a good walking pace. The same goes for ultra distance runners. Eating while racing is something that takes a lot of trial and error practice. You have to find things to eat that don’t upset your stomach, or give you Montezuma’s Revenge. Also, what worked once, won’t necessarily work the next time, so you have to find a variety of foods that have agreed with you at one time or another. I didn’t experience any stomach upset from the pb&j.

Monday, December 22, 2008


There is one drawback to having lost a lot of weight. I am freezing. Our high here in southeast Texas today was 39. I know some of you who will read this will think I am a weenie. Well, so be it. I have lost 70+ pounds and been able to keep it off for 4, no almost 5 years. I think the fat layer was insulation.

The building I work in is old. There are 2 a/c units, and only one of them has heat. I don't have a duct off of that unit in my office. The back wall of my office is a north facing concrete block wall. Needless to say, when it is cold, I work with my coat on. If I could type with gloves on, I would wear them all day, too. Some would say to me, get a small electric heater and plug it in when it gets cold outside. HA! All of our computer equipment is plugged into the ONLY circuit in the office. Anything that produces heat trips the breaker.

Ok, Ok, I am done whining now. Tomorrow it will be 66. That's what they say about the weather in Texas, if you don't like it, just wait a little while. It'lll change.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

16 Mile LSD Walk

This morning was the perfect morning to sleep in, so I did, a little. My alarm went off at 6:30, and I promptly pushed the snooze button, which I usually do a couple of times before I get out of bed. I finally got up at 7 and ate 2 scrambled eggs on a Flatout light Italian flatbread with 1 slice of provolone cheese and drank a couple of glasses of water.

I gave myself the option of walking anywhere from 12 to 16 miles, since it has only been 2 weeks since my 50k trail race. I read something this morning that I thought about when I was thinking to myself at about 12 miles, ok, I can stop if I want to now. Well, I felt good, so why stop? What I read was… doing long distance events and training for them is 95% mental. Your head will tell you to stop because your legs hurt… well, your legs should hurt a little when you have walked 15, 20, 26.2, 31, 60, 62, 100 miles. That is no reason to stop. Or, your head will tell you to stop because you are tired, or because you have an upset stomach. Oh well. Still no reason to stop. How about this one… I fell down. So What! Get up, dust off, and keep going! By the way, it was perfect walking weather. The temp was around 65 when I started out, there was a decent breeze blowing and it was totally overcast. The dampness in the air does make you sweat more and wicking fabric laughs in the face of 100% humidity, but that's what body glide is for.

Anyway, I am trying to train for a specific pace at my next marathon, the Desert Classic in Surprise Arizona, outside of Phoenix. I want to finish in 5:30, which equals a 12:36 mpm walking pace. That means that the LSD (long slow distance) walk should be anywhere from 1 to 1 ½ minutes per mile slower than target race pace.

My first 14 miles averaged 13:48 mpm and this includes a 2 minute stop to refill the water bottle and use the potty at my house. Thank God for flush toilets, soap and hot water! LOL! I wanted to see if I still had something left in the tank, so mile 15 was 12:51 mpm. That felt pretty good. Mile 16 was a cool down mile at 14:37 mpm.

I stretched really well when I got home and then had the recovery drink which is a double shot of espresso with 8 oz. skim milk, oh, and I ate two biscotti.

So, I walked 16 miles in 3:40:29. I have no blisters and am only a little sore. I took a shower and now I am getting ready to go to a Christmas party with a dear friend.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Work was fun today.

Started out rough, then just got better and better. I was supposed to drive 80 miles early this morning to one of our store locations to work on the computer. I didn't get to start out until about 1 this afternoon. Cleaned up the data that needed cleaning, then one phone call, and off to the next location to install some software that I had forgotton on Monday. That phone call took about an hour and twenty-five minutes, you know, the phone call that usually takes fifteen minutes.

