Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Growing the Online Racewalking Community

I really enjoy reading blogs, especially racewalking blogs. I've found a small number but I'm sure there are others out there. I'm going to post all of the blogs I know of; check them out, there are some great reads out there.

If you know of other blogs on racewalking, please post in the comments and I'll add them to the list. I used to have a list on my sidebar but I screwed up the HTML. As soon as I've fixed it I'll post all the links on the left.


Ollie (fellow ultrawalker and all around great person)
Journeyman Phil (racewalking and ultrawalking in Australia)
Sarah (fast racewalking up in Canada)
Daniel (another fast racewalker)
Ray (elite US racewalker)
Rachel (elite Canadian racewalker)
Steve (asthma-challenged racewalker making incredible strides in his marathon performances)
Racewalker55 (couch potato to marathon racewalker)
Karen (training for a marathon in California)
Tammy (another inspiring couch potato to racewalker story)
Phat Girl Walking (racewalking in the bay area)

Added 5/25/07:
Race Walking Record has a news feed dedicated to race walking

Added 5/26/07:
Chris (another ultrawalker!)

Who else is out there? Make yourself known!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Bad, The Ugly and the Good

This post will be about my workout two weekends ago and my workout yesterday, thus the change in the traditional order of the title:

The Bad and The Ugly
Last weekend I did some long training at White Rock Lake. I normally start my long walks around 4:00-5:00 am, so I get many of my miles out of the way before the sun comes up and it starts to heat up (I would say most weekends I'm finished by 10:30 or 11:00).

This weekend I had to start later, around 9:15 (we had our first Team in Training training session that morning). I did three loops of the lake (including an out-and-back on the spillway) so about 10.25 per loop. First loop 1:59, second loop 2:09, third loop 2:36 (last few miles were a death march, 16:00 - 18:00 minutes per mile, and that time does not include pauses to rest or vomit/dry heave).

I thought I was drinking a lot (I carried two bottles and I drank at the water fountains from time to time). I stopped at my car every loop to refill my bottles, drink a bottle of Yoohoo (a member of the North Texas Trail Runners introduced me to that and it is so good!) and eat some potato chips. I also used three packages of Clif Shot Blocks (I don't think I'll do that again, they made me queasy and I felt like I needed to belch or vomit but couldn't) and two Succeed caplets every hour. I don't think I ate enough because of mild nausea and lack of desire, a result I think of the Clif Shot Blocks and HEED, which I can tolerate in cooler weather but which makes me sick to even think about in warm weather.

After I finally stopped I couldn't keep any water down for a few hours (anything I drank would come back up a little while later). After I finally had some food I started to feel better and could eat and drink without problems. But I was sooooo tired, more tired than I ever remember being after any races I've done. That afternoon and evening I had the worst leg cramps of my life (and I don't usually cramp). I had them in both calves, causing me to scream out in pain. It was not very fun.

I posted this information to the e-mail group for the North Texas Trail Runners and got lots of advice, most of it conflicting. The two things that stuck out were that I probably had too many electrolytes, not too little, and I probably shouldn't push so hard this early in the hot season. My body still needs to adjust to the heat.

The Good
This weekend my wife and daughter went out of town so I took advantage of their absence to do my last long training walk before FANS. On Saturday while I was shopping at Central Market I went to their prepared foods area and bought some macaroni and cheese and a twice baked potato. I also bought Gatorade and more Yoohoo. Finally, I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I got up early Sunday and started walking by 5:00 AM. I walked a 3.2 mile loop at Breckenridge Park. Every two loops (or 6.4 miles) I stopped at my car to eat and drink. My goal was to maintain a 12:30 pace for as long as possible since this is the pace I plan to maintain for the first 30 or so miles at FANS.

Surprisingly, I was able to maintain a 12:02 average pace for almost 42 miles. I was slowing in the final miles, but I was slowing to 12:30 - 13:00, so I didn't slow that much. I ate and drank successfully without any sickness, and I felt good most of the time, even when the temperatures crept into the low 80s. I only used one electrolyte cap when I felt some "crampy" feelings in one calf. Other than that it was: Gatorade, Coke, Yoohoo, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, Mac & Cheese, Twice-Baked Potato, Pringles. I always try to eat real food during ultras, so this seemed like a good test of that strategy. Things seemed to go well.

I'm still getting some blisters on my left heel, but I seem to be getting blisters on my old blisters and they don't hurt; I can tell they are there, but they don't bother me. I probably had blisters for 20 miles yesterday, with no issues.

