Wednesday, April 29, 2009


A couple of weeks ago, I got an interesting message on one of the message boards I participate in. The person identified herself as a journalism student at Columbia University School of Journalism in New York. She wondered if I could take the time to speak to her about walking marathons, as it was her current assignment to write an on-line article about the growing popularity of walking marathons.

I asked to see some of her work so that I would know this was a legitimate inquiry. I checked out the information she sent me, and after doing so, I agreed to speak to her. The article she produced is

I thought you all might be interested to read it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - Testing the legs

I wasn't sure how a walk would go today. I wanted to see if my marathon on Sunday was truly a training walk. It must have been because I was able to walk a quick 6 miles in 1:21:32 this evening just two days after the marathon! Yeah!!

something to add about OKC

I forgot to add something about the race expo.

Jean-Maria and I were both wearing our Rocky Raccoon race t-shirts at the expo. It is a cute picture of a raccoon wearing lime green running shoes. So, when I walked over to get my chip pre-scanned, the guy at the computer looked at my shirt and asked me if I knew how far Rocky Raccoon was. I knew he was thinking about the 50 mile / 100 mile race, even though the shirt was from the 25k / 50k race in the fall. I told the guy of course I know how far it is, and I had done the 50 miler this past February, and am planning to do the 100 next year if everything works out according to plan. He looked at me a little strangely.

Monday, April 27, 2009

April 26, 2009 - Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

I will start out by saying this was the BEST large scale marathon I have done to date. The aid stations were full of volunteers and well stocked with all manner of things. They had enough GU for an army and an army of people to hand it out. I HIGHLY recommend this marathon. Yes, the climate can be tough in Oklahoma City, and the course is kind of hilly, but if you are well prepared for the conditions, you will have a great time!

Now, I will start at the beginning. Of course I didn’t get enough sleep the night before I left for Oklahoma City. I finally went to bed Friday night at about 11 pm after putting my things in the car. I set the alarm for 2:45 am, because I intended to leave by 3am. I live about 450 miles from Oklahoma City. It was part of my plan to leave so early because I was going to take the early start for the marathon (4:30am) on Sunday and since I am not a morning person, getting up early Saturday would force me to be in bed early Saturday night. I was on the road by 3:10 am. I reached Bryan/College Station at around 4:30 am and there was a terrible storm in the area. Cars were in the ditch, and several were stopped, I assume they were waiting for the storm to subside a little. I continued on because I didn’t want to lose any time. I slowed down, of course, and good thing, because water was pooling in places along the road. I made it safely through the storm, thank goodness. The lightening show was impressive.

The expo was not as large as I expected, but well laid out. First, we were directed to the back of the room to pick up the packet and pre-scan the timing chip, then around the other side of the room to pick up the t-shirt and goodie bag. After I collected my things, I went for a look around to see if there was anything I could not live without. The only purchase was a buy 1 - get 1 half price special on Thorlo socks. I listened to a couple minutes of Joan Benoit Samuelson’s pre-race comments, and then went on to the hotel to eat lunch and finish getting my gear ready for the race. I still had to mix my electrolyte drink, and put my food and gels in the right pockets. That all done, I was leaving to go back downtown and Laura Leigh arrived at the hotel. I was glad to see her! We left for the pasta dinner together after she brought her things in to the hotel.

Before dinner, we had a little walk around town and through the memorial. When Laura Leigh explained the significance of the Memorial to me, I was really moved by its simplicity.

As we arrived at the pasta dinner, my cell phone started ringing, and I saw Jean-Maria before I could get my phone out and answer it. Patty, Jean-Maria, Laura Leigh and I had dinner together (pasta, no protein, a nice light sauce, salad, breadstick, and huge chocolate chip cookie ;-) and got to know each other. Good thing Jean-Maria had her camera because I forgot mine as usual. We found someone to take the group photo, and then it was time to go back to our hotels. We were fortunate enough to find the porta potties near the start. It is a great honor to be the first to use one of those things… and these were the deluxe models. There was plenty of paper, and they even had hand sanitizer dispensers.

