Saturday, January 29, 2011

Back on the American Tobacco Trail

I hit the American Tobacco Trail again this morning, this time for my longest walk of the new training cycle. It was a chilly start, but once I warmed up, I was able to take the gloves off and drop them off at my car. My pace was decent through Mile #4 (mostly under 20:00:00), but slowed down during the last two miles. I think part of it was the pain in my right foot, as well as slowing down to walk with some friends who were cooling down from their run. (I had also walked pretty darn quickly to get to the bathrooms at the end of Mile #4!)

So, I finished walking 6.22 miles in 2:08:01, a 20:35 pace. *sigh* Was hoping to finish 6 miles in under two hours today. Just gotta keep at it! (And I DID enjoy walking and talking with my friends for a little bit!)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yesterday's Long Walk

Yesterday's "long walk" was a 5 miler on the American Tobacco Trail from the White Oak Entrance. It was cold, cold, cold, but it felt good once I got going. The nippy temperatures were a good motivation to keep the pace as zippy as possible! The toes in my right foot felt pretty good until around Mile 3, when the pain came on again. Still, I finished 5.01 miles in 1:41:01, a 20:10 average pace by the end. (I was shooting for 20:00 or less for the average pace per mile, so I was a little over the mark, but still feel pretty good about it.)
Mile Splits:
1) 20:13
2) 19:36
3) 19:52
4) 20:25
5) 20:41

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Driving to a Race--What's Your Limit?

I've been looking at walker-friendly half marathons within driving range of where I live (to save on costs since I'm saving for graduate school), and the New River Half Marathon looks delightful! The only catch is that it's three hours away!  I don't really want to spend the night, but I think I'd enjoy doing this course! What do you think? And what is the longest distance or time you'd drive to participate in a race on that day?

Check out this video of the course:

Monday, January 17, 2011

(Almost) No Tech, Just Me

Today's a holiday from work for me, thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, but I got up early anyway, planning to go to the gym. George left for work and I puttered around a bit. Finally, I decided to put my Garmin on, but leave the iPod and my camera at home, and just take a walk outdoors for a few minutes before leaving for the gym. A few minutes turned into 30, then 3 miles! My goal of getting some (cold) fresh air turned into trying to come in under a 20:00 min/mi average walking pace. Leaving the music and camera at home allowed me to concentrate on my form a little more.  By the time I got back home, I'd walked 3.04 miles in 1:00:02, for a 19:46 min/mile average pace. I was pleased with the results, even though my right toes were hurting again. I need to do this sort of workout more often! I love taking pictures when I'm out on a walk, but I need to make sure I'm ready for my next race, too!

Mile splits (glad I had my Garmin!):
1) 20:13
2) 19:23
3) 19:43 (right toes hurting here)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's Hard to Listen with Good Company and Good Scenery

Jafar, George, Sue, & Margaret

Well, I walked farther than I expected (or wanted) to today, but I took my camera with me today, and I just couldn't help it!

I started out with these four fun people, but they took off after a few minutes to do their run/walk thing. Since I'm "just" walking for now, I started stopping peridocally to take pictures! I made it once around the lake with camera at the ready, then closed it up and decided to take another lap around a slightly frozen Shelley Lake.

I ended up walking 4.26 miles in 1:31:02. It felt great at the time, all the fresh air and nice scenery! Tonight, my knee is talking to me a bit louder! I'd better listen tomorrow!

The pictures I took of today's nice walk around Shelley Lake are here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Knee is Talking to Me!

I've had a busy training week, nearly 28 miles of biking (mostly) and walking (a little) since Monday, and today (a planned rest day anyway) my right knee is tender when I walk! I iced it a while this morning before work, and I'll ice it some more when I get home. I'd planned to walk 2-3 miles tomorrow morning, but maybe I should do the pool at the gym instead. I'll see how I feel in the morning.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Feel Like a Million!

