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!

1 comment:

Christina said...

I love the fact that I know what you're talking about when you say Ulmstead. That is a beautiful park and its cool you took so many pictures.


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