Once we arrived back at the hotel, there were a few things left to do, and it was difficult to get into bed. Once in bed, I fell asleep immediately, just like I planned. I never even got up to use the restroom. The alarm went off at 3 am, and I was ready to get up. I didn’t expect much hoopla at the early start, but the race director was there to welcome us, getting us pumped up for the race. They played God Bless America and The National Anthem, and it was time to start. After a few pre-race instructions, we were off. They had plenty of protection for the early starters in the form of motorcycle police and course marshals on bicycles. There were even a couple of the water stops open for us. I didn’t expect that at all. The volunteers all along the course were the most enthusiastic I have ever seen at a race. Some were even begging us to take their water, like some must be better than others. One station was set up to look like the Big Top, with large stuffed tigers and such in cages. I have never been cheered on by so many volunteers, every time I thanked someone for volunteering; they thanked me for participating in the race. If I said: “YOU’RE AWESOME,” they said: “NO, YOU’RE AWESOME!” What a race. There were children along the course giving high fives to runners and walkers; I don’t remember one part of the course where there were not spectators present. There were even spectators where the course went along the lake path. There were Indian drummers as we exited the lake path and headed back toward the city. The wind was awfully strong all day, but that didn’t deter the spectators. The closer I got to the finish line, the more spectators were present. I started hearing the cheers of the finish line crowd about a mile away. The announcer was very enthusiastic, he was reading our names and calling them out to the crowd as we finished. 6:49:59; my slowest marathon to date, but this was a training walk.

The post race food was great; they had all sorts of Keebler cookies and Carl’s Junior cheeseburgers. I was feeling pretty crummy; the right knee was hurting pretty badly after the post race stretch. I pretty much limped back to the car for the ride to the hotel. Once there, I iced my knee for about 20 minutes and took 3 Ibuprophen (which I don’t normally do). The knee was still a little tender when we went to dinner to celebrate another marathon completed. We went to a local landmark called Cattleman’s and I had a sirloin (something else I don’t normally do). The steak was really good, so were the buttered baked potato and the huge buttered yeast roll. Did I say butter??? When we got back to the hotel, Laura Leigh had to leave so I was on my own. I thought about going to see Patty and Jean-Maria at their hotel; but we were under a tornado warning. I didn’t want to be stranded at another hotel and not get any sleep, so I just stayed put. Once I went to sleep at about 9pm, I didn’t get up until about 8am the next morning. I loaded up the car and started driving south.

The funniest thing happened. I called Jean-Maria to see how she and Patty were doing, and found out they were only about 5 miles ahead of me and stopping for breakfast. I didn’t tell them I was going to stop, I just found the place they said they stopped and walked in. I wish you all could have seen the look on Patty’s face when I walked in. It was priceless. The rest of the drive home was uneventful, except for more thunderstorms.

Today, I feel better. My knee doesn’t hurt anymore, and I am not over tired. I will be back out there training for Mohican tomorrow.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday, April 23

I am going to Oklahoma City to walk the Memorial marathon on Sunday, April 26, with a few of my friends. These wonderful ladies are all friends I have made in the online community that can be found at It is a great place to learn from others and maybe they can learn something from me, too.

I was able to get in a good 6 miles after work Wednesday day after work. When I got home, I made time to cook dinner and make some fresh iced tea. Later in the evening, I washed a few loads of clothes and started getting some things ready for the race this weekend. I have a little espresso machine, and I usually make my own iced espresso post race recovery drink. I don’t buy cheap coffee… there is one company that emails me every time they roast a fresh batch of Nicaraguan beans so that I can have the freshest coffee. Well, I made the first 4 shots and left the jar sitting by the sink. When I turned around to refill the espresso machine with water for the next round, I wasted the first batch. I said a few choice words as it went down the drain. I went on to make 8 total shots and chill them for the trip. I try to travel as cheaply as possible on a driving trip. No fast food restaurants or Starbucks with the exception of lunch when I get to OKC Saturday at about 11:30 am.

After work today, I walked down the street to the high school track to watch the track meet. There were several schools participating. High school kids crack me up. They can run really fast, but when the race is over, they can barely put one foot in front of the other.

