Sunday, August 29, 2004

Beautiful day!

Today was a beautiful day for a walk. Yesterday morning it rained non-stop. I heard it from bed and was so glad Saturday is my rest day. I also got to sleep in yesterday because my wife got up and took care of the little one (normally I try to let my wife sleep in on Saturday because she gets up every other day of the week to get the kid ready for school or because I'm on my long Sunday walk).

Today's weather was cool for this time of year (70's) and sunny. There was a big, beautiful, yellow moon setting over the lake and the downtown skyline when I started walking (at 5:30!) and the lake was full from yesterday's rain. I saw a raccoon, some turtles and lots of birds.

The walk was kind of tough. I went out too fast and was getting pretty sore by the end of my second loop (three "short" loops equals about 27.3 miles) but I really wanted to get in three loops so I kept going. My times on the last loop were slower but acceptable to me so I feel pretty good about the results.

I can say that I'm getting a little burned out on the Ultra training. It takes so much time, and it prevents me from racing because I have to stay on track with my long distance training. I also don't do much speedwork and don't have much variety in my training because I'm just focusing on quality miles. I think I've decided to switch back to half and full marathons (for a while, maybe forever) after the Ultracentric race at the end of November. There are a lot of races I'd like to do but can't because of the two pending ultras.

After November I'll probably do the New Year's Day 5 mile run again, then the Lake Benbrook Half Marathon again, then the Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans. Last year I won the men's half marathon racewalk division; I'd really like to try to win the full marathon this year. We'll see how I feel after November 28th!

Distance: 27.2 miles
Time: 5:21:14
Pace: 11:48

Friday, August 27, 2004

Olympic 50k Racewalk Results

Robert Korzeniowski captured his fourth gold medal in racewalking by winning the men's 50k racewalk in 3:38.46, only 17/100 of a second short of the Olympic Record. He won the 50k Gold in Sydney and Atlanta and the 20k Gold in Sydney. Many consider him to be the greatest walker ever. The American walkers, Curt Clausen and Phillip Dunn, finished in 32nd and 35th place, respectively. Here are the complete results.

Here is a photo essay.

I'm a little behind in my posts

I'm a little behind in my posts for the week so let me quickly catch up.

Sunday I was successful in my long walk. I walked 33 miles and felt pretty bad at the end, but no so bad that I couldn't go to lunch with the family and go to the mall and the grocery store. I went a little too fast (my pace was at least one minute faster than my planned ultra race pace) which contributed to my fatigue at the end. I ended up with 73 miles for the week, my highest weekly mileage ever.

Distance: 33.0 miles
Time: 6:45:19
Pace: 12:16

Monday was a rest day.

Tuesday I walked in the neighborhood and at the track. I pushed the pace and felt really good. I was happy I could walk pretty fast considering I had walked 33 miles two days before. I even turned in a 9:44 final mile.

Distance: 10.2 miles
Time: 1:50:50
Pace: 10:51

Wednesday I felt tired and was also running a little late so I only walked 8 miles. I have a little less flexibility in my morning schedule because I drop my daughter off at school.

Distance: 8.23 miles
Time: 1:38:53
Pace: 12:00

Thursday I was just sooooo tired. I've been getting up every day at 4:00 am, but not getting in bed until 9:30 - 10:30, so I decided to get back in bed and rest.

Today I felt better and did my normal neighborhood/track walk. My time was pretty good and I didn't feel like I was pushing hard.

Distance: 10.3 miles
Time: 1:51:45
Pace: 10:50

Tomorrow the plan is to sleep in and rest, then do 22-26 miles on Sunday. I'm thinking about trying a new trail so I can get in more miles on the trails. My first ultra is a trail ultra (although it is supposed to be a pretty easy, smooth and flat course) so I feel like I need some trail miles to help me prepare.