I Drove 70 miles to the next location, and installed the software in about 5 minutes.
I suppose it wasn't too terrible to spend the afternoon alone in the car. I just cranked up the tunes (Opeth, Metallica and Porcupine Tree) and had some solitary time. ;-)

I have to get up early tomorrow morning and walk... somewhere between 12 and 16 miles, depending on how I feel. Then there is a Christmas party in the evening.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

training walk

I left work early today so I could get my 8 miles in. The first 7 miles, my average pace was 12:48mpm. The last mile was 14:26 for cool down. I am not counting the 5 or 6 minutes I stopped (4.2 miles into the walk) to stretch and do some flexibility drills. Overall, it was a good one. I am just so ready for longer days. I really hate walking in the dark.

These posts are usually going to be short and to the point... (note to self)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunmart 50k - December 6, 2008, Huntsville, TX

I'll try my best to get this out quickly, without too much rambling.
Friday was not a good day for me at work. I don't want to talk about it, but it sucked. I was about 2 hours later than I wanted to be leaving for the host hotel in Houston, but I made it there in plenty of time to get my packet and all the goodies. The goodies consisted of a great gear bag, a cap, a polo shirt, a long sleeved tech shirt, nail care kit, journal, body glide sample, hammer gel samples, small back pack, sunglasses… Remember me telling you all that the race people had never cashed my check. I figured I would have to write another check when I got there, and I was right. My name wasn't on the registration list. That's how I ended up with my lucky number - 1001. Something about a number with 2 zeros that is reversible and that adds up to 2. I checked into the hotel, and then realized that I had forgotten the holster that I sling over one shoulder to carry a 32oz bottle of electrolyte drink that I always bring myself. (Race with what you train with). So, I had to go down to Roger Soler Sports and bought a fuel belt that has 4 - 8oz bottles. Then I chilled out a little before the pasta dinner.

There was a great spread for the dinner, salad, baked ziti, ravioli and lasagna with steamed vegetables and lots of desserts. When I go to these things alone, I always sit at a table by myself, then if someone wants to join me, that is cool with me. I met several nice people who asked to join… two first time 50 mile women, and a first time 50k man. One of the women was Gina Vandiver, 29 yrs old, the youngest woman to ever complete a triple ironman triathlon, she wanted to work on her running and prove to herself she could complete 50 miles in a respectable time.

Bob Kennedy, an American record holder in 3,000 and 5,000 meters was the guest speaker. His talk was interesting in that he congratulated all of us because he had never run as far as we were planning to, and we should all be proud of our accomplishments.

Invited runners were introduced, as well as 4 men who had participated in all 19 annual Sunmart runs. I spent the first 6 to 10 miles playing tag one of those men; he was very nice and gave me lots of encouragement. He will try to do the race at least one more time, to make the 20th anniversary. Anyway, up at 4:30 am, made the coffee, then left at 5 am to drive to the park. It was about 41 degrees when I left the hotel, and I thought that's not so bad. But, the further I drove, the colder it got. I drank my coffee, and ate the lucky Clif Bar and banana on the way. I went ahead and lowered the passenger side window about half way, so I wouldn't be too warm when I got out of the car. I wanted to be there and have my gear settled in my spot along the finish line, so it would be easily accessible as I passed that spot twice before the finish. (The course was 1 short loop and two longer loops) I ate a little more breakfast at about 6:45 because I wanted to be ready to see the start of the 50 mile race. They started promptly at 7 am and it was about 30 degrees outside. Then we waited for the 50k race which started promptly at 7:45. The reason for the staggered start is to keep the back and forth running traffic in the single track areas to a minimum. It seemed to work out pretty well.

I went out way too fast from the start like I always do. My first mile was 11:55. Mile 2 was a lot slower because at that point, the traffic of runners on the single track made it impossible to pass anyone. When it started to thin out, I was able to pick the pace back up. Up until about mile 8, I was at an average pace of about 13:30. That is ridiculously fast. I had tripped a couple of times, but was able to recover without falling. And at the end of the first short loop, I stripped off the top two layers and put back on the thinner long sleeve Underarmour shirt. The thermal shirt had to go when the sun came up and the air started to dry out. I also took off the headband. I didn't have to make any adjustments with shoes or socks… And I left the tights on all day.
Between mile 10 and 15, I lost about :20 per mile in average pace. Seems like the first short loop went well, and then I started to have some issues in the first long loop. Maybe I wasn't hydrating properly because it was cool. My fingers were swelling… etc. I started paying more attention to what I was taking in, and began to feel better. The fuel belt actually helped a lot with the hydration because I could see how much I was drinking. At one point somewhere in the last loop, I got a cramp in my inner left thigh. I just drank another bottle of electrolyte, and I was better.