Now, I am back home, cooking a little dinner for my husband, and washing one more load of clothes. Then I have to mix up my electrolyte drink and start packing for my trip.

I am so ready to leave town. I know that maybe it sounds a little selfish, but I have a goal. I plan for this marathon on Sunday to be my slowest ever. I am in training for a 100 mile race and pushing myself too hard on Sunday will be a big mistake. I am also trying to talk my kids into a trip to Lake Somerville. There is a trail that is 13 miles point to point that I could walk as a one day round trip for training.

Oh well, I guess that’s enough for now.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19, 2009

Yesterday was miserable in my neighborhood, and I truly had intended to do back to back long distance walks this weekend, but there was no way I was getting out in that weather. We had about 8 inches of rain, and by the time it stopped, I was way beyond going for a walk.

I was planning to go out this morning, even went so far as to fill my fuel belt and everything. Instead, I piddled around the house and left to go grocery shopping at about 11 am. I made my stop at Lukes Locker... I just love the salespeople there. They always want to show me the latest racing flats they got in and we chit chat about races we are planning to do. Some are triathletes... When I told them I could never imagine riding a bicycle 100 miles, they looked at me said... Well, you are planning to do it on your feet for goodness sakes. I bought some gels and a couple of larger pouches for my fuel belt... They are having some new asics shorts sent over for me from one of their other stores. They are kind of like the race ready shorts... lots of mesh pockets across the rear. I think I will need something like that for Mohican.

Got home, put away the groceries then changed clothes and went and walked 12 miles, most of it at the high school track. Kind of a crappy walk, but I got it done in 2:47:19. I wish I was leaving for Oklahoma tomorrow instead of Saturday.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

more weekly walking stuff

6.14 quick miles on Tuesday, April 14. 1:17:48, average pace 12:40, average HR 76%, max HR 84% somewhere into mile 4. I keep walking too fast... I know this doesn't sound fast to some of my racewalking friends, but it is too fast to say I am training for a 100 mile walk. Oh, well, I am working really hard on slowing down.

Wednesday, April 15: I decided to go ahead and get my walk in today since it is supposed to storm tomorrow evening. 8.01 miles in 1:53:45; average pace 14:12; average HR 70%; max HR 79%. This was supposed to be an easy walk, I just always get carried away. Miles 2, 3 & 4 were just too fast, so I forcibly slowed myself WAY down in the last 3 miles.

I was planning to try another power yoga workout the past two evenings, I just can't get myself motivated to do them. I don't know what the problem is. I can keep telling myself stress from work is keeping me from doing some of my more important workouts... The voices also tell me that doing the workouts will help me deal with the stress... go figure.

Friday April 17: It has rained so hard all day that the back room of the building I work in is flooding. The water is not coming in at floor level, it is leaking from the inside of an interior wall. So, I found it necessary to move a bunch of furniture so it didn't get ruined. We don't have any men around, so I just man-handled it myself. The thing that scares me is that it is a flat asphalt coated roof, and these things tend to collapse if too much rain water collects on top of them.

Saturday April 18: I am supposed to do back to back long distance walks this weekend. I wish you could see how hard it is raining here, and heavy rain is in the forecast for the entire day. Oh, wait, here is a picture of the rain outside my front door. The streets are flooded. Hopefully the weather man is right and I will be able to at least get a walk in tomorrow. Since I don't have a treadmill, and don't have a gym membership, there is no way I can access a treadmill.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Warm Walk

so, my race pace walk started somewhere between half marathon pace and marathon pace, and ended up a little slower than marathon pace. The last mile and a half were torture. It was kind of cool and overcast when I left the house, so I put on my underarmour camouflage cold gear tights, the long sports bra, a new silk base layer long sleeve top (it's very thin) and a short sleeve top with a running skirt for the top layer. I was trying out a new pair of Adidas adizero cs that I bought 1/2 size larger for the end of the 100 mile race, so I also had on two pair of socks.

