Imagination: easier than the training

I didn’t want to get out for my walk today, but I did. Conditions were perfect (cool weather)

Same course as yesterday, but today I walked: 1:00:00 half way; 58:47 for the second half. Not my fastest but good enough; I still have the remnants of a cough.

October 1, 2014 Posted by | walking | Leave a comment

2014 Quad Cities Half Marathon: social, mistakes, but some success

I had bib number 85 because I had registered for the marathon. But I got a head cold last weekend; I went home early from work on Monday. Yes, some people can do a successful marathon with a head cold, but at this stage of my life, I am not one of those.

So I changed races at the expo. But to ensure that I’d make the change, I ran a 5K (hard) on Saturday.

The facts: 2:24:17 for a half marathon. Cool day: 1285/1946 overall, 624/770 males, 45/57 age group, but I was walking in a running race.

I powerwalked, and mixed some slower walking with the faster powerwalking style at about mile 5 when it appeared that I was exerting too much energy to be able to sustain it. Yes, my knees were bent.

I made this trip with my department chair Mat. The night before, we had dinner with marathon maniac David (see the report of the runner who did the marathon with a bad cold; Dave ran a 3:39 which was his SIXTH marathon of September!

Also of note: Mat picked up Jason’s packet (Religious Studies professor) and Jason ran a 3:21.

After the race, we ate with Mat’s brother Bill and family (wife and daughter); all of us did the half. Bill ran 1:57, Mat ran 1:59 and Maria (daughter) and Teri ran 2:26…BUT they stopped to assist a fallen runner. They would have been several minutes faster than that otherwise.

All of them will be doing the Chicago Marathon in a couple of weeks.

I enjoyed this trip quite a bit, even if I didn’t snag my marathon finish.

My race: modest success but some lessons

I warmed up with a walk from my hotel to the start line (.7 miles) then 12 minutes of quicker walking and shin exercises. I saw Jason, Maria, Teri and Bill. And while warming up, I saw Dave.

I lined up behind the 2:30 pace group which was a good thing to do. However the race takes you over the I-74 bridge; it is VERY congested there. I wonder if that part of the race will continue to be doable. But coming off of the bridge, I ended up getting ahead of myself a bit; I found myself getting ahead of the 2:20 pace group which I knew was a mistake.

So the early miles looked like:

21:16 (mile 2)
10:50 (uphill) long climb
9:52 (very downhill)
10:30 (52:28 at mile 5) here we entered the Bettendorf to Davenport bikepath.
10:24 (mile 6); I lost 5 age group laces from this point onward.

At this stage, I knew that what I was doing was unsustainable today. I made the decision to do 3 minutes of slower pace walking every mile. I was to eventually lose ground to the 2:20 pace group; I leapfrogged with people I was to see later.

10:56 (in Rock Island)
11:02 (in Arsenal Island)
12:25 1:48:11 for 10 miles. We had crossed an old railroad bridge. During this mile, I tried to pick it up after 3 minutes of “slower walking” but wasn’t feeling great. So I stayed with the slow walking.
11:01 (picked up the faster walking; it was starting to warm up)
11:36 (just before that long bridge to the finish; I felt that I was going to make it)
12:21 (to mile 13; I was feeling bad so stayed with “slow walking” for the duration of this mile; I got some people back here)
1:08 (.1 to the finish)

Afterward, I was feeling woozy and just plain bad. I made it to the hotel and wasn’t in good shape. I had forgotten to give back my chip! I did so later…I felt better after an ice tea.

But the problem: I did NOT take my electrolyte tablets; I was short on electrolytes How I could tell? It took a couple hours before I could ingest anything and when I nibbled at my french fries…I perked right up. It was quick. I needed salt.

So next time: I’ll take my tablets with me; I had ordered some for the marathon but figured that I didn’t need them for such a cool day. I’ll take them early and often during Mc-Not-Again. Though my pace will be much slower, the hills force you to work a bit.

The Quad Cities race itself
The I-74 part is beginning to worry me. Though the traffic is going slowly, given the huge crowding, we are only one trip/stumble away from disaster. I found myself staying waaaay to the right, even if it slowed me down.

2014 marathon powerwalks
April 12 Peoria Heights Half Marathon powerwalk 2:25:25
May 18: River City Half Marathon powerwalk (2:19:58)
September 14: 2:34:59 half marathon (IVS)

Quad Cities History
1998: 3:55 as a runner (hot)
1999: 3:45 as a runner
2000: 1:40 for half of a relay
2001: 1:49 for half marathon (week after giving blood)
2002: 4:44 marathon as a walker
2004: 5:12 marathon as a walker
2005: 5:34 marathon as a walker.
2007: DNF at mile 23 (walker)
2008: 2:25 half marathon (walker)
2009: 5:28 marathon (as a walker)
2010: 2:39 half marathon (as a walker; knee surgery in July).
2011: 2:22:27 (half marathon powerwalk)
2013: 2:20:59 as a runner
2014: 2:24:17 powerwalk.

September 29, 2014 Posted by | Friends, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Oh, me head! :-)

Ok, I don’t feel THAT bad; my head is still stuffy and I still feel weak. At night: some coughing at first.

I did manage to walk my Cornstalk classic route (a hilly 4.2 mile route) in about 58 minutes (by the clock; I didn’t use a stopwatch) and really enjoyed the pretty day. It was lovely walking/running weather.

I find that moving makes me feel a bit better, even if it is gentle moving.

If recent history is a guide, I am about midway through this and a couple of weeks away from feeling 100 percent.

