I've been busy doing the tourist thing with Jim here, so I'm behind on my blog and just about everything else, but it's been fun so I don't mind a bit. Actually, it's been a little bit of racewalking heaven. I got the coach's advice on workouts for the weekend, a couple vigorous and painful but good sports massages, and interesting company with lots of racewalking chitchat. He left this morning for Toronto to visit his cousins, then New York to visit Erin & Dave Talcott, and then finally he'll be in Eugene, OR for the USATF Nationals June 23-26. He'll fly back here on the 27th and stay until the 30th, so I'll get some more pointers at the end of the month. I cannot emphasize how invaluable his help has been. If anyone is looking for a coach, you cannot do better than Jim - the combination of knowledge of technique, training, and biomechanics is incredible, plus he's a super nice guy who knows how to motivate with kindness. Here's his website.
Workout stuff: Friday we hiked Observation Point, so no workout that day (that WAS my workout, and it was a fun one - nice easy 4 hr hike - and I did think it wasn't bad at all until my IT band acted up on the way down, near the bottom).
Saturday Jim needed to sleep in; he was still a bit jet lagged. My mom and Michelle and I hung out while he slept (our rented lodge had 2 bedrooms, kitchen, rustic but nice). So we got a bit of a late start and by the time we packed up and drove to Zion, where I was going to work out on a bike trail (flat!) next to the river, it was noon and it was 85F (29.4C). Yeah, it was hot. It was dry, though, with a nice breeze, but it was still much hotter than I'm accustomed to. It was good heat training for Sacramento, though. It very well might be 90F for the 5K, which will be at 8:30 pm. At least the sun won't bake me at 8:30 pm like it did in Zion, though! Anyway, I had a great workout despite the heat. My HR was quite high (ave 160) due to the heat, but I still did an awesome 8K in 48:11; 6:02/km. I was really proud of that effort, and the best part was that Jim was able to correct my most serious form flaw: my right leg was hitching up a good couple of inches higher than the left, leading to inadequate use of my glutes, insufficient toe push, and risk of muscle imbalance/injury. He tried a couple different descriptions of how to fix it before landing on the one that worked for me - "Bring your right knee through lower". That did the trick and he said I looked like a new walker. He did a few videos on his phone and showed me and sure enough, it was quite a big change. I looked lots better. I'd post them but he hasn't been able to get them emailed to me; something seems to be wrong with his phone. Anyway, it was a great workout, and after drinking about 3 big bottles of water during and after, changing into fresh clothes and cooling off, I was starving! My mom and Michelle had gone for a hike and so we met them and we all went to lunch together, where Jim tried some Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce ribs. He had never heard of such a thing and wondered if it was really the real Jack Daniel's in there - I told him yes, but that it's cooked so it just leaves the flavor and it's delicious. He was persuaded to try it and I think he liked it:
Back to workouts...this morning we got up really early for a 5:15 am start to my workout so that Jim could make his 7:45 am plane flight. He just had me do an easy 10K, and I was so tired from all the driving, the hiking, and the hard 8K in the sun that I just about died this morning on the easy 10K. Everything hurt and it was just one of those workouts where every time the watch beeps the splits you want to hurl it into a garbage can. I was SO very slow...ugh! The first 5K was OK but I knew I was in trouble, and I finished 10K in a pathetic 1:06:42 for 6:40/km with HR 151. Jim said not to worry about it at all, that I was just a bit tired and it didn't matter. He's right but I still hated it! The workout was still quite valuable though. Jim rode next to me on Loren's bike and gave me technique corrections. Minor things I still need to work on include leaning forward about 3 degrees from my ankles (NOT from the waist!) so that I get my center of gravity moving forward just a bit better, and also tucking my rear end under a little bit more to keep my pelvis at the correct angle. That will help me to get better hip action, more toe-off, and a longer stride. It will take me a while to process all these changes, but it was invaluable to have him there helping me, and I now have a few weeks to practice before his return here on the 27th.
Finally, I have had no shin pain whatsoever. I think I'm over that one, thankfully :). Whew.