Monday, January 26, 2009

just a quick one.

So, I am getting ready to leave town for the clinic and marathon. I am really excited, nervous, frantic, crazy.

My mom and I plan to have a real nice visit with her sister (my aunt). I will be real busy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but family is very important to me.

My sciatica is still acting up, but I won't let that stop me. I didn't get a whole lot of relief from the chiropractor. Maybe he was just the wrong guy for me. His idea was to see me every other day for two weeks. I really don't think that is necessary, I can't afford it, and if my back is in that bad of shape, maybe I should just hang up the ol' walking shoes. Like that will ever happen.

I will be away from computer access while I am gone, but I am taking along a journal so that I can write my thoughts down. I will also keep a food log.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Taper of 2 Races

I need some help to keep me from really going off the deep end this week. I just realized there are only 9 days to the Desert Classic and 16 days to count down to 50 miles at Rocky Raccoon. The racewalking clinic is the filling... oh my goodness I am thinking about cake for some strange reason. A friend suggested Double Stuff Oreos…

I think Dave's clinic is weighing heavier on my mind than the two races. Last night I dreamed my 5k best dropped to 28 minutes flat. Now that is hilarious...

I was talking to my mom on the phone this evening about our driving trip to Phoenix next week. For some reason I had it in my head that we were leaving on Wednesday. I was getting my bills together so that I could pay them before I leave. I found the paperwork for the hotel reservations in El Paso. Turns out we are leaving on Tuesday. OOPS… Taper madness, anyone???

At least I kept my promise to self today. I did my strength training again, working upper body, lower body and core! I am so proud of myself... That makes twice this week. Patting self on back right now, while eating yogurt with slightly thawed frozen berries....

January 20 - Training Walk

I didn't get started until about 5:30 pm, and the wind was really blowing. I decided I was going to the school track near my house to walk around in circles so that I could work on speed a little. Turns out there was a high school soccer game going on (new sport for our school - does that mean there is hope for a racewalking team???).

I had my flashlight along, just in case, so I headed away from the school and around the neighborhood again. I was dressed in layers, so not too cold. It ended up being a good tempo walk, 6.04 miles in 1:16:16 for an average pace of about 12:37mpm, average HR 77%, max HR 84%. Once I was home, I stretched really well. The right side is finally starting to loosen up.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Strength Training

So, strength training has been basically absent from my routine since November. I guess today was as good a day as any to start back up again.

2 sets of 15 reps of 11 different upper body, lower body, and core exercises + stretching afterwards.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Recovery walks are just as important as speed workouts, long distance workouts and all other types of workouts. I have kind of been neglecting to get these done lately. So, having walked around in circles for 4 hours and 5o minutes yesterday, I was in desperate need of a recovery walk today.

4.48 miles in 1 hour. Average HR 70%, max HR 77%. Oh, by the way, I didn't walk at the track today. I thought about it, then I thought it better to go around the neighborhood.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Walking around in Circles.

So, the Chiropractor told me I should do my long distance walk at the high school track today. I looked at to check the distance of each lane on the track, and how many laps I would have to walk in order to get 20 miles. I chose to walk in lane 8 because that was ONLY 72.019 laps. I put on the Garmin, because I wanted to keep track of my HR during the workout. I used the Timex Chronograph to keep track of the number of laps walked. Funny, everyone says that a Garmin doesn’t work real well on a track because of the turns, or maybe it is just too small an area to be accurate. When I uploaded the workout to my computer, the map looked really screwed up, but the total distance covered was accurate. I don’t know how, but it was.

Everything was aching a little when I started out, since my last walk was last Saturday, and that was a hilly 12 miler. So, I walked 4 miles, and then stopped to stretch and get some flexibility drills done. The stretching took about 7m30s. After that I just got to work. I didn’t have to carry my water of electrolyte drink, because I passed it every .278 miles. I carried my GU, Clif Bar, Clif Shot Blocks, and sectioned Clementines a small fanny pack that I carry behind me. I slide it around when I need to get something out of it.

When I first arrived, there were a few people walking, jogging, etc. They left after I had walked about 10 laps. Then a few others showed up, but they only stayed a short time. So, I just kept going and going and going. At 36 laps, or half way, I changed directions. When I was at around 17 miles, my head started messing with me. Come on, just go home. This is too difficult, just walking around in circles. Then someone else showed up and gave me renewed strength to finish. He was jogging in the opposite direction as I was walking, so I actually had human contact twice each lap. I thanked him for showing up when he did. When he asked me if I had been about to pack it in, I said yes because I needed to finish 20 miles and it was getting tough. When we met up a half a lap later, he asked me if I had said 20 laps. When I assured him I said 20 miles and I only had 3 laps to go to finish, he said I was the craziest person he had ever met. I told him thanks because I had accomplished what I set out to do today. I didn’t bother to tell him there are folks who walk a whole lot farther than 20 miles at a time!