Hope everyone enjoys the weekend and gets in some good training or racing!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Olympic Racewalk Results to Date

There have already been two great racewalk events at the Olympics, the Men's and Women's 20k walks. Both were exciting races and the "favorites" were upset, especially in the Women's event where local Greek walker Athanasia Tsoumeleka "walked" away with the Gold! The American men had good races, but when you compare them to the field you can see that Europe and Asia (especially China and Russia) put a lot more emphasis on racewalking than we do here in the States.

Men's 20k Racewalk:
Photo Essay

Women's 20k Racewalk
Photo Essay

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Article on Racewalking

Here's a decent article on Racewalking from the Boston Globe, including brief interviews with the US Racewalkers at the Olympics. The article is a little bit silly but portrays racewalking in a positive light.

Friday, August 20, 2004

First Day of School!

Except for non-stop torrential rain, the first day of school went as well as can be expected. Here are a few pictures:

Here is Lela, about to enter her classroom for the first day of school.

Here she is having some second thoughts and first day fears.

She's settled in and getting to business.

Mom did OK with only a few tears after we left the classroom. This will impact her more than anyone since she spent all day with Lela. She's considering her options, including volunteering, working, school, or sleeping.

Walking related, I had good walks yesterday and today. Yesterday I went to the track for my usual workout; I've increased my daily walks from 7 miles to 10-11 miles. Yesterday I felt good and pushed the pace quite a bit.

Distance: 11.20 miles
Time: 2:00:52
Pace: 10:47

Today I went to a local paved walking trail because the track was too waterlogged. The route is short so I tried some neighborhood walks to extend it. I was also pretty tired from lots of walking this week so I cut the walk short at 10 miles.

Distance: 10.10 miles
Time: 1:57:38
Pace: 11:38

I'm blogging from San Antonio. Our development project goes live tonight so I have to sit around until 9:00 pm, then go on site and test everything to make sure it transitioned to production correctly, then sleep, then fly home tomorrow morning. Luckily tomorrow is a rest day so I don't have to get a walk in. Sunday I'll do long miles, hopefully 33-34 if I'm feelng OK.

I also got another pair of shoes, New Balance 110s:

These are the only commercially available shoes specifically for racewalking. They are light and very flexible, but they don't offer much support, so I primarily use them for shorter distances. I use the NB 833s for longer walks, and Asics GT 2080 (since discontinued and replaced with 2090) for trail walks. They are road running shoes, not trail shoes, but they offer me the additional support and cushioning I need on hard trails and I don't want to spend money on a pair of trail shoes yet.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Catching Up

I haven't posted in a while! Things have been busy. I all but wrapped up my recent project (just a few more tasks to be completed) and proposed a new job for myself to our CEO--put me in charge of employee relations, because employee satisfaction at my company is at its nadir and many people are looking for jobs (some are just waiting on an offer so they can resign). I got her approval of my ideas, but today I prepared a budget for her. As they say, Money talks. We'll see if she is still as interested after she sees the money I want to spend.

We also bought a new car, a Honda Civic for my wife. We have always been a single car family and have never had any problems, but now that our daughter is starting school (tomorrow! Weep!!) we really needed a second car. We were able to get the payments and terms we wanted, and we showed up at the dealership around 6:30 and left around 10:00, so it was a pretty quick and painless process.

As for walking, I've done quite a bit of that. My last post was August 8th after my 32 mile long walk. Last week I only walked three times because I had some major hip pain in the middle of the week. But I was still able to walk 40.6 miles in those three days.

The most interesting and challenging walk was a trail walk on the North Shore Trail of Lake Grapevine, outside Dallas. I got there at 6:00 am and hit the trail, only to find that the trails were filled with spider webs! With big spiders!! Some of the spiders were as big as my thumbnail (just their bodies, not including the legs)! I had to pick up some brush and wave it in front of me as I walked to flush out the webs. It was a little disgusting for a while, but eventually the sun came up and other hikers/runners/cyclists hit the trails and cleared up the webs.

This trail was very, very challenging. I actually ran quite a bit, running up and down the major inclines, and I jumped over rocks, up rocks, over roots, across streams, etc. When I finished my legs were killing me and they were still sore for a couple of days. I walked the entire North Shore Trail round trip, plus a couple of small "detours" (I got lost) so I walked a total of 19.13 miles at a pace of 12:32. Considering the difficulty of the trail I thought that was a good pace.

