Sunday, August 31, 2008

Recovery

Woke up this morning with a bit of a sore throat and my right eye had pretty nasty conjunctivitis. Felt tired and a bit off, so I stayed in bed and read a book for an hour or so before everyone else woke up. It was downright luxurious to have that time! The book is great, too - I'm reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and it's been quite eye-opening so far. I'd highly recommend it if you're the least bit interested in where your food comes from.

Later on, I was feeling better, so I thought I'd get my workout in. I had 4 easy miles planned. I felt a bit tired, but thought it might perk me up. It did, though my legs were a little heavy. I did 3.75 miles around SugarHouse park in about 40 min (too lazy to look up the exact time right now).

After that we packed up the kids and headed up Millcreek Canyon for a Smore-a-thon with our church family. We enjoyed a great grilled dinner together, and shared side dishes. About the time we finished eating, a cold front came through, replete with thunder and heavy rain. Our fire didn't do to well, and neither did the party; no smores after all, but we did have a good time up until that point.

Now I'm at home and thinking about my GI distress on long racewalks. I have had increased GI issues the last few years in general, and I wonder if it is because of the increased fiber in my diet after joining Weight Watchers? I am also wondering if I'm developing lactose intolerance. It is hereditary, and my mom, aunt, and grandfather all suffer from it to varying degrees (my aunt has a particularly severe case). I think that I'm going to try a few things before my next long day - 1) no dairy on Thursday & Friday, and 2) greatly reduced amount of fruit. We'll see if that helps. I am really praying it will, because I was in considerable discomfort Saturday and don't care to ever repeat that feeling. I would love just enjoy the distance!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Painful 18 miles

Um, yeah, this marathon training stuff is harder than I thought it would be. OK, it's not like I thought it would be easy, but I wasn't expecting this kind of trouble. I was sure something might come up, but somehow I was naive enough to believe it wouldn't be too bad.

The first 10 miles were pretty uneventful this morning, and then my intestinal problems started up. Not good. I was in a lot of pain and stopped at least 3 times to visit the restroom. Thankfully, our route along the Jordan River Parkway today had lots of bathrooms :).

Then, to top it off, I got a blister on my right foot 2nd toe. I've never had trouble with blisters before - my shoes fit well and they have only about 150 miles on them. I used the same shoes last weekend for my 16 miles w/o incident. The only difference was the socks. Last weekend I wore my double layer socks; this weekend I wore a pair of Team in Training socks that I have worn for other long workouts. I just have to hope that it's the socks; I will try a double layer pair next weekend for the long day and hope it helps.

My legs actually were tired but not too bad at the end, surprisingly. They felt better than after the 16 miles last weekend.

Total time 3:14:36 for 18 miles, not including 2 of the restroom breaks; I paused my iPod because I really wanted to know my average pace when I was actually moving. Average pace was 10:51 per mile. For the first 10 miles I'd say I did about a 10:30 pace quite comfortably, but then when the intestinal distress hit, all bets were off and I had to slow down. Still, 10:51 is pretty good given all of that. My average heart rate was 136, solidly in the range recommended for long slow distance days.

After today, I'm kind of dreading the remaining long days on my schedule. If I can't find something to help with the intestinal problems, I think this will be my first and ONLY marathon. It's just not worth it to feel this way.

Friday, August 29, 2008

4 miles + weights; last day at work

This morning I racewalked an easy 4 miles before my weight training class, in about 41 minutes and change. I was pretty fast this morning, and it felt good. It's really great to be back to the weight training as well. I missed it more than I thought I did.

Been looking into memberships at gyms/fitness centers because I need to have some options for bad weather training now that I can't have a membership at the university any more. I can get a membership at the Utah Olympic Oval for $99 per year (family membership!) which gets me access to their 442m running track. Unfortunately, it's about a 30 minute drive from my house. Also, while they are open at 5:30 am MWF, they don't open until 8 am on TuTh and are not open on Sundays. Hmmmm. Very cheap, but not so convenient. The other option I have is Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation. They have multiple facilities, one of which is a 5 minute drive from my house and has very nice swimming pools, cardio equipment, aerobics/fitness classes, and weights. They are open 5 am M-F, and 6 am on Sat; only open 10-5 on Sunday, but at least they are open. Another facility about 15 min away is building a new indoor running track (1/8 mile) that will be completed in November; they also have pools and cardio equipment and fitness classes. They are open 5:30 am M-F and 7 am on Sat; 10-4 on Sun. I can get a membership to all of the county facilities (those 2 plus a bunch more) for $316 per year. More expensive, but also much more convenient. I will probably get a membership with them; I do have to come up with the $, true, but fortunately my husband will be getting his automatic annual pay increase (ain't government employment nifty!) in September, which will more than cover the cost of my fitness membership.

I could get a regular gym membership, but I really want to have the indoor track option. That's extremely important to me, as I dislike treadmills and vastly prefer the track. I will be doing interval workouts when it's too dark and/or cold to be at the outdoor track, so it's pretty much essential to me. 24 hr Fitness and Gold's Gym definitely do not have indoor tracks, and I doubt they are any cheaper than the county system.

***

In other news, this is my last day at work. It will probably be somewhat emotional, but I'll get through it. I'm actually getting very excited to have more free time, and have been thinking of lots of fun stuff to do w/the kids and for myself :). Looking on the good side is making this lots easier to deal with.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

easy 8 miles

This morning I was scheduled for an easy 8 miles. I picked a super hilly route, because after all, I'm going to be racewalking the marathon in San Francisco. I went around SugarHouse Park and then up 1900 East all the way to the U - through Research Park and down through Fort Douglas and past the Huntsman Center, then across Guardsman Way to the track at East High. I arrived at the track at 6:25ish, just in time to teach the racewalking clinic from 6:30-7:20. Then Diane (my co-teacher for the clinic) was nice enough to give me a ride home from the track afterward.