Time for 20 miles today was 4:50:10 for an average pace of 14:30 (this includes time spent stretching because I did not stop the timer). Not fast enough but at least I got it done!

Friday, January 16, 2009

My First Trip to the Chiropractor

So, I finally made it to the Chiropractor to have my back looked at. He did a physical exam after asking me lots of questions. Then his associate took x-rays of my spine. I had a heat treatment and electrical stimulation of the lumbar spinal muscles. He didn’t want to do an adjustment until after he had a chance to look at the x-rays, so I went back this afternoon for another consultation.

I had more heat and electrical muscle stimulation, then an adjustment. The right side that is giving me all the problems wouldn’t release at all. The left side went easily. After the adjustment, we looked at the x-rays together. He showed me where everything was wrong. I already knew about the lumbar spine, I have degenerative disc disease and the space between L4 and L5 is almost nonexistent, causing the sciatica in my right leg. My pelvis is out of position from walking on the cambered surface and he recommended I find a more flat surface to walk on, such as the park trail or high school track. He said that the reason I don’t experience more pain is the amount of exercise I do; the result being that I do more damage than someone who does little or no exercise and experiences the pain sooner. Nevertheless, he didn’t suggest that I cut back on my long distance walking, just that I get my spine back in order and keep it that way.

I can’t afford massage therapy once a month, and the chiropractic treatment costs less anyway. I will decide whether or not to continue on Monday, after I go in for another treatment. There is a possibility he will work something out for me since I am a cash customer, not filing insurance claims.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Well, it’s my turn to be disgusted. Sciatica sucks. Today, my back is hurting worse. There are 17 days until the first day of the World Class Racewalking Clinic in Mesa Arizona, 18 days until the Desert Classic Marathon, and 25 days until the Rocky Raccoon 50 mile trail race in Huntsville Texas. My right leg is weak, my lower back hurts, and my whole right side is speaking words of discouragement. I can’t stretch my right hamstring properly, but the left one is ok. I have an appointment with a chiropractor on Friday. I am supposed to walk 20 miles on Saturday.

This has happened before. One or two adjustments usually puts things back where they belong and my flexibility returns.

I think this is all a result of too much walking on a cambered road. I usually always walk against traffic, so the right leg is always lower than the left one. The only time I feel comfortable walking with traffic is when the road is extra wide, or I am walking on a road with a full shoulder. Does this mean I have to start doing all of my racewalking at the high school track??? I sincerely hope not. It is not too much fun walking around in circles. The Garmin is not as accurate on a track because of the tight turns as it is out in the open on a long distance walk. I guess I could go back to using the split timer on the stop watch…

Sunday, January 11, 2009

John Evans 50k/20k/5k Bear Creek Park Houston Texas

January 11, 2009
I started out at about 7:20 yesterday morning, and man the wind was really blowing! I ordered a new beanie from UA, and I was really glad to have it today. The wind would have blown the regular cap right off my head. Hilly miles are really hard for me when I haven't done any since Sunmart. 11.82 miles 2:42:28, average pace 13:44, average hr 72%

I decided not to try to race at all today, I just went to volunteer. I still planned to walk 12 miles, I just didn't want to be judged at this point in my walking. My right hip/hamstring/sciatica is still acting up. I have a call in to a friend to ask her about her chiropractor. I want to be in the best of condition for the marathon/clinic/50 miler coming up and racing today was not the best way to insure that.

I didn't walk at all today, even the planned 12 miles. I got up at 4:30 am, left for Bear Creek Park in Houston at 5:45 am. Helped set up an aid station at/near the start/finish line, and manned it all day. So, I jumped up and down, jogged around in small circles and paced back and forth all day, trying to stay warm. I finally ended up wearing a trash bag over my layers and layers of clothing to stay protected from the wind.

There was a nice group of racers from various places, and only 1dq (20k) and 1dnf (50k) for the day. I was fortunate to meet AC Jaime from South Texas, and also several of the Houston racewalkers. AC Jaime brought some fantastic young talent to participate in the 5k. It was great to see teens participating in a sport I most often associate with older people like myself. There were also plenty of volunteers and spectators.

I needed to make a quick change to this post. There were actually 2 dnf in the 50k. One of the competitors was having trouble breathing and dropped out after only a few laps.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Another Race - John Evans 50k, 20k and 5k

I just can’t resist another race on the schedule. I was planning to go to Bear Creek Park in Houston on Sunday to help out at the race. I also need to get in a long distance walk of somewhere over 12 miles at target marathon pace this weekend. The race is a judged racewalk, from which I will probably be disqualified. I am not a really legal racewalker, having problems keeping the knee on my advancing leg straight until it passes under my body.