The Rest
I did get some new shoes and they are working well. They are the latest version of the Asics Gel Speedstar (I've used this shoe before and decided to return to it). I wish it had a little more forefoot support, but other than that I'm very happy with it. I'm going to bring three pairs of shoes to FANS; I plan to start in the Speedstars and switch to a more supportive shoe if I feel the need.

So I guess now it's time for FANS. I plan to stick to my normal weekday training schedule this week, then do 10-15 miles next weekend, then no walking all week until the race. I hope we have good weather, that's all that's stressing me out at this point! I hate waiting for the race - this is the worst part of training and racing!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Speedy Walking!

Big Congrats to Sarah who broke 30 minutes racewalking a 5k! Good job. My PR is 31:06 so I'd be eating her dust.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Big Weekend

This weekend was my last final "big weekend" of training for FANS. I would have like to have done it next weekend, giving me a three week recovery and taper, but my schedule forced me to peak a week early. I'll still do some good miles next weekend, then lower the intensity and distance gradually.

On Saturday I went to a local park where I mapped a 3.2 mile loop (FANS is a 2.4 mile loop). I repeated the loop 10 times for 32.1 miles in 6:20:23, an 11:51 pace. On Sunday I went to White Rock Lake and did the "long loop" (standard 9+ mile loop plus the spillway addition for about 10.3 miles per loop) three times for 30.84 miles in 6:30:10, a 12:40 pace. Saturday I walked in new shoes and got some big blisters on my left heel. Sunday I switched to older shoes and the blisters only got a little worse. Both walks went pretty well and were fairly even in terms of splits; no major crashes. Now I just have to recover and maintain for FANS.

Yesterday was the kick off for the Fall Team in Training season. As I mentioned previously I am a coach for the DFW Metro Walk Team. I'm really excited about the opportunity to coach. We will have 35-40 walkers on the team, so it's going to be a big group and hopefully a lot of fun. Training starts Tuesday, but the real hardcore training will start on Saturday. I'll let you know how we are doing as the season progresses. My team is training for Nike Women's Half/Full Marathon, Dublin Marathon and the Dallas Half Marathon, all in late October/early November. It's great to be able to help people achieve their personal goals and do things they never thought possible! I can't wait to get to know the team.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Les Jeux Sont Faits

Well, I've made a slight change in my race plans. I was having trouble getting Laurel Highlands to fit in my work schedule right now (it's a long story, and I'd just as soon forget about it), and I'm still intrigued about doing another 24 hour race, so I've decided to race in FANS on June 2 in Minneapolis, MN. I've booked my travel and sent in my registration so I'm all set. FANS will be a Centurion event this year so I will have the opportunity to re-qualify as a Centurion. My goal is to hit 100 miles again. My stretch goal is to hit 105. I think it is a realistic goal if I can stick to my race plan. I've estimated a pace for every lap, including the inevitable slow down that will occur as it gets later, and I've allowed myself an extra minute every three laps (except for the first lap, every lap is about 2.4 miles) for aid. Based on my experience at Ultracentric I think this is realistic. I only stopped twice at Ultracentric - once to change shoes, once to use the port-a-pottie. Other than that, I paused for less than a minute at the aid station from time to time. So hopefully I will have a good day and we will have good weather and I can add some miles to my 100 mile Ultracentric finish.

This weekend I had a bad training experience and a great training experience. On Friday night some members of the North Texas Trail Runners were going to the Cross Timbers Trail on Lake Texoma (site of my only DNF) to do night hill training. The goal (for some of us, myself included) was to run/walk from about sunset to sunrise, around 8:40 to 6:30. I got there a little late and started walking around 9:15 PM. The weather was so humid and muggy that within 30 minutes I was totally soaked to the bone. I repeated the short (2.5 mile) extra hilly section three times, pausing at my car each lap to replenish fluids and snack. After a few hours there were only two of us left on the trail, then the last guy decided to leave. I sat in my car a while eating a snack when I realized that I wasn't having fun and didn't want to be there any more. It was about 2:00 AM. I made the one and a half hour drive home and crashed into bed. It felt good to sleep.

Saturday I made all my FANS plans and decided to do some FANS-specific training. I mapped a 3.2 mile route in a local park and planned to repeat the loop for 30 miles. I got started around 4:30 AM on Sunday morning and did ten laps. It got pretty warm and very sunny and by the end I was very tired, but I was able to turn in my fastest ultra distance training ever: 32.1 miles in 6:10:30, an 11:33 pace! I've never broken 12:00 minutes per mile in an ultra distance race or training, so I was very excited. I don't plan to go this pace at FANS, but this gave me the confidence I needed to go into FANS. So Sunday was a great day.

While you're visiting my blog, go over and give Steve a big shout of congratulations for setting a TWO HOUR marathon PR. Way to go, Steve!!