Ok, I was overdressed. I drank plenty of electrolyte and water... The first 10.5 miles, the pace averaged 12:48mpm and the last 1.5 miles the pace averaged 14:10mpm, so the overall average pace with no stops for 12 miles was 13:03mpm. Another long walk done.

I can't remember if I told someone the other day that the shorter long walks are always harder for me... but this one was. Now I am hoping that next weekends back to back long walks go ok.

The one obvious thing I didn't mention was the HR, it averaged 74% during the first 10 miles, the max HR achieved was 80% somewhere in mile 4. HR during the last 2 miles averaged 68%. I always intend for the fall back week LSD to be done faster than the longer walks...

I will remember not to over dress again. I really could have taken off the tights at mile 6, when I passed my house, I just didn't want to stop. I somehow felt that more would be accomplished if I just finished the 12 miles. Of course I didn't feel that way at the end. The high school track is a little less than .5 miles from my house, and in order to make the whole 12 miles, I turned into the track and walked 3 laps rather than up and down one more street in my neighborhood. Had I not done that, I probably would not have completed the 12...

On a totally different note... the OKC Memorial Marathon is only 2 weeks away. I will be really glad to get out of town and see some friends for a couple of days. Then only 2 months until Mohican. I have been thinking, how am I going to get several really long walks in before I have to taper a little for the 100? Then I remembered, there is another 50k race at Huntsville State Park between now and June. It is the Hog's Hunt 50k/25k on May 16. I have a couple of days to think about it because the cutoff for early registration is May 2.

Anyone feel like a 50k training walk in Huntsville???

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Daily Workouts

Just want to start posting my walking workouts to the blog again.

Tuesday, April 7:
I had a great walk this evening after a very stress filled day. The stretching after warmup was some of the best stretching I have been able to do in a while. I almost could touch my nose to my knee again. 6.14 miles of fartleking around at the track in 1:19:23. I kind of did 400m intervals with 400 meter rests for about 4.3 miles... Average overall pace was 12:55, including warm up and cool down. Average HR was 72%, I got it up to 85% at the end of one of the 400's. Then I went home and stretched again.

Wednesday, April 8:
I planned to do the new yoga DVD I bought today, but the recommend you watch it through before you attempt the workout, so... I watched it while I cooked dinner and cleaned up the kitchen... that took too long and I didn't get to do the workout.

Thursday, April 9:
It was a really good 8.02 mile accelleration walk... total time 1:46:22. The progression of the mile pace was great!
Mile 1 - 13:51;
Mile 2 - 13:24;
Mile 3 - 13:10;
Mile 4 - 13:01;
Mile 5 - 13:00;
Mile 6 - 12:42;
Mile 7 - 12:05.
The last 1.02 mile was slow for cool down 15:05.
I drank a carnation instant breakfast made with skim milk and some added whey protein immediately after the walk, then at about 40 minutes post workout, I stretched very well. Things that were tight seem to be loosening up a little. Seems like the hilly walks are helping.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hilly Long Distance

I got a late start for my 20 miler today, too. The LSD walks I am doing now are a lot different than what I have been doing, because I am still trying to walk lots of hills, and also trying to learn how to optimize time at aid stations.

So, I set up my mini aid station at my mom's house again this weekend. Started out at 9:22 am and it was overcast. My mom said there was a front coming through soon, and the wind was going to pick up. Steady 20mph winds with gusts up to 30mph. There is one place on the route where I walk up a big hill and I am headed directly north. I nearly got blown backwards a couple of times going up (I walked up this hill 3 times and also down 3 times) and almost had to run downhill to avoid being blown over onto my face. Once or twice, I just felt like sitting down on the side of the road and crying.

Anyhow... got it done, slow enough to say it was training for a 100 mile race. 20.26 miles in 5:17:01, (including 20 minutes stopped at the aid station) average pace 15:38, average HR 138 or 71.14%, elevation gain/loss 1700 feet. I added an out and back section to the loop so I would not have to walk as many loops, it was about 2.4 miles and only has one big hill at the beginning/end. Looks like that was a mistake because the shorter loop has more rise and fall. Two weeks ago when I walked 16 miles, I climbed 2000 feet.

Oh, well, I have until June to get this right.