I felt great this morning. My pace was about exactly 11:00/mile on this very hilly route, and my average heart rate was 136. Not nearly as fast as Monday, but I wasn't working as hard, and had more hills today.

It was nice weather - a bit cooler than it has been. It was about 55 this morning, and my hands actually got cold when I was at the track for the class, because I cooled off a lot at that point. During my 8 miles, my hands were fine, though. I think next time I will bring gloves for the class.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yum!

Calvin greedily devours his ice cream cone at Alex's party.
 
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Joy

Michelle runs with ice cream cone in hand, wearing a necklace of fruit loops, at her friend Alex's birthday party. It just doesn't get any better than this.
 
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End of summer bounty

This is what I picked from our yard today: pears, grapes, and plums. There are some golden plums that are ready, too, but I will pick those a bit later.


Cross-training

Today I biked to my weight training class (hard uphill, about 20 minutes), lifted weights, and biked home. My muscles reminded me for the entire 50-minute class that I have not lifted in about a month. I think I'm going to be a bit sore, but it's worth it. It was great to be back lifting weights again - I really missed it a lot. It's going to be tricky fitting in 2-3 weight training classes with my increased miles for the marathon, but I think I can manage. Will just have to get up a lot earlier on many days.

Gingered Pear Jam


This is what I'm going to make this weekend. My pear tree is laden with ripe fruit and I am ready to do some canning!

Lani, this one is for you :)




Gingered Pear Jam

3 lb fresh Bartlett pears
1 orange
1/2 lemon
1/2c diced candied ginger
1 pkg fruit pectin (1.75 oz)
5c sugar

Core and finely dice pears to make 4 cups. Put orange and lemon through food chopper, or process coarsely. Combine pears, orange, lemon, candied ginger, and fruit pectin. Bring to boil. Add sugar and bring back to full rolling boil. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim with metal spoon. Cool 5 minutes, skim again. Put in sterilized jars and seal. Process according to manufacturer's directions. Makes about 6 half pints.

I have made this with Splenda instead of sugar, using the pectin designed for sugar-free recipes, and it worked great and tasted yummy, too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday night track workout

I didn't feel much like working out tonight, but I knew I needed it. So off I went. Diane was the only other person who showed up tonight, but that was all right, as I enjoy her company, and it beats walking alone.

It was much cooler tonight than it has been - only 83 instead of the usual mid-90s, and I appreciated that a lot. It was still warm, but I didn't feel like the heat slowed me down that much this time.

Tonight's workout was 4 laps warm-up, dynamic flexibility drills, then 3x(1200m at 10k pace, 1 min rest, 400m at 5k pace) with 3 min rest in between sets. Goal times were 7:04 for the 1200s and 2:14 for the 400s; actual times were 6:56, 2:12, 6:58, 2:14, 7:02, 2:13. I was fast tonight but pushed hard to get there - my heart rate was in the low 160s most of the time but got in the upper 160s toward the end of the workout. I did a nice slow cool-down of 4 laps with Diane, and we enjoyed some good conversation.

After the workout I drove home, feeling much better. I'm getting really sleepy so off to bed soon - I am planning to bike to weight training class tomorrow at 6 am!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Laid off

Well, this has been a while in coming, but I wasn't going to post about it until I was sure. I have been officially "RIF'd" (reduction in force). Our lab unexpectedly lost our funding, effective August 31st, and while my boss will have until probably early next summer to get some more funds, he does not have enough money to keep the whole lab going. There are 4 of us in the lab, plus the boss: 2 technicians (me, part-time, and another full-time), 1 post-doc (supported by department funds, not the grant we lost), and 1 grad student. The grad student must be supported so she can finish her studies, so she is pretty much guaranteed her $ from the department. My boss will also be funded by the department until next summer, and the post-doc is already department funded and so his job is safe. The technicians? Well, we are expendable, unfortunately (in the university's opinion, not my boss's opinion - I know he is VERY sad to see us go, which makes it easier to take). I have been working here for 6 years, and I have really enjoyed it a lot. It's been a great place to work, and we have been doing some really fascinating research.

I could get another job, but the research climate right now is not very good at all. I have great references and a ton of experience, so I could probably find something anyway, but the fact that I want to work part-time (I have been working 16-20 hrs/wk) makes it harder. Besides, it would be almost impossible to find someone as good to work for as my current boss. He has made my job a pleasure, and I am going to miss working for him a lot.

If you remember, I was going to stay home with the kids after Michelle was born, and in fact, I did quit my job. But then my boss called with a good opportunity for me to come back to work. So, for the past 2 years, I have been working again, and it's been good. The kids have loved their school, and I have generally been quite happy with my job and the adult interaction and intellectual stimulation it provides, never mind the opportunity to get paid to use really cool equipment.

Well, now that my job is ending, I will definitely miss it, but it's not too difficult a decision to stay home for a while, given all the circumstances I've outlined above. We will have to tighten our belts considerably, but the budget numbers appear do-able. I will probably try to pick up a few new piano students, since I can make a decent amount of money doing that and I really enjoy it. The only tricky thing with that is babysitting - I need to find sitters to watch the kids while I teach. But I do have one sitter and might be able to use her for a few more hours, and I have a few possibilities in the wings. We'll see. I'm not in a huge hurry to make any momentous decisions.

I am of surprisingly mixed feelings about all of this. It's been a really rough time, emotionally. I am going to miss my job a lot, as I am very good at it and I love it. I'll miss the adult interaction, the chance to think about scientific problems, and the feeling of satisfaction from a job well done. I'll miss my paycheck, too! However, I won't miss driving in the snow, parking 0.5 mile from the building and walking in the rain/snow/thunder/cold wind, kissing my kids good-bye for the day, and being too busy. Still, it is sad to have to leave this way, and I wish my boss the best in getting more grant money soon, so that he can continue the very good and exciting research he is doing.