September 24, 2014 Posted by | walking | | Leave a comment

a bit better

Screen shot 2014-09-23 at 11.52.20 AM

Not much of a workout today: I walked 4.5 miles (more or less); 3.7 to Haddad’s Market then .8 home. I felt ok; lots of sunshine, and I didn’t time myself. At the market, I got drinks to keep myself hydrated throughout the day and carried them (and grapefruit) home in my backpack.

September 23, 2014 Posted by | walking | , | Leave a comment

Down for the count

I cancelled office hours yesterday and went home and basically spent the time on the couch or in bed. I did finish some stacks of grading though.
I am requesting to drop to the half marathon this weekend; if the past is a guide, I should feel much better on Thursday and be ready to start the half marathon on Sunday.

But this means I’ll have to find a fall marathon/30 mile/50K to do; probably either the Des Plains marathon (10 hour time limit!), McNotAgain (November 8, but could be muddy), Des Moines (city, 7 hour time limit, same weekend as Des Plains) or the Chicago 50k (8 hours to finish; 7 hours if you want an official time) on November 1.

I’ll get outside for an easy 3 mile walk in a few minutes and try to resume normal activity in a day or two.

September 23, 2014 Posted by | walking | , | 2 Comments

Still feeling run-down….

I felt fine but slightly weak on Tuesday; a bit run down on Wednesday and have felt more so this weekend. Yesterday’s run was subpar and today’s walk: way subpar after getting to the track. 2:35 for 10 miles (more or less; perhaps 10.2): 33:38 out, (via the goose loop), 1:12:57 for 20 laps, lane 2, 14:58 4 laps lane 1 (2:01:34) and 34:11 back.

It was pretty though; perfect weather but my eyes are burning and my nose/throat are slightly sore; I just feel “uneasy”. Time to drink, drink, drink.

Screen shot 2014-09-21 at 3.44.40 PM

September 21, 2014 Posted by | walking | | Leave a comment

last longish walk…prior

Screen shot 2014-09-16 at 12.53.17 PM

Got my wife on the bus to O’Hare and then tried to walk for 4 hours; the problem is that my car’s “low tire” light was on and it took me 3 tries to find a filling station that had an air pump that worked.

Still, I managed to get it in; call it 16 miles in 4:02 (2:00 out, 3:56 back, then a bit extra) The above map doesn’t account for the new bridge which adds a little each way. I started out very slowly and was able to pick it up a bit.

It was very cool.

September 16, 2014 Posted by | walking | Leave a comment

Not much

I didn’t hammer today; I did 8 miles on the treadmill in 1:40:40 (just over a 12:30 pace for walking; roughly 51 minutes for the first 4 and 49 for the second 4). I’ll be on the road mostly all weekend long, so I might do my “final pre-marathon” long walk of, say, 15 miles next Tuesday morning and taper from there. I’ve already had a 20 and a slew of 17-18 milers.

I did enjoy reading Julie Berg’s Sawtooth 100 mile race report. What this tells me: no matter how prepared you are, if you do these long events, you will have to push through lots of things, including: rocks, mud, frustration, anguish at realizing that you are moving so slowly, aching joints, blisters, etc. Everyone who finishes one of these things has to. True: what Julie did was a more difficult course than anything I’ve done. But I’ve frequently had much of the same sort of dialogue during my long ones.

Of course, there is the preparation, and that can’t be skimped on…at least by the likes of me.

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

Feeling good after a half marathon…

One note: I walked the IVS half marathon about 10 minutes slower than I did in 2012. That race I did my two loops in 1:10:30 and 1:14:30. Today I was 1:18:30/1:16:30. But I finished feeling a whole lot better as I was attempting to practice marathon pace.

Sometimes it is nice to “do” an event rather than “pedal to the metal” race it.


September 7, 2014 Posted by | walking | | Leave a comment

Illinois Valley Striders Half Marathon: 2014 (Marathon preparation)

I admit that going into this, I had “football on the brain” and all of my plans to do more miles were brushed aside; icing my foot was more important.
I did warm up with a 29 minute 2 mile on the track and I did wear old shoes and my new sorbothane heel pads (LOVE ‘em). My only pain was on some of the downhills; I had to switch to a quicker cadence going down hills. Uphills and flats were fine.

Temperature: 50’s. Past years: 2011 (walk), 2012 (hard walk), 2013 (failed running attempt)

My main goal: get miles, and practice my “marathon effort pace”. How did I do? This was a two loop course: 1:18:26 for loop 1, 1:16:33 for loop 2, 2:34:59 (my watch). I admit that I picked it up at about mile 8.
Though I would not have been able to sustain that second loop pace for a full marathon, 2:40 seems sustainable on an easier course. I just have to be patient on race day.

Comments: this course is a mix of paved roads, gravel/crumbly pavement roads, and just plain gravel. It is very hilly; some of the climbs are gut wrenching. It is a club race and attracts mostly experienced people.
When we started, just about everyone pulled away from me; I wasn’t actually dead last, but it sort of felt that way. But I knew that many would be coming back to me when we got to those hills so I didn’t panic; I just worked on my marathon walking pace.

Sure enough, I caught some folks and during the second half, I did have one pit stop (too much pre-race coffee). I did work to catch various people and I didn’t get passed. I did push a bit on that “3 miles of gravel” stretch and again going up the big hill.

Knees: way soft; one can’t really race walk legally on this stuff and on these steep hills. This was a sort-of-hard powerwalk, period.

Afterward, I got my medal from a friend who did the first loop as part of a relay; she is on her way back. Yes, half marathon finisher’s medals are lame but I took it anyway. ;-)

Place: 108/129, though some who finished behind me were relay teams.

1:11:51 (mile 6)
2:34:59 (finish)

September 7, 2014 Posted by | walking | | 1 Comment


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