When I was close to the end of the second loop, start of the last loop…about a mile from the turnaround, Patty says to me, can I walk with you to the finish line? I nearly cried. I was so thrilled to see her, she put some life back into me, and I think the last loop was better than the one before. Ok, I just checked… My average pace for the last 12 miles was approximately 14:40, and the average pace for the previous 12 miles was approximately 15:50. See what you did, Patty? You saved me from myself! I really felt strong at the finish, in spite of the fact that I really busted my butt with about 6 miles to go. Note to self: Don't look at the Garmin, just because someone tells you there are only 6 miles to go... The aluminum handheld water bottle saved me as it skidded across the pine needles and softened the fall, so I just laughed at myself and kept going. I know for sure that I wasn't the only one to fall. As a matter of fact, I saw several! One girl fell practically right in front of me. There were lots of bloody knees yesterday.

I wasn't quite ready to eat after I finished, so Patty walked with me to my car to get my 4 shot espresso and skim milk drink, and a small container of yogurt I had brought along. I stretched a little… not too much because things were starting to hurt a little. I got a phone call from the folks who I left in charge of the Sealy 5k, and overall, things seemed to go ok in my absence. I knew there would be a couple of glitches… they probably would have happened if I had been there anyway. I finally felt like eating at about 5pm, so I had half a cheeseburger and a real Pepsi. I just couldn't eat anymore. We stuck around and watched a lot of people finish 50k and 50 miles, and Patty had to go home. I stayed until the 50 mile clock read 12 hours.

I didn't want to witness anyone finish after the cutoff. That would have been too disappointing! I saw on of my dinner partners finish her first 50 miler, and I felt like it was me! There was one man whose family was waiting for him. The children were very well behaved and when they saw him coming with little time to spare, they all joined hands and crossed the finish line together! Then an older man came toward the finish… he was staggering and leaning terribly to one side. When the finish line folks came toward him to offer help, he refused and staggered over the finish of his own power. It was difficult to watch, but inspiring at the same time. There was also a young man who was very disappointed because he missed the cutoff (8.5 hours) to be allowed to start the last loop. I truly understood how he felt, even though I haven't had a dnf yet.
A really nice woman who had been cheering everyone on all day was waiting for her husband and it wasn't his first attempt at 50 miles. He barely made the 8.5 hour cutoff to be allowed to start the last loop, and he still hadn't finished when I walked away. I looked at the results and he finished just a couple of minutes after I left. 5 people finished outside of 12 hours.

So, it took me about 2 hours to drive home from the race in my stick shift. Thank goodness it is a car, and not a truck or a jeep! I didn't sleep too well… I tossed and turned all night. I was awake at 8am, and went grocery shopping. Then I went to show my mom my winnings. She fed me home made quiche! It was amazing, and then I asked her if she needed to go anywhere. She said, don't you remember, we are going to get my Christmas tree today. And, oh, by the way, I need a new microwave. So, we went. That was my workout today. No walking, just hauling around a Christmas tree and microwave oven in a 2 door automobile. I'm not complaining, the home made quiche made it all worthwhile!

Inventory: No blisters, only a couple of small bruises on my right knee from the fall, and a few sore muscles and joints today.

Back to training on Tuesday!

Bib #1001;
Chip time 7:49:19; average pace 15:06
397 of 482 overall (ahead of 17.42%)
150 of 203 women (ahead of 26.1%)
38 of 45 age group F 45-49 (ahead of 15.55%)
Garmin shows 3550' of elevation gain and 3741' of elevation loss. Lots of hills!