Sunday & Monday

Sunday: 3.75 miles very easy recovery walk in 40:09, around SugarHouse park.

Monday: 8 miles at marathon pace was the goal; I decided to do it by heart rate - my goal heart rate (from advice from Dave McGovern at his clinic) is 142-153. I paced myself right around 143 this morning, and finished my 8 miles in 1:22:xx. Whoa! 10:15 miles?!?!? I know the distance was right because I checked it on the USATF map it tool. Hmmm. I did feel like I was working pretty hard, but the heart rate monitor was pretty constant with its feedback. I surely could have done another 5 miles at this pace, no problem. But another 18? I doubt it. I'm confused. Why was my heart rate so low? I mean, being fast was nice, but it's all a bit mystifying. Probably 10:45 miles are more realistic for the marathon, but had I done that this morning, my heart rate would have been pretty darn low. Weird.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Longest so far

This morning I did my longest racewalk so far. I did 16.15 miles (26 km) in 2:54:14. That's an average of 10:47/mile or 6:42/km. Not bad! I pushed the last 3 miles (HR 145-150) as recommended in my training plan.

I felt lots better than last Saturday, but my workout was not without some pain. My hamstrings were very tired by the end, and my right hip flexors are bothering me quite a lot. I think some ibuprofen and/or an ice bath is in order. I did have some intestinal distress, but it was much better than last week. Does anyone have tips on how to mitigate this? I have trouble with this on my walks >1.5 hr, for some reason, and it's really difficult to deal with sometimes. Today it only bothered me about every 20 minutes, for a minute or two at a time. Last week it was more like every 5-10 minutes :(.

On the positive side, it was a beautiful morning, with perfect weather in the 60s, sunny (when the sun came up! I started in the pitch black, at 5 am.), and the walk was a pretty route through some nice residential areas. We did a couple laps around SugarHouse park to get started, and the ducks were out on the pond while the pink-tinged clouds welcomed the morning. I wasn't even that tired, despite being up until midnight after watching the latest Batman movie with Loren. Our day care had pajama night, and we always like to take advantage of that to enjoy a date together.

Now I'm lying on the couch vegging out after a great breakfast of pancakes and bacon :).

Friday, August 22, 2008

Easy day

Today 6 miles easy was on the schedule, so off I went with dogs in tow. My hamstrings are still feeling a bit tired/tight, but after a mile or so things felt really good. I felt fast and easy, and I had no trouble cranking out the 6 miles in 1:03:33, for about 10:35 per mile.

I'm more nervous about tomorrow. 16 miles, with 13 easy and 3 at marathon pace. I have never gone this far before, and hopefully it will go OK. I think I'm up to the challenge, though. I'd better be, since I'm planning to do 26.2 in October!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Shoes

I was pleasantly surprised to see Jeff Salvage's photo of these shoes. He was making a point about the wet course for the women's 20k in the Olympics, but I immediately recognized the shoes as a pair that I personally own. They are Nike Marathons (racing flats), and they are pretty decent racewalking shoes; perhaps a bit stiff through the midsole, but I like them a lot. I put a lot of miles on them and so I don't wear this pair for racewalking anymore, but they were good shoes. I guess I have good taste in shoes if the elites are wearing them too :). Here's a photo of me wearing them in the 2007 Salt Lake Half Marathon. If you click on the picture you can see it bigger and can see the shoes better :).

a little speed work

This photo is of Olga Kaniskina of Russia, the winner of the gold medal in the women's 20k racewalk (photo from Jeff Salvage's excellent photo story at www.racewalk.com). I'm not even near as fast as her; she completed the 20k in 1:26:31, for about 4:20/km. To compare, my best 1k split from a recent 5k race was only 5:32! I can't even do ONE km as fast as she can do each km of a 20k race!

Oh, and another note. Joanne Dow of the USA, at age 44, was the oldest competitor in the women's 20k walk. The youngest competitors were only 18! Joanne has a daughter entering college this year who is about their age. Wow. I want to be like Joanne when I "grow up". I guess I still have 6 years to get as fast as her ;).

So, speaking of speed, I have still have to do some speed/threshold work even though I'm now training for a marathon. I got a really spiffy training schedule off of the Nike Women's Marathon website. I adjusted the schedule to my best days to do the various workout types. So today I ended up doing 1 mile easy, 4 miles at lactate threshold pace, and 1 mile easy. The first easy mile was in about 10:40 or so, and then the next 4 miles in about 39 minutes (9:45 per mile; a lot of this was a gradual but unrelenting uphill), and then the last easy mile to finish in just over an hour.

My hamstrings have felt a bit tight/sore, so I thought this workout might be too much. But once I got going I felt great, and now that it's over I'm still feeling pretty good. Good enough to take the kids to the zoo :)!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Women's 20k walk

At the same time I watched the 10k swim, I followed the live splits and live blogging of the women's 20k walk. Incredibly, the top 13 women all came in under the old Olympic record time!

Here are the results. USA's Joanne Dow finished in a season best 1:34:15; at age 44 she is the oldest USA track and field athlete.

