Easter morning walk…

I walked to the Gooseloop, once around and to the dam and back, plus a 2 mile out and back on the trail. Mostly empty; some traffic. 2:51:19 (28:14 for the out and back). Not hard, but I put some energy into it. The pace was about 14:10 mpm.

Pretty weather; I even took my gloves off and was slightly overdressed.

I am not nearly ready for a marathon.

April 20, 2014 Posted by | walking | | Leave a comment

On getting “Girled” or “Chicked”…..


The following Facebook meme made me chuckle. I’ve heard it called “getting girled”. Basically: this is what happens when a male track team member gets beaten by a female.

In sports like swimming and track and field (e. g. “athletics”, which includes running and race walking), this concept really only makes sense for the stronger male competitors.

There WAS a time in my life when, on rare occasion, I might finish ahead of the first female. This only happened at small, local races. It isn’t that much of a surprise; after all, if one looks at the results of high school track meets, sometimes, in a dual meet between small schools, the girl’s mile is won in a time over 5:30. That is a time I could run…a long time ago. So could many other in shape “workout bros”.

But now that I’ve gotten older, when one takes into account age and sex, I can compete on even terms with females in the 36-40 year old age group. Hence my natural advantage is gone and I don’t even think about trying to mix it up with the faster women; about the only time I notice them is when they are cooling down on the course and I am finishing up.

Frequently, even the older ladies beat me (example:)


Now sometimes, a woman will show up at a local race and beat everyone; this happened at the Galesburg Half Marathon in June 2012.

And in the longer events: ultra walker Sandra Brown has frequently beaten the entire field in a 24 hour walk; she did that in 2004 at the Wandelweekend in the Netherlands.
That was merely one of many “outright victories” for her.

In ultra swimming: Peggy Lee Dean and Lynn Cox both held the human record for the English Channel Crossing (at one time).

But in the vast majority of races where there are no outliers (e. g., an elite showing up at a non-elite race), the male winning time will be better than the female winning time.

And the concept of getting “girled” or “chicked” has never applied to me in running, walking or swimming. I simply am not good enough for it to have ever mattered.

Now in the weight room: When it comes to pull ups and, say, the bench press, there are women who can exceed what I do but they tend to be outliers (e. g. perhaps a shot putter at a Division I university would out bench me…and I mean “real” bench pressing, not that “bench shirt” stuff). And plenty of women can do more pull ups than I can (think: gymnasts) but they also tend to be moderate outliers; you tend to not see them at the places where I work out. You’d see them at gyms that cater to the more athletic crowd.

April 17, 2014 Posted by | running, ultra, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Pondering …

The River City Half Marathon in a month: run it for time or powerwalk it for training for the fall walking marathon?

Today: sunny, breezy, chilly (March weather, really): I did my Cornstalk 8.1 course in 1:23:04 (41:19/41:49) then walked 2.05 more (old course) to get 10 total; added to this is an easy 2.3 walked with the group last night.

I never pushed it at all; the only rough part was dodging the trucks in Bradley Park (in the more gravelly turn off coming down from Cornstalk Hill.

I had balked at doing this course because the hills do cause you to huff and puff a bit. But I needed that.


April 17, 2014 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

Winter revisits…sort of

We got a bit of snow last night…most of it is gone now.
Still, I went indoors for the run part of my workout:

2 miles in 20:50 (treadmill)
5K on the indoor track in 26:06: 8:36, 8:35, (1:04), 7:50 (call it: 2.1 miles at T, 1 mile at I)
The 7:50 final mile wasn’t easy. I doubt that I could have sustained it much longer (3:57/3:53)

1 mile walk, then 3 more miles outside. It was sunny but chilly; and the usually low-traffic streets had much more traffic than normal due to rerouting from construction.


There I am, finishing up the Heights Half Marathon this past weekend. In the background you can see a guy with a camera; he is T’s long suffering husband. You can also see a woman turning to look at me…she appears to be giving me that “what a train-wreck” look. :-)

I actually AM walking in this photo hence I don’t mind looking as if I am walking. My form is terrible though.

April 15, 2014 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

Peoria Heights Half Marathon

I did this as a runner last year (2:01). This year, I power walked it (note to racewalkers: my support leg wasn’t close to having a straight knee, at least on my right side) In terms of legality: I would have been fine walking in front of a Centurion judge (perhaps I would have been a bit more cautious on the downhills) but racewalk judges would have given me a ticker tape parade of red cards on my right knee.

Just the facts:


Weather: a bit breezy…but…well, it is unrealistic to expect any better weather than we had today. It was beautiful.
The course: there were a couple of good climbs on Grandview drives and you saw these twice.

My splits:

22:21 (2 mile)
11:19 (33:41)
22:55 (56:36 at 5)
11:51 (whew! 1:08:27 at 6)
10:39 (starting to feel better..and a tailwind)
11:14 (1:30:21 at mile 8)
10:30 (1:51:40 at 10) Yes the last two were downhill. :-)
11:01 (back uphill; 2:13:07 at 12)
12:18 for 1.1 (2:25:26 finish)

The story: I decided to NOT trash my legs by running this; I really want to run a decent mile and 5K this season. And I wanted to get a baseline for my planned September walking marathon.
I’ll say it: my starting pace was too fast for a full marathon; I would be all but guaranteed to blow up if I tried to go out at this pace. Forget my finishing pace; I need to do some 12-12:30 paced training.