I took Monday off to recover and did an easy recovery walk Tuesday morning:

Distance: 7.16 miles
Time: 1:29:55
Pace: 12:33

Today I did a longer walk and pushed the pace a little more:

Distance: 11.11 miles
Time: 2:05:32
Pace: 11:17

Tomorrow I would like to do another 10-11 miles, then 14 on Friday, then Saturday off, then long mileage on Sunday. I haven't decided for sure, but I would like to do about 33-34 miles. We'll see how I feel Saturday/Sunday morning.

I have lots of blogs to catch up on. I hope everyone is healthy and happy and enjoying their running/walking.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

It wasn't pretty, but at least it's over

I did my long walk today, and it nearly killed me! ;) It was tough. I decided to do three loops at the lake. The first two were a standard loop of the lake plus an extra small loop on the spillway that makes the entire circuit 11 miles. So after two loops I was at 22 miles. Then I started my third loop, which was to be a standard loop and a smaller extra loop to get about 10 miles and end up around 32. At the beginning of the third loop I kicked a board on a wooden bridge and almost tripped. It strained my right knee a little bit and I thought about turning around, but the pain wasn't too bad and didn't seem to be aggravated by walking. It's not sore now so I guess the problem wasn't too severe.

I drank a TON today. I filled up my 40 oz. Camelbak with half gatorade/half water. Then I filled it up with 100% gatorade (after loop 1). Then I filled it up with 100% water (after loop 2). Then I stopped at 7-11 and bought another bottle of water to fill it up (halfway through loop 3). That's approximately 160 oz. of fluids! But believe me, I needed it. I only needed to urinate once during the walk, so I guess the rest of it was burned up and went to good use.

I also managed to do the whole walk with only one small sip of gel. I ate a Clif Bar and a couple of Fruit Leathers, and I took Succeed Electrolyte caplets.

By the end I just wanted to sit down. What really sounded good was a Coke with crushed ice; I started mapping a route to Sonic on the way home. This is unusual for me because I only drink Coke/sodas about once per month. But it sounded sooooo good. I just kept reminding myself that I could have a nice, big, cold Coke and some crushed ice to chew. That was my mantra for the last 5 miles, and I managed to drag my tired carcass to the car and drive myself to Sonic to fulfill my promise to myself. I was (and still am) beat and feel a little sore and tired, but nothing I haven't felt before. Now I'm going to clean up the house and do a little laundry, then try to sit down and read a book. I've also got to pack; back to San Antonio tomorrow, but only for 2 1/2 days/2 nights. I'll use the hotel treadmill while I'm there.

And the new shoes were great! The extra support was really needed today, but they are still very light. My only problem with my feet was that I pulled my socks on two hard and they hurt my toes, plus I have one small toe with a sore in the nail area that was uncomfortable. But no permanent damage!

I hope everyone had good training/racing this week.

Distance: 32.30 miles
Time: 6:38:20
Pace: 12:19

Saturday, August 07, 2004

I'm back

I'm back from my long business trip to San Antonio. I was supposed to return on Saturday morning (after putting the application into production late Friday night) but the customer messed up and production has been delayed by two weeks. So yesterday as soon as I could I headed to the airport and went standby on the first flight back to Dallas. I ended up on the ground in Dallas by 5:00 and was picked up by my wonderful wife and daughter.

I spent all week training, two classes that were each two days long. It was exhausting and stressful. Luckily it's almost over: one more two-day class next week, then a quick trip in two weeks for the production rollout, then I'll go into "maintenance and support" mode for this system and roll off onto some new projects.

I really wore myself out this week. Whenever I travel I stay up too late, and I had to get up early every morning so I could get to the training early and setup. I spent all day on my feet talking and training. I didn't eat enough. But I still managed to walk three afternoons/evenings at McAllister Park, the park with the wonderful trails I discovered last week. The only bad thing about the walks is that I walked in the evening, not the morning, so the temperatures were between 95 and 100 degrees. I'm really not used to those temperatures!