Today is the start of a new 12-week health incentive program through Duke's Live for Life (employee health) office, called "Feel Like a Million." I'm excited this has started, and I'm looking forward to being part of the "Bookworms" team again! The employee health office offered a similar program last year, and I created a team called the Bookworms, and 7 fellow library employees joined me. This year, 6 of us have signed up for the reconvening of the Bookworms, but we have the end of the week to "recruit" new team members! :) We have a good team, but "the more, the merrier," right?! I think the team concept will help me stay a little more motivated and focused during these winter months!

Clipart from

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Black Creek Greenway (Cary, NC) Walk

This morning I joined George's running group for a 4-mile walk. (This running group is an extension of the Raleigh Galloway running group, but that training season ended in early December.) I was planning just to meet them at Starbuck's and walk at my own pace, while they did the run/walk thing, but they were so nice to walk with me for the first two miles, then I turned around and they continued on (George and Margaret are doing 18 today, and Sue has 10 on her schedule.) It was the first time I'd been on the Black Creek Greenway in Cary, NC, and it was lovely! I'd like to go back there.

I ended up walking 4.06 miles in 1:25:02, and am happy about my negative splits:

1) 21:47
2) 21:32
3) 21:05
4) 19:24 (yahoo!)

The morning was cold but beautiful, to boot! Great morning to be outdoors!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year, New Plan

Umstead Entrance on Hwy 70
I had a great walk this morning in one of the state parks in our area, William B. Umstead State Park, a place the locals call "Umstead" for short. I was a gal on a mission, with a new training plan in hand, but didn't expect to find myself hiking in a state park this morning. I was on my way to walk on the Raleigh Greenway system, and was passing by Umstead on the way when I remembered that I had my camera and decided to pull into the park and see if there was still any snow around for some shots. I found myself going further and further into Umstead, then I decided to park and walk around for just a few more pictures. Then I decided to turn on my Garmin Forerunner 205 and get some of my mileage out of the way while I was there taking pictures. Oops! 3.17 miles later, I had my mileage done for the day, and nearly 100 pictures in my digital camera! While I'm including three of my favorite shots in this post, the rest of my Umstead pictures are here.

Sycamore Trail
I had forgotten how pretty winter can be in the woods of North Carolina. It's a beauty that didn't really come through in the pictures like I'd hoped, and while most of the snow had melted, the scenery and atmosphere still reminded me of Robert Frost's poetry (though I can hardly compare our snow to New England's!). One of  my most delightful finds this morning was a small, well-kept cemetery on the edge (I think!) of the park. Since I'm a taphophile, I was so glad I had my camera with me, and stopped my Garmin to slow down and take some pictures there. My photos of the cemetery are here.

Wild Ferns Along the Sycamore Trail
Oh, I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I had a new training plan! Earlier in the Christmas break, I checked out Hal Higdon's website when I googled "half marathon walk plan," and discovered that the website had just the sort of plan I was looking for, something with structure that I could tweak. His half marathon walk program is twelve weeks long, and provides for long walks of varying intensity and mileage on the weekend, and five other days of walking (by minutes rather than miles) during the week. While I'm still waiting on my orthotics casting appointment, I'm going to do more crosstraining than walking during the week, mostly saving the walking for the weekend. Also, Higdon's plan doesn't include any speedwork, which I plan to do at least once a week (probably on the stationary bike, at least for now). I really miss working with a running coach, but it feels great to have a plan and to be able to tweak it for my needs and fitness level.

So, according to Higdon's half marathon walking plan, I had 3 easy miles on tap for this weekend, and thanks to my walk with the camera on the Sycamore Trail of Umstead Park, I covered 3.17 miles in 90 minutes, covering 3.644 feet of ascent (according to the Garmin), which is a lot more than I'm used to! Even though my average pace per mile was 28:23 min, I know I can normally go faster without my camera. This was the longest distance I've covered on foot since the Outer Banks Half Marathon, so it was a good start, I think. My right foot is a little sore around the toes this evening, but not as bad as I expected. I've been icing the area with a frozen water bottle.

In other news, I still need to find the right ticket for weight management, as I am up 1.4 pounds from January 1, 2010! There, I admitted it. Wrong direction! Stay tuned!


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