Aug. 20, 2008, Start time: 9:00 PM ETAug. 21, 2008, Start time: 9:00
Women's 20km Race walk Final
Results
Lane Athlete Country Time Record
1 Olga Kaniskina Russia 1:26:31 Olympic Record
2 Kjersti Platzer Norway 1:27:07 National Record
3 Elisa Rigaudo Italy 1:27:12 Personal Best
4 Hong Liu China 1:27:17 Personal Best
5 Maria Vasco Spain 1:27:25 National Record
6 Beatriz Pascual Spain 1:27:44 Personal Best
7 Olive Loughnane Ireland 1:27:45 Personal Best
8 Ana Cabecinha Portugal 1:27:46 National Record
9 Athanasia Tsoumeleka Greece 1:27:54 National Record
10 Vera Santos Portugal 1:28:14 Personal Best
11 Ryta Turava Belarus 1:28:26 Season's Best
12 Tatyana Sibileva Russia 1:28:28
13 Na Shi China 1:29:08 Season's Best
14 Mayumi Kawasaki Japan 1:29:43
15 Sabine Zimmer Germany 1:30:19
16 Sonata Milusauskaite Lithuania 1:30:26 National Record
17 Vira Zozulya Ukraine 1:30:31
18 Maria Jose Poves Spain 1:30:52
19 Kristina Saltanovic Lithuania 1:31:03 Season's Best
20 Jane Saville Australia 1:31:17
21 Sylwia Korzeniowska Poland 1:31:19
22 Johanna Jackson Britain 1:31:33 National Record
23 Melanie Seeger Germany 1:31:56
24 Ana Maria Groza Romania 1:32:16
25 Evaggelia Xinou Greece 1:32:19 Personal Best
26 Sachiko Konishi Japan 1:32:21
27 Zuzana Schindlerova Czech Republic 1:32:57 Personal Best
28 Claire Woods Australia 1:33:02 Equal Personal Best
29 Mi-jung Kim South Korea 1:33:55
30 Svetlana Tolstaya Kazakhstan 1:34:03 Season's Best
31 Joanne Dow United States 1:34:15 Season's Best
32 Zuzana Malikova Slovakia 1:34:33 Season's Best
33 Sniazhana Yurchanka Belarus 1:35:33
34 Nadiya Borovska-Prokopuk Ukraine 1:35:50
35 Sandra Zapata Colombia 1:36:18
36 Johana Ordonez Ecuador 1:36:26
37 Tania Regina Spindler Brazil 1:36:46
38 Veronica Colindres El Salvador 1:36:52 Season's Best
39 Edina Fusti Hungary 1:37:03
40 Kellie Wapshott Australia 1:37:59

Men's 10K swim

Wow - just watched the men's 10k swim "marathon" live on streaming video, and it was incredible. The top 3 men were within 2 seconds of each other in this very long race, and the winner, Maarten van der Weijdian of the Netherlands, has an incredible story - he was dying of leukemia (ALL) and survived a bone marrow transplant and came back to be Olympic champion.

A blast from the past

My mom just e-mailed me this picture because she wanted me to identify the other people in the photo. This picture is from my high school marching band days; I'm not sure what year it was taken, but I'm guessing 1985 or 1986. Oh yeah, I'm in the middle, smiling at the camera - I don't know if I look enough like now to be recognizable! Marching band was previously my only form of exercise before taking up racewalking. Actually, it's not bad exercise! We were in the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1986, and marching and playing music for the 6 mile parade route was quite a good effort.

upping the mileage

I've made a training schedule through marathon day, and the miles are going up! Of course, I'm not increasing more than a little each week, but I'm going to be going slower and doing more miles to get ready for the big race.

This morning I did 7.65 miles easy, around Liberty and SugarHouse parks. The weather was gorgeous, though sadly it is now dark enough at 6 am that I have to start wearing my reflective vest again. I love summer, and it's going to be gone so quickly. Anyway, I felt fairly tired this morning, and my leg muscles are feeling the distance, even though it wasn't that far. Probably has a lot to do with my lack of sleep last night from staying up late to watch the Olympics.

I finished in 1:24:01, for 10:59 per mile. My average heart rate was a nice easy 135.

Oh, and yes, it is less than 2 months until the race now. The Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco is on October 19th!

Racewalking gets a little respect for a change

After the racewalkers complained about the granite surface planned for the 20k and 50k walks at the Olympics in Beijing, race organizers changed the surface.

Here's the story NPR did on this - very interesting. It cost $800,000 for the new surface - an amazing expenditure for just 3 races.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A friend at the track

A Canadian goose just like this joined me for my track workout this morning. He (or she?) was all by himself at the track, just munching on the grass on the football field. He even wandered on to the track, and at one point during my workout, buzzed me just overhead! He was not shy at all and came very close to me and the runners who were working out this morning. Maybe he was saying "hi" to me from my Canadian friends Jeannie and Sarah?

Most of my workout was in lane 2, because there was a running club there today. I decided to do 1600m warm-up, then 4x1600 at 10k pace (9:25), then 1600m cool-down. I did the fast 1600s in 9:23, 9:24, 9:26, and 9:17, with about 2 min rest in between. Yup, that last one was fast. I got more rest before that one, because I got talking to some of the runners about racewalking. Some of them had watched parts of the men's 20k in the Olympics and spoke very highly of the fast pace and athleticism of the racewalkers. I told them a little about racewalking and gave it a good plug for cross-training. Maybe some of them will racewalk someday if they can't run any more.

Back to my workout - I felt a bit sluggish for the first 2 repeats, but then started to feel more fluid and easy, though I got a bit tired. After talking up racewalking, I think I was energized for that last 1600m! It felt great and I'm so glad I did a nice hard workout today.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Congrats

Congratulations to my Canadian friend Jeannie Harms, who racewalked the Twin Cities 15K championships last weekend in a very speedy 1:25:28.

Also congratulations to Rebecca Garson, who won the Tidewater Striders (VA) 3k championship last weekend in 17:55 (she was the fastest female walker!).

Great job, ladies! Keep it up!