But, I think that I have a good starting point to BEGIN marathon walk training.

I went in with the idea of starting at the back and staying humble; I really forced myself to get good and warmed up prior to pushing it. I did a 1 mile warm up walk prior but I was still not quite ready.
We went around a mini 1.2 mile loop and I was well at the back of the pack; I could see Theresa (purple top, black tights) and Jennifer (pink top, grey tights) in the distance. I was sort of staying even with a gray haired GILF in black tights; I am not sure as to what happened to her. I didn’t see her holding a relay baton. But her device went off saying “0.89 miles; 11:10 pace” which told me that I was doing what I was supposed to do.

We did the loop and then turned to Grandview to head out. Here you had some downhill and I focused on “keeping it a walk” (one point of contact at all times). I was gaining on Jennifer but not on Theresa at this point and I finally caught Jennifer at close to mile 2. I sort of did not want to pass her…but it was a race. :-)

I enjoyed seeing the faster runners on their way back. That is one of the things that I like about this pretty but challenging multiple out-and-back course: I get to see the greyhounds that I might not ordinarily see. It feels good to cheer for others. I was to see Terry, Pat (both the ag lab scientist and the engineer who was to finish 4′th), Steve (my doctor), Chris (a gazelle in human skin), Crystal, and others.

We came to the end of the loop and started back UP those hills we came down. I could see Theresa slow a bit and we leapfrogged a bit. Her ever patient husband was on the course, taking photos. I also leap frogged a bit with Andrew during this stretch (Andrew had finished the Mc-not-again 30 miler last fall)

Finally, we get to the top of the hill and turn right to go down Prospect. We were just before 10K. I knew that the rough part was over so I stepped up the pace a bit; I focused on pushing off with my back foot, rolling on my toe a bit. That helped and I was to more or less hold that faster pace.

People were dying a bit here and I tried to catch as many as I could. I saw some more of the leaders; Pat (the scientist) taunted me a bit about “sprinting the last 5K” (she was to run 1:52). I saw Shevun too; we had talked about open water swimming prior to the race.

Miles 7 and 8 came quickly; some young people yelled “nothing good comes easy”. Then it was a left turn onto Grandview again for the second out and back. I was about 1:30 and thinking “15 years ago, I’d be within 5-10 minutes of finishing the run”. But this isn’t 15 years ago, and I was walking so I knew I had just under an hour left.

Down the hill we went and I caught myself starting to “lift”; I calmed it down. By then I was doing the “find the runner in front of me, catch her (sometimes a him), pass her, aim for the next, repeat.” A few tried to hold me off, but if I was catching them at this point, they were already whipped and just hanging on. I’ve been there, many times.

It only started to get bad between miles 10 and 11 (back up the hill) but I was still holding a decent pace and when I saw mile 12, I told myself: “ok, even a sorry sack of s**t can hang on for 12-13 minutes…GET GOING”.

I was relived to see the Heights Tower come into view because that meant we had about .5 miles left.

Water: I took water about 3-4 times and skipped a couple of stations. That was sufficient, for a race of this duration in these conditions.

After: during the race, I heard “Professor Nanyes” a few times. A student was there, and she wanted to take a photo with me after the race. I obliged…telling her I wasn’t responsible for any damage I caused to the camera lens.

Just after that, I saw Theresa coming in with Jennifer about 15 seconds behind her. I yelled something about “my favorite running babes” but both were exhausted.

But..bless her, Theresa went out for 7 more miles as she wanted to get 20 miles in. She is training for the Illinois Marathon in 2 weeks; Jennifer is doing the half (with the 5K the day before, I think). I predict that both will be successful.

April 12, 2014 Posted by | Friends, walking | | Leave a comment

Half Marathon tomorrow…and do you know what I am NOT doing?

I am …….NOT PACKING COLD WEATHER GEAR!!!! (high 40′s to low 50′s).

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!! :-)

April 12, 2014 Posted by | walking | | Leave a comment

Upcoming half marathon: I almost aimed too high….

I am planning on walking a half marathon with the long term goal of preparing for the Quad Cities Marathon in late September.

So, I figured: in my last “good” marathon, I walked 5:14 and I figured “why not aim for that”?

But…that was…almost 5 years ago. Then: I had finished a 100 miler in April and was running in the low to mid 24′s for the 5K and ran my last sub 7 mile.

I am

a) older
b) not in that kind of distance shape.

Using the “age equivalent” calculator yields a time of 5:26 for a 55 year old (which I will be by race time).

Note: that 5:14 walking marathon equated to a 24:00 5K run (I ran 24:01) and a 6:53 mile (I ran 6:54 for the 1600).
The 5K of 24:00 grades to 25:00 for right now (at my current age) and 6:54 then grades to a 7:12 for the mile (which I just ran two days ago).