I managed to walk 6.23, 7.58 and 6.14 miles in the park on the trails. They are a mixture of smooth dirt, rocky dirt, some nice rock with scree, lots of roots, etc. The trails are really awesome--I saw tons of cactus and prickly pear, lots of other flora and fauna, armadillos, deer, wild turkeys, etc. I might try to take some pictures next week so everyone can see how awesome this park is.

Due to my travel schedule I took two days off (Friday and Saturday). Tomorrow it will be back to the roads. I'm planning on doing a little over 30 miles tomorrow; that will be three loops around White Rock Lake, and I'll have to add a little extra loop I've discovered to get over 30 (a standard loop is about 9.3 miles). I'm going to get up at 4:00 and get going as quickly as possible, both to avoid the heat and to get home early and spend some quality time with my family. All this travel has been hard on everyone and I really miss being home. Since I have to leave again Monday I want to spend as much time with them as possible.

I hope everyone is having good training and avoiding the heat.

New shoes!

Picked up some new shoes today, New Balance 833s:

They are very lightweight and are used by a lot of racewalkers even though they are technically running shoes. They are also pretty cool looking, which is nice--silvery and space age, something David Bowie might have worn when he was in his "Major Tom" phase.

I really needed something new since my current shoes have 300+ and 500+ miles. These provide a little more support than then NB 110s (made specifically for racewalking) and should make my long walks more comfortable.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Two good long walks

This was my first weekend to be able to do two longs walks, which is one of my training techniques for Heartland and Ultracentric. Since it is not practical to do many ultra-distance walks in training, doing two (or three) long walks in a week is one way to acclimate my body to the long distances required for ultras.

On Saturday it was pretty cool for this time of year, low 70s in the beginning, low 80s at the end, and it wasn't too humid. I started around 6:15 and completed 20.1 miles. I pushed the pace a little bit (more than I should have considering I was going to do another long walk on Sunday) and by the end of the walk I was feeling sore, especially in "the buttocks" as Forest Gump would say. For the rest of the day I was still sore and stiff, and that really concerned me since I needed to get out again the next day. But I decided not to panic and to wait for Sunday morning before deciding if I could do the second walk.

Distance: 20.1 miles
Time: 3:51:12
Pace: 11:30

Sunday was great! I took a slower pace (around 12:20) and that made all the difference. I was a little sore in the morning but not much, and once I got started the soreness went away. The air was thick today and it was much sunnier and hotter (upper 80s when I finished) and within a couple of miles I was soaked with sweat.

After the first loop I ran into a great Master's racewalker who decided to change his route and join me. I really enjoyed talking to him, and it made the pace seem easier and the time go quickly. I was really happy to stop when I got to my car after the second loop, but I have to say that I could have gone on without too much trouble. Considering that I walked 42 miles in two days (and spent more than 8.5 hours on my feet) I feel great, and I even did a little bit of yardwork (after we took our daughter to Chuck E. Cheese). I'm going to take tomorrow off, but I could definitely get out and train tomorrow if I wanted to.

Distance: 22.1 miles
Time: 4:33:05
Pace: 12:21

Another interesting thing about the two walks is that I didn't use gel on either walk. I drank lots of gatorade and ate a Clif Bar at the halfway point of each race, but no gel. When I was training for the marathon I always had to suck down lots of gel, and I usually would still bonk at 18 to 20 miles, so hopefully the fact that I'm not relying on gel means that my body is adjusting to the distance and optimizing itself for ultras.

I'll be on the road all week this week, from Monday morning to Saturday morning. Luckily I'm going back to San Antonio so I'm planning to do most of my walks on the trails at McAllister Park. I'm still behind in reading everyone's blogs! According to Bloglines I have 102 unread running posts to read!! It may take me a while to catch up, so don't be offended if I haven't visited or commented in a while.

Hope everyone is having good luck with training and the weather!