Rare moment

 Yes, Michelle actually fell asleep in my arms on Saturday. She was a bit sleep-deprived, and there wasn't anywhere to nap except a HOT tent (that was out) or mommy's arms. Once I held her horizontally and gave her the binky, it was all over :).
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Big Rocks

On our way home from camping, we drove through Big Cottonwood Canyon, past Brighton and Solitude ski resorts. Michelle was quite taken with the "Big Rocks". video

Where I walked yesterday

 I walked from the road you can see about 1/4 of the way up the picture on the left side to the reservoir on the right side closer to the top of the picture. Basically, I walked all the way across this valley. The town of Midway is in the center of the valley, and I wish I had taken my camera for a few snapshots. It's a darling town with lots of Swiss heritage, and Alps-inspired architecture.
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

14-miler and other news

Saturday we were camping, but I did my 14-miler anyway. I have a picture of the valley I racewalked across, but have not downloaded it yet. I walked from Wasatch Mountain State Park, through Midway, to the reservoir at the other end of the valley. It was 7 miles out and back, and I finished it in 2:37, for about 11:12 per mile. That's a bit slower than I wanted to be, but considering that 1) the route had way more traffic than I thought and required me getting off the road A LOT, and 2) the route also had lots of bicycle traffic (HUNDREDS of bicycles - the Tour of Utah was going on and I picked the wrong time and place to be), and 3) I had terrible intestinal cramps and had to stop for a good while at a convenience store restroom, it wasn't a bad time at all. I felt a lot better after the restroom stop, and finished feeling all right. I was a bit stiff for a few hours, but I'm feeling fine today. Well, fine except for my right shoulder, which is really sore from a good hard couple games of volleyball with church friends while camping :).

This morning I did about 3.75 miles (6k) UPHILL. I walked up towards Guardsman Pass from the campground, and boy that hill was steep! I could barely racewalk parts of it but I think I did pretty well. I decided I'd run down it, though, because I wanted to keep my heart rate high, and with how steep the hill was I doubted I could legally racewalk it that fast. So what the heck, I thought, I'll run. I ran very fast down the hill, and it was a blast. I racewalked the flatter spots, and racewalked when I got to the campground. It took about 40 min for the whole thing.

When we got home this afternoon I started trying to catch up on my e-mail (99 messages!) and my Olympics viewing. If you want to watch the men's 20k racewalk, the WHOLE THING is available on nbcolympics.com! Just click videos then track & field, and it's in the list pretty close to the top. I watched the whole thing during the kids' nap. Here's a spectator guide in case you want to watch it, courtesy of www.racewalk.com (Jeff Salvage).

A Spectator's Guide to Race Walk Judging
by Ron Daniel, IAAF Race Walk Judge

Introduction: As in most sports events, the officials play an important role in maintaining a balanced field for all contestants. The following should help the spectator that is unfamiliar with the Athletics event of Race Walking become familiar with the superb athleticism of the walkers and the actions of the judges.

How Fast Are They Going: With the race walking world records at 1:16:43 for the men’s 20k, 1:25:41 for the women’s 20k and 3:34:14 for the 50K, the regular weekend runner should be impressed with a sub 40 minute 10K and sub 3Hr marathon while on the way to the longer distance. Perhaps even more amazing is the turnover rate of 3.5 steps per second for the men in a 20k and over 3.0 steps per second for the 20k women and 50k men. By comparison, a 100m runner turns over approximately 4.5 steps per second for 10 seconds, not for over one hour. Those men and women race walkers are quick and strong!

Definition (IAAF Rule 230): “Race Walking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with the ground, so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs. The advancing leg shall be straightened (i.e. not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until the vertical upright position.” Simply stated, without any visual aide assistance, the judges watch the walkers for both feet off the ground or the failure to straighten the support leg at the knee from the moment of contact with the ground until it passes under the torso.

Judge’s Actions: While observing the walkers, the judges take care to watch a ‘progression of steps’ before deciding if a walker is not complying with the definition. Also, it is important that the judges work independently. The eight judges on the course have yellow paddles with the symbols ~ and >. A judge will show a walker a yellow paddle when the athlete is ‘in danger’ of failing to comply with the definition. The ~ represents loss of contact and > represents a bent knee.

If a judge observes a walker failing to comply with the definition, the judge writes a Red Card (a proposal for disqualification). With the help of an assistant, that proposal is electronically transmitted to a Recorder (stationed near the stadium) where the information is displayed on a large Red Card Posting Board. When it is verified that at least three separate judges (three different countries) have written a Red Card against a walker, that walker is notified of his or her disqualification by being shown a Red Paddle by the Chief Judge or one of his Assistant Chief Judges (this accelerates the notification process). It is only the Chief Judge or Assistants that have the authority to notify a walker of their disqualification. It is important to understand that multiple yellow paddles do NOT add up to Red Cards.

In the stadium, during the last 100m, the Chief Judge has the authority to disqualify a walker who is obviously not complying with the definition regardless of any prior Red Cards, IAAF Rule 230.3a.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fun in the pool!

 Calvin enjoys a swim in the kiddie pool. What better to do on a hot summer day?
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Thursday tempo time

I know I did a hard workout yesterday, but my schedule's all messed up from Spokane and from my mom being here, and honestly, I felt fine this morning, so I decided to do the acceleration tempo workout I had planned. I did make one concession and shortened it up by 10 minutes. I did 1 mile easy warm-up, then 1 mile at HR of 145, 1 mile at 150, 1 mile at 155, and 1 mile at 160. I did a cool-down at that point and my total was 5.63 miles in 56:xx. I had to really push to keep my heart rate high enough this morning, and I ended up pretty fast overall - about 10 min/mile including the warm up and cool down! After the workout my hamstrings feel a little tired, but I'm fine.

I even had the energy to take a casual walk with my friend Kristilyn and her kids, pushing my kids in the stroller. We enjoyed about a 2-mile walk and then some time in the park w/the kiddos. Perfect weather this morning - it's in the upper 70s right now and the kids loved frolicking with other kids in the park.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm back!