So, I should probably aim for “anything under 5:30″ for the marathon walk (12:35 pace). This means: I should aim for something like 2:45 since I am after a “practice my marathon pace” effort. I don’t think that I’ll get pulled from the course. 2:35 would be a “good day” time.

Now I did walk a 2:22 in 2011, but let’s just say that my knees were a mess as in “bent”); this equates to a 2:25 this year. Who knows?

I should probably go out conservatively.

April 10, 2014 Posted by | walking | , | Leave a comment

Windy season

I was wondering whether I’d attempt to run or walk this Saturday’s half marathon. Today I gave myself the answer: I am walking it and aiming for 2:35 (the pace I hope to maintain for a walking marathon in September)

Today’s workout: 50′s and windy:


I jogged 2 miles in about 20 minutes (10 minutes at 1.03 miles) and then did the 1.23 park loop (small hill) in 9:52 (8:01 pace; 33 seconds faster than last week). Then 6 minutes of jogging, then 4 x 400 on a 5.3 percent grade hill (2:15, 2:23, 2:13, 2:15); I was hampered by going against that 15 miles per hour wind and by the faster 1.23 segment. I jogged one mile back (9:39) and then walked 3 more.

Last night: I walked 2 miles with the group; one mile out and then 1 mile back (23 minutes). I walked with someone, who is working through some serious health issues but is determined to finish the Steamboat 4 miler this year. I found her to be a delightful, determined woman.

April 10, 2014 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

Inching forward in my quest for a good mile

Workout notes
2 miles on the treadmill (20:30)
1 mile: 7:12 (1:49, 1:48, 1:45: 1:48 (3:38/3:34) (solo)
1 walk (got teased about being so slow)
3 run (11/20:16/29:11, 30:03 for 3.11) treadmill
3 walk outside (too pretty not to)

Background this year:

8 March: 1:58, 1:53, 1:49, 1:50 (3:52/3:40) for 7:32
18 March: 1:57, 1:51, 1:47, 1:47 (3:48/3:35) for 7:23
25 March: 1:52, 1:50, 1:46, 1:47 (3:43/3:34) for 7:17
8 April: 1:49, 1:48, 1:45, 1:48 (3:38/3:34) for 7:12

So, you can see that over the past month, I’ve improved by 14 seconds in the first half but only by 6 in the second. Over the past 3 times: 10 seconds improvement in the first, but only 1 in the second.
Bottom line: my “easy” improvement is all but over; I’ll probably try again in a week to 10 days, and then work on 200′s and 400′s to build up some speed.

I didn’t want to do this mile, as I knew that my “easy” improvement period is dying out. BUT, this was a solo time trial; I might improve a few seconds if I had someone to chase.

(more on my recent history here)

April 8, 2014 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

McNaughton and going home again…what I miss.

I had mentioned that I didn’t enter any of the Potawatomi Trail runs but I didn’t want to stay away entirely. So I showed up at 9 am to see if someone needed pacing…no one did so I decided to do a single 10 mile loop…in reverse order. The idea was to see the people on the course (taking care to step off of the trail when I saw someone) and I carried a sack to pick up trash.

So the loop was rather slow, and I did stop to talk to people. I saw Joe Galloway who wanted to talk and I had briefer conversations with others including Bonnie Busch.

What was interesting: I met both of these people about 10 years ago. Joe reminded me that “we finished the 100 together” 10 years ago; I reminded him that I paced him on his last lap; I had finished the 50 the day before (12:46).

I met Bonnie at the Cornbelt 24 hour about a month later (my best performance ever; 101 miles for the 24 hour walk).

Yes, both Bonnie and Joe finished the 100 again, and no, it isn’t a surprise that they did.

I was a bit sorry that I missed Donna Creditor who, evidently, had to retire. Donna finished the 100 in 2009 in horribly muddy conditions….as did Joe, and I.

So, yeah, I kind of miss being a part of “the club” of 100 mile finishers. Then again: 3 of my 4 finishes came in a 2 year period (2004: Cornbelt (23:40), 2005 McNaughton (34:16), 2005 Leanhorse (29:34), 2009 McNaughton (47:55) ).

On the other hand, one should honor what the body can handle, and I really am not built for this. And my knee really doesn’t handle mud well…

And so tomorrow I’ll return to focusing on my spring/summer goal (sub 7 minute mile).

So what do I miss?

I miss being around people who try to bring out the best in you. There were times when I wanted to quit those 100′s; I was shivering, shaking…and people encouraged me to hang in there and to keep moving forward. So among my 100 mile starts, I had one DNF (at mile 50, but I got 20 more to get 70 total; this was 2006). Yes, that felt like a failure because it WAS a failure. I had trained to finish the 100, not 70. People who knew me knew that I felt bad about it.

Note: I had DNF’s in marathons and 30′s due to time limits and one 50 due to knee pain (mud; this was after my 2010 operation).

April 7, 2014 Posted by | running, walking | , | Leave a comment


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