I talked to the race director last night, and he talked me into entering. He said if I get the dq, I can finish my walk away from the race area, this is a large park, and still do the volunteer stuff when I am finished. I plan to get there at 6am and help them get everything set up, then do the 20k (12.4 miles) when it starts, and finish up the day at the 50k awards ceremony.

I also have to do a long distance walk tomorrow. This is what I call a back to back weekend. So, I will do the 12 miles tomorrow at a slower pace and really push it on Sunday. My racewalking is getting better as I pick it up to a faster pace. But I will let the judges decide, then at the end of the month, Dave McGovern will show me what I really look like when racewalking with a video taping session. I am sure there is lots of room for improvement.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wednesday, January 07 – Training walk and other stuff.

So, today was yet again, not the best day for me. It started out at the funeral of a close friend of my son. He was a bright young man, only 30 years. These things are never easy, as everyone knows; we are supposed to bury our parents and grandparents, not our children.

When we got back home, after the dinner that followed the funeral, I tried to go to work. It just wasn’t happening today. Instead, I came home and cleaned up my dishes and changed clothes for the only thing that would really make me feel better: my walking workout.

It was time for a good tempo walk. So, I planned at least 6 miles at 10k race pace. I also wanted to try out my new headlamp. I headed out toward the little league park in my Saucony Grid Type A Racing flats. Those are the hottest looking pair of red racing shoes anyone could want to wear. They are nice and light weight, but they also have ample cushioning in the midsole for my neutral gait. It was still light out when I left my house. I walked to the park, which is 1 mile from home, then a ¾ mile lap around the park. I stopped my timer to stretch and do my flexibility drills, then walked 2 more ¾ mile laps at the park. I was planning to walk at the park until I reached 5 miles total, but the path at the park is red gravel. I had lots of it in my shoes, so I stopped the timer again, emptied the tiny red rocks out of my shoes, put on the headlamp because it was getting dark and headed back into the neighborhood for the rest of the walk.

I felt kind of funny wearing the headlamp at first, but I got used to it pretty quickly. I was able to continue at 10k pace without tripping on anything and I was also visible to oncoming traffic. Nothing like speed and safety!

I made 10k in 76 minutes, which is 1 minute slower than my pr for that distance. Here it is broken down by miles:
Mile 1 - 13:00
Mile 2 - 12:19
Mile 3 - 12:28
Mile 4 - 12:12
Mile 5 - 11:40
Mile 6 - 12:03
.31 miles - 3:57

Now I am home, have stretched really well and dinner is cooking while I am typing my blog entry.

If it wasn’t for my walking, I would go nuts.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Long Distance Walk, January 4

I got up at 6 am and drank a glass of water, and then I ate my Kashi Oatmeal, with an added tablespoon of natural peanut butter and ½ cup of skim milk and took my morning dose of vitamins. When I left the house for my 20 mile LSD at 7:30 am, it was really warm and humid, and a layer of fog was hanging just above ground level.

I started out slow enough to warm up and was hoping for an average pace faster than 14 mpm. Soon I settled into a rhythm and was feeling pretty good in spite of my recent bout with sciatica. I knew there was a cold front coming, and I didn’t want to get caught in any severe thunderstorms that sometimes precede cold fronts in southeast Texas. I called my mom when I had passed my house at about 10.5 miles. I could see the dark clouds nearby and wanted to know if there were any storms. My mom said it was just drizzling a little and didn’t look like it would get any worse. She also said that when the front passed her, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees all at once. Just after she uttered that sentence, the wind changed direction and oh my goodness, the temperature went from 70 to 50 with at least 20mph gusts!

I was pretty sweaty from the humidity, and I was wearing shorts and a short sleeve t shirt. I wasn’t going to turn back toward home to get a jacket or gloves, because I would probably just stayed there instead of walking as far as I could under the circumstances. So, I just kept walking in the direction I was heading. It was really cold and I just happened to have a bandana with me. I took turns wrapping the bandana around my hands, when the exposed fingers started to stiffen; I switched the bandana to the other hand. That seemed to help.

The real problem is that I started to speed up because I was cold. Remember, my sciatica is acting up. I was still doing pretty well and took my chocolate GU at mile 16, like I usually do on a 20 mile walk. My right leg started to hurt at that point. I am a very determined person, so I tried to finish the 20 miles… You know: no pain, no gain? Then I thought to myself… you dumb @$$! You have a marathon in 4 weeks and a 50 mile trail race 1 week after the marathon. GO HOME AND STRETCH. So here I am at home, with warm dry clothes on and getting ready to stretch.

The workout was a total of 18.2 miles with an average pace of 13:37 mpm. I will call that a good workout and move on to the next one!