Yeah, I've been resting from the blog for a few days. When I got back from Spokane (Sunday night), my mom was still here, AND I had to work Monday & Tuesday. My mom left Tuesday morning, and last night my husband had an exercise class, so I had the kids by myself. I have had a lot of laundry, etc. to catch up on, hence no blogging.

Anyway, Monday I thought I'd best get out and do some easy miles to loosen up. I had surprisingly little muscle pain from the 10K on Sunday. I was a little sore in my obliques and lower back, and my legs felt just fine, happily. So I did an easy 45 min around SugarHouse Park and the neighborhood.

Tuesday I walked 3 miles at a very easy pace with my mom, for the company. I knew it would mean I wouldn't get in a hard workout that day, but I really wanted to hang out with my mom, and I figured I could do the Team in Training track workout on Wednesday instead. TNT had the track workout Tuesday night at 6 pm, as usual, but I had no babysitter, and so that was out.

So, this morning I was ready for a nice challenge. The workout was 3 repeats of 1200 at 10K pace and 400 at 5K pace, with 1 min rest between the 1200 and 400, and 3 min rest between sets (plus a 4 lap warm up and 4 lap cool down). I planned to do them in 7:04 and 2:14. I felt really fast and had trouble slowing down (hmmm, will have to work on this for the marathon - too fast will be a very bad thing!), so I did them in 6:56, 2:13, 6:56, 2:11, and 6:57, 2:14. It was somewhat challenging, but not too bad. My average heart rate for the fast intervals (including the recovery) was 148. I was hitting the low 160s at the ends of the intervals, for the most part, which is about where I wanted to be, so I guess I was just fast this morning.

In other news, the 10K splits were posted from the championship race in Spokane. I was pretty close on my splits, but didn't get it exactly right. The lap times were (2k loops): 12:17 (this lap had 10m extra at the start), 11:49, 11:43, 11:29, and 11:25. Wow, I paced this race VERY well, and an 11:25? That's a smokin' 2k for the end of a 10k race, for me! Pretty close to 5K pace there at the end, negative splits to the end, and a nice consistent pace at the start. Perhaps the only mistake I made was going just a little too slow the first lap, but I did have the energy to do negative splits at the end, so I really can't second guess myself too much. It was probably my best race, ever, so I'm very happy with it. I guess I'm learning from experience :).

Katie's (1st place) splits for the 10K: 12:00, 11:37, 11:42, 11:47, 11:30
Tracy's (3rd place) splits for the 10K: 12:21, 11:46, 11:40, 11:34, 11:30

Sunday, August 10, 2008

USATF National Masters' Championships - Women's 10K, ages 30 & up

Conditions were perfect for this race. I got a great night's sleep (9:30 pm to 5:30 am), and the weather was absolutely divine. Upper 50s, overcast, and a slight breeze. Awesome! Sure beat upper 70s and humid that we had for Friday's 5K.

The first picture is the start (special thanks to Sally for the terrific photos!!!). The 10K was a road course (a 2K loop) in Fort Wright, immediately adjacent to the stadium. The gun went off, and it was crowded (about 40 ladies?) but the traffic didn't impede me significantly. I moved near the front quickly, and within a couple of minutes I was about 5th or 6th. I quickly passed a few more people, and then only Marianne Martino, Katie Grimes (who was 2nd, just ahead of me in the 5K), and Yoko Eichel were ahead of me. Lynn Tracy ("Tracy"), who won the 5K on Friday, was not far behind me, along with Mary Snyder. Things stayed like that through the first of 5 loops. The first loop (plus about 10 meters extra because each loop was 1998m, not 2000) took me 12:17 to complete, and I was working moderately hard, but it was still comfortable. I felt like I paced this perfectly.

About halfway through the second loop, I passed Yoko, who was tiring a bit. Tracy and Mary were right on my heels, though (see picture below). Mary had been doing a lot of distance work (I think I've mentioned that she has done TEN marathons this year!) and not a lot of speed work, so she wasn't able to keep the pace up for long. I completed the 2nd loop in about 24:05 total, for a split of 11:48; my goal for the race was 11:54 per loop for a 59:00 finish, so things were going well so far. I felt pretty good at this point, and was still going moderately hard. From this point, it was just Tracy immediately behind me through about halfway through the 3rd loop. I did the 3rd loop a bit faster, in about 11:42 (I'm not 100% sure of this split) and was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable, but Tracy was breathing down my back and I didn't dare slow down; she passed me sometime during this loop but I was able to stay right behind her. I figured if I stayed with her I might be able to pass her later if she tired.


About halfway through the 4th loop, I decided that it was now or never, and so I passed her and tried to really turn on the speed. I think she was a bit surprised that I went for it, and she did stay pretty close on my heels, but then she tired and dropped back a bit (I'm not sure how far back, because I couldn't hear her breathing any more, but I knew she was still pretty close). I completed the 4th loop in about 11:30 (approximately; not sure of this split), so I was really moving at this point, and feeling it too. My heart rate was in the upper 170s now, and I wondered how long I could hold the pace. My lungs and legs were burning, but I was thinking "it's only pain...it's only pain...I can do this...one more loop".

I could still see Katie ahead of me entering the 5th and last loop, and I was gradually closing in on her. Through about halfway through the last loop, I kept gaining ground, but then she turned on the speed and though I didn't lose ground, I wasn't able to gain any more either. It was SO frustrating. I was maxxed out and just couldn't go any faster. My heart rate was still right up there, and I gave it the hardest effort that I could. I pushed all the way to the end, and finished the last loop in approximately 11:21 for a final time of 58:43, only seven seconds behind Katie, who finished in 58:36. WOW! I was so pleased with my time, because I figured going in that if I did 59:00 that would be a great race; to get under 59:00 was awesome, even if I couldn't catch Katie. Tracy finished in 58:52, only 9 seconds behind me, so it was a super close race all the way to the finish. I am VERY pleased with the way I paced the race - the negative splits were exactly what I was shooting for, and the pace felt right throughout. It sure helps to have other walkers pushing you - it beats competing against runners any day!

Though I was 2nd overall, I was first in my age group (OK, so I was the only one in my age group :)!). Still, I was there, and I didn't get DQ'd (in fact, it was a totally clean race for me, with no warnings or red cards), so that's something. I am very pleased that after racewalking only about a year and a half, I was able to keep up with these very fast, experienced walkers (even if most of them are older than me!).

I was very inspired by the woman who won the age 75-59 group - she set a new American record today for her age group, 1:11:xx (can't remember the seconds). WOW! I want to be like her when I grow up!

Official results HERE (you have to scroll down a ways)

All in all, this was an awesome weekend! The Nationals are in Florida next year (UGH - too hot! and too far away!), but the following year they are in Sacramento, near where my brother lives, so I'll almost certainly go to those. In addition, the World Masters' Championships will be in Sacramento in 2011, and hopefully by then I'll improve enough to put in a respectable show against international competition. What fun!



Katie and I exchange congratulations after the race.



Tracy, Tammy, & Katie.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Checking out the course


This morning I checked out the road course for the 10k tomorrow. It's quite beautiful, in Fort Wright adjacent to the track. Shady, with old brick buildings and quiet streets. The only downer is the 5 speed bumps, but honestly, they weren't that big of a deal; I'll have to slow down a little to negotiate them, but not too much.

It's a 2k loop course, and I walked it 3 times for 38:xx (can't remember now). I sprinted the very end, visualizing tomorrow's race. I'm as ready as I'm gonna be!

Added this comic after someone (don't know who - "anonymous") pointed it out!

Friday, August 08, 2008

More images of Spokane

After dinner tonight, I walked around downtown. Much of it is rather drab, with older brick buildings in need of repair, and lots of parking lots replete with weeds. However, there is clearly some revitalization going on, with a beautiful performing arts center and a lovely park along the river. The park would have been a big hit with Calvin and Michelle; it had many fountains, a train ride, a carousel, and a giant red wagon (I mean giant - 20 feet high?) to play in.

Oh, and after I left downtown, I got a new SD card for my camera, and it works again! So though these pictures were taken with my phone (except the last one of the city, taken from my hotel room), the pictures I take tomorrow & Sunday will be with my good camera :)!







The Onion


Tonight I tried out a local Spokane establishment, The Onionrestaurant. I checked out the menu online, and it looked very tasty, so off I went. Metered parking was plentiful, and I walked across the street to the restaurant. As I approached, a couple w/kids in tow was leaving. They were commenting that it was very good, "like a Red Robin". Hmmm - that made me a bit apprehensive; I like Red Robin, but it's a fairly ordinary burger chain. I was hoping for something more.

Inside, the decor includes a historic bar and a 1937 Harley Davidson motorcycle, along with comfy booths and TV sets all around. The host seated me, and I glanced through the menu. When I had perused it online, the ham and gouda sandwich with apple chutney had caught my eye, and it was available as a half sandwich (yeah! portion contriol!). It came with fries, but the waitress was more than happy to substitute a side salad for them for about $1 extra.

While I waited for my food to arrive, I opened up my book "This Is Your Brain On Music" by Daniel J. Levitin. I'd been saving it for a time when I could enjoy it at my leisure. I never eat out by myself, but I love to read while I eat, so I relished the idea of a good read with some good food. I got through most of the introduction when my food was served.

Mmmm - delicious! The Gouda cheese paired with the apple chutney and ham on rye was an unbelievably great combination. I am definitely going to have to make this at home sometime. The crunchy pickle that came with the sandwich was a great touch. The side salad was tasty, but nothing special; it did beat the calories of french fries. Oh, but the sandwich... I am still thinking about it hours later.

The Onion has an intriguing dessert menu - they have several options to share, along with three "mini" desserts. I opted for the mud pie mini dessert, and was not disappointed. Yummy, creamy, coffee ice cream was smothered in little chocolate cookie crumbles and topped with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. The best part was that it really was small! It was the perfect ending for my meal.

The bill? $9.96 total (I got water instead of soda or alcohol). Wow! I would love to eat there again.
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USATF National Masters' Championships - Women's 5000m racewalk, ages 30-64

 I just wrote a long beautiful post about the race, and it got eaten when the Internet connection crashed. So frustrating! I'll start over, and hopefully will remember it all.

I got to the track at 8 am, just in time to watch the start of the women's 5000m for ages 65 & up. While I was watching the race and getting my numbers, I met lots of neat racewalkers. Peter Bayer and his wife Sally were there for Peter's race in the 5000m men ages 60-74. I also met Sandy Hults from Florida, Lynn Tracy of Wisconsin (who I had met yesterday), Mary Snyder from Boise (who I met in Boise last fall for the women's fitness celebration 5K), Pansy Geer from New Jersey, and many others. It was wonderful to be in such a large group of racewalkers and see the other races - it calmed my nerves a little to chat with others and watch the older women and the men (ages 74-85!) do their races before mine. I sat with Peter and Sally in the stands for a while after I got my numbers, and they were kind enough to watch my jacket and phone and car keys during my race.

Pretty soon it was time to warm up, so I did about 10 min easy with some pick-ups and I felt fast and smooth. I was as ready as I was going to be, and I walked over to the tent for final race instructions. They lined us up by our numbers, and we went over to the track. They started the older women on the inside and the younger ones (I was 19 out of 20; only one woman was younger than me) on the outside. After the gun, I was able to get over relatively quickly and there was no elbowing or anything, which was good. I was about 4th going into the first turn, where I wanted to be to avoid traffic. I did the first 200m in about 1:03, which was a little fast, but I did want to be near the front, so that was OK. I was feeling great, so when we hit 1k in 5:32 I was pleased, but knew it was a bit fast (5:36 would be 28:00 for the race). I didn't keep track of my splits very well (unusual for me) because I was concentrating on other things like my form and breathing, etc., but I know 2k was pretty slow - about 11:25, which was 5:53 for the 2nd 1k. I was able to pick up the pace a bit after that, though. I am pretty sure that with 4 laps to go I was at 19:25-ish.

As for the others, Katie Grimes (age 44) led for most of the race; she was about 10-15 sec in front of me (maybe even 20-30 at some points) for a good part of the time. With about 2 laps to go I was catching up, and I poured it on at the end but was unable to catch her, even though I was breathing very hard and giving it my all. Lynn Tracy ("Tracy", age 57) was perhaps 20 seconds behind me for most of the race, but with a couple laps to go, she passed me and though I tried to stay with her, I just couldn't quite do it; she also passed Katie and finished first in 28:31. I fully expected Mary Snyder (age 57) to beat me by a good margin (1-2 minutes), as she is easily capable of 27 minute times, so I wasn't surprised when she passed me about 3 or 4 laps into the 12.5 lap race. However, I was able to stay with her for a few laps, and then I picked it up and passed her, and she never did pass me again. She told me after the race that she has done TEN marathons (!!!) this year, and that she only started doing speed work 5 weeks ago; I'm sure that's the only reason I was able to stay ahead of her.

The last 2 laps were brutal, as I tried valiantly to catch Tracy and Katie, and though I gave it my all, I just couldn't do it. However, I finished in a new personal best time of 28:36, in third place overall. Katie was second in 28:35, just one second ahead of me, and Tracy was first in 28:31. Wow, I was only 5 seconds away from winning the whole thing! For my first judged racewalk, I am very pleased, and my hat is off to Tracy and Katie for a terrific race. I was first in my age group, though, so I received a gold medal and a patch that says "National Champion" on it. Wow. I'm a national champion! How cool is that!?! And third overall, against some very speedy competition.

Oh, forgot to mention the weather - it is hot here today (was 88 at noon) but thankfully it was overcast for our race. It was still hot and kind of humid (by Utah/eastern WA standards), and I was pretty uncomfortable at the end of the race, but not bad. I am glad for the hot track workouts I did before today, though.

In summary, this has been such fabulous fun! I am glad to have the afternoon off (nap! followed by Olympics tonight) and the day off tomorrow to rest up for the 10K at 7:30 am on Sunday. The 10K is going to be a really exciting race, after today!

More pictures HERE if you're interested. Sorry these aren't the best - my SD card is dead on my good camera, and I had to take these with my phone; I think I got some sunscreen on the outside and so the last few pics are terrible. Oh well!

Oh, I forgot to post that I didn't get any warnings or red cards, either :). The judges DQ'd 3 women in my race, but I think my form is good, so I was fine. I thought about it a lot during the race to make sure that I was legal!

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Pre race

 
Good morning, Spokane! Time for the 5000m racewalk this morning! This picture was taken from my hotel room.

Yesterday I did an easy 30 min with a few pick-ups. Then I got on the plane and headed to Spokane. I got my rental car (a seriously BRIGHT red Mazda 3) and headed over to the community college where the meet is. At the packet pick-up I ran into Lynn Tracy, another racewalker, and it was fun to chat for a few minutes. I checked out the venue (I dig the BLUE track! Will take pics of it later.) and then got some lunch. After that I drove downtown just to do a little sightseeing, but didn't really stop anywhere, because I was just trying to get a feel for the place. There is a pretty river (the Spokane River) that runs through the city, and it's hard to drive around because you can only cross where there's a bridge, and I had a rather primitive map. But I managed OK. Then I drove back over to the community college to check out the 10K road course (yeah! it's not on the track!) and it looks pretty nice. It's flat and shaded and located in the quaint & picturesque Fort Wright, immediately adjacent to the community college. The only bummer is that there are 5 speed bumps on the 2k loop course. Those will be tough to get over with good racewalking form.

My race is at 9:30 am this morning, but I'm going to head over there by 8 am to see the 60&over women & men racewalk at 8:00 and 8:45 am, respectively. It's going to be pretty hot by 9:30 am - it's supposed to get in the low 90s today, and I'd guess it's going to be 80 by race time. Ugh. At least I have done some training in the heat, but probably not as much as I should have. Fortunately, it's a relatively short race.

The 10K is at 7:30 am on Sunday, which will be much nicer for 2 reasons: 1) it's earlier, and hence cooler, and 2) we're supposed to have a cold front come through tomorrow. The weather last night said 53 degrees for Sunday morning, which is almost chilly! Perfect!

True confession time - I am really really nervous about this morning's race! I'm very excited, but also scared because I've been prepping for this for so long and want to do well.

Time to stop blogging and start focusing! Will be back later today with a full report.
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Second cousins

 
Amy is my second cousin - we share one set of great grandparents. Or, to look at it another way, her grandfather and my grandmother are siblings.
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Great Aunt Carol Ann

 
Great Aunt Carol Ann lives in Spokane, and she graciously invited me to have dinner with her last night, even though she was planning a trip to Chicago today. She is sure we have met before, but it was probably when I was under 10 years old, and I just don't remember.

Sorry the picture is so crummy - the SD card on my good camera was malfunctioning (though it seems fine NOW of course), and so it's from my cell phone, which does NOT take good pics in low light.
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Amazing building

 
He's not quite 4 yet, and he built this all by himself, with no pointers from anyone! WOW!
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Good to the last drop

 
Calvin shows us how to get the last little bit of melted ice